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A Thank You To My Ex

A Thank You To My Ex

I have always believed that everyone we meet is for a reason. It is never an accident, there is always a purpose. Even if we get hurt, we learn something so much bigger than the pain we endured.

I thought I had experienced being in love before. I cared for past boyfriends deeply. In a way, I loved them. I just didn’t realize there was a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. Now I can honestly say that I have been in love once. It was the most beautiful yet terrifying experience I ever had.

The guy I fell in love with, was also the guy that truly broke my heart. Despite all the pain that was caused in the end, I hold no regrets. My ex showed me exactly how big my heart is and just how much love I am actually capable of.

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    I have always been quite guarded. I had my walls up high and it took a fair bit of effort on another person’s part to even get close to me. I’d like to think I’m not quite like that now, but to an extent I am still quite guarded with my heart. When it comes to friendships and meeting new people, I am a pretty open, loving, and outgoing character. When it comes to my heart and opening up my soul to another, I suppose I am pretty cautious as not everyone deserves it. I have many acquaintances and very few people I consider my true friends.

    For the sake of fairness, let’s call my ex “Dave”. Now, it wasn’t a “love at first sight” kind of deal. It was actually quite a slow burn. I had known him for years. I worked with him, lived with him, and also became best friends with him before we even started anything intimate. Through all those years, there was never even an inkling of attraction on my part towards him. However, what I actually had for him was respect.

    Dave was extremely charismatic. He had a magnetism about him that drew people towards him. He oozed confidence, gave great advice, was a master at communicating with people, was always so generous, and would take the shirt off his back to help someone else. He also had a killer sense of humor.

    Here’s my weakness: if a guy can make me laugh, like actually “laugh out loud”, I’m pretty much caught. This may sound easy because I am known to laugh a lot. You know those “lols” or “giggles” where you find something kind of funny, so you nervously (or confidently) fake a laugh to give it some credit? Yeah, that’s me. I do that a lot. If you see me in person, my face is a dead giveaway. I have been told my facial expressions are priceless. It seems to tell all. Now, to get me to actually laugh out loud to the point where my stomach hurts, my eyes are tearing up, and I am chuckling uncontrollably, takes talent. Dave had this talent.

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    Dave and I spent a lot of time together. When we weren’t together, he would randomly call me just to say hi and we would chat for hours. He would send random texts throughout the day, just to make me smile. Our friendship grew and we both started to open up to each other. I told him things about me no one else knew, and he did the same. We would send random Snap Chats, see how each other’s day was going, and enjoy hanging out in each other’s company for hours on end. There were tears, a copious amount of laughter, and many moments of just being silly dorks together.

    He made me feel safe. When I needed a shoulder, Dave was there. When I had a tough day, he would do little things to put a smile on my face. Needless to say, the chemistry between us started to build. I think this went on for months, as I was fighting it and didn’t want to ruin a good thing. However, we eventually started hooking up. This stage also went for another few months. I will still say, as much as the chemistry was insane, there was always that voice in my head telling me to be careful about this one. I didn’t end up listening to it. We became exclusive. It was official and now everyone knew. There was no going back.

    I felt so safe and secure with Dave. I figured because he had known me and seen all the sides of my personality, there was no need to prove my loyalty or trustworthiness to him. After all, he saw what I was like in the work place, and he saw how I was with the boys. He also knew I wasn’t the kind of girl that had a reputation for sleeping around. I thought it was amazing that someone finally understood me and didn’t need to question me. Unfortunately, I was wrong, but that is another story.

    Once Dave and I became official, I let my guard down. I trusted him with all my heart. I never thought (not even for a moment) that he would have the ability to hurt me because I knew how much he cared for me, especially our friendship. At first, I was scared to allow myself to give my heart and be vulnerable. I fought an internal battle. I have always and probably will always be an all or nothing kind of girl. My heart won and I fell hard. The chemistry was off the wall, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. We were always laughing and just enjoying the simple life and each other’s company.

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    It was like the universe was smiling on us. Everywhere we went, every traffic light would just go green. Things just flowed. I can’t even really explain what it was like to fall in love with Dave. It was nothing even close to what I had ever experienced before. There was really only one word to describe it and that word was “magic”. I realized that I had not in fact been in love before – not even close. This was a whole other level.

    I was always independent. I made my own way, I had my own back, and I worked for everything I had. I relied and depended on nobody but myself. I always took care of myself. Because of this, I always put myself first – until Dave. I found myself becoming selfless. If it made him happy, it made me happy. Just seeing him smile made my day. For the first time in my life, someone else’s needs came before mine.

    The relationship ended badly. It’s safe to say it was the worst break up I have ever been through. I can just say that it was insecurities that caused it to all fall apart. They were insecurities that didn’t need to be there. He wasn’t the one for me. I miss our friendship more than anything, but some doors are better left shut.

    I can’t say that being with him was a waste of time because it took someone like him who knew me for years, to teach me some very valuable life lessons. Dave taught me what it was like to actually be in love. He taught me what I was capable of when I gave my love. He helped shape me. When I actually meet the right guy, now I know exactly how to love him. My ex also taught me exactly what to look out for and what I don’t want.

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    The next time I give my heart away, the man for me will have come to terms with his issues and insecurities already. He will be aware of them; therefore, he will not allow them to control him or take it out on me. There is not a soul on this planet that doesn’t have insecurities. It is just not possible. No one is perfect, and I’m sure I’m not either.

    I don’t know when I will fall in love again, but what I do know is that the right guy for me will love me for exactly who I am, and I will love him for exactly who he is. We will not want to change each other, we will only be by each other’s side to help encourage and motivate each other to grow into the best version of ourselves. If someone is trying to change who you are and wants you to do things that aren’t really you, how can that person really love you for who you are?

    These are the lessons my ex taught me, and even though the break up was extremely painful and a lot of hurt came from it, I cannot thank him enough. I will be forever grateful to have had met him. Without him, I wouldn’t know exactly what I do and do not want. I hope Dave has also learned some valuable lessons from our relationship.

    The universe has a funny way of sending certain people into our lives to make us, break us, or shake us up a little. Even if we meet for a day, a season, or a lifetime, it is always – most definitely – for a reason. Sometimes this reason is camouflaged as a painful event; however, if you look back, it was trying to teach you something.

    How we deal with pain is up to us. As the old saying goes, when something bad happens to you, you have three choices: you can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you. I choose the latter. For that, I thank my ex. He has made me stronger than I have ever been.

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

    How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

    We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

    Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

    Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

    Expressing Anger

    Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

    Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

    Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

    Being Passive-Aggressive

    This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

    Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

    This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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    Poorly-Timed

    Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

    An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

    Ongoing Anger

    Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

    Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

    Healthy Ways to Express Anger

    What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

    Being Honest

    Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

    Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

    Being Direct

    Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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    Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

    Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

    Being Timely

    When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

    Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

    Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

    How to Deal With Anger

    If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

    1. Slow Down

    From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

    In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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    When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

    2. Focus on the “I”

    Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

    When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

    3. Work out

    When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

    Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

    Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

    If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

    4. Seek Help When Needed

    There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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    5. Practice Relaxation

    We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

    That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

    Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

    6. Laugh

    Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

    7. Be Grateful

    It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

    Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

    Final Thoughts

    Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

    During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

    Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

    More Resources on Anger Management

    Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

    Reference

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