Guys – you are either going to need to read (and re-read) this post for yourself or feel like you need to send it to someone immediately after reading it or both. It’s THAT good. What do you do when you lose the complete opposite of a toxic person? How do you deal with the loss of someone incredible? You’ll get insight whether you were the one on the receiving or losing end. This is a topic that hits so painfully close to home for me – being on receiving end of the limitations of someone’s emotional range, as well as the past limitations of my own. And not just in regard to romantic relationships. This post helped me come to better terms with not making the time to see a loved one before she died (I’ve written about the crippling guilt associated with this particular story a few times before). Today, I have the honor of reintroducing a very special guest post written by my dear friend Lorelle, who was kind enough to take over PMS while I’m busy working on my new website for you all. Her 2 previous guest posts can be found here and here. Lorelle, take it away…
Love can truly be a double-edged sword. It can make us feel so uniquely connected to the world and fill our hearts so they are overflowing. It can also slash our hearts to shreds, leaving painful emotion seeping out for a long time to come.
And one of the most painful places to be in is the one where you feel regret, guilt, and pain for losing someone you see as too much of a loss to recover from. The one who was there for you, loved you, and did the ‘thick and thin’ thing because they believed in you. But now they are gone.
The. One. That. Got. Away.
This realization can take some time to surface. There is pain on both sides when a breakup occurs. A time of healing. A time when moving on begins and life slowly becomes happier. The pain subsides, and you reflect on the lessons you learned and seek new love.
There are also times when this doesn’t happen. Where you find yourself thinking of someone every day. You feel heavy with guilt, and regret lives in your gut. It is often at this point you question yourself, and think that this person you lost, has left a hole in your life that can never be filled.
As you begin to emotionally process your role in the breakup, you slowly come to the painful realization that you self-sabotaged yourself and this relationship.
The first step is to ask yourself “WHY?”
Did you not feel good enough/worthy of this person and because of that, did you feel insecure and do things to sabotage your relationship?
Did being intimate scare you and make you push them away?
Were you afraid of having to step up?
Were you wanting to commit but at the time not feeling ready to give up/compromise your freedom or the lifestyle you had?
Were you living a lie in some way?
Half in/half out of another relationship they didn’t know about?
Did you cheat on them?
Did you lie?
Or, was it circumstantial?
Was distance a key issue?
Was it about money – did you make more or did they make less? Did this make you feel threatened, unworthy, or guilty?
Career choices and opportunities?
How and why we self-sabotage – the reasons are endless. The whole sabotage thing is a red flag that we are not in tune with ourselves and our needs. It a sign we are disconnected with who we are and where we are going in life right now. It also highlights our fears, insecurities, and inability to be honest – with both ourselves and others.
When this moment is related to screwing up our relationship with another, we often can’t see what we have also done to ourselves, because we are so focused on the other person. Losing them is all we can think of and we fail to see that we have also lost ourselves.
Life is tinted in winter hues and life is not moving on. Even in a state of no contact for months, perhaps over a year… sometimes your connection to a person who was emotionally available, good to you and loved you, just won’t fade away. Attempts to begin dating again, to be in a new relationship, still leave you finding yourself unable to disconnect.
The feeling of wanting them and missing them fills each day. The love you still hold for them doesn’t dwindle. The guilt you feel for hurting this special person holds tight. When you think of them, your heart strings pull because you remember just how pure their intent was. How they were always so consistent, so steady and so effortlessly able to be themselves. Always there for you. No drama. No one else can measure up to those qualities. WTF happened?
You may even dislike yourself at times because you know it was YOU that caused the split and you are responsible for causing pain to someone you really value and cannot move on from.
After much soul-searching, you come back to the same realization, that the issue was totally YOU and your emotional punching bag was the one you lost.
The one who deserved so much more than the crap you gave them. The one who even in the darkest of times, wanted you enough to put up with it all, until they finally said “enough.”
How do you reconcile with someone if you are in this place?
Can it even be done?
Stop for a minute though and refocus on this instead:
Ask yourself again: “Why did this happen?”
There is one caveat with this however, you need to be completely honest with yourself before you even attempt to contact this person.
You need to reconcile within before you can reconcile with anyone else.
So, WHY did it happen? WHERE were you at fault? And can you change those factors to ensure the slate is clean if you are to try again?
If you want a different result, you must do things differently. It’s as simple as that. If the circumstances haven’t changed then you won’t be able to achieve anything new or create a place for love to grow.
