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Finding Love in Low Places and Tough Times

I once thought like you...

My whole life seemed to be nothing but misfortune when it came to relationships. I was quite the lonely person. I had only one friend, I was socially awkward, and I was bullied. Many times I thought to myself: "I'm not good enough, and never will be. Why would any sensible person love such a worthless, ugly person like myself?" This train of thought sent me spiraling into a deep depression; I wasn't myself anymore and I hated who I was.

At 18 years old, I fell in love quite hard with a man two years older than me. I thought I had found the man of my dreams. He was tall, charming, had money,and was going to college. He was everything I idolized in a lover. Or so I thought.

After an entire year and two months of dating, he cheated on me and left me. Details aren't really important, the overall lesson was what mattered the most. No, I did not pick myself directly up, face the world, and kick ass. I fell lower than I ever had. My world felt torn apart, my self-esteem had hit rock bottom, and to top it all off, I was unemployed due to losing access to a car through my ex.

The world seemed so bleak and hopeless. At this point, as any self-conscious, broke nineteen-year-old girl does, I went through a bit of a looser faze. Being the proper, self-respecting young lady I had always been, this period of my life is definitely one I wish I could erase. It did, however, teach me such an important lesson about myself and the world that I would hate to lose the knowledge I've gained: Strangers do not love you, and they will never be able to fulfill you.

Jump forward to August of 2017. Life is looking up. A new job has surfaced and I get a position at the greatest company in the world...not really. Walmart was the only place put of forty-- yes, forty establishments that would hire me. It was money though, and I wanted to be independent again. I fawned over a couple of guys here and there, but in the time between then and when my ex had left me for dead in that run down, empty apartment, I had grown. I learned. I experienced.I became more of myself. Life was looking up. I was still lonely, sure, but as I started to know myself more, I fell more in love with myself!

Cue my current boyfriend. My goodness, am I lucky or what? We met at Walmart. Yes, of all places in the world that I thought I would ever  meet the love of my life did I think Walmart! There he was, though. He was striding along the warehouse hallway, passing behind me. That was when the love bug bit me hard. It started as a mere crush and a thought of, "Gosh, he is so handsome. He would never go for a girl like me." Surprisingly, for the first time in my life, I stopped myself at that thought. I couldn't keep putting myself down. That was how I got into this cycle of constantly being dumped and being down on myself in the first place! No more! " I will be confident and love myself, and he will love me back! " In case you're wondering, no, it was not that simple. However, it did help tremendously.

After much tedious soul-searching, self-discipline, and even more inner growth, I'd discovered something. He was also hiding many deep pains and traumatic experiences with past relationships, himself. I was actually surprised to find out that I was not the only one with insecurities. How could a man who was so handsome, had such a kind soul, and who was so dedicated to his success be so insecure?

In time, we came to know each other. We started as friends and sooner moved into our relationship at a pace we were both comfortable with. Yes, there were many, very hard bumps and trials along the way, but we endured. We grew individually and as a couple. We had finally achieved what neither of us thought we were even capable of giving or receiving. The idea that I am trying to convey to those hard of mind: To love someone else, you must love yourself. I know, it sounds cliche. But my goodness, is it not so true!

In case you think I'm some average, happy-go-lucky, rich suburban girl who had thieving going for her and was just ungrateful, i regret to inform you that you are mistaken. I have struggled with depression and generalized anxiety and still do every single day presently. Life was never sunshine and rainbows for me. Everything was always a negative in my eyes.

But, to conclude, I want you to know this:

We are all people, trudging through this murky, swampy pit we call life. Some people will let it consume them, eating away at their spirit until they are nothing but bones. The strong however, will trudge on. They will carry with them the weight of their insecurities and will build with them, a ladder out of the swamp and into the clear skies that float above that murky abyss of self-hate. Ladies, and of course, self-conscious gentlemen; you will find love as long as you learn to love yourself. Now,  whether that love is with yourself or someone else, why, that satisfaction is yours to decide.


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