3 Lessons from a Break-Up
“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
When I read this quote I literally said out loud to my computer screen, “Girl, you are preaching to the choir.”
When I was finished giving Elizabeth Gilbert her witness, I smiled and repeated a little prayer I’ve been saying for the last few months to thank God for finally giving me the strength and courage to end a 4-year relationship in November. (Disclosure: I believe in God, but that’s my thing, if it’s not yours, that’s cool…keep reading).
For quite a while I’ve had this theory that divorce rates are so high because too many people settle. In studying motivation techniques, one of the lessons that always comes up, is that ultimately people are motivated towards pleasure or away from pain or fear.
I can tell you now in hindsight, that had I known how much happier I’d be on my own, I would have been much more afraid of staying than walking away from that relationship.
I write this post with romantic relationships in mind-but the lessons can surely apply to any type of relationship.
3 Lessons From a Break-Up
1. No relationship is WAY better than the wrong relationship for 4 reasons:
Energy. What’s been interesting about this break up for me, (note: third break up with the same guy, can you tell I like to learn my lessons the hard way?), is that it wasn’t like the others. I wasn’t devastated. I didn’t wake up every morning and cry for two weeks straight. I don’t even miss him. I have been really pissed off and extremely resentful, but what makes it all ok for me, is the amount of energy I have for me now that I’m not pouring it into him. It’s been the greatest parting gift of all time.
Respect. I learned that respect starts with me. Best-selling author Karen Salmansohn says, “Resentment is the poison we swallow hoping the other person will die.”
Let thank sink in for a minute…sweet perspective.
I realized that my anger and resentment, weren’t entirely directed towards him, but also towards me for tolerating being treated with far less love and respect than I deserved for such a long time.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was finding out that once again, he’d done something he knew would upset me, and hid it from me. I remember screaming that I couldn’t believe the amount of disrespect he had the nerve to show me after all these years and how much I loved him.
The truth was, the disrespect he was showing me, was just a reflection of the disrespect I was showing myself by knowingly staying in a relationship with someone I knew was not the person for me.
Love. Anyone can say, “I love you.” Showing someone love is so much more meaningful. Everything I put my love into now, shows me love back. My friends, family and my business. There’s a lot of love coming my way-and it’s increased exponentially ever since that relationship ended. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence, do you?
Freedom. Now I have this freedom of being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want. Did I technically have this freedom before? Sure. Did I exercise it the way I should have? No, because I was too busy trying to fix something that was beyond repair. Now I cherish my freedom and know to protect at all costs moving forward.
2. “It’s not you, it’s me.” You’re damn right it is. If you find yourself constantly giving and trying to make things work…it’s not you, it’s him. There is nothing wrong with you and that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him either, but something is not aligned there. That’s a sure sign to move on.
You deserve someone who wants what you’re giving. Who respects what you’re giving. Who listens when you ask for something and responds with action. Anyone can say they’re sorry-to that I say “Don’t tell me, show me!” If he can’t…it’s not you, it’s him.
Because men are less inclined to talk about their feelings doesn’t mean they don’t have them. The same way we hold on to our past scars from relationships, so do they. The term “emotionally unavailable” is kind of cliche-but it’s relevant.
I’ll give you an example. Although an ex of mine was in a committed relationship with me for a few years, without fail, every time things would start getting really serious-he would always find a way to show me that he loved me…but not that much. And even though it would always feel like a slap in the face-it truly wasn’t about me. Those were his issues, not mine.
So, I learned not to take it personally.
No more, “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why wasn’t I good enough.” Now it’s “I can’t wait to meet the person who wants and loves me as-is.”
3. The secret to saying yes or no to the next guy that comes along. I learned from Danielle Laporte, how to define my core desired feelings. Clarity on your core desired feelings is the basis for intimate personal and professional success. Mine are brilliant, beautiful, vital and rich. Doesn’t mean my next boyfriend has to make me feel all four-but my last boyfriend made me feel none of those things. Had I defined these feelings earlier-walking away would have been a no-brainer, way sooner. It’s easy to say no to things that don’t meet your core desired feelings…and it’s effortless to say yes to the things that do.
“Create a culture of ‘yes’ to feed yourself, ” says Danielle…a valuable lesson, better late than never for me!
I’ll leave you with a few thoughts, and tie these lessons into your personal health and fitness.
Kris Carr, best-selling author of Crazy Sexy Diet says, “It’s not just about what you’re eating, it’s about what’s eating you.”
Natalia Petrezela, Intensati instructor says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Your happiness is up to you. Your personal and professional life, your health and fitness, your relationships-they all factor in. Give yourself to that which gives back.
This was a really personal post for me, thanks for reading it. If you can relate, and want to, feel free to share your experience in the comments…3 Lessons from a Break-Up