Yes, it can be done. Nothing is impossible. But you need to be ready for it, open to it and emotionally available.
It needs to be said upfront, you can never rekindle a love lost if you cannot deal with why you self-sabotaged a situation. Your relationships with others are always a reflection of you. Always.
This is why when we begin to evolve and become a better person, we drift away from people who no longer serve us well or don’t support us. Conversely, it’s why when we are in a state of insecurity, self-sabotage, and emotional unavailability, the good ones go.
Like attracts like.
When you develop healthy boundaries, many other good things will result as well, but you need to do a big clean up along the way. Bad habits, poor choices, and toxic relationships will all have to go.
The positive side of self-sabotage is you begin to see that the answers are always within. Every time you self-sabotage, you just need to look at yourself. There is a wealth of information in your behavior that you can either ignore or acknowledge. Do the latter and you will grow. Do the former, history will keep repeating itself.
Sometimes we unconsciously cut ourselves off from something good, so we can avoid dealing with painful issues within. So it is, in fact, a deliberate choice, but without you at first consciously understanding why.
For example, it doesn’t matter how amazing the sex is, if you can’t be there for someone emotionally when they need you in other ways, it’s not real love. You need to be emotionally present and available.
You might find yourself pushing someone away when you are feeling vulnerable because it is scary. When a relationship with a healthy person begins to develop in deeper ways, whatever lies within you has light shed on it. And if you have fear inside you or pain, it will begin to surface. It is the surfacing of painful emotions and fear, that often bring about self-sabotage.
Rather than deal with the simmering self-doubt, we do these things instead:
We stop communicating.
We push people away.
We make excuses.
We become too busy.
We tell lies or versions of the truth.
We try to hide our shame or fear.
We blame others.
We play games.
We start fights.
We avoid conversations.
We run hot and cold.
We make choices in life that have us leveling down, not up.
And at our worst, we choose people who won’t love us back (because on a level we don’t believe we are worth loving). It’s temporarily more comfortable but it’s really a road to f*cking nowhere… Ouch. Reroute. Please.
Here’s the deal though…
If you were with a person of high value, who had strong boundaries and was emotionally available – They. Will. Leave. They will not put up with this for months on end. Why?
Because they know their worth – and it allows their words to match their actions.
Your words and actions are probably no longer matching, and they will feel, see and hear this.
They will cut their losses.
Because you are not offering love. You are offering a version of love, full of mixed messages. And it has become apparent that you can’t love yourself, let alone them. They don’t see themselves as deserving of these conflicting messages or the drama and confusion that has been created. If they tried to level with you, and you can’t level back, they will see the brick wall in front of them before they hit it. And leave.
This is who you are, being reflected back at you. Take a look. Learn from it.
Be brave and accept yourself. Learn to love yourself first – only then can you really open your heart to another.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
What a powerful quote. I think we give the love we are capable of too. If you know you have emotionally shortchanged someone special, open up your heart to yourself.
Regarding broken hearts: You can only mend yours. Stop focusing outwards on trying to love others if you are currently unable to love yourself. Truly, self-sabotage is rooted in a feeling of being undeserving of good things. Understand this, and you will quickly pick up on it when something triggers you into this state. There is an advantage to be gained in this knowledge and when you are aware of this connection, you can prevent yourself from falling into the same trap.
When we are left with a broken heart, the pieces are right there in front of us -we can’t escape what we feel on this level. You are vulnerable when in this state, and the pain is a gift because it helps you grow and move forward. You cannot move forward or heal without pain. Don’t be afraid of it – embrace it!
To get back the one that got away, you need to be ready to share your vulnerabilities and apologize in the most heartfelt way. And you will not find that hard to do if you are truly connected to your emotions in a healthy way.
Do the work first and then proceed.
You’ll know you’re ready when you can look within. Whatever is manifesting on the outside is a direct result of what lies inside. This message is continually being repeated here because it’s the real issue we are dealing with. There are no shortcuts, emotional discounts or “14-day anti-self-sabotage plans” when it comes to this.
Remember, there was a time when this person was in your life and wanting you too. Where they are sitting with these feelings right now, you won’t know until you connect with them. Go into any communication with an open heart. The worst-case scenario is they will be unable to say yes to you.
If you cannot succeed in reuniting with the one that got away, at least see the gift in what you have left: a lesson learned so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. That is a life-changing bestowal to receive. Treasure it. Only a healthy emotionally available person can give you something like this.
