The Value of Self Worth…


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It was the fall of 1997, my senior year in college.  I was a music education major and had to sing a full 30 minute recital in front of the faculty, before having the recital by myself.  I knew I was going to bomb.  I was weak, sick and all of about 98 pounds.

About a month earlier, the love of my life dumped me. I can honestly say, I saw it coming. We fought all the time- but I thought it was just growing pains. I thought we’d get through it. He was over it. He wanted nothing to do with me- and I was devastated. I had never had this happen to me before. I

 I had never had someone reject me. Oh sure, I had crushes on guys who weren’t interested in me before, but I’d never had someone I’d actually “dated” tell me that they were no longer interested. Worse yet, I really loved him. I had never felt so comfortable around another guy before. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to live without him.

After we broke up (or he dumped me rather), he began dating this other cute freshman on the campus. Everyone seemed to relish in the fact that they were dating, and that I was alone. It seemed like everyone wanted to keep me updated on their relationship status and how happy they were. I was sick– literally. I couldn’t eat or keep anything down. I had melted away to 98 pounds and my bones were protruding through my hips. I was a mess inside and out. My family hadn’t seen me yet, so they didn’t know the extent of the damage done… and I didn’t want them to. I just wanted to disappear.

So there I stood in front of the voice faculty- broken, but expected to sing. They were expecting me to do something that had always brought me so much joy, but I had no joy to give. I sang my best, but I failed. After failing, that was just the absolute last blow. I ran back to my dorm room (I had one to my self at this point) and closed the door. I stayed in their for hours, until the next day… I skipped my classes as well. I lie in the bed all day crying and begging God to allow me to die. I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to live anymore. It was just too hard. This was my lowest point I had ever been.

I managed to get through that time in my life by the grace of God and finally made it to Winter Break. I was exited to go home, and leave some of the negativity behind me. I kept thinking of my ex– wishing and longing to be together for the holidays. Both my birthday and Christmas passed and he didn’t even call to wish me well. That was it. I drew a line in the sand right there. I asked myself “Why am I agonizing over someone who obviously couldn’t give a rip about me?” I told myself right then and there that enough was enough. It was ok to love him, but it was not ok to lose who I am, to forget why I am here, and more importantly, to stop loving myself. This was not ok, and it had to end.

From that point on, it was like I’d snapped. I came back to school in January with a new purpose and vigor. Having put some pounds back on, I felt confident I could finish out my year with honors. I poured myself into my internship at a local middle school, which I truly loved! I started taking hip-hop aerobics classes and enjoyed them so much that I considered becoming an instructor. I thought of my ex from time to time- but I had realized something important. I realized that I was meant for greatness and great things, and if that “jerk” didn’t see that- it was his stinking loss!

I made it through that semester with flying colors, and pouring myself into the things I’d loved. Right before it was time for me to graduate, I decided to chop all of my hair off. In a way, it was symbolic of leaving behind all the negative that belonged on that school campus. I was leaving it, and off to start a new adventure! It was liberating! I was excited!

On graduation day, after everything was done and I had said goodbye to all of my sorority sisters and packed the last of my things in my new car my Dad had given me, I saw a bright red car pull up to my dorm. It was him. My heart started pounding- I did still love him. We exchanged cordial words and he congratulated me for graduating. He kept mentioning how great I looked and how he LOVED my hair. I said thanks, but tried not to read into it too much. But then, just as we were about to part ways, he pulled me close for a tight hug. Then– he kissed me. When he kissed me I knew, he still loved me too.

I left that day feeling like I could accomplish anything. But more importantly, the real lesson learned was that it’s ok to love.  It’s ok to give yourself completely.  But it is NEVER ok to lose yourself.

That entire relationship was based on what my boyfriend felt about ME.  About how he viewed me and perceived me.  It was not about how I viewed myself.  I realized after we broke up, that I was more concerned with the fact that we broke up than actually losing him.  I was more upset that I was alone than anything else, and I vowed that I would never allow another human being to make me forget who I am.

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I never want another human being to feel what I felt back then.  The feeling of not wanting to live anymore, wanting to die.  It’s horrible, and more over, unnecessary.  If there was anything I would want to tell the young women of today, it’s to make sure you truly love yourself first, before you give yourself away to someone else.  Otherwise, if that person leaves for what ever reason, you end up losing yourself too…

The happy ending to all of this is that after being apart for over a year, my ex reached out to me.  He wrote me a letter (I still have it) saying that he’d made a mistake, and didn’t realize how valuable I was until I was gone.  The best thing, was that I didn’t care.  Sure I loved him, but I loved me more.  I knew who I was and my self worth wasn’t wrapped up in whether I had a man or not.  I was fine just being me- alone or not.

I guess God had a different plan though, because he was persistent and of course,  I still loved him.  We dated long distance for about 3 years, got married, and had a baby.  13 years later we’re still going strong.

Our relationship is healthy because I am happy with me. Because I’m happy with me, I have something to give to the others in my family. That entire episode taught me that who I am and who made me are the most important things in the world, and no one can ever replace that.

I know that there are others who have similar stories. Stories where you were at your lowest point, but somehow or someone helped you figure out what you are worth, and your life was changed for the better.  Care to share your story?  I’m all ears! Comment below!



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