“Good morning. I don’t think we’ve met before, although you look familiar to me.” Sometimes you meet someone, and you feel like you’ve known them forever. Other times, you’ve known people for a long time, even intimately, and yet, one day you wake up, literally or figuratively, and realize that you barely know them at all.

What if the stranger that you wake up to is you?

It happens to the best of us. Even those of us like me who feel that they are very self aware, who embrace their strengths and weaknesses with both eyes wide open. Loosing a sense of self happens at various times, and clearly – for various reasons, in some way, shape or form – we let ourselves go and don’t realize it until things go too far or get too big for us to handle. I often hear mothers talk about how they’ve given up their lives for children, and at a certain point, they don’t really know themselves beyond that role. The same can be true in relationships. I have certainly been guilty of it.

I remember an ex once telling me that my wanting us to spend a lot of time together was smothering him, in so many words. Let me clarify. We were newlyweds. I was excited and was trying to learn how to be a wife. I, for one, thought you were supposed to be so in love and excited about each other that in the beginning of a new life together, spending your free time together is what you do. Clearly, we weren’t on the same page. Wish I could have taken heed to that memo before I said, “I do.” But, then again, before we got married, HE was the one who wanted to spend every waking moment together. Ain’t that a blip the way the script flips?

The point and statement that my ex made to me was that one characteristic that initially attracted him to me was that I was an independent and motivated woman, with my own friends and interests. He felt that I was losing that spark once we got married. Did I mention that we were newlyweds? I digress.

It was hard for me to accept what he was saying, and I thought it was just an excuse for him to go out and hang with the boys. And while I believe his timing was awful and immature for a person who just dedicated himself to being “one” with me, I later came to appreciate the spirit of his concern.

He noticed that I was losing a little bit of myself. I depended on him for too much of my happiness, and frankly, it was too much pressure on him. He wanted some time to miss me, look forward to seeing me when his day was over. We could come home and discuss the ups and downs of our day. We made the vow to become one, but there was still a need for us to feel like individuals – with unique interests and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Many women are guilty of losing themselves within a relationship. We give our hearts and spirits over often to the point beyond desire. When and if that relationship ends, you’re left trying to identify with yourself again. Who am I?

Indeed, who are you?

The rejection you feel when a relationship ends may often be less about the man leaving you and more about you leaving yourself.

Wake up – and realize that you being you is more attractive for everyone involved.

Deya “Direct” Smith, is a producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM and Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews on BlackAmericaWeb.com. She is also a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator. She can be reached at DeyaDirect@aol.com.

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