Knowing Your Worth & When to Walk Away

Like many women, I myself have been guilty of this in past relationships. You hold on long past the relationship’s expiration date hoping that something will change, but all the waiting often leads to disappointment. Now let me qualify this by stating that this post is not meant to disrespect men. I absolutely adore men, and I do believe deeply that love and relationships can be lasting with the right person. For me, this is more about knowing your value as a woman and holding on to your dignity in love and life in general.

Knowing Your Worth

As women, many of us tend to act as caregivers and nurturers and this is a beautiful thing. We are used to giving love and affection to those around us whether that person is a child, friend, family member, husband, or lover. I myself thrive off of caring for others, but the problem arises when we begin putting everyone else’s needs before our own. Although tempting, especially in the butterfly-ridden, early stages of a relationship, don’t neglect your friends and hobbies for a man. This will only leave you feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.

Of course you want to make time for someone you care for, but just remember to make time for the other wonderful things that make you, YOU. I love adventure, hiking and trying new things I am afraid of and I enjoy spending some time alone. These are a few of the things that make me beautifully who I am, just as you have things that make you beautifully you. My supportive friendships with the other women in my life are also a big part of who I am as a woman. Spending time with my friends lifts me up and makes me a better human being.

Chances are that many of these things are exactly what made you attractive to someone in the first place. So in giving those things up, you are throwing away a very alluring and valuable piece of yourself. I also recognize that my time and attention are just as important as any one else’s and if my time is not respected then I just simply stop giving that person attention – this goes for any relationship (friendship, love, etc.). Save your dignity and refuse to beg for someone’s attention – it won’t work anyways (trust me I have tried).

The point is you are valuable, you are loving and you are beautiful. You simply need to find that person who sees these qualities you possess and understands that these gifts are precious.

When to Walk Away

Men are different creatures that I will never claim to completely understand. However, they are human just as we are, and will sometimes make mistakes and fail. It is okay to give good men the space to make mistakes. I can only hope to be shown the same grace in a healthy relationship. Some men also just need space and don’t know how to ask for it without hurting a woman’s feelings – space they should respectfully be given.

In the past I have been inclined to worry (there’s my anxiety kicking in) and ask what’s wrong and overthink everything until I have driven myself completely crazy. I know that I cannot be the only one who has done this in relationships. Recently, I have made a commitment to myself. I don’t take things personally until someone makes it personal. If someone is too busy for me or needs space, I simply give it to them and make time for all the wonderful things that I love. Sometimes men and women need alone time and you should allow a person to have that. My life is full and I don’t need someone to complete me, but if a man can add value and join me for a beautiful ride then amazing! That being said you can not control someone else’s actions and they are not a reflection of your worth as a woman. Sometimes it isn’t about you at all, it’s about fulfilling their own needs.

The problem is knowing when a relationship has crossed into unhealthy territory. As I mentioned, we all need space to ourselves and time for our own hobbies and friendships. That being said, if a man can not find any space for you on his calendar then don’t take it personally and don’t push for attention (again, save your dignity). Pull back and focus on you. Trying to force something that doesn’t fit is unhealthy for both people involved. You have too many amazing things going on in your life to focus all of your attention on someone who isn’t willing to be there.

I have held on to some relationships in the past where I gave everything I had of myself, but was not made a priority in any way. This will never change and sticking around is degrading, disheartening and disappointing. I held on because my hopelessly romantic heart thought that if I loved harder and gave more then they would see my value. I am here to tell you, I have tested this theory and it DOES NOT work. Forgive them, move on and focus on yourself. Make room in your life in case the right person comes along.

A woman is not defined by her relationship status, a woman is uniquely defined by what sets her apart and reflects the beauty inside of her soul. I am currently single and dating. This does not define me, as it does not define you. I am a career-driven, family-oriented, loving, daughter, sister, dog mom, and friend. I crave adventure, need time outdoors, and time for reflection. These things make me the woman I am. Focus on your relationship with yourself and the rest will fall into place the way it is meant to, but don’t force things to fit. Just let them go.

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Alone Time – A How To Guide

Learning to enjoy your own company can be more challenging than most realize, but finding contentment with your own company can also provide a sense of peace and empowerment. Doing things on your own, as trivial as it sounds, can often be intimidating and out of an individual’s comfort zone.

This is something I had to learn to do the hard way. Nearly 3 years ago I moved from my small, comfortable hometown of Owensboro, KY to Louisville. Although Louisville isn’t a huge city, it is much larger than where I am from and needless to say I was a bit intimidated. The first year was pretty rough, as I had gone through a recent break up and didn’t really have a group of friends here yet. As challenging as that first year was (and there were many homesick, teary-eyed nights), it was probably the most transformative year of my life, as I learned to be truly independent.

