“Defining love is a hard one. Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is intention. I think to love someone and to love someone well you have to be down to pursue them and make yourself readily available. If there is anything I have learned about love, it’s that it doesn’t come easy. It takes work to keep pulling on all the heartstrings and it certainly has a learning curve to it. I’ve learned during my young adult life that there is only one perfect sort of love – which is from my Creator. My parents are unbelievable and think that they have always been the ones to demonstrate this to me. They’re willing, but also imperfect. They’re open to sacrifice and have shown me what it means to invest for love. I’m realizing that the best kind of love, the kind of love that is worthy, takes energy and time.”
Cassidy is 25 years old and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have been following Cassidy on social media for a while now, and to watch her go through different phases in her life has been incredibly powerful. Her social media doesn’t paint a picture of inauthenticity but always has been one where I knew she was not only going to share the highs – but also the moments when life was harder than she could put into words. That was no different when she experienced a break up in her last relationship.
“Oh man, my last relationship. My last relationship was the first time I’d ever experienced love from a guy outside of the family. I was brand new to all of it, which I think is the reason why I was all in. I was willing to sacrifice everything, which I don’t think is how things are supposed to work. Love doesn’t mean you sacrifice your complete self for the benefit of others. My last relationship was young love, literally because my ex was so much younger than me, and the novelty of it all was really what made the breakup so difficult. I was very focused on dating to marry, so much so that everything I did was with both of us in mind. Every personal decision I made from my job, my social life, my spending, and where I decided to live. I gave up too much of myself and never took the time to invest in who I was apart from him. When my mental health was at its complete worst, things went south. I don’t blame him for not knowing how to love me well through mental health issues. I don’t think that’s something we can expect from anyone. But it’s abundantly clear that he didn’t care for me at all when push came to shove. Fear was the loudest voice he listened to and that led to some of his questionable decisions. Because I lost so much of myself at the expense of the relationship, during my young 20’s when it’s most crucial to do that self-love work, I found myself completely heartbroken.”
Where Our Generation Gets It Wrong.
Our generation has a way of twisting and making love and relationships something that it is not. Love is not always easy, it’s not a fairytale, and it requires a level of vulnerability and commitment that can withstand even the hardest of storms. But most importantly, before you love someone else you have to know what it means to love yourself.
“I think that our generation is so concerned over what everyone else is doing that many people forget to take the time to care for themselves and to self reflect. Although it’s good to pour into our communities, that’s an easy thing to get lost in. We forget that love starts with ourselves. I also think that when it comes to love we want it to be easy. We want it to be like the movies and for it to come easy to us. Happy endings don’t always mean happy beginnings or that all throughout we’ll coast. I think our generation forgets that love is worthwhile, but it takes hard work.”
Embrace Your Healing.
As Cassidy embarked on her healing journey, it was beautiful to see her truly find her light again. I watched as she admitted to the pain she felt inside – but how she let it fuel her instead of cripple her. She is a perfect example today of what it meant to Water Your Garden – even when it would be easier to break down and throw in the towel.
“My healing process has been so beautiful and full of the unexpected. I am so different from the person that I was at the beginning or end of the relationship. I’m talking about a complete transformation. And I can honestly say that now I’m walking in my true light. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed a theme during this but it’s really been all about putting myself first and leaning into combing through the most vulnerable sides of me. I’ve had to ask myself questions like, what am I afraid of? What have I said no to that I should be saying yes to? What are my dreams? Practically speaking, these questions have allowed me to take tangible steps in my healing like changing my diet, exploring my career goals, finding movement that I’m passionate about, and just taking the time to make my wants more of a priority. Feeding my heart has been what has led me to find internal healing. Going to therapy, spending time with loved ones, allowing them to pour into me, and surrounding myself with messages that do more good than harm. A lot of this requires that I be a little selfish and I think that’s okay for the type of healing that I’ve needed. My healing has really been me starting over and hitting a reset button.”
Let’s be clear – healing is not linear. Growth, transformation, progress, none of it is linear. A lot of the times it feels like two steps forward and 5,000 steps back. However, the steps back teach us just as much as the step forward. As long as we are committed to the end goal, growth happens no matter how fast or slow our journey goes.
Embrace Your Healing – Even When It Isn’t Linear.
“I never realize that my healing is at a standstill until it’s been a couple of weeks. And I’ve learned to be okay with that. Nothing blooms all year round. And something I’ve been preaching is that healing is not linear. Sometimes it does come to a standstill and that’s when it’s good to be gentle with myself, look at how far I’ve come, and dig deep to figure out what I need most at that moment. I think it’s easy for me to speak lies to myself by saying I’ve taken steps backward. But because I’ve transformed so much of who I am, I know that’s a lie. See, even being kind to myself is hard work!!”
One of the hardest parts about heartbreak and trauma is that it has a way of masking the truth. It is so easy to feel that a breakup is a sign of your worth, when that is the farthest thing from the truth. That guy you wanted to be with? May have never helped you become the woman you wanted to be. The best friend that you lost? May have been the person who secretly never wanted you to win. It takes time to develop a new perspective, and as Cassidy notes it is important to give yourself grace in those moments when your trauma angers you or makes you feel sad. Just don’t let yourself get stuck there.
“After my last relationship of course I said things like, “I never want to date again” and “I’m never going to find anyone”. But I think that when you’re in a heartbroken state, that’s okay. It’s okay to be in that place and to think about those things, just as long as you don’t get stuck in them. Although this was the first time I’ve ever walked through a breakup, it really wasn’t the first time my heart has been broken. I’ve lost loved ones before this and the feelings are similar. I was grieving, it just looked a little different than it has previously. When you’re walking through the stages of grief because of having your heart broken, it’s okay to be in a place where not wanting to love for a while is okay.”
SO INSPIRED BY YOU TODAY CASSIDY. Truly an example of what it means to Water Your Own Garden.
Keep Watering Your Garden, today ladies.