Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's a Hard-Knock Life

For the next 30 days, I will be participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writers' Month Challenge by blogging about a predetermined topic each morning.  Please visit http://blog.wegohealth.com to learn more - and please check back each evening for your regularly scheduled programming.

As an educator, I feel like I should believe that the most important lessons are learned in the classroom.  However, I believe that could not be further from the truth: in my humble opinion, the biggest lessons are learned in life - and oftentimes, the most valuable lessons are learned in times of trial and tribulation.

While I have learned many, many, many lessons the hard way (and while many of you know those because I am a completely open book), there are not many that I would like to disclose to the never-ending, eternal abyss of the World Wide Web.

However, let's talk - cryptically - about some lessons I've learned from boys.

It is no secret that I have had my share of not-so-wonderful relationships.  There are two in particular, however, that have taught me great lessons, pearls of wisdom that I have learned the hard way.

First, be cautious.  

I dated a person who I was sure was "the one."  He was seemingly perfect for me.  (Interestingly, he was also a pathological liar - and thief - who likely transformed himself into someone who was "perfect" for me so that he could get whatever he wanted from me.)  Because I was so in love with him (or, rather, the person I thought he was), I ignored so many warning signs, noticing but failing to do anything about the glaring red flags that kept arising.

Because I was willing to dive in head first - without even putting in a toe to test the water - I was burned.  Badly.  And I will have to live with the effects he had on me for the rest of my life.

Second, be strong and do what is best for you.

While this also applies to the aforementioned relationship and the warnings to which I was blind, it also connects to a previous relationship, one in which I dated someone with a completely different lifestyle and completely different goals than I.

I dated this person for over three years.  We hit major life milestones together, we traveled cross-country together, and we lived together.  There were, however, major issues with which I was not okay.  But, likely because I wanted the fairy tale, perhaps because I thought it would just be "easier," I stayed with him.

In fact, I stayed with him until he broke up with me.

Because I was not strong and because I did not do what was best for me, I allowed myself to be completely and utterly heartbroken when the relationship ended.

Again, I have been dealt some bad hands when it comes to men.  However, these experiences, these seemingly irreparable damages, have taught me another extremely valuable lesson - one that is, perhaps, far greater than the previous two:

There is no use dwelling in the past.  Everything happens for a reason: take the good with the bad, and learn lessons from the mistakes you have made.

Will I forgive and forget those who wronged me?  I will forgive most of what I discussed previously (although there are a few things that have proven nearly impossible for me to pass over), but I won't forget: instead, I will use what I learned to push forward, to better carve out the life I want and the life I deserve.

And you know what?  That leads into perhaps the greatest lesson of all:

Just because you were hurt and lied to by one person, you can't be cynical and distrustful of others: everyone deserves the chance you gave to the first one.

Life is good.  There are good people.  And you will find those good people with positivity, with optimism, and with an open heart.

I choose strength.

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