Letter #170

Content Warning: relationship abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem

Hello friend,

One day, I ran into an individual who I imagined was the counterpart of all that I had ever expected and wished from a relationship. They were funny, smart, and seemed to be the perfect guy in every way. I pictured a future with them and was sure that they were “the one” who would turn my life into permanent bliss.

Nevertheless, with the passage of time, the cracks in this shimmering and perfect exterior started to appear. Their ways and words began to break my confidence and self-esteem, making me feel small and unimportant. Rather than giving me a boost, they apparently had no hesitation in squeezing the life out of me each time they vented their fury, the pain pushing me bone deep into a pit of self-doubt and insecurities.

My heart skipped a beat, but I was just beginning to realize that I couldn’t escape the cycle: anxiety and depression encroaching on me from every side. I was so lost in myself that I started to doubt my own worth, my decisions, and even whether I would find love and happiness again.

Yet even as the chaos and despair swept through, a beam of light that refused to disappear remained in the darkest hour, without which I would have been lost among the starvation, the hopelessness, and the even more overwhelming feeling surmounting the human flaws: the sense of being replaceable within the system. In my darkest moments, when I felt like giving up, I turned to God for relief and courage, pouring out my heart in prayer and finding peace in the thought that I was never alone.

Gradually but firmly, seeing each whisper of my search for counsel as hope and each step I took in faith as pacing towards my recovery, I healed. And I found the strength to leave the toxic relationships behind and reconstruct my life like never before through discovering self-value, the words that may be the most powerful in any of my life. And instead of the depression that used to be my enemy, there came to me a new kind of hope and optimism for the future.

I share this to encourage you not to dwell on the darkness that was the past, but to remind ourselves that if we have the courage, we will find the sunshine even in our darkest places. It is not your challenges and failures that define you but your determination and resilience in the face of them.

As you go through the complexities of dating and relationships, always remember that your worth is not defined by the validation or approval of others. You deserve to be loved and joyful in life.

And most importantly, make sure you always remember that you are not alone. God is there with you in every trial and victory, giving you the support to see the light even in the most difficult of times.

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