Why Being Your Second Choice Made Me Put Myself First

I can’t remember feeling worse than the moment when you looked me in the eyes and told me you were choosing her. I gave you a nonchalant smile, shrugged, and took a drink of the beer in front of me, but I wanted to fall to my knees. I tried not to let you see the tears threatening to fall but you saw them anyway. My stomach tied in knots as I pretended that everything was okay.

I’ve never been more aware of the process of breathing because I realized in that moment I had stopped.

Once I was alone in my car, my strength came tumbling down. The façade melted away like cheap mascara. I had been invincible before I met you. I had spent years building walls around my heart, walls that has protected me and kept out the hurt. But in that one moment you destroyed the woman I had spend years becoming. You broke me. And you were never even mine.

I pretended like everything was okay, like my heart wasn’t broken. I acted like your friend and like nothing had changed. When I saw you around I laughed at our jokes and kept conversation light. Secretly I was beginning to resent you for not noticing how broken I was. I pretended that what you had done to me was acceptable. I convinced myself that it was my fault for falling for you… like you hadn’t led me down the path, knowingly.

They say people always show you who they are, even if they don’t tell you. I didn’t see. Maybe the truth is that I didn’t want to.

One day I woke up and I realized that I no longer recognized the woman staring back at me in the mirror.

She was weak, dependent and vulnerable. She had let a man interrupt her life, disrupt the success she had built and tear down her self-esteem.

I was disgusted by her.

In that moment, I finally realized that you were wrong too. I realized that it was okay for me to be hurt. I realized that it was okay for me to be mad. I also realized that you had set me free by not choosing me.

Most of all, I realized that I don’t need you.

One day, someone will choose me, and not because I’m a fallback or a Plan B. I will be someone’s first choice and they’ll be lucky to have me. When that day comes, I’ll be happy knowing that I waited to fully give my heart to someone worthy of it. I will be proud of myself for walking away from you. That guy will love me for everything I have to offer. All of things you admire about me, he’ll get.

And now finally, thanks to you… after all the confusion, emotion and struggle… I choose me.

My message to other girls out there who know what I went through is this: don’t ever let your self-worth be determined through the eyes of another. You are always enough. You deserve to be someone’s first choice. It’s so hard in the world we live in to hold onto your strength, independence and grit. But try. Try as hard as you possibly can because when the right guy comes along, he’ll love you BECAUSE of it. He’ll build up your strength. He’ll help you achieve greatness. He’ll always choose you.

And until that guy shows up, be your own hero. Keep your head up, don’t let anyone drag you down, stay focused and work every day to be better than the person you were the day before. Invest in you. Not in someone else. If you do all of this, when that douche plays you, proves you wrong, or tries to break your heart, it won’t feel like your world is crashing down around you. Because YOU are your own world. You’ve built something that no one else can define or take away from you. THAT is power. Stuff happens, life gets messy, and people make mistakes. The trick is figuring it all out and maintaining your own values, character and confidence.

Be so strong that no one can break you… and no one ever will.

Feature Image via Black Girls Travel Too.

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