A Woman’s Journey From Self-Betrayal to Self-Love

When it comes to the ideal romantic relationship, best case scenario, you and your partner have a healthy and loving relationship and live happily ever after. Worst case scenario, you invest your time, energy and efforts into making your partner happy, and then…it’s over.

Or…maybe that’s not the worst case scenario after all.

Have you ever heard someone who’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness say that it was one of the best things that ever happened? That it ‘forced them’ to focus their time, energy and attention on the quality of their relationships and the priorities that truly matter. In other words, the idea of death inspired them to finally stay true to themselves.

The ‘dis-ease’ (or even death) of a romantic relationship can be applied in the same way. Sometimes, it takes the pain of a relationship ending for us to rediscover ourselves and be true to ourselves in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.

As we wrap up the ‘month of love’, I’d like to share with you one woman’s journey from the confines and depression of self-betrayal to the freedom and joy of self-love. This story will tap into the emotions of your heart and help you gain a whole new perspective on just how important it is to love yourself.

Permission to Share
The rest of this message will contain excerpts from Rebecca’s story (all of which are in italics), and I have her permission to share it. At the end, I will share a link that gives you access to the entire story. For now, let’s start with how it all began.

The Day My Husband Left Me
If you’ve been conditioned to believe that self-love is weak, think again…because it can only make you stronger.

“I used to think that self-love was a weak consolation prize for those who felt that there is something lacking in their lives. That self-care meant eating well and going to bed early every once in a while. I now realise that I was lacking so much in my life because I denied my worth. The day my husband left me, I was jolted awake. Through my tears, I began to see that this was not the end of my life; it was the beginning of my own becoming. It was the time for everything that I thought was true, and everything that anyone else believed about me, to be stripped away until all that was left were the parts of me that can never be taken away: my deep burning love and my hope.”

Sacrificing Myself on the Altar of Wife and Mother
If you’ve been conditioned to believe that being a good wife and/or mother means sacrificing yourself and your needs in the process, think again…because you and the people you love deserve better.

“Contrary to what some people may think, it isn’t selfish of me to want to live empowered by the fuel I am throwing on my own fire. It is, in fact, the only way that I can whole-heartedly offer anything of value to anyone else in my world. Sacrificing myself on the altar of wife and mother martyrdom did nothing but ensure the coals of my heart gave smoke signals but no actual heat. Living half-alive is no longer good enough for me anymore; and the people I love deserve better. I refuse to listen to the voices of shame and self depreciation any longer that come while I constantly strive but fail to meet the unattainable ideals of perfection that I have bought into over the years. I choose to live believing that I am deserving of love, grace and forgiveness, despite my mistakes.”

Being Perfect is a Myth
If you’ve been conditioned to believe you need to be perfect to be accepted, think again…because there’s no such thing.

Being perfect is a myth sold to women by a society who cares more about making them feel inadequate in order to market to them stuff they think will fill the void but in actual fact they have no need for. There is no such thing as perfect. There is, however, the appearance of perfect. I have discovered that people, as I did, will go to great extents to avoid having their true, raw, messy selves seen by others. There is a huge fear of appearing ‘less than’ or weak to others, and a sense that this is to be avoided at all costs. We think that this will save us from the unbearable pain of rejection, only to find that we are missing out on the forging of deep and lasting relationships where our true selves are seen and valued.”

[emphasis added]

Though I May Stumble, I Will Persevere
If you’ve been conditioned to believe that stumbling is a sign of failure, think again…because it only makes you stronger.

Though I may stumble, I will persevere because for the first time in my life, I am understanding what it means to own my life, own my story and set about creating that which is written on my heart.

With this comes the understanding that for so long I have abdicated my responsibilities to myself, placing more importance on the needs, wants and ideals of everybody around me than I did my on my own. [emphasis added] Some of this was an attempt to avoid rocking the boat, to make life easier for others, to avoid my husband’s displeasure at my decisions, or to avoid the judgments of others. The world around me supported me in this endeavor: selling me the lie that as long as I, as a woman, looked OK on the outside, then what was on the inside wasn’t important. Suck it up, sweetheart, no one wants to be burdened with an emotional drama queen. Somewhere along the line it became the norm for me to accept that this is just how things were. To deny what it meant to look after myself properly and claim what I needed in order to grow in every aspect of life: physically, mentally and spiritually. The thing is the desire never left. [emphasis added]

We Can Never Silence the Still, Small Voice Within
If you’ve been conditioned to believe that if you just don’t pay attention to your true self – the still, small voice within – think again…because it will only get louder.

“We can never completely silence the still, small voice of our true selves. I took her with me everywhere I went and in everything I was doing, but she was suffocated by fear and doubt. Buried deep down where she wouldn’t burden me or anyone else. The thing with this is the desire will still rage and manifest as something else: depression, anger, frustration, grumpiness, a constant state of being unable to give to others because I was so lacking what I needed. A bizarre world where I felt myself trapped inside myself yet I would deny it at all costs to myself and everyone else. I couldn’t ask for help because I felt undeserving of it, yet still felt a sense that others should be caring for me since I wasn’t allowed or able to care for myself.

Are you relating to this? Is stuffing down what you truly desire manifesting in forms of depression, anger and frustration? Do you feel trapped inside yourself or undeserving of help? You’re not alone! And there is a way out.

We Must Kindle Our Own Flames to Light Our Way
To be truly loved is to be loved, valued, accepted and respected in spite of our flaws, not because we are walking around pretending we don’t have any. To reveal our vulnerabilities to others is to take a risk, but it is a far greater risk to deny ourselves and what we have to offer the world. We must kindle our own flames to both light our own way and give freely of our light to others.”

Thank You for Giving Freely of Your Light, Rebecca
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your light, Rebecca! Isn’t her journey incredible?! I have read it numerous times, and I am moved by it every time I read it.

I included most of it here, but not all of it. And for the purpose of leading you through a somewhat chronological journey from the end of her marriage to the beginning of a new chapter filled with love, light and hope, I changed the order around a bit. To read Rebecca’s entire journey as originally told, go here.

Before Your Relationship is Diagnosed With a Terminal Illness
If the current state of your romantic relationship doesn’t feel loving and fulfilling, rather than waiting until the conflict creates terminal dis-ease, I encourage you to get in touch with the deeper part of yourself that is calling to you. To listen to the still, small voice within.

This month’s mindful messages have been mostly centered around finding ways to fall in love with yourself. And I’ve provided a variety of tips, exercises and perspectives on how to do this. If you missed any of the other messages, go here.

If your idea or experience of self-love still feels foreign to you, consider these words from Diane Von Furstenberg: “You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.

You will always be with yourself no matter what. But you may not always be with your romantic partner.

When you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself, you naturally attract healthy and loving relationships into your life. And even if you’re single, the quality of your life is so much better.

Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!

With love and support,

Catherine Dietz
Healthy Relationship Coach

P.S. Life is too short to be unhappy or unsure about your romantic relationship. If you’re feeling confused and alone, I encourage you to take advantage of your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session. I am here to support you!