I wrote this post back in April, but never felt like publishing it. But today, I figured, heck, why not? So without further ado, an oldie for you...
Almost exactly two years ago, I went through a break up that rocked my world. I'll spare you the sordid details of what happened out of respect for all parties involved, but I will say that it was the kind of ending that left serious devastation in its wake. It was a break up in the truest sense of the words: leaving me broken with very fragmented pieces left behind. Pieces that I wasn't sure how - or even if - they fit together anymore.
In a weird way, I feel like I almost blacked out for the first week after it happened. But at the same time, I will never forget even the tiniest details. Thinking about the way I felt in those moments almost brings me to tears again. The way I couldn't eat or sleep for weeks. Every conversation I had. The way I clung to anyone that would give me their listening ear - my lifelines.
It was a time of self-doubt that compares to nothing else I've ever experienced. A time when you ask yourself 1,000 questions: what did I do wrong? After all those years, what changed? How could the we we were be the we were are today?
And then, the more dangerous ones: Am I not pretty enough? Fun enough? Great enough? Or just enough altogether?
I was talking with a friend recently about a similar situation and she asked me how you get over those feelings - how do you ever begin to believe in yourself again? How do you believe that even though he didn't think you were enough, someone else will?
And it took me back to a conversation I had with my mom the first day after we broke up. She said, "Whitney, this has to be a time of constant, positive self-talk. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe you're OK and tell yourself you are worthy, even when you don't believe it."
I followed her advice in the way only someone who is truly heartbroken will do. The way only someone who cannot figure out if, how or when they'll feel normal again will follow advice. Especially from their mom.
The conversation, though much heavier, takes me back to a very similar one in seventh grade. It was the day of student council elections and I told my mom I hadn't voted for myself, because I felt guilty doing it. And I'll never forget the way she looked at me and said, "Whitney, you have to be your biggest cheerleader. You cannot expect others to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself."
As we get older, I find that we often go one of two ways: we begin to believe in ourselves more and more. Or we begin to let the wear and tear of life take a toll and believe in ourselves less and less.
Of course, we all have our days of doubt. Our days when our messy hair and mistakes and blunders weigh on us. But on the whole - at the end of the day - we have to be the ones reminding ourselves: we are enough, just how we are.
In this world of self-improving, spring cleaning and bathing suit season readying, the power of positive self-talk is very real. And in case no one has told you yet today: you are enough. You deserve a whole cheerleading squad, but in the meantime, don't forget to be your own biggest cheerleader. You're fully entitled to vote for yourself any and every day of the week. And you should. If you don't believe me, ask your mom. Or mine. She'll tell you.