This is not the “I moved out of Mom & Dad’s independence” – but the I am comfortable and happy with my own company kind of independence. My experience with forced solitude pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to do things on my own without companionship, which in turn gave me an amazing feeling of empowerment. This period of time has also pushed me to look inwardly at the things I like about myself, as well as the things I need to improve upon.

So with that I wanted to share that from my experience, the best way to learn to be alone is to just push yourself to try new things and see what you learn. Here is a list of a few of my favorite alone time activities:

  1. Enjoy a spa day getting a manicure/pedicure.
  2. Go buy yourself an outfit that makes you feel beautiful.
  3. Enjoy a picnic at a park under a nice shade tree.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Plant a garden, or if you don’t have a yard plant some potted plants.
  6. Go for a bike ride – if you don’t have one, rent one.
  7. Volunteer to walk the dogs at your local animal shelter.
  8. Volunteer your time to a local charity you’re passionate about.
  9. Grab your camera and go take interesting pictures around town.
  10. Learn to cook a new dish.
  11. Spend the day hiking in nature.
  12. Take yourself to a nice dinner at a new restaurant.
  13. Organize your closet and drawers.
  14. Learn a new skill (photography, sewing, cooking – there are classes in every town if you look).
  15. Take a yoga class.
  16. Make time for exercise and join a gym.
  17. Go on a road trip to a nearby town.
  18. Join a group to meet new people (I joined the Junior League of Louisville).
  19. Take yourself to see a new movie at the theater.
  20. Make time for journaling.
  21. Spend some time meditating.
  22. Make up a dance – if your home alone there’s no one there to judge you lol.
  23. Think of a random act of kindness and then go do it to make someone’s day.
  24. Go to the farmer’s market – there’s one in every town.
  25. Clean out your refriderator.
  26. Spend a day nesting in bed watching your favorite Netflix series.
  27. Explore your local public library.
  28. Enjoy a day at a local art, history or science museum.
  29. Visit a local tourist hot spot that you’ve never been to – here in Louisville it’s bourbon tours!
  30. Make a list of personal goals.
Coping with Anxiety 3

Uncomfortable Truth

Even as I just write this post, I am beginning to feel quite self-conscious and anxious. Partially because the topic has been stigmatized, and though I have mentioned it in passing on other posts, I have never focused completely on this topic. I am the face of someone who copes daily with anxiety and depression. It is something I have struggled with since my early teens, but there are times it seems to rear its ugly head more than others. This often surprises those I’m not super close with, especially since I try to share mostly positive images of my life.

The fact is I do feel really positive in my life right now, but there’s sometimes a quiet whisper in the back of my mind that likes to focus on the fact that I’m not at the place I thought I would be at this point in my life. I have mentioned this before, but it often feels lonely that I haven’t found someone to share my life with, and that I am not sure if having children of my own will ever be something that happens for me (if my dating life is any indication – probably not). As horrible as it can make me feel, sometimes I am jealous when I see others moving through the phases of life like motherhood, and I feel left behind.

It also hasn’t helped that my dating life has been less than extraordinary. I’ve been in countless relationships that start out AMAZING, but somewhere down the line I tend to begin investing too much. I invest my time, and energy, and emotional support to make someone else happy, which is certainly fine to do in a balanced relationship, unfortunately I tend to be the giver and wind up feeling completely drained and empty. In past relationships, I have spread myself far too thin, as I feel many women probably do. I become the cheerleader, the confidante, and I try so hard to be light and positive with little given in return. Often after these relationships end I slip into a bit of a depression because I have invested so much time and energy and I feel betrayed.

This is actually how the hiking hobby began for me. I had ended a toxic, long term relationship, moved to a new city where I didn’t have any close friends, and began a new career. The first 6 months were lonely, and although I told no one, a lot of tears were shed. I desperately needed to feel strong and independent – I already was, but needed to prove it to myself. Hiking began to make me feel empowered, and I often do it when I need to clear my mind and feel strong, and capable on my own as a woman.

Aside from hiking, I try to be healthy and active which is a natural mood elevator for me. I also say “No” more – without guilt. Sometimes if I am feeling off, I back out of plans. I do this, not to be an ass, but because I know that is what I need to feel recharged. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend because I don’t text right back, but its because I need some time to myself to refocus my energy. And I am not writing this as a personal pity party, because I am slowly getting a handle on my life (I think). Really, I wanted to share this because I feel like if even one of my friends feels lonely, heartbroken, or like they just aren’t where they feel they should be, that they aren’t alone.  As we all share (myself DEFINITELY included) the happiest, most beautiful parts of our lives, and rarely give glimpses into the darker corners, it feels more important than ever to share my struggles.

I want others to know it’s okay to put yourself first, not answer your phone sometimes, and choose to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to leave unhealthy, unbalanced relationships behind, because you want to invest your energy where it’s wanted and appreciated. And it’s okay to do these things unapologetically.