And know that you aren’t.
“No matter how dysfunctional your background, how broke or broken you are, where you are today, or what anyone else says, YOU MATTER, and your life matters” -Germany Kent
I thought about breaking up with my boyfriend the other night.
Don’t get me wrong, our relationship is going great right now.
For the first time in my long and torrid history of dating, I’m happy.
I’m with a man who loves and respects me. He pushes me to achieve my dreams. He cheers me on. He makes me laugh until my belly aches. I feel free when he’s around. I’m the best version of myself.
He’s not perfect though.
Not by any means, but I would be lying if I said he wasn’t one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
So why the sudden doubt, you ask?
It’s not him, it’s me.
No wait, before you roll your eyes, close out of this article, and mutter about how ridiculous I am, hear me out.
I mean it.
It’s not him.
He’s done nothing wrong. He hasn’t hurt me. He’s never raised a hand against me. I’m truly, completely happy with him.
But I’m not happy with myself.
I’m the most miserable I’ve been in a long time. I cry a lot. I’m irritable and moody and I snap at everyone all the time.
I cried myself to sleep last night.
I’m constantly obsessing about work and money and the possibility of going back to school. I can hardly think or talk about anything else.
I can tell he’s frustrated. I can see how much he wants me to be happy. I can see how much my own emotional turmoil wears on him.
I don’t want to bring him down with me.
I love him. I want him to be happy. I don’t want him to bear the weight of my unhappiness too. Besides, he has plenty of his own issues without me adding to them.
So while I was lying in bed the other night, sobbing until my eyes burned, the thought that he doesn’t deserve this, that he would be better off without me, crossed my mind.
I feel like a burden.
Not just to him, but to my family and friends as well.
But I can’t cut off my family. I live with them. They’re stuck with me and my misery whether they like it or not.
He’s the only one with a get out of jail free card.
I want to grant him it.
But at the same time, I want to pull him closer. I don’t want to give him up. I don’t want to say goodbye to the laughter and the love. I would miss his arms wrapped around me while we slept. I would miss his gentle kisses.
I would miss him.
It would break my heart.
They say if you love something enough you’ll set it free. I’m not sure if that’s true. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough.
I confessed my dark thoughts to my Mother the other night.
I’ve not uttered a single word to my boyfriend about my fears, but when I told my Mother she looked at me like I was crazy.
“He loves you, Rachel. You’re not a burden. To him. To me. To anyone.”
She pulled me close and kissed my forehead. “Please don’t think like that,” she whispered.
I felt a single tear slip down my cheek. I nodded. “Okay.”
Of course my Mother was right (moms always are, aren’t they?)
I’m not a burden. Even in my current state.
I thought of all the times my boyfriend confessed to me the joy I have brought him. I helped him get through tax season. I bring a smile to his face every time I bake a yummy treat. I was the one who convinced him to quit the job he hated.
The point is, we can all bring joy to the table and we can all bring pain.
Sometimes, we make the people that we love happier. We make them laugh. We make them smile. We bake them their favorite treat on a hard day or rub their sore muscles or cook dinner or wash the dishes and do the laundry. We listen to their problems and offer our advice or let ourselves be a shoulder to cry on.
Somedays, we make their lives easier.
And sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes we add to their pain. We make them mad. We make them cry. We dump our problems on them. We take our frustration out on them. We say hurtful things or forget something important.
We aren’t perfect.
We all mistakes.
We can’t make people happy all the time.
That doesn’t mean we are burdens. That doesn’t mean that at the end of day they don’t want us around. It doesn’t mean they stop loving us.
They love us, in spite of our imperfections.
I just want you to know that the next time you feel like you’re burden or you believe that people would be better off without you, know that you’re wrong.
The people who love you most would be devastated without you. They would miss you so much. They would beg for you back. They would trade anything for another day with you.
So don’t give up on them.
Be honest with them about your feelings. I’m almost 100% certain that they would tell you just how much they mean to you. They would tell you how much they want you around. They might acknowledge that the anger or sadness is frustrating. They might confess that they wish you were happier. And that’s okay.
They still love you.
Please, no matter how much you are suffering, remember that you are NOT a burden.
Stop trying to convince yourself otherwise. Open your eyes and see how much you mean to them. See how much they love you.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Tomorrow is another day. Things might just get better.