Being in a romantic relationship was my main priority for many years. I was searching desperately for my happily ever after story, being adamant that when I found ‘the one’ I would be happy. My friends would affectionately call me ‘boy crazy’ – but underneath that was just a deep and desperate need to be loved and taken care of. 

I have had many serious long-term partners. I was positive that each and everyone was going to be mine forever. But they all came to end. At those points, the narrative in my head would always be the same: ‘I’ll be alone forever’, ‘no one chooses me’ and ‘no one will ever love me’.

After a number of break-ups, with my heart completely shattered, I hit a rock bottom and had nowhere else to turn but inwards. I knew that I could not run into another man’s arms to fill the void and that this pattern may have something to do with my inner dialogue and perceptions of myself. My narrative of low self-esteem and lack of self-love was going to ensure that I was alone, that I wouldn’t be chosen, and that the people whom I gravitated towards would behave in ways that left me feeling unloved. I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I started therapy and began to engage more intensely with my social network, and tried to speak more openly and honestly with my friends. It has not been an easy road and I have hit many bumps, but it has helped me peel away the toxic negative ideas of myself that I have picked up along the way. I can now connect to whom I truly am at the core – pure love. I can say with certainty that the path I have taken is one where I am loved, worthwhile, and valued. 

The most difficult part of my journey has been letting go of all the people, places, and things that reflected my old self. The part of myself which I still embrace but would prefer was not at the forefront of all my choices and life decisions. I left a long-term relationship with a man whom I loved. I walked away from some long-standing friendships which were toxic and non-supportive and chose to change the way I engaged in my professional, family, and personal relations. 

It is uncomfortable to do these things because in doing so, I had to take a leap of faith. I am now beginning to create the space where I hope to invite something different from the past, this would have been too much, and I would have run back to what I knew, even if it wasn’t good for me. I couldn’t embrace the terrifying, limitless potential of the unknown.

I am now 30 years old and recently single. But this time it is my choice and one that I have been able to stick to. I act not from a place of being half empty, but knew that I had outgrown that relationship and environment and deserve a future that reflects my full self-worth. Each day I now choose to reflect and take action aligned with my values and choose the love I would want for myself.

This piece was written by one of the ICLA eFriend Peer Support Workers. eFriend is an online platform where you can connect with a trained peer support worker whom has their own lived experience of feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried. You can speak to your eFriend Peer via video or phone call. Your eFriend Peer will listen, validate and provide hope. If you like, they can also assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being. Or they can simply listen.

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