Last week the Internet was in an uproar over Jay-Z’s latest album “4:44.” On this album, Jay-Z is bearing his soul as he reveals parts of himself that we haven’t seen from him, particularly as it relates to his marriage with Beyonce. One particular article struck a cord with me because the writer eloquently connected the lyrics from the 4:44 album to her experience in a past relationship. In this article the writer speaks a lot about the place her ex left her in and places a lot of blame on him for her heartbreak. It was really hard for me to read through this article. It made me think about my own irresponsible choices and regrets in my past relationships.

The difference is I take full responsibility for the choices that I’ve made when it came to dating. I believe we place men on a pedestal by dating them for their potential instead of seeing them for who and what they are. We turn a blind eye to the behaviors that really should be looked at as red flags. I know for me, all the signs were there that the relationship wasn’t going to go where I’d hoped it would, but I stayed anyway. I stayed because I wanted to make it work, I stayed because I was desperate for it to work, and I stayed because I truly and wholeheartedly believed that it would work, but it didn’t. All that hoping, wishing, and praying didn’t change the fact that the man I was dating wasn’t in the space to work on our relationship. To be honest I wasn’t in the space either. We both had a lot of growing up to do.

I understand that I wasn’t whole and complete within myself to be able to be a fully present participation in that relationship. Through hindsight, I was able to recognize the moments that were calling out for me to walk away and leave that relationship. I’ve learned that regardless of how much we may want a man to be what we believe him to be, that man has to come to that realization on his own. So “someone else [may be] sitting in the field of my flowers,” but it’s a field I no longer want to be in or could even imagine being in. I have no claim to this person. We both contributed equally to each other’s destruction and growth. There’s no sense in harboring on the past of what could have been.

To my sister that is in a place of reflection, growth, and healing, I say that man doesn’t deserve you anyway. Forgive him and then forgive yourself for not being able to recognize this fundamental truth. Let go of any feelings of regret, take responsibility for what you can, and move on. I would even consider not listening to Jay-Z’s album if it makes you think of him. Spend more time doing more of what feels good to your soul, focusing on your growth and healing. Most importantly, trust the process and know that in the divine time, you will meet a partner that will mirror for you everything that you wanted to see in your ex. And then meet in a space where the dark stop. And let love light the way.

“4:44” lyrics are italicized.

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