In lieu of me finally gaining enough courage to contact my ex-boyfriend after ignoring him for six months, I asked him for my pixiu back. Also, in response to my boyfriend's faith experience video he shared for the July youth discussion meetings, here is my story.
[Transcript Below Video]
I recently read in the July Gosho this quote, which goes, “When we have a sense of our own dignity, we recognize the dignity of others and value their lives, too.”
In high school, before I joined the SGI, I didn’t recognize my own worth as a person. I worked for other people and prioritized their health and happiness over mine because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. I thought that was what love was and what being selfless meant.
I let people take advantage of me. Whether it was my managers asking me to work extra hours and never seeing a raise or me always paying for my boyfriend at the time’s food or activities or stuff, or committing time to things which he enjoyed and I didn’t enjoy as much. I let others overstep my boundaries and push my limits to my point of utter exhaustion because I didn’t have enough courage to advocate for myself.
I tried to trick my brain into enjoying things I didn’t actually like such as horror movies, video games, and fast food restaurants (hardies & punch pizza) because I thought I was doing the girlfriend thing where you try to “take an interest” in things that the other person liked, and I thought that everything was ok. I mean sure we did things I enjoyed, but I always felt like he was miserable doing them so I never fully found happiness experiencing those things together.
I was (still kind of am) proficient at giving advice to others, taking care of them (ensuring they eat and sleep), and I excused their slip ups/mistakes by forgiving them only to grant what it seemed to be “unlimited” second chances until I physically had to leave the environment due to me going off to a different state for college. However, I am not so good at giving myself a break and taking time to heal/recharge.
I guess I focused on others purely because I tend to accept people as they are and know I can’t change them, but I also didn’t want to face my reality that I chose to stay with a person who couldn’t accept me and I didn’t want to face the root of the issue which was if I did leave whether that was the relationship or work, I’d be filled with emptiness and loneliness because I pushed away so many people who cared about me, and I became too dependent on external factors to bring me happiness.
My family and friends would frequently hear me say “I hate people!” because of being surrounded by so many people constantly competing for material success or external validation thinking it’d lead them to happiness, but it rendered me interacting with unhappy customers at work, miserable coworkers, stressed classmates, and a depressed significant other.
It also didn’t help that I let my boyfriend at the time criticize (well maybe not that extreme of a word, maybe) I let my boyfriend at the time constantly point out my flaws and things he personally didn’t like about me, which he thought I should “improve upon.” And I believed him. I, myself am already a self-critical person, so it perpetuated my negative thoughts toward who I am and my reason for my existence.
I questioned my value as a person and how I present myself to the world. I was so insecure about myself and I was so lost about who I really was that I was willing to change myself for other people because it’d make them happy which in turn meant to me at the time if they’re happy then I’m happy. Obviously that’s not the case because I felt like I was never good enough for them, but I didn’t realize that I don’t need to be good enough for anyone except myself.
I let myself compromise too much of my life in the last two years of high school that now looking back on it, I feel like I missed out on those “big moments” you see represented in movies or on social media like homecoming, sadie hawkins, elaborate promposals with big cheesy signs and senior prom in general, senior party after graduation, and then all those other relevant “big moments” in my life the marching band parties and generally hanging out with other people besides my boyfriend at the time.
I think my biggest regret was going back after we broke up the first time and I was in a good headspace about myself and was reflecting a little bit on the relationship and starting to notice all the things that were “wrong” while I was in it.
However, the benefit from the entire 2 year period of being with this person was that I can clearly see my transformation from who I was and the type of relationship I had before the SGI compared to the person I am now and the man I’m with after joining the SGI.
Once I left the relationship and atmosphere of Wayzata and began chanting back in September of 2018, it helped raise my self-confidence and my sense of dignity as a person. I came to see I am funny, beautiful, intelligent, and my thoughts matter, and it’s still really weird for me to say I have these qualities.
My self-deprecating humor, negative outlook, intense sarcasm, and sense of death/despair and impending doom left and it got replaced with a more goofy spontaneous/creative/witty/clever/dumb humor side of me. Don’t worry, the sarcasm didn’t leave, it’s just less extreme.
I didn’t flail into my first year of college with the intention of finding love. However, the beginning of my inner transformation before I even knew about the SGI, unbeknownst to me, attracted my future significant other at the 50k Lions of Justice event and we’ve been very happy together ever since. I’m not used to someone listening to me with an open mind, and for that, I thank him. I feel so comfortable, loved, trusted, and respected by him that I never feel pressured to act like anyone else but me. Of course we’re capable of happiness on our own, but together we perpetuate that feeling and simultaneously illuminate each other’s lives.
So once I established more of a solid inner foundation and began to like myself more, I was able to recognize the dignity of others and value their lives too.
I began to care more about my friends and form real bonds of trust with them. I am more willing to interact with people, see their good side, and get to know them. I want to help out more, take on leadership roles, and confidently speak my mind and stand by my opinion without fear of being immediately shut down.
Through the SGI I’ve learned to have compassion toward others and toward myself. I have come to realize how thankful I am for both the good and bad decisions I made in this lifetime thus far because they led me to recognizing my innate Buddha nature. I sought guidance from The New Human Revolution Volume 1 which reads, “You have started a new life. Don’t dwell on the past; live strongly, turning your eyes to the future.” In the attempt to find peace, closure, and acceptance with my past, moving forward I can reframe my outlook and see the opportunity ahead of me. I’m still working on my human revolution, but I’m glad that I can help people establish their own fulfilling life without having to change myself for them.