If the one that got away doesn’t choose to try again with you, try not to see it as rejection. Try to see it as someone who has healthy boundaries communicating to you that what you were offering wasn’t loving and because of that, they chose to break free.
If they had chosen to stay, it would have been a breeding ground for more dysfunction, more emotional drama and zero growth. They have taught you with their actions, that love isn’t like that! They have walked away. To do that would have hurt them too. They have had to heal from and accept a loss also.
How much healing needed to be done on their part, is dependent on the reasons they moved on. If you began pushing them away because you felt scared of intimacy, that is different to serial cheating on them. All in all, though, anything you do to ruin something good, always comes back to YOU. The other party is collateral damage. But you need to own your part in hurting and involving them through your unresolved issues.
Since moving on, perhaps they found new love. Perhaps they are in a new place in life, and their circumstances have changed in a way they feel it won’t accommodate you as a couple.
You may have learned your lesson, you may have changed, but water does flow under the bridge. The past is the past. You have no control over some things. You only really have today. Now. The present. Use it. Be gracious if you find yourself unable to move forward with this person because they choose not to. If they are communicating their feelings to you, know they do it out of respect and love.
If you get the green light…
When the possibility arises to re-engage with your previous love, and they are willing to consider rebuilding a relationship with you, realize the beauty in this. It is truly a rare opportunity. Nothing happens by chance, so accept it with your whole heart! Be the best version of yourself, for YOU. Your partner will consistently benefit if you are in a good place with yourself.
Always remember, you need to love yourself first to do a good job of loving someone else.
The whole lesson of self-sabotage is this:
You are responsible for your own happiness, no one else.
You are responsible for your behavior, no one else. If you are not seeing the things in life that you want, look at yourself. What are you afraid of?
Self-sabotage is when you pike at the last moment, afraid of what lies ahead (even if it’s good for you).
If you ever feel unworthy, guaranteed, you’ll navigate your way around a good prospect and make excuses.
Ever feel like that? Next time you do, try this:
Say it out loud to yourself. SAY IT TO THE PERSON YOU ARE WITH. Say, “I’m feeling a bit insecure right now. I want this, but at the same time it’s scary.”
Say it. Why? Because when you say it you are not hiding your fears. Because when you are vulnerable, you are being real. And if you are with people who are good for you, they will love and respect you for it, and love you and respect you through it. When you acknowledge something that scares you, you dissolve a lot of that fear. Sharing it with someone you love, that is about trust and acceptance. We are still worthy even when we are struggling. Don’t hide behind lies, excuses, and lameness. Own who you are. Faults and all.
The other side of this is: Don’t accept excuses and lameness from others. If they cannot own their faults, you can’t love them! Simple. People are like diamonds. Multi-faceted. We cannot go through life, offering the one shiny side we think we have to offer. What makes a diamond beautiful is the way light penetrates through it. The way the cut of the diamond reflects that light back. Please don’t ruin that for yourself by thinking you can hide parts of yourself. All diamonds shine, despite their flaws.
We are all flawed.
There is no perfection. Drop that standard because as Natasha says, it’s the lowest standard you can ever hold yourself to. Be real, be flawed and learn to be vulnerable. If you can do this, you will stop self-sabotaging yourself. Learn to let people in. It is about being emotionally available. This is where intimacy begins to bud.
Self-sabotage is the emotional equivalent of running away. Where are you going to run? What are you hiding? You can’t run away from who you are. Accept yourself. Forgive yourself. Love yourself.
The one that got away, might not be a person you were romantically involved with. You might look back and see it as a lost job opportunity. A friendship that was once gold. A one-off chance to try something new or exciting… An incredible social invitation… A chance to shine because someone saw something great in you…and you pulled out at the last minute.
Sabotaging anything for ourselves is always about our fears, anxieties, and lack of self worth clouding our view of what we are being offered. Thankfully, life has a way of giving us new opportunities to try again, and so we are able to evolve and overcome the issues that have been holding us back. If you can look within, you realize, nothing is ever truly lost.
Back to relationships, if you find yourself wanting to reconnect with that special soul who has not left your heart, know this:
If you are honest, kind, and open with yourself and them, they will know and appreciate this. They will respect you for it. You can love and respect yourself for it too. It takes courage and guts to approach someone you hurt and admit that.
