I’m glad you’re back! How are you? How was your week? I’m glad to see all the responses and posts in our group. Just so you know, a lot of the responses came to my inbox – and that’s okay: a lot of you don’t want to expose yourselves yet. I invite you to take this journey at your own pace as long as you keep writing your journal.
In my previous post, I asked you about the hardest thing that happened to you when you broke up with your mythological ex, and about the best thing that happened to you then.
So first off, why the question?
Well, breakups can be a complicated, painful drain on our self-confidence, and leave us wounded. But, and this is important but, Breakups can have another aspect. I live by the assumption that every cost comes with some gain; the question is whether we are able to see this gain. Like they say: ain’t no bad without some good, and no good without some bad.
And there we are… you find yourself breaking up with someone, maybe without really wanting to, and it’s an awful downer, but I invite you to stop for a second and examine: what are the good things that might grow from this point?
About ten years ago I broke up with the guy I thought was the love of my life, THE mythological ex. We had met at my good friend’s wedding. We danced all night, and I vanished on him like Cinderella, at midnight. Two days later he managed to get my number and asked me if we could close out our evening over a shared beer. I asked him why close it when we can leave it open? He liked my answer and came to pick me up that very evening with a lovely rose. We drank the beer, took a walk on the shore, he drove me back home and we said goodbye with a sweet kiss. I was thrilled. I was head over heels in love.
We were a couple straight out of a movie, two good-looking people who lit up every room we entered. He was talented: he could play pretty much any instrument, and he was handsome as well and smart. On his birthday, all our friends told us it looked like they had arrived at our wedding. He was so happy. He played, and I danced. His friends AND his parents loved me. We went to all our friends’ and families’ weddings together. We were inseparable.
Then came the times with thoughts and concerns about the future. every few weeks we had the “where is this going?” talks. I felt him like a wave, crashing over me with all the might of his love, but then retreating, leaving me cold, alone. It was too much for me. One weekend, he told me that he probably can’t give me what I want – he’s not ready yet for marriage and children. It hurt. That Sunday I packed a suitcase and told him I was going to my parents’, and he had a week to decide whether he wants to be with me or not.
It was an agonizing week. I couldn’t eat, sleep, breathe. His best friend had stayed in touch with me and told me that he wants to see it work, not because he liked me, but because how much good this relationship had done him.
Anyway, it was a very painful week. As the week ended I was driving, trembling in my old piece of crap when I got a call from his best friend and realized that I should prepare for the worst.
The door opens, and…
Nothing good comes of it. We speak. I cry. I gather all my things from the apartment. Holding my stuff, I take a last look around and realize that, although we had lived together for a year and a half, most of the stuff there remained as I left.
What did that mean? It meant that I had almost not given myself any room there. there was almost nothing there that was mine. I lived there like a lodger. I told him this, he agreed. He said that maybe what had been missing was my real, total presence, the sense that I was completely there, and not just for his benefit.
But hey – I loved him, didn’t I? wasn’t that enough? I had erased myself for him; that was love, wasn’t it?
There were no things of mine there because I had not allowed myself to be there, not really.
Anyway, the breakup was unimaginably painful, sharper than death. I felt like my world was ending. But this, this is where I come to the point of what I gained:
First, the understanding that I need to be myself, and find my place within the relationship, without erasing myself “for him”.
Second, and most important, is what happened to me the following week.
It took a full week for me to decide to pull myself together. I wrote a children’s show for the first time in my life. My whiz of a brother scored my songs, I drove over to an artist who designed and built my puppets and scenery – all within one week! No exaggeration: in one week the show was ready, with flyers and business cards to boot.
And so, the bookings began to roll in.
I spent the next summer overbooked with shows for children, shows at summer camps, producing and managing my own business, performing and beginning to see the fruits my talents had borne.
Later on, my business would grow and evolve, and it sustained me and my family for many years, up until our recent move to Toronto. My shows were booked by municipalities, schools, private clients, venues and many more.
I discovered how many hidden strengths I had in me, how many talents and strengths. And when the chips were down, when I really needed myself – I came through. I produced creative solutions to my problems, and a product, a business, that served me well and paved my way to independence and financial freedom. Without having my home fall apart, none of this would have been possible.
I want you to think about your pains and your gains in your breakups. When did you discover something new about yourself? When did your strength surprise you? And pay very, very close attention to this next one: when have you erased those strengths “in favor” of your relationship?
Whenever that happens, it’s a bad sign. It usually means that hurt is on the way.
Okay then – taking a deep breath now, as I want to leave you with a tool for empowerment.
I ask you to write on a big board, it can be a corkboard or an erasable board, and if you haven’t got your own private corner in your home, then a notebook will do.
Write out all of your good qualities, your positives, but not just the positives: include an example. For instance: I am compassionate because I gave some stray cats water on a hot day. I am vivacious because I always bring cheer wherever I go.
I love you all! send me your insights and thoughts, but most important: keep writing in your journal, every day!
Last modified: November 28, 2017