I was raised with a healthy dose of “please them at all costs” sensibilities.
Be polite. Be helpful. Be nice.
This ingrained teaching has carried me through more than my share of bad relationships for much longer than necessary. I’ve stayed to be polite. I’ve stayed so as to not hurt them. I’ve stayed to be nice. Just no. What a horrible way to live my life.
Then when I’ve finally left someone, I’ve spent endless hours agonizing over how they’d feel. At the end of the day, I have to live for me. Not them. No matter who they are, and how nice they might be, and how much others might like them.
The guilt I’ve felt is so real. But what’s worse is the shaming that I’ve received from people close to me. The idea that I should be expected to stay with someone because they’re nice, or funny, or a “good person” is laughable, but I suffered though a lot of guilt from seemingly well intentioned people in my life.
Well, forget that noise. None of them have to walk in my shoes. None of them know what it feels like in my body to stay in an unhappy relationship. None of them IS me.
So I chose my happiness over everyone else’s. It took a while for me to learn to accept my new stance, but I’m glad I have. I matter. You matter.
We must do what feels right and what brings us joy. It is the only thing that will free us to live our best lives.