Each time I come out of a relationship or situation where, consciously or not, I’ve sought validation, I’m always relieved. Sure, in the immediate aftermath, that relief might be mixed in with hurt and anger, but I focus on the release from the anxiety and distress that I experienced. My inner self breathes a great big sigh of relief that I can finally make a return to my self.

So many of us validate ourselves on romantic partners and jobs. The very thing we treat like the sole source of our worth and happiness becomes the source of much anxiety, self-doubt and misery.

We assume and want to believe that these feelings will go away once we get what we want. Sometimes we think that the anxiety, doubt, ruminating, misery and the like, represent a problem with us. We don’t recognise that these feelings are telling us something about the nature of the dynamic or situation. They’re telling us that we are being and doing things that compromise the essence of who we are. That we’re not listening to ourselves.

And it’s critical to note that we’re not just forcing us to be someone or something we’re not. Much of our pain and why we stick around past the sell-by-date is us telling ourselves that the thing/person/job or whatever it is, is critical to our sense of self and success. At times, we’re straight-up putting us in danger and ignoring the alarm that is our anxiety.

Even though it’s the right thing when we finally exit the situation, we’ll still experience grief. It’s the loss of the hopes and expectations we invested. We thought certain things would happen or had ideas about who we thought we’d become. Some of us become so consumed by, for example, a relationship, that we don’t realise how much of our hopes, dreams and passions were put on pause. We might not like who we were in the relationship or situation. But it’s when we’re out of it that we often discover that behind the grief of the loss is relief.

It’s like, as hard as letting go and the fallout might be, we get to be us now.

We notice that we miss our old self. You know, the one we didn’t realise we’d thrown away because we thought we weren’t enough or that the partner or job would make better” or ”whole”.

In the midst of this loss, life whispers, ”It’s okay. You get to be you now.”

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