It isn’t easy to love yourself in a world where we all are constantly reminded of our worth based on relationships. If one can maintain a strong relationship, they are called stable, but if they can’t and opt for a casual one, they are demeaned for displaying weakness and lack of character. Such labels irk me. Even if I strongly disagreed with these norms, I really didn’t have the power to stand up for myself when I was called the same. I had no self-love when I lost my partner of three years.

People called me out for being the one at fault, indicating that I had issues which led to the failure of the relationship. What’s worse, we were about to get married. However, one day he tells me we can’t get married, nor can we continue the relationship. He didn’t give me any chance to respond or register what happened - that was the last I saw of him. Reeling through the shock that I felt, holding myself up was a difficult task. After my family discovered that my soon-to-be husband broke up with me, many blamed me for not being proper or strong enough to keep a relationship intact.

I felt broken and so devastated that I didn’t have the energy to even stand up for myself, having done nothing wrong. I couldn’t believe what I did to make my partner leave me so cruelly. The heartbreak left me in despair and deep sadness. You know, it completely destroys your soul once the person you’ve loved for a long time, leaves you without any justified reason whatsoever. I stopped believing anyone who said I should be strong. I stopped having any hope. I tried to contact my partner, but no luck. It is like he never wanted me to find him.

Toxicity seemed to creep on me like a vine. I had turned into this negative person, who had lost all hopes and excitement from her life. Losing my partner had been a big blow on me, as I constantly grieved for the wonderful memories I shared with him. I had started questioning myself and pin-pointed every small mistake I made, as if I wanted to hurt myself for losing a person like him. I blamed myself. Nothing seemed to work out for me anymore as all the negativity was hurting my relationships with other people and was also affecting my work. I stopped going out with friends, quietly hid in my room long enough to ponder over past differences. Until one day, my friends forced me to go out with them. Donning plain clothes, and a miserable face, I went out, only to get the biggest shock in my life. But I never knew that night would be the change I needed within me.

Upon reaching this beautiful restaurant, all of us suddenly spotted my ex with someone else. Tears dwelled in my eyes, and a fierce urge to meet him gripped me. Until I saw a waiter coming up with a beautiful cake written ‘Happy 3rd Aniversary!’ and a bottle of champagne. My friends stopped me in the nick of time and I hid behind them to quietly see what was up. Thankfully, our tables were far apart and we could understand what was going on. He proposed to the woman and they embraced each other with happiness. The realisation dawned on me that he had been cheating on me and that he left me to be with this woman. Impulsively, I got up, went to their table and stood there for a second before calling his name and slapping him. His eyes shone with embarrassment. I left from there with my friends trailing behind me.

I had always been this feeble person who never had the courage to go against her loved ones, let alone someone I loved with all my heart. I wanted to run away from there as fast as I could, and I did. I went home and cried my heart out only to realise by the next morning that I had to pull myself together, because how long was I going to suffer like this, for someone who did not deserve my attention? I felt disgusted with everyone who blamed me for the break up, when in reality, I was the one who needed consolation.

I let all this happen because I had no faith in me, nor did I love myself enough. It was so agonising to realise that amidst all the blames and heartbreak, I didn’t support myself. I let myself to drown in self doubt. But, I decided that this time, nothing was going to stop me from loving and supporting myself as the woman I should be. I discovered that I was enough and that no person, especially a cheating man had the power to rule over my emotions. I knew I could and had to love myself enough to be the woman I wanted to be.