What I've Learned


This has been me lately.  I don't really have much to say.  I've seen a few followers quit my blog, which makes me immensely sad, but I understand completely.  I can't offer any advice, I have no healthy eating trials to share. I'm not contributing to the community here at all.  What's been going on in my head recently is almost all break-up talk.

I am working toward some goals, but my biggest ones aren't at all focused on eating.  And to be honest...I don't really mind.  I've been eating much better lately, and have been exercising almost every day because I'm not constantly trying to focus on it and make sure I'm doing "what I need to do".  I'm doing what I want to do.  Eating right and being active are things that are happening as I strive toward my biggest current goal:  loving and taking care of ME first, before anyone and anything else.  Now that I've had some time to reflectively explore my past relationship with my ex, I see just how much energy and intention I had been giving away to him.  How much I had been trying, in every moment and in every way, to make him as happy as possible so that he would give me the affirmation I've been craving all my life - the affirmation I never got from my mother.  Accordingly, I felt like the happier he was, the more effort I put into taking care of him, the more he would love me. 

I've been saying, in my own head and to others, that he was at fault.  That I deserved more from him - more attention, more emotional connection.  I've painted myself a victim, saying recently to a friend that even though I needed more, I was "just so happy to be loved, in any way".

And yes, I certainly deserved and needed more...but not from him.

I probably asked him about 48239748392 times throughout our 4.5 years together if he loved me, and when he said yes I would ask, "Why?".  He would answer me patiently each time, being careful not to say anything I might, from my warped perspective, view as unloving.  And even though I knew, rationally, that he loved me...I don't think I ever understood my need to ask "Why?" until now.  

Of course I've known for a long time that deep down I don't believe people when they say they care about me; that I have always, in any situation, sacrificed my own happiness or comfort to make others happier or more comfortable;  and that I have determined my self-worth based on my relationships with the people around me (as if I do not inherently have worth of any kind).  

But what I've learned from breaking up with my ex is that I do all those things listed above because, for all the love I do my best to give to other people, I keep none to give to myself.  If I asked my ex to go on a walk with me and he said "No, thanks", I would get a little upset.  I would have loved to go out for a walk, but because I wanted to make him happy I would continue to sit on the couch.  Really, I was upset with myself for caring about his happiness so much that I wouldn't foster my own happiness by doing what I really wanted to do.  I projected that onto him unfairly, making myself the supposed victim of his supposed inattention - as if by doing what would make me happy, I was making him unhappy. When really, I'm sure that it would have made him much happier to see me taking myself than spending all my effort trying to take care of him.  He did love me, after all. 

So now I understand that much of what I thought he was doing wrong to me was me doing wrong to myself.  I can't imagine how difficult it must have been sometimes for him to handle me, but I'm so glad that he at least tried.  I wouldn't be here learning to love myself if he hadn't loved me first.  Even though he often denied it when I told him, he really was wonderful to me.  I don't regret a single second of our relationship, or, for that matter, our breakup.

I'm taking this newfound clarity and using it to work toward my new goal:  making Erika happy.  I'm pursuing my interests, working on my photography, doing yoga, and practicing bellydance.  I'm eating well and taking care of myself.  I'm excited for the future, uncertain as it is.  Although, I have to say, I'm not sure what to do about this blog.  Would anybody even want to read about such a self-centered goal?  Maybe not.  But I would so hate to leave you guys behind...

While I figure out what's in store for The Act of Discovery, I hope to keep reading about your journies.  You guys are up to some super exciting stuff, and I've never been more grateful for the support you've given me in the past couple of years.  So I'll be back around...eventually. 

Have a lovely end to your Monday, friends.  : )


  1. I said, out loud, "I know, right?" 4 times throughout this post. It seems like we're on the same page a bit. I hope you come back eventually if not soon, I love reading your posts!

  2. Congratulations, Erika. I'm really impressed and proud of you for taking your relationship and break up for exactly as it was supposed to be taken- as experience. It is far too easy to become bitter and jaded, so I am very impressed that you are looking at this with real clarity. Saying "yeah, I do deserve better" is okay. But know you really know that you deserve better from YOURSELF.

    This road is long, hard and twisted at times. But it's the only path we have. We can move forward with courage; stand there stubbornly and not budge an inch; or try and go back and get lost. I think you are doing the right thing by you.

  3. This is a beautiful post, Erika. It made me so happy to read that you've learned something about yourself and you're using what you learned to live a more fulfilling life. Much of what you wrote reminds me of when I dated Chris because I so badly need someone to give me the love and attention and care to hear everything I say that I never got from my parents or anyone else. But ending that relationship and getting to know and love myself really has been the best thing for me.


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