Toyosi Phillips: 3 Crucial Lessons From My Relationship Mistakes

was told by grandma not to smell what I would not eat. I’ve heard repeatedly that experience is the greatest teacher and very noteworthy is the fact that it doesn’t have to be YOUR experience. You shouldn’t fall into the same ditch your friend told you about after her fall; because that fall wasn’t for her alone. It was for you as well. My falls (and boy have I fallen!) should not be for me alone and I believe strongly that a time would come when I would be commended for those I helped avoid my slipups and reprimanded for those I didn’t.
I’ve found myself in several sticky situations and I’m going to be dead honest and say that ALL those situations could have been avoided. I’ve been with people I had no business being with and it’s annoying and somewhat embarrassing because I’ve been told repeatedly that I have a solid head on my shoulders. In Nigerian English, I’ve been told I have sense. So why I didn’t have lasting sense in these situations beats me. How I started off being strong and rebuffing all the advances only to end up falling face-flat to those same advances annoys me. What happened to the “sense”?
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I took a good look at the situations; dwelt on some more than others because they stuck out- and truthfully they hurt more. So I came up with a list I’ve titled, How To Avoid Unnecessary Heartache/Stress Caused by People That Should Ordinarily Have Had No Place In Your Life or much simpler Notes From My Mistakes- Relationship Category.
I knew from the beginning of my relationship with Seal*** that the relationship had no future and I was vocal about it.
“We are from different places”, I said.
“You can’t “take me home” and neither can I”, I elaborated.
“This can’t work”, I continued.
“Let’s just take it one day at a time”, was the response I got, “We’ll do things on your own terms”.
One day at a time seemed doable and I liked the sound of my own terms so I took the option, telling myself I was strong enough and couldn’t fall; forgetting that human nature is inherently proud. This pride leads our nature to believe that it can be in control all the time. At that instant I forgot what I’d said to my friend last year when she was “playing with fire”- “You think you’re strong enough until it’s too late and you realize you’re not”. Of course after a while I forgot about my terms and “one day at a time” became a blur. Attention brings affection and before I knew it I was in a relationship (even though I refused to call it that). It didn’t end well…yet again. I finally decided to write the lessons I’d learned, so I no longer had any excuse to repeat the mistakes.
Lesson 1: Stand Your Ground
Regardless of the wooing and rhymes and lyrics, if you know there’s no future with the said person, stand your ground and save yourself future pain. The ones sent to derail you are full of tricks. They have tongues dripping with honey-coated words and minds filled with devious ideas. Do not be deceived, do not budge and frankly I’d say do not entertain them; because all a snake needs to slither through is a tiny crack.
Lesson 2: Reach Out
I have friends who would call every day- on the hour- to remind me of the beauty that I am and quote the fearfully and wonderfully made scripture to me if they as little as sense that something is wrong. People like this are there to prevent us from believing the lie that a stranger’s validation is the only thing that can make us feel good at any point in time. Evil prevails when we isolate ourselves and in writing this, I’ve thought of moments reaching out was the window of escape I should have jumped through to diffuse the iniquitous attention I was getting.
Lesson 3: You Have To Wait It Out
After bidding my common sense goodbye and walking through the shadow of death expecting to come out unscathed like Bond, I find myself coming out wounded, hobbling to the people in Lesson 2 that would have shielded me in the first place. I cry, talk, sigh and cry some more and they hug, listen, talk and hug some more. Tons of girl-wisdom are shared in these moments and it’s quite soothing, but the truth is my wounds still stay raw. The coos and hugs help but their effects are temporary. Only time has been faithful enough to ease the pain and bring permanent relief.
So sadly, the solution to permanently numbing your pain is waiting it out. Every minute that passes is a minute closer to getting back to your normal self and hopefully a minute spent reminding yourself to next time stand your ground and reach out to people you’ve been blessed with.
***not his real name

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