What I Learned After I Changed Myself for a Guy

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

If I’d had the benefit of hindsight at 16 years old, I never would have tried to change to become more of who he wanted.

You know the type of person I’m talking about, too. The person you thought you could never live without. The one who was your whole world. The first person who you thought of as soon as you woke up. The person you saw behind your eyelids as you fell asleep.

It’s possible you were together, and it’s possible you thought that you were, and it’s possible that you weren’t at all, and you knew it. But that didn’t matter. Not then. Even if you weren’t “official,” you wanted to be. Even if that happened five years down the road, you’d wait.

Of course, none of us have the benefit of hindsight before a situation eventually terminates… or, when the person you love turns out not to love you at all. When you face the harsh reality that the years of waiting and wanting and pining was all a lie.

All of the clothes that you bought to “make him like you” were for nothing. All of the time you spent educating yourself on his favorite things was time wasted. The crash diet was stupid, the way you cut your hair just wasn’t “you,” and you even managed to alienate some of your friends who, rightfully so, were tired of the whole act.

What’s important following any of those situations is that you learn from it, and learn not to do it again. You understand your mistakes. And you figure out some… “stuff.”

You learn that if you were truly his whole world, he’d never want you to change
“You should wear that sweater more often.”

“I don’t like your hair that color, why would you dye it that way?” 

“What were you doing talking to so-and-so?” 

You get the picture, right? If he loves you, he’ll accept you for who you are, not who he wants you to be. He won’t care what type of sweater you’re wearing, or judge the style of your hair. He’ll love you, and all of you.

You learn to love your own sense of style
You celebrate the moment that you can toss those neon floral skirts that were great in theory, but just so awful in practice. You trade them in for the studded jean shorts you love so dearly and finally, finally feel comfortable in your own skin again.

You’re on high alert for the same types of people
You know the signs. You know the warnings. And you’ll listen to them this time, you won’t just shrug them off. You’ll never make the same mistake twice, because you’re done being anyone but yourself.

You rediscover your personality, and your true interests
No, you really don’t like eating lunch at that fancy restaurant. You had no interest in watching him play golf with his fancy friends. And probably most importantly, you realized that you were letting your voice become quiet, because of him. You ignored your own beliefs, because they weren’t his beliefs. You ignored the things you truly enjoyed, the music you loved, the subjects you loved talking about, to focus on the things he enjoyed. You tended not to share your opinions, because you knew he wouldn’t like them or just make fun of them. And you even ignored the friends he didn’t like.

You finally understand that no one is worth changing for 
You’re the only you in the world. And you know what? No one can — or should try to — take that away from you. The right person, who will love you for you, is worth waiting for. And don’t settle for anything less.

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