I remember, in fifth grade, when I broke up with my first girlfriend. As primary school students, the relationship had been more hand holding and hanging out than hugs and kisses. We were special friends. But, for some reason, it was over. I don’t remember the reasons. I only remember the reaction—her reaction to the way I treated her after our breakup.
Our class was walking to the music room. The girl who, just days before, I believed to be the most beautiful girl in the world, was walking a short distance in front of a group of us boys. One of my friends said loudly, “Hey I heard you broke up with Shelley.”
He had said it loud enough for her to hear. Trying to be tough, I wanted to act like Shelley was just a plain-jane nobody—and that I wasn’t hurting about the breakup. So, I responded loudly, “Yeah, I never really liked her anyway!”
The guys all laughed. One of them patted me on the back. When Shelley turned the corner to go into the building, I saw her eyes. More precisely, I saw the tears streaming from her eyes, down her cheeks. My words had cut her deeply.
I felt horrible. When I got home from school, I fell on my bed and cried. Why had I said that? Why had I been so mean? Shelley had been my best friend. I missed all the laughs, walks and talks we had together. And now, I had made her cry.
Before I left that bed, I made a decision. It was a promise to myself that stopped me from dating for the next five years. I promised, “I am not going to date another girl until I trust myself to treat her with respect when we breakup.” It seems very negative—expecting to breakup with someone before you even start dating them. But, I didn’t want to ever hurt someone else the way I hurt Shelley.
It wasn’t until year 10 that I trusted myself enough to have another girlfriend. She was lovely. We dated for a while. Then we broke up. I hope I treated her with respect. I dated a few more people before I got married. And in each relationship, it has always been my goal to treat my partner and friend with respect in all situations.
It has been said that the real you is who you are when nobody is looking. I think differently. I think, the real you is revealed when you choose to be better than you were last time. If you make this commitment, it will change your life. Learn from your mistakes. Choose to act differently next time. And challenge yourself to follow through. No one can make you say, do or become anything. Your actions are truly yours alone. And they reveal who you are becoming. Choose wisely and grow. Grow into the real you!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)