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What circumstances, in the future, might make you feel strong and wise and resistant to empty temptations? What kind of a woman will you be in five years? Will you still be seduced by the promise of a fantasy?

Or will you be happy with who you are, open to love, but realistic and firmly grounded in the here and now? If that sounds boring, then that tells you something. But reality is far sexier and much more romantic than you think. A fantasy can seem shiny and special from a distance, but when you get closer and closer it tends to shrivel up and die. Reality, on the other hand, gets better and better the deeper you go into it. Once you start to see yourself clearly, and admit that you’re not a cardboard cut-out of Fantasy Wife, Eminently Lovable, Worthy of Lifelong Adoration, then you can finally start to breathe.

We are all tempted to be shiny. There are so many shiny women out there. We are taught—and eventually we believe, in our hearts—that shininess is the surest route to love. But aiming for shiny is like living in the dark…  When you aim for shiny, you become nothing but a reflective surface. At your very best, at your peak shininess, he will only see his own reflection in you.

The most beautiful, loving, poetic souls in the world know that the most beautiful, lovable people in the world are the ones who are a little tarnished, a little scratched. If you want true love in your life, you will stop trying to be a brilliant silver chalice, and you’ll aim to be a misshapen pewter cup instead. Something ordinary, that you can pick up and feel and rub between your hands. Something regular and dented and scratched.

This tragic turn in your life gouged a big scratch across you. Own that scratch, the anger and the sadness there. Tell the truth about what it did to you. Because it was a gift, this premature exit from a fantasy world. It was your passage to a better life, lived among real people with heart and substance, where tarnished things are good enough, where you are good enough. You are good enough. You are good enough, right now. You are good enough. You are.

Heather Havrilesky, http://www.theawl.com/2014/08/ask-polly-a-chilling-cautionary-tale-about-the-dangers-of-getting-involved-with-attached-people