‘You should have straightened your hair properly; used proper shampoo,’ my barber told me while chopping off chunks of dull locks.
I didn’t say a word. I was feeling so empty.
Memories gathered themselves on those unwanted locks ruined by the heat of a hair straightener I didn’t know how to use properly.
This was one among the number of damages I had done to myself just because, he, my beloved ex wanted me to change.
I sacrificed my love for my natural curls just because he wanted to see me in straight hair. I hated that at first but he kept on insisting me, showing me pictures of girls with straight hairs; he was so full of their beauty and he wanted me to be like them.
I was blindly in love; I could do anything for him. He became an irreplaceable entity of my life. From changing the look of my hair to wearing dresses I was most uncomfortable in…I was ready to do things I always hated, just because of him. High heels gave me pain. I couldn’t walk for days but I would, just because he wanted it.
But no matter whatever I did, that couldn’t stop him from leaving.
‘I can’t be with you. You can’t change yourself in the way I want,’ he broke off.
How can I change myself completely into a different person?
How can I stop loving animals? For him? How could it be possible?
‘I can’t live in a zoo,’ he thrashed me deriding my love for pets.
I was so deeply broken.
‘You look really cute in your short-hair,’ my barber chuckled. ‘Let me color a few strands blue.’
I agreed. I felt lighter. It seemed to me that a big burden was slowly getting removed. I haven’t cut my hair because he loved long hair. He loved so many things except me.
This happened a few years back. This happens to a lot of people. Most of us have gone through those phases when we fell in love with someone deeply and tried to change ourselves because that person wanted us to. But in the end, we got hurt and betrayed.
Falling in love is healthy but losing oneself in love is not.
Relationships need a lot of compromises and adjustments. But compromises do not mean changing oneself into a completely different person.
Even if you change, you should be happy about it from within. You cannot turn into someone you can’t identify yourself with. After my break-up, I was very scared to fall in love again. That was the time when my mother told me, ‘Don’t get scared. Go ahead and explore. Just remember, you need to be yourself. Don’t lose yourself.’
I remained single for a year or so and focused on exploring myself before I met my fiancé. When we started dating, I told myself repeatedly that I would not lose my identity in the relationship. All of us should keep this in mind while dating. Now, you might ask, what are the things we can do to prevent this losing of our identities? We have made a list for you.
Follow these 8 things and you will be able to maintain your identity and stay happy in the relationship.
(1) Do things you love:
Keep on doing things you love. Wear that particular dress or go to that cafe you love. Not necessarily your partner should accompany you. The relationship doesn’t mean you have to do only what your partner likes. Think of yourself as an individual entity. Retain that bohemian look you always loved because that suits you. Eat your favorite pizza even if your partner hates it. Let him order something else. Don’t imitate him or don’t try to follow him.
(2) Go on date with yourself:
You are in a relationship. That’s great. But not necessarily you and your partner will be going everywhere together. Give time to yourself. Be it a movie or a restaurant, go there alone. Explore yourself. Enjoy being with yourself and then only you will be able to enjoy being with him.
(3) Always stay in touch with your friends:
When you are dating someone, you have to become friends with your partner’s peers. But stay in touch with your friends too. Your friends too define a part of you. You love being with them. They have seen you through thick and thin. You might be a little busy but give time to them. They know what is the right movie to cheer you up when you are sick or where should you plan your trip together on fall break. Don’t lose them, ever!
(4) Always stay connected with your family:
Remember, no matter what, your family will never leave you. They have seen you grow up and they will be there for you no matter what. They love you for the person you are. I always share a very close bonding with my mother. My mother gives me the best relationship advice. In fact, she helped me a lot when I was going through my break-up. The family keeps you rooted to your true self.
(5) Do things you are passionate about:
Do you like singing? Continue it. You sing for yourself; not necessarily all singers should become Britney Spears. Your passions define you. If you engage yourself in doing things you love, you will be happy. Your psychological attributes are shaped by your passions. Continue with them; focus on them.
(6) Always be logical:
One of the common mistakes we make while in love is we become biased. Stop doing that. He said something rude to you. That’s his fault. Yes, he might love you truly but that doesn’t give him the liberty to be rude to you. Be straightforward and clear it. He keeps an eye on wherever you go by saying that he’s just caring. Try to understand the differences between caring and controlling. Remember where to draw the line. Just because he loves you, that doesn’t mean he owns you. Always be rational. If the same thing happens to your friend, would you still feel the same? Then Why are you justifying his actions in the name of love? Don’t.
(7) Keep a boundary around you:
Always maintain a boundary around you. Don’t be too vulnerable. Loving someone doesn’t mean giving away everything or sacrificing. If he is crossing the line, tell that.
(8) Accept that he might leave:
Don’t live in fear that he will leave one day. Accept it. People change and people leave. If he is meant to leave, he will do that. You can’t pull him back. If you live in a constant fear that he will leave, you will try to change yourself in negative ways. Don’t let these thought come inside your head. Accept whatever that comes. If he is meant to stay, he will. You need to accept life.
Remember, it’s your life and you are responsible for your own choices and happiness. Fall in love but don’t lose yourself. If you be yourself, the right person will definitely be with you, now or later.