There have been many times in my life where I’ve put myself in a situation that feels uncomfortable. I can’t always pinpoint how I got there or why I felt the way that I did, but I just knew that it didn’t feel good.
My first serious boyfriend was someone I fell for, hard and fast. He was the bad-boy type; attractive, mysterious … but there was also a great deal of neediness and sadness to him. We dated on and off for many years, during which time I learned a lot about my strengths, and, my weaknesses. Whenever we were apart, there was always something that drove me back to him, and after years of reflection, I realized that our relationship and my attraction to him had little to do with him personally—it was all about me.
My nature was that of a nurturer. I wanted to help him get to a better place—not that he felt he had to get into a better place—and instead of seeing who he was, I kept looking for his potential. In retrospect, that was something I am not sure if he was even capable of reaching. I mean, who am I to say that someone needs to change?
What led to our final break up was that I finally faced the undeniable truth: we were two totally different people who were never going to be able to make it work, nor did we want to. Well, I didn’t, anyway.
For many years, I was bitter towards him. I was angry at him for things that he put me through and I was upset at myself for allowing me to stay in a bad situation for as long as I did. One day, however, I woke up and my perspective was completely different. It was odd, really, but I had suddenly come to terms with what had happened, and I realized that I forgave him, even after all these years.
I forgave him for all my sleepless nights, I forgave him for all the lies, I forgave him for being unfaithful, I forgave him for our fights, and I forgave myself for staying. I decided I would get in touch with him to let him know exactly how I felt. I figured that, after all these years, it would be good for him to know that I wished him well. I sent him a message that was short and sweet. It said something like: “Hey, I wanted to let you know that I forgive you for everything, and I truly hope that you find happiness.” A reply came back almost as quickly as I hit send. It said: “Thank you so much for this message, you have no idea what this means to me.”
From that day forward, I felt so relieved. No longer did I have any animosity towards this person or for that time in my life. I finally felt free from all the anger.
It’s crazy to think about how long it may take to truly forgive someone and to move on from a bad relationship. I found that reaching out to him made me feel more complete within myself and I was so proud that I was able to be find the right words to help both of us move forward in a healthy way.
From that moment on, when I think back to those times with him, I am now able to smile and focus on the positivity of what was.
This is what freedom feels like.