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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
  • Mike Monroe

    Holy crap, Liz. This was the best blog post I’ve ever read. As somebody who has recently ended a long-term relationship, I totally felt like you were talking to me.

    I really want to hear MORE about these “Core Desired Feelings.” I’m guessing they are “four things you want to feel all the time”…? Super interesting.

    Thank you for such an amazing, personal, and vulnerable post. You ARE a superwoman!

    • Liz DiAlto

      Monroe! Thank you so much for the blog love. Core Desired Feelings are something I learned from The Fire Starter Sessions (which I’m obsessed with-check it out here:

      The ridiculously abridged explanation, is that they’re 3-5 feelings that you want to find in everything you do.

      Danielle’s blog is, she obviously explains it way better than I do. I feel like there’s a post about this, but when I searched it only came up under Fire Starter Sessions. It’s worth checking again!

  • Julie Foor

    Liz, this blog is so completely relevant for me right now. Although I’m still sitting at home crying every day, in my heart, I know that all of the things you posted above are true and apply to me…especially #2.

    Right now, I wish you could be here to say these things to my face everyday to remind me. Maybe you can be my lifecoach 🙂

    Hope to see you soon, thanks for the wonderful insight.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Julie, thanks for being brave and sharing your comment. Huge congratulations to you, an ENORMOUS virtual hug, and my mom’s favorite saying, “God (or The Universe, whatever you believe in) never gives you more than you can handle.”

      You are going to be better than fine!

  • Jes

    This is beyond great Liz…you’re such an awesome chica! Loved reading this 🙂

  • Ashley Guistolisi


    I was shocked at how personal this blog was for you, but I can completely understand and relate to where you’re coming from. A lot of women experience the same things that you have and unfortunately some of them will never come to terms with how unhealthy a bad relationship can be. I was in one for 3 years myself and cannot tell you the relief that I felt when it was over. Til this day I still get so mad at myself for how I let him treat me and for so long. It’s amazing that you love yourself enough to recognize these things and move on. Someday you will find the person that you are meant to be with, who will make you feel all of those things. And absolutely do not settle for anything less because you deserve to have it all.


    • Liz DiAlto

      Thanks for the comment Ashley. And that’s what I’m sayin’…I thought I would dread dating, I’m totally looking forward to some crazy, beautiful and passionate love in my future. No rush, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate it so much more having had this experience. Also, I believe your wedding is this month no? Congratulations!!!

      • Ashley Guistolisi

        Thank you, 10 days! Officially countin’ it down… well, enjoy being single for a bit you deserve it!

  • Sarah Moss

    *Applauding* in a standingup kind of way 🙂 This is what your passion is all about, Liz – you took something completely personal, and voiced it in a way that everyone can relate to. I identify with so much of what you said in so many ways, but I didn’t feel lectured at the end; I felt empowered. I wanted to yell “You’re f’in right!” at the end, even if only my little goldfish would hear me. Congrats to you – yet another successful day in your journey – love all that you do!

  • Leah

    Oh honey! Thanks for sharing your awesome wisdom!

  • Erica

    Liz: Well said my friend. You wrote exactly all the things that I felt about a year ago. At the point you came into my life I was saying so many of those ideas to you, maybe not nearly as coherently, but you get the point. Thanks for your open and honest discussion. I can see from the comments that it has already helped others. You continue to ROCK! I love watching you grow 🙂

  • Geddy Lee III

    Hi Liz…this is your experience and your lessons, which I applaud you for sharing personally. It’s only when we take a risk and makes ourselves vulnerable that we grown and also set an example for others allowing them to be more authentic.
    One area I say be careful about is that no one can make you feel or not feel a certain way. We own our feeling; they are ours. We need to identify them and ask “Why?” People may add or detract from our lives, by their words or actions, but only we can decide whether these words or actions hurt us. So I applaud you for making the change and opening that space for something new.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thank you for this comment. I think it’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote or something about how no one can make us feel a certain way without our own approval. You are so right, the asking “why?” is hard, but beyond helpful.

  • Al

    First, let me say (putting down phone to clap) your transparency is indescribably…indescribable. I honestly can say that I read your thoughts from both sides of the situation you wrote on and it stirred up an amazing reality for me. I shook my head in empowerment and at the same time actually appreciated being shown my own tail (so to speak). Thank you for being willing to share that so we (I) can reflect, learn and grow.

  • stephanie

    great post, i think we’ve all been there at some point.

    i actually “broke up” with a bad best friend (female) last summer and it was really hard for me. so much of what you said is applicable and this was a good reminder that i made the right decision. we sometimes forget that we deserve the same respect and love from friends that we do from partners,…

  • Courtney

    This is EXACTLY how I feel. Im finally free to do and experience all of the things i didn’t even think I deserved to have while I was still in my last relationship.

    I can finally FIND OUT what’s best for me and do it.

    • Liz DiAlto

      Love hearing that, get ’em girl!

  • kaylan

    Treat, I am just reading this now… so much of this speaks to me… I got a little misty-eyed reading it because it just totally hit home. You’re such a brave person and I applaud you for not only finding the courage to do what you did, but sharing it with your readers. xoxo.

  • Christine

    Hi Liz,

    Great post! Although I came to your site to read up on exercise, this was very well-written and I definitely echo these sentiments. I enjoy your writing style and positive attitude.

    Keep it up!

    • Liz DiAlto

      Thanks Christine, this was a really personal post for me so I appreciate the feedback. I also feel like people don’t realize how every aspect of health-including mental and emotional totally overlaps into our physical bodies.

  • Hadley Gustin

    You said it, Liz!  It sounds like you needed to go through 3 different breakups with this individual to gain the knowledge and wisdom you so clearly have today.  I'm impressed with all you've learned and really enjoyed reading this articulate and inspired post of yours!

  • Deborah

    I so loved the article and your honesty… it's hard to be honest with ourselves…it's also hard to take care of ourselves …we think we're being selfish. 

  • Sarah kate horneman

    Wow. I agree completely with all the sentiments in this blog. I too had to break up with a guy over three times till i realised I deserved that someone “who wants what I’m giving” which I have now experienced, also after losing 6 kgs! Having time and energy for myself was the best part of the breakup! I am now studying to a pt and I am really inspired by the work you do! Keep it up! From Australia! Sk