Lawson tells PEOPLE she become "a much better person" after ending the relationship and getting engaged to fiancé Dotun Olubeko on the season finale of 'The Bachelorette', which aired in August
Charity Lawson is grateful to be moving onwards and upwards after ending a toxic relationship that limited her potential.
After Tuesday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, the Bachelorette star exclusively opened up to PEOPLE about leaving the relationship behind and starting a new chapter with her fiancé Dotun Olubeko.
"I did not, I mean, I envision a future for myself, but I think my scope was very limited,” she says of her relationship prior to becoming the Bachelorette. “I think I didn't really have a full picture of what I thought could be possible for my life — which is sad to say — but it's like when you're not in a relationship that really pushes you to blossom or just even the people around you in general, friends, whoever that may be, it's like you become almost like in this box.”
The reality star admits that her life changed after getting engaged on the season finale of the ABC dating series, which aired in August, explaining, “And so now that I'm where I'm at and I went through so much in a short amount of time, I am a much better person. I'm more vibrant. I really do feel like I'm exactly where I need to be."
During Lawson’s pre-performance package, she reflected on deciding to leave the relationship and beginning her journey on The Bachelor and later becoming the leading lady of The Bachelorette.
"Before that, I left a really toxic relationship," she shared. "There was a lot of infidelity and I kept over-extending myself to make things work... being in the trenches so lost and not knowing how to get out, I wasn't really proud of who I was."
"It took me going through that unfortunately to become the version of who I am today," she added, noting that she's "happily engaged" to Olubeko. "Sometimes you need to go through the worst things in life to get to the best place and this dance needs to show that painful journey."
She then performed a contemporary to "Lose You to Love Me" by Selena Gomez with partner Artem Chigvintsev. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba declared her dance as the one "everyone will remember about this season." She commended her for how she "brought it up," and called it a "powerful performance."
Derek Hough praised her for using the jungle gym prop in her routine and said she dances with "such strength and bravery” while Bruno Tonioli celebrated Lawson for "being yourself and rejoicing in who you are" after the challenges she overcame.
Speaking to co-host Julianne Hough afterwards, Lawson broke down in tears as she revealed, "It took a lot for me to get here... I just left it all out there." Her efforts were clear to the judges as her emotional dance ultimately earned them the first 10 of the season from Inaba.
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Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and Disney+.
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