A story about loving me instead of you is unfortunately just that—nothing more than a story. I can tell tales about what I should have done, would have done, could have done, but they’re not what I’ve actually done. The past is the past, and I can’t change that, but I can look back and see what I could have done differently.
I could have kicked you to the curb well before I did. I could have asked you to leave, I could have eliminated you from my life, but I didn’t. These would have been healthy decisions for me. They would have made a huge difference in my life. I might be happier than I am right now. I may stop looking back and wondering what went wrong with us. I might not cry into the night wondering what’s wrong with me.
If I had loved me instead of you, I could be thriving. My mental health would be in a better place. I would have chased the dreams that you told me were impossible. I might be in a career field that I love instead of sitting in one wondering what I’m doing. I would not be questioning my life. I wouldn’t think so much about every decision I made. Your voice wouldn’t be playing in my head, telling me that I’m destined to fail.
If I had loved me instead of loving you, or even loved myself a fraction as much as I loved you, I would be a different person. I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to find love in such a bad situation. I wouldn’t continue to put myself in these situations. Now I find love in myself by helping others. I get to see them succeed, get to a place in life they want to be.
I enjoy seeing others happy, I enjoy seeing them thriving and succeeding. I know that they can do anything. I have faith in the people that I bring into my world. They come into it because I see potential in them. Why don’t I see that potential in myself? I know I’m worth more than I think I am, but I can’t bring myself to act or acknowledge it. I don’t see myself the way I should.
I can’t blame you for this. You’re not the one putting all of these ideas in my head. You didn’t help me either. I didn’t love myself at that point, enough to tell you that you were wrong. If I had, I would be different now. I might find success in myself. I might find love in myself. I don’t right now, but I’m building to it.
The truth in the story is that I’ve never loved myself more than I’ve loved someone else. I help others learn how to love themselves, to put themselves first, to find inner happiness, but I’ve never been one to do it on my own. I build people up, and in a way that builds me up. It’s not healthy that I have to have other people to build up in order to feel like I’m worth something.
If I had loved myself instead of you, I’d know my worth is much more than anything you ever wanted me to believe. I guess deep down I do know that. I know that I’m worth more than you wanted me to see. I never saw it on my own, but you never wanted me to. You held me down, and I held you up. I was everything you wanted but nothing you wanted.
I know how to love myself; I’m still learning every day. I’m learning little tips and tricks to get your voice, your words out of my head. I deleted all of our texts, the false words, broken promises. I know that you weren’t someone worth keeping. I tried too hard to keep you, to make you happy, to make you feel that I’m worth it. I worked to be everything you wanted.
Now I’m in this cycle—build someone up, watch them fly, find someone else to build up and watch fly. I build my self-esteem off of my ability to do that. But the truth is, I can’t build myself the same way. I’m working on it, though. You’re not here to stop me anymore; you aren’t here to hold me down and hold me back the way you did before. You aren’t someone that’s worth listening to.
With how hard I fought to keep you, to keep you happy, I should and could have been fighting for myself, for my own happiness. I’m learning each day how to love myself more. For once, I’m learning that my happiness, my pride, and my love in myself is worth more than any ounce of love or energy I spent on you.
I’m learning to love me instead of you, and this time, you can’t stop me.