The recent trend about #ghosting has led to many discussions on the Internet. This being the month of A-ghost-o, I thought it good to share my experience on how I moved on from the harrowing experience of being ghosted.
The dictionary definition of ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Most of the time, we limit ghosting to just romantic relationships.
In my experience, ghosting can come from a lot of areas. You can get suddenly cut off by your friends, sometimes you get cut off by your family. Having been ghosted in all three, I learned a thing or two about picking myself up. It was definitely heartbreaking but then I knew I couldn’t keep pitying myself forever.
The pain I felt from being ghosted is there, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn a thing or two out of it.
5. Pain demands to be felt.
When faced with a crisis, my automatic response is flight instead of fight. I would always make excuses for the people that hurt me:
“They’re probably busy.”
“They probably have a good reason.”
“Maybe they’re just tired of me.”
Later I realized that I was those excuses to deny what I was going through and to deny my feelings. To me, denial was a self-defense mechanism to keep me from feeling the pain. But then running away only numbed the pain, but it didn’t help me move on.
Just because I couldn’t feel the wound doesn’t mean it’s not there.
You can’t fix a wound you refuse to see. Let’s say I fell on a bike and bruised my knee. I can go on about my day but unless I take the time to inspect the wound and do some first-aid, I’d just end up limping the whole day.
I really had to allow myself to be weak. I allowed myself to feel hurt. I let myself cry. I let myself bawl. I let myself look ugly. I let myself feel the pain. Pain is good sometimes. It made me realize that I was hurt because what I lost mattered to me. It also made me realize I was hurt because what happened to me mattered, I mattered.
4. It’s not my fault.
One of the worse things about rejection is the feeling of being suddenly left in limbo. I ended up frozen, not knowing how to react. If I did react, however, it was a slew of lies running in my head:
“Maybe I’m not meant to be loved.”
“It’s me. I just wasn’t good enough.”
“I probably did something wrong again.”
Those lies kept me in a cycle of self-hatred and depression. If there’s one thing that took a lot of strength to accept, it’s this: it’s not my fault.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit that when the situation we see makes us believe that, but it’s the truth. No matter what happened in the past, I let myself believe that I am still worthy of being loved.
3. I’m still whole.
All my #ghosting experiences made me realize that I am the type who craves for approval. I so badly want to be accepted even if it cost me my dignity.
I had this irrational fear that if I were to be left behind, then I have no worth as a human being. What’s the point of being alive?
Because of that fear, I allowed myself to be mocked, bullied and stepped on countless times because I was afraid of being alone. I would change my personality and do things I didn’t really enjoy just to please the people, practically begging them to stay.
But then having lost so many people I held close, I realized that I’m still whole even if they’re not there anymore. My worth is not based on how many people approve of me, or how many of them stay.
I am my own person. I am not someone’s lover. I am not someone’s best friend. I am not someone’s child. My worth is not dependent on who I attach myself to or what I do. I just am, and it’s okay. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
It took time, but I had to acknowledge my worth and demand the treatment I know I deserve. I had to learn to love myself.
2. Love yourself so you can love others.
I realize now that self-love is basically knowing your worth.
It’s hard to feel worthy of being loved when the people you love leave you. But if there’s anything being ghosted taught me, it’s that love isn’t just found from other people. Love can also be found within.
I read somewhere that those who are able to receive much love are able to give just as much.
I allowed myself to accept that I do have a purpose for existing. There is a point to being alive that goes beyond who stays or not. Because I know I have worth, I took care of myself. Self-love can mean a number of things. It can mean going to the gym, managing your diet, reading a good book, or treating yourself to milk tea.
The point is that you prioritize the state of your heart. I believe that the heart is where all the motivations behind our actions spring up from. So by taking care of my heart and loving myself, I am able to give others love as well.
This is the hardest of all the things I’ve learned. But if anything, this is also the most freeing.
Someone once told me that we forgive not the person who hurt us, but for ourselves. I chose to forgive not because I wanted to pretend that nothing happened. I chose to forgive because I knew that I was ghosted, and I chose to set myself free from that.
I’m no longer held captive by my past heartbreak. I am still me. I am still whole. I am still worthy to be loved.
Nobody deserves to be ghosted. Nobody deserves to be abandoned. But if there’s anything my experience has taught me, it’s that I don’t have to be afraid of being left behind anymore. Despite being ghosted, I can still love others wholeheartedly because I know that am and will always be worthy to be loved.
What about you? Do you have any ghosting experiences? What did you learn and how did you move on?