This April, we talk to #WomenWhoDared to take a different path to strive for change on their own terms. Be inspired by their stories of strength and empowerment that all started with one courageous leap forward.
Not every romantic relationship has a happily ever after — sometimes it turns out to be a tale of loving yourself and finding inner strength. Blogger Tesle Telan's previous romance was one of the latter and a journey of self-healing. It has been more than a year since her wedding was called off and Tesle can now happily say that she has moved on. But getting to this point was not a piece of cake. Ahead, the journey she took to emerge a stronger and more resilient woman after a painful heartbreak.
Dealing with the falling out
Nobody wants to go through heartbreak, but Tesle knew that she needed to move on from a two-year relationship that was eventually leading up to marriage. "It was a very difficult decision but I just knew that I had to do it. I guess, I love myself more and I know my value. At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself especially when the object of your affection isn't capable of helping you with that anymore," she shared, adding that she could not fully disclose the reasons why she chose to go her own way. "Let's just say that after all that my ex and I have been through, the next best thing to do was to go on our separate ways. It hurt more to hold on than to let go."
And let go, she did. Even so, Tesle's life was drastically changed. She asked her company for a location transfer to make sure she wouldn't bump into her ex-fiance, and there was just this whole emptiness that could not be filled no matter how much comfort food she ate. "After living together, I had gotten used to being around him almost all the time. There were numerous times when I had to deal with work-related problems. He was always the first person I wanted to call, and he wasn't there anymore. I had to learn how to face the difficulties on my own," she said.
Aside from dealing with the inner turmoil brewing inside her heart, another big challenge she had to do was to tell people that the wedding has been called off. "Relatives kept on asking me when the wedding will be," she said, sharing that she just tried to "laugh it off".
All these pressure took a toll on her well-being and she shared that she made some questionable choices during this difficult time in her life. "I learned to forgive myself for the things I did when I was still hurting," she said. At some point, after trying to purge the pain through tears, she felt finally ready to take the path towards mending her heart.
Journey to self-healing
The first step Tesle took may come off as comical. "I literally googled 'How To Move On From Your Ex' maybe more than five times," she said. But that simple step snowballed into a string of "experiments". She tried everything in the moving on playbook: wallowing for days, stuffing herself with food, drowning herself in work, started casually dating again and "letting loose to blow off steam", and confiding in everyone including her building's security guard. These things didn't do much for Tesle. "What really helped me was taking my time and focusing my heart's energy on what's important — me," she said. "I stopped forcing myself to feel okay. Instead, I acknowledged my pain and my feelings. It also helped that the people around me acknowledged my feelings as well."
Travelling also helped, but where do broken hearts go? Tesle went to tour New Zealand with her family. The beautiful sights in Auckland helped her momentarily forget the pain, but it also gave her a realisation that a whole new world was waiting for her.
Away from the hustle and bustle of life back home, Tesle enjoyed heart-to-heart conversations with her family. "My dad gave me the courage and the strength to face everything. I know that I wouldn't be this strong and brave if my dad didn't believe in me. I look at his eyes, and I see my worth and value as a human being, and as a valued woman. That's when I knew that I could never let anyone mistreat me and make me feel worthless ever again," she shared.
An important lesson of self-love
Tesle felt like a phoenix that had risen from the ashes of heartbreak. "I would say that I've grown so much as a person ever since then. I have so much respect for myself and that is something that I'll never take for granted again," she said, referring to the experience as an important lesson on self-love. When you finally let go of the painful things you thought you could never live without, you become braver. "I was too focused on my relationship before to the point where I was willing to walk away from everything just to be with this person. But when I broke off my engagement and left the relationship that meant so much to me because of me, I became fearless," she declared.
After the storm has passed, with a clearer mind and a stronger heart, Tesle was finally able to reflect on her failures and shortcomings as a partner without diving into self-pity. Doing that was an important piece of the puzzle that allowed her to open up her heart to a new adventure. "I hope that my story ignites the fire inside the heart of every woman who's now ready to take their power back and live their lives and love so hard — freely and fearlessly," she said. If there's anything to take away from this chapter, it's that pain is transient, but the strength we gain from difficult times will forever stay with us.
Inspired by this daring story? Catch the rest of our Women Who Dared series here.