Saturday, February 14, 2015

A day for old news

Jackie / Flickr
Happy Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for a little humor and fun, read my "The ghosts of Valentine's past" post from 2012.

If you'd rather experience the revelation I had on this Valentine's Day (2015), stay tuned. You're in for a treat.

I have spent the last few years of my life making terrible choice after terrible choice, and it took a long time and a great deal of sadness to realize it. I dated the wrong people, I got caught up in relationships that meant little to me, I had trouble letting go. My heart dictated my actions, rather than my head. And as we know, the heart doesn't always have the firmest grasp of reality.

Today, I had the uniquely painful pleasure of encountering a photo that served as a blast from the past, despite being decidedly present. It was like a simultaneous blow to the gut and a punch in the old cranium. You may have guessed it, I saw a picture of my ex with his new girlfriend.

This ex is old news. He broke up with me months ago and it was hard for about a minute. The mourning period was short, but the self-esteem loss was penetrating. As anyone who has been broken up with knows all too well, the feeling of rejection is more powerful than logic. For some reason, when you lose someone, your heart decides to care about that person more than you ever thought possible. Suddenly you think "maybe I did love him?", even though when you were together, he made you feel like poking your eyeballs out with an ice pick.

Too many times in my few years of being a dating-girl, I've found myself falling for the wrong people, losing them, and never feeling the relief that I know I should. The loss of a significant other should be grieved, but then it should transition into positivity, freedom, even excitement.

Instead of embracing the promise of new opportunities, I've looked to the past as a shelter. I hid myself in memories and burrowed so deep into my cave of past relationships that I stopped seeing my follow-up relationships for what they were, good or bad.

When I found myself dating someone new, the relationship became clouded by previous experiences. Nothing measured up, nothing was satisfactory. My heart was always looking backwards.

Some of my longest relationships have been with people I didn't actually care very much about. While I hoped to eventually feel a burning passion for them, it simply wasn't there from the start. Jaded by previous breakups, I saw new relationships as numbing agents.

While a relationship should be a stimulant, they were suppressants.

This Valentine's Day is the first in a while that I've been fully single. Last year, I was seeing someone (sort of). The year before, I'd been broken up with a week and a half before the holiday and was deep into my mourning period. In 2012, the wounds were still fresh from another breakup. This year, I finally realize that being alone is better than being with someone who may not be the right person anyway.

The number one rule in dating should be to save your love and enthusiasm for the right people. I want to build up my love until it bursts from my heart and allows me to fully engulf the person on the receiving end of it. Why bother with someone who can only make me feel so-so, when I know I have the capacity to feel so much more?

To my mind, Valentine's Day is really about being with the people who accept you and believe in you unconditionally. The exes of my past did not offer me that, so who cares? They're old news.

Yet by being careful and pursuing quality, I'm promising myself to have only good news to tell next Valentine's Day, and every Valentine's Day after that.

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