We live in a culture that thinks that after a relationship ends, no matter how toxic and draining that relationship was, we need to be devastated. We clearly never loved the person if we don't experience heartbreak. However, I believe that isn't true. Sure, we are heartbroken by the love that didn't make it, but most of the time, leaving a toxic relationship is our saving grace.

I am so sick of watching strong, wonderful, beautiful young women allow a toxic relationship to hold them down. There is SO much more to life than feeling stuck with a partner that makes you feel like crap. You can truly thrive after leaving this relationship and you can accomplish everything you've always wanted and more.

I decided to highlight the stories of 11 strong young women and all that they've accomplished since ending their relationship. This goes to show that the heartbreak will not be your end — in fact, it will likely be your beginning.

1. Since I left this bad relationship, the self-love and accomplishments just keep growing.

"I stopped being nervous about leaving for school, I didn't worry about him pressuring me to do things I didn't want to, and going to school with that lack of worry allowed me to blossom. I've been on the Dean's list twice (round three coming in a few weeks), joined an organization that allows time to grow into a better leader, I volunteer with kids who need me, work with kids who appreciate me, and have made friends who support me. The positive effects of focusing on me just keep on coming." - Anon, 20

2. My dreams came true.

"After I got dumped by my ex, who was cheating on me with my best friend's roommate, I got accepted to my dream grad program and started a business." - Elizabeth, 22

3. I got myself in shape.

"After dating around in college, one guy hit me. I was so devastated that I allowed someone to do that to me that I decided to hit the gym so that way in case I needed to defend myself I could and I could feel good about my body!" - Sarah, 19

4. Now, I am myself.

"I was able to finally just breathe and be myself. I was always forced to do everything his way and please him so I never considered myself. I grew so much as an individual and became stronger because of it!" - Anon, 19

5. I found my passion.

"I got accepted into my school's honors college and discovered my hidden talent/passion for makeup." - Sara, 21

6. I'm in a healthy environment, and because of that, I am happy.

"I learned what toxic behaviors looked like in even the most subtle ways. I was able to learn what I really believed, which didn't really fit with what he believed, or even what my hometown as a whole believed. I became more empowered, believing in myself more and strengthening my voice and opinions. I was able to learn that I needed to treat myself better and hold others to the standard of treating me better, too. I've become more social since I'm no longer restricted from going out or hanging out with friends. I've grown to love my body more now that what I'm allowed to wear isn't dictated by someone else. My grades have gotten better, my mental health has improved overall, and I'm just overall happier with my existence now that I'm in a healthy environment." - Emily, 21

7. Since leaving my toxic relationship, I have...

"- changed my major

- gave up on pursuing a toxic ex-friendship

- got accepted to intern abroad

- turned 21

- met the one

- discovered my own self-worth" - Maria, 21

8. I'm loving every minute of my life now.

"A two-year relationship just ended a little over two months ago. The first few weeks I was a complete and utter disaster. I didn't really know what to do with myself. Now, I am working on school like I haven't before. I didn't let myself enjoy college in my relationship because he was constantly putting me down for coming to college. I am truly enjoying my college experiences especially academically. I have succeeded in so many things and have joined so many new organizations. I am so busy, but so happy and feel more like myself than I ever was in my relationship. I am not 100% better or healed, but that will take time. I am, however, learning so much about myself and loving every minute." - Caitlin, 20

9. I am now ready for the love I truly deserve.

"I learned so many things and it grew me tremendously as a person—but I think the most important things were that I began to see who truly loved me, I developed a higher sense of self-respect, I no longer had someone sucking the life out of me, I learned how to obtain closure and healing inwardly from myself, and I opened myself up to the possibility of gaining the type of love that I am worthy of." - Anna, 19

10. I'm thriving without them.

"At first I didn't want the communication to stop because the attempt at a relationship ultimately ruined a 5-year-friendship, but eventually I just got used to not having them in my life anymore. My mental health has really improved. That relationship was mentally and emotionally draining and wasn't necessarily productive or empowering. Since then I have really enjoyed not getting caught up in what others think of me and have really enjoyed focusing on myself rather than pleasing someone else. Months after not having any contact, they decided to request to follow me again even though they were the one originally wanting to cut all communication. I accepted it, but I've mentally decided not to reach out or make any communication they attempt to be short. I've realized I don't need them in my life and they didn't want the part of me I was offering months ago, so they don't deserve me now. They can watch me thrive and living my life, but they don't get to be a part of it." - Anon, 18

11. I learned so much from this experience, and for that, I'm thankful.

"I became my own person again, I learned how to be happy on my own, gained friends and confidence, overall, I lost a lot during my toxic 4-year relationship and am so appreciative of how I've matured and developed since then. I'm thankful as to how much I've learned from the experience and who I have become today." - Jennifer, 19