Remember it happened because you forgot to love yourself. It happened because of self-sabotage.
There is no set rule or formula that can resurrect a lost love, but there are steps you can take to create a fertile place for that love to possibly blossom once again. You can’t have love develop with someone else unless you can bloom within first. If you can’t love and accept yourself, no one else can.
Be grateful for these two beautiful things if you know you have lost a real love:
Firstly, you are able to attract a loving person because you have what it takes, even if at times you failed to see that. But you need to back up your qualities and insecurities by loving them too, or else you will always end up coming from a place of lack, or unworthiness. This is where the bond always breaks.
Heal your brokenness, and the bond will no longer break. Admit your fears and flaws, because when you do, something lovable comes of them, instead of them being a barrier, they become a bridge to wholeness.
We ALL have faults and insecurities. Don’t think you are the only one. You need to choose to not hide behind created images, bravado and a version of the truth. True love is about being able to be vulnerable. NO one can get close to you until you can be in that place with yourself.
Secondly, the person you cared for, tried to love you back. When they left, they mirrored to you what you couldn’t see in yourself, unavailability. You were someone they hit a brick wall with, and wise people know what to do when they hit brick walls.
They walk away. That is the gift they have given you. A time to reflect. To realize this. To acknowledge it and to work on it. This person showed you that without being on a level playing field, no one was going to score.
The saddest thing with self-sabotage is it achieves nothing! It doesn’t keep us safe. What we all need to understand is that when we are connected to a person in a healthy, loving way, it is easy to deal with bad days and weaknesses. Because those issues don’t dominate or taint the relationship.
Look at it this way, no one in a solid relationship is going to leave you because you have the flu. Nor will they leave you when you say “I’m feeling really unsure about myself on this. I’m working on it, and I’m grateful for your support.”
And realize too, any opportunity to be in an emotionally available relationship, is a chance to show how you have evolved and grown. This time around, you have so much more to offer. You have a solid chance at happiness because you are in a place full of self-love, not self-sabotage. You have love to offer, and you no longer feel any need to hide that. you are also no longer suffering from fear that cripples you from letting it in.
This is the love you deserve. This is the love you need to let in. This is the only love you want to accept – and give, to others.
The gift of failure:
Without failure, we don’t learn a better way. And the one that got away, shines a light on to where you need to stand up in the future, not fall down.
The one that got away, never actually left you. Even if they don’t return, they have changed you for life. They have woken your soul up. They have loved you enough to walk away and let you know, that love is what you deserve. That was something you didn’t see in yourself. That has imprinted on you. A true lesson about love.
The one that got away, is really about where you are in your life at the time a person came into it. Failed relationships highlight where we are hungriest. They show us where we need to go next and reflect the energy we are giving out.
Time passes, and with that, the past becomes something belonging to days you cannot reclaim. You cannot live in the past. The proverbial one that got away, even if you get them back, is still about moving forward. Don’t think it will be the same as it was before, it won’t be. It can’t be. The dynamic will have changed if you have changed.
When you look at yourself and why you self-sabotaged something that offered great potential to you, these wonderful things happen:
- You learn how to communicate better next time. You learn to express yourself more fully.
- It gives you a chance to emotionally connect to yourself, which in turn allows you to develop that connection with others.
- Give and take in relationships, is something you will learn about. You will discover the level of self worth it takes to say “I have had enough” and walk away, and you will realize how that needs to reside in you, too.
You will develop empathy for others because when you can look at your own failures and fears, and forgive yourself, you also open up a window that allows you to do the same for others. Compassion will reside within you.
Above all, you learn to let go when you face yourself. Self-sabotage is all about trying to protect yourself. But ironically, it doesn’t achieve that. You hang on to the wrong things and fear controls you. A sense of being unworthy is like wearing a dark, heavy cloak in the summertime and trying to feel the sunshine on your skin. It can never happen.
So, if you find yourself in a space where you miss someone to the point you feel they are the one that got away, that you cannot move on without them – Stop. Understand that on your journey with them, they helped show you where you needed to grow. There will always be another chance in the future where you can love again. No one got away.
Instead, you found yourself…
written by PMS team member: Lorelle
How incredible was that post? Lorelle will be answering your comments below. I’ve made it a priority to answer as many comments as humanly possible ever since day 1 and will continue to do so. Right now, I’m busy working on the launch of my new personal site so I am unable to answer comments on this post.
Thank you all for your love, support, kindness, and understanding.