They charm us, they take hold of our hearts, convince us that dating them is a good idea, and then they leave us seriously debating the positive aspects of just getting some cats and calling love quits. They hurt our feelings, manipulate us into thinking we are the ones in the wrong, always fight for the last word, and string us along, all while convincing us that we are the crazy ones.
It's not a very happy place to be. However, I have actually learned some very valuable and useful lessons from these heart and headache-inducing situations that I am eternally grateful for.
This is probably the most important concept all of us can and should learn. We’ve all heard it, we all know it’s important, and yet so many of us don’t practice it. Being mind-warped and rejected countless times—only to be wanted again by the same person a few weeks later—has taught me to unconditionally love myself. This seems like such a simple concept but it’s definitely easier said than done. Self-love is so much more than just loving your physical appearance or loving yourself when somebody else does too, or even when we feel we are at our “best” and somehow deserve it.
Self-love takes just as much work as any other relationship. We have to love ourselves always—we have to love ourselves so much that when we get rejected we can think, “what a shame, their loss.” Remember: You aren’t heartbroken, your ego is. Get to know and understand the difference. We also have to know that our worth is never for somebody else to decide. We are worth only as much as we believe we are worth. And you are worth a whole lot.
Some people play games, hurt others, or do mean things. Yes, it’s sad. Guess what though? Hurt people often hurt people. And that's way sadder. Want to know what else is sad? Somebody not being able to accept the love that somebody else wants to give them. Somebody who needs validation from several people to feel worthy. Somebody who can’t have a real intimate and healthy relationship with another person. Now that is actually sad.
It’s amazing what negative emotions you can turn into compassion. Anger, frustration, sadness, and betrayal are just a few. So the next time some jerk is making you sad because they did something crappy, know that they are probably sad themselves, which is most likely the reason for their behavior. Rather than letting them upset you, practice compassion.
Compassion is great, as I said above. So is forgiveness, so is gratitude, and so is dancing naked to Taylor Swift… But there is a time and place for everything. There is a fine line between being a compassionate and forgiving person, and not respecting yourself. Boundaries are healthy. Boundaries prohibit people from walking all over you and we must have them. We must know when to draw the line and walk away. We must respect and love ourselves enough to be able to do so. Too often we accept things we shouldn't because we want things to work, we want to be considered “chill,” and we believe in people's potential. That doesn’t mean we should tolerate things that hurt us. No matter what you think, you deserve better. Seriously, you do.
Don’t ever apologize for being “too much” and don’t ever try to care less. People who are afraid of intimacy and honesty like to peg compassionate people as “dramatic,” “overthinking,” or “needy,” because they can't understand us. Forget them. Seriously. That is their way of saying, “your love and kindness scare the sh*t out of me.” Some of us also tend to love hard, which can be intimidating. That is also a favorite excuse for jerks to claim you are “too much.” I’ve even been called too “possessive,” because I said I wouldn’t love it if my boyfriend had sex with other people...
Jerks are professionals at turning things around on you and trying to gain the upper hand. Turning cold and playing their game right back is probably not the best or most yogic option. A better solution? Own it! Find peace in being “crazy.” If caring a lot and being a loving and compassionate person makes me crazy, well then, I wish to go insane. Remind yourself that being the more kind and caring one makes you the winner. Have an open heart and you will always win. At the very least, find solace in the fact that if it isn’t that you “aren’t enough”—you might be “too much” and that is absolutely nothing to apologize for.
I have learned to surrender and trust the universe so much more since jerks came into my life and proved to me that I cannot control everything, especially other people's behavior and actions. I know that the universe will deliver exactly what I need and knows what is best for me—more so than I even do. I have learned to not just appreciate, but to be incredibly grateful for the rejections, heartbreaks, and hurt feelings that I have experienced due to jerks because it taught me all of these valuable things. Practice gratitude for everything, even when you might think it doesn’t make sense.
Anybody can be a jerk. Some of the worst ones are disguised as some of the nicest and sweetest humans I have ever gotten involved with, only to be horrified when the ugly comes out two months into a perfectly nice romance. Don’t tolerate their games. They still might be good people, and it is OK to even still love them, but that doesn’t mean you should be with them—and it definitely doesn’t mean you need to be OK with them treating you poorly.
You may actually be doing them a huge favor by leaving them, potentially saving another person from going through the same jerk behavior in the future. The only way for a jerk to stop being a jerk is to realize they are one. Surprisingly, I’ve found most of them are completely oblivious to this part of their existence. The only way for them to realize they are one is to have somebody else who has love and respect for themselves walk away from their poor treatment and leave nothing but compassion and love in their wake. Always choose love as an exit strategy.