I was at work, scrolling through my Facebook feed. We had been broken up for about two months. I thought I was over you. I meant it.

And then I saw it.

Your arms wrapped around another girl. You looked happy. You were kissing the top of her head. She was beaming, laughing, her face like a child seeing the world for the first time. It broke my heart.

With one picture you crushed me – your words ringing through my whole body from the last time we ever spoke: “It was probably the worst decision of my life to let you go and it will most likely haunt me forever. I wasn’t strong enough, to keep going, because the emotions between us were so intense. In retrospect that seems to me what real love must be; and I just ran from it because I was weak and scared of it and of you…”

“I wasn’t ready to be happy…you were the most special person in my life of all time, and probably the only person I actually let in emotionally. And that I wasn’t really prepared for. At all. Other girls make me feel nauseous; I cant stand being around them for more than 10 minutes because it actually physically makes me feel sick. And I’m sorry if I fucked it up forever with you but I love you and i will never love anyone else.”

And there you were. Foreign hands wrapped around your waist. Her delicate face looking up at you with adoration. You looked quite the opposite of physically sick –

You think you know what it means, a broken heart. But you only know true heartache when you see a girl in love with the man who broke your heart. With the guy who told you that the reason he fucked up was because he wasn’t ready to be happy. That pain shapes you. Makes you who you are.

But life, the fascinating beast that it is, never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies, (or however that quote goes), amazing things happened to me after that. I got the hard reality check that I needed.

My pain, I realized, produced understandings that created a new level of living. Our love was suppose to teach me, it wasn’t suppose to give me a happily ever after with you.

It was suppose to teach me how quickly I gave my heart away. How quickly I handed my life over when I was in love. My whole life. I fell apart when someone walked out the door. I relied on people to be my flashlight. I thought it was the thought that counted. I thought the intent behind it was enough. That deep down, you loved me. No.

The only man that deserves me is the strong man who shows up for me. Actually executes his words with actions. Real actions. Not empty promises and bullshit words from a boy who doesn’t want to be better. Who doesn’t want to be challenged, confronted, or have to work for anything in his life. Who doesn’t uplift my life, but drowns me in his sea of lies, selfishness, self-pity and self sabotage.

The only man who deserves me is the man who doesn’t make excuses. Who doesn’t just want me when it’s convenient for him. Who loves me and chooses me when we fight and when there’s any uncertainty or temptation.

I’m not settling ever again. If he plays mind games, calls me one hurtful name – he’s out the door. If he kicks me out at night because he needs space, that’s the last time he’s seeing me.

You not being good to me, was the beginning of me being good to myself. Thank you. When someone treats you so badly, breaks you, you get so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, and you do. It’s the ending of a toxic relationship and the beginning of creating a life that will be much more extraordinary than before.

You being happy with someone else was the beginning of me opening up myself to so much more. So much more love. A more extraordinary love. A more extraordinary person. All I can say is, thank you.

Originally published on Annabash.com