Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life Lesson: Always Love Yourself First (By Natalia K.)

This article was submitted by Natalia K., a Drama major with serious passions for "theatre, acting, films, feminism, food, traveling, and Starbucks." Check her out at This is Natalia!

Whether we like it or not, we all have to go through a long list of  "firsts" in life: first kiss, first date, first "serious" relationship, first time you have sex, and the first serious breakup (which is never, ever, an easy thing to go through). But being a feminist definitely made it easier for me to make the dreaded and life-altering decision. 

I had my first serious boyfriend right at the end of high school when I was 18. I was young, naive, sheltered, and completely confused about what I wanted in life. He was an amazing first boyfriend though; he respected me, we were very compatible, and most importantly, he was always supportive of the changes I went through (the best boyfriend a feminist could ask for). 

As you can imagine, I went through major life changes when I started university. My relationship with theatre (my life-long passion and university major) drastically changed for the better, my feminist identity became much stronger (and louder!), and I simply just became an adult. However, somewhere in the past three years, I no longer felt a strong connection to my boyfriend. I knew I had to end the relationship because I was no longer madly in love with him and I had the desperate need to be on my own and live my life with my new identity. The last time I was single I was 18 and I was a completely different person back then. 

It's been a month since I broke up with him and it hasn't been easy. At times I feel guilty because he was a great guy and an amazing boyfriend, and somehow I feel that I'm causing him suffering that he does not deserve. This is a major reason why many women don't have the courage to end a relationship, because we feel that the person we share our life with does not deserve to be broken up with. As usual, women put someone else's happiness ahead of their own because that is simply the way we are conditioned. Although I really wish there was a way I could minimize his pain, I simply can't, and I cannot get back together with him for that reason either. I know too well that I am entitled to go out there and live my life. To meet new people and keep rediscovering myself in new ways because I am only 21. 

My friends have praised me for my choice because I found the courage to end the relationship. I know that many of my friends and women in general have trouble finding this courage. Well here's my advice: this is your life and you have to do what's best for you. It is sad when a relationship comes to an end but just be thankful that you got the privilege to spend a part of your life with that person. And most importantly, you may think you're doing that person a favor by staying with them, but you are actually harming them just as much as you're harming youself. Because everyone in life deserves to be loved and be happy.

I'd like to end this post with a very wise quote from Sex and the City (I know this is kind of ironic because a lot of feminists dislike this show. I personally think that this quote is amazing).

"I'm gonna say the one thing you aren't supposed to say. I love you . . .
 but I love me more." - Samantha Jones

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, I wish I had heard this advice when I were your age! As you said, we are conditioned to put others happiness before our own; growing up, my mother was a "house-wife" and my father worked full time. My mother always said, "Get an education, do NOT rely on a man." I still think it was her passive way of letting me know that she wasn't all together pleased with her choices in life.
    So I am in graduate school now, working as an addictions counselor in a methadone clinic. I don't believe I'll ever leave school, just have to go on for my doctorate. But I've never gotten past putting others' happiness first. Got married when I was 19, had my first son when I was 20. My husband and I have two boys now (and I am done having children!)--and even though I am pursuing an education and loving it, I can't help but feel how you described. Like I just can't seem to let myself blossom, because I am too concerned with making sure everyone else is getting what they want from me. Thank you for this, you don't know how much your words resonate with me!


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