Temptations serve as a test of our self-control. Some people naturally have the self control to resist temptations, and others, like myself, need to screw up and learn the hard way. I cheated on the man of my dreams, and shattered a truly beautiful friendship and a strong and promising love. I deceived his loyalty for a short-lived endearment. Guilt and shame consume me for what I have done, and the feelings don’t go away. Luckily, I was able to take something out of this unfortunate experience and learn a valuable lesson: giving into short-lived temptations like these has a long-term, adverse effect on one’s life, and is never worth it.


He loved me, he cherished me, he made me laugh unconditionally and he was my best friend. It was torturous to watch all of that break from one stupid decision I made. I impulsively made out with this punk, alternative man just a few days before I flew across the world to visit my then boyfriend in his hometown in Australia. It felt like the temptation was taking over, but I now understand that I had underestimated myself and my power to resist it and to do what’s right. I was focused on what would make me happy in the moment instead of considering the potential consequences of my actions. In my head, consequences were an abstract possibility, but in the moment, I was in a reality. One fulfilling moment is not worth permanent misery. I lied to my boyfriend about the kiss, and continued to lie until he eventually found out. I learned it’s always better to be honest no matter how hard it is. I wish I did that. It would have obviously hurt him, but not as badly as I wound up hurting him.


We are supposed to protect the people we love from any evil or sadness, but what I did, just made him the saddest he could be. Seeing the pain that gripped him and the hurt in his eyes was a major eye-opener to me. I thought to myself, “Are you serious, Haley? You not only destroyed your relationship but you actually destroyed a human being - the one person in the world that matters most to you. You are a monster.”


His leaving created a negative personality of me. In all honesty, it was not until the moment that he left me that I actually stopped to look at myself and see the person I had become. I saw myself as a dishonest, sneaky, immoral, and horribly selfish person. I knew this wasn’t the person I wanted to be, but I was truly convinced this was just who I was and I had to accept that. I held a low self-esteem that clouded my potential for a good amount of time. I wrote a song with lyrics “there’s something wrong in my core. I hurt you but I guess that’s just me. Wish I could be a different me”. I hated myself for who I was and I would have done anything to prevent those poisonous thoughts from taking control of my actions.


As long days and nights went on, I thought more about the root of my actions. I began to focus on figuring out what was causing me to be like that and how I would make sure it never happened again. Every moment my heart hurt or I felt tears slide down my face, I felt determined to prove to myself that this is NOT who I am. I am NOT a monster. While we have inherent qualities that cannot change, our attitudes can, even if it it takes hard work. I printed out quotes on my wall to remind me of the person I want to be. My favorite is, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for” -Epicurus.


I went against my values when I cheated. I lost sight of who I really was. Temptations tricked my mind into thinking I was this badass, rebellious person that was allowed to do badass, rebellious things. However, I am not that person, and never again will I allow my mind to trick myself into thinking I am. I am guilty of the choice I made, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.


I didn’t realize how confused I was about who I was until I was able to see what I definitely don’t want to be. I realized it’s not about my thoughts and feelings that made me act this way, but rather it was how little I was in touch with who I am and why I make the choices I make. I was lost by how I was acting, and I was in a paradox of identities.


I want to be a good person with self-respect and full of respect for others. So that’s what I am trying my best to be. I am in no way perfect and I can’t say for certain this toxic attitude is 100% gone, but I can confidently say that constantly focusing on myself and who I want to be has made me believe in myself that I will not let this happen again. I know I will be faced with temptations in my future, as everyone is, but I genuinely have faith that I will take pride in who I am, and have the ability to resist them.


While it took time, I have been able to forgive myself by accepting all that I cannot change and all that’s done as done. I have recognized that I am not perfect, and that people make mistakes and learn from them. Even though I lost the person I love, my experience has taught me to learn from my mistakes while ensuring that I do not fall for them again. I am glad that I was able to take something out of a miserable experience to change my life for the better. While servicing my crushed ego, I have managed to escape misery and rearrange my principles in life. I will never cheat on someone I love again. It is just not worth it and there are so many different, better, more mature ways to handle a situation when presented with temptations that have the potential to destroy everything you have taken time and time to build. It is valueless to lose the people who are vital in your life because of a momentary impulse. My experience is an excellent example for anyone who might feel challenged in self-control. If you ever are facing a similar temptation, use my experience as a way to stop yourself. Weigh the moments against the long-term impacts in your life. It is never worth it. I am better than that. And you are better than that.