The pain that stems from the hurt you feel from past experiences can cause you to change the way you trust a love interest. I can attest to that. I fell very hard for someone who I expected certain things out of which I was never going to get. Ending that was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through, and for a while, I couldn't think about anything but him. Nothing seemed like it would ever get better and I didn't expect to ever get over him.

That being said, here I am today, shy of a year later, completely changed for the better.

Devastating pain from that past relationship forced me to come to terms with myself and who I wanted to be with in the future. I took months off from the dating scene and didn't talk to a single guy. No dating apps, no responding to a DM on Instagram, just me coming to terms with the person I no longer recognized in the mirror.

I've been broken up with over text, just to see that person date someone new the next week. I was broken up with because of "distance" which I perceived as someone no longer willing to try to make a relationship work. I just accepted it and moved on, but never stopped to check in on myself.

To fall in love with myself was the key to meeting who I really need to be with, not who I want to be with.

That last bout of hurt was the last straw. There was no way to meet someone new until I truly rejected the boy and all the others who have hurt me, and then let all of that hurt out. Harboring those feelings of sadness and anger were causing added pain that I do not need in my life. Now I will admit some of that pain still lingers, but it's such a small trace left and I do not let it affect me anymore.

I came out of the hurt and met someone who changed me for the better.

He may be gone from my life now, but the two months we had taught me more about maturity, respect, and self-love than anyone else I'd ever been with. God, as one of my best friends put it so perfectly, sent me him to learn how to truly heal from that past relationship that rocked me to the core. It's weird to think about it now, that I needed that hurt to meet my recent ex, and really grow as a person from every experience I've gone through.

I'm here looking for the real thing, with no more mind games or commitment phobia.

This time I'm here for someone who wants to be here for me. I've gone through my pain, and I can sincerely thank every boy who has hurt me since they have brought me to a point where I can finally put myself first and recognize who I see in the mirror. So thank those who have hurt you, because without them you wouldn't be the person you are right now.