Saying no, to say yes

There’s no easy way to break up with someone. Regardless of who comes to the point of realizing the relationship isn’t working – even if you both agree – someone always gets hurt.

While going through my first, [significant relationship] break up at the age of 28, I cried so hard my eyes were nearly swollen shut. I whaled in agony on the shoulder of one of my closest friends.

“I can literally feel my heart being ripped apart.”

Kimmy was all too familiar at the time, as she recently weathered a divorce, which often left her curled up in her walk-in closet, while her toddler was at day care. If anyone knew heartbreak, it was Kimmy.

“I know, honey. I know. What do you think all those songs are about? All those sappy movies? Everybody goes through this – and it sucks.”

I appreciated her trying to talk me off the ledge, and taking me in when I couldn’t bear sleeping alone.

The months following my newly found single status were a mixture of tears, alcohol, and sleeping way too much. Too depressed to eat, I dropped a few dress sizes, and lost an insane amount of energy. I don’t recommend the Heartbreak Diet to anyone.

Fast forward fifteen years, and it isn’t any easier. Sure, we’re wiser in our older age, but when it comes to matters of the heart – aren’t we all just as fragile?

I don’t have much experience playing offense in a relationship. I’ve always been the one on the receiving end of the news that I wasn’t the one. As I work on myself in therapy, I’m learning that my love patterns make perfect sense. I chose unavailable men to avoid getting hurt. It’s an emotional oxymoron, I know, but if you’re dealing with trust issues or come from a long line of unhealthy relationships, you’re probably nodding in agreement.

Self-esteem is something that happens when we take care of ourselves. We stand up for what we believe, protect our hearts from abuse, and surround ourselves with people who live their lives with dignity and respect.

As I write the chapters in my story, the low self-esteem is so apparent, it sometimes jumps off the page. I’m often frozen in my typing tracks, hovering between tears and head shakes, realizing, with every story, just how obvious my choices were.

Sometimes it takes looking back, to realize just how much you want to move forward.


My relationship rear view mirror has never been clearer these days. I am learning that for me to say “yes” to myself – for my own personal growth and self-esteem, I sometimes need to say “no”. We don’t have to allow ourselves to be in unhealthy situations. We have the choice to walk away.

It’s far from easy, and the tears still fall, but the reward for knowing we are worth saying “yes” to, far outweighs the reasoning of why we’re in unhealthy relationships in the first place.

“Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.”


Here’s the part where you tell me – have you ever said “no” to someone, to say “yes” to yourself?

12 thoughts on “Saying no, to say yes

  1. yes, I said no to the father of my children so that I and they could live a healthier, happier life.
    It was definitely rough, but its one of my decisions that Im most proud of.


  2. I do that all the time and have done so throughout my life. When I was a teen, I would tell people, “In the choice of whether it is going to be “me or you”, I will ALWAYS choose you!” This is not to say that I have never been hurt, but I have not ever been reduced, if you get my drift.

    Even in giving my all to someone, if that is what I can afford then that I what I will give. But if something COSTS all of me, then I will not pay that toll, if that makes any sense.

    Whenever I look back, I have few regrets. I gave what I had at the time and was comfortable with my efforts. And if you have not noticed by now, my self-esteem meter has always been closer to the “H” than to the “C” on the thermometer!!

    Take care and be well!!



  3. What an incredible post – so real. I’m so proud of you Christine. I know it sounds funny to say, but I really am. I’ve been there… and even when it comes to friendships, when you are in therapy, the people you surround yourself with often change. It’s a process. The mourning is always the same. But a healthier you comes with a healthier circle around you. I’m glad your life is serving as an example to others… watching you living out your dharma is magical.


  4. Absolutely. If I hadn’t, I’d be in a ditch, watching that movie. Sometimes, I’ve even let “that person” say no and take the lead to make them feel good about themselves, while really saving myself.

    Thankyou for putting it into words for me and making me realise x x


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