Tag Archives: getting over a breakup

Until being strong is the only choice you have

As a writer, I’ve always believed in the magic of words and as a reader, I’ve often felt their power.  Stories and songs have that amazing ability to break through barriers and – teach, show, remind, and reach us.  Quotes can be the distilled form of that magic – few words, with a powerful punch.

One of my favorite quotes is one I’ve found myself turning to many times over the last few years – “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

And it’s true.

Exactly two years ago was the worst day of my life…

It was the day I discovered my ex was living a double life.

It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me and I found myself over a yawning pit, struggling to make sense of the truth I’d learned.

It was a day that set my world on fire.

There were many painful days to come – of sorting through the hurt and taking a step back to see that relationship was more toxic than I’d realized and dangerous to my mental health.

But it was also the day I left.

And it was the day that I started to rebuild my life.  It took strength to leave – as it always does – and it took strength to pull myself up and put the pieces of myself back together.  Strength my ex (and even I) didn’t know that I had.

Exactly two years ago was the worst day of my life…Wait, that’s really not true.  It was a terrible day.  A fucking shitty day and it probably turned at least a few of the hairs on my head gray.

BUT, I mark it as my independence day, my anniversary to myself, a reminder of how strong I am and what I can overcome.

And you know what?  My life is so much better now.  I’m healthier, stronger, smarter, more confident, and have more than a little bad-assery in me.  I don’t regret that day or wish it didn’t happen.  It gave me scars but it didn’t break me, it set me free.

And (this is important) – if I can do it, so can you.  Push through that struggle and sucker-punch that shitty day in the face.  Show the world what you’re made of and that this pain can’t break you…that you’ll get past it and emerge stronger and wiser than before.

And when in doubt – repeat to yourself:

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Outrunning the bitterness

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Life always has its challenges.  Big and small storms that can, if you let them, turn your outlook from sweet to bitter.

Divorce (my most recent storm) is definitely one of life’s challenges that can be thrown your way.  But how do you stop the terrible things in life from pushing you into bitterness?

Well, I’d imagine there are a lot of different ways.  Here are some of the ones that have helped me (and maybe they can help you too):

1) Breathe (in all forms, including screaming, if you need it) and let it go.  There is a good reason why there are so many quotes about letting go and letting go of the things you can’t control (sing it with me – let it go, let it gooooo).  In most cases, you have a better chance of controlling the weather than you do for controlling another person’s actions.  The only thing you can control is how you react.  Which brings me to my next point.. 

2) Plan – do not let a bad event (or person) screw up your life.  Adjust your old plans or make new ones, but don’t give up on your life or yourself.

When I left my ex, I was in the middle of fertility treatment to start a family, which I have wanted for years.  The treatment didn’t take.  So, in addition to dealing with the fallout from the end of a ten-year relationship, my hope of becoming a mom (I am in my early 30s) was thrown into doubt.

I knew that I did not want to start dating again while being totally obsessed with finding someone to make a baby with.  That would not be enjoyable or healthy for me or, I’d imagine, any man who was thrown into my path.

So, I made a new plan.

If I’m single at 36, I’m going to get IVF on my own and become a single parent.  If I’m happily coupled by then, and the guy I’m with is ready as well, we can start a family the old-fashioned way, otherwise, I have my plan.  In the meantime, I can date without getting so stressed out about my biological clock.  And I already have a few guy friends who have volunteered for donor-ship, so check and check. 🙂

3)   Spend time with friends and seek out new friends and experiences – Your friends are already lovely, so spend time with them and reconnect.  Just being with the people you care about, who also care about you, is a soothing balm for your soul…let it help you heal.

Also, get out there and shake things up.  Major shocks to your system often require major action.  Find a meetup group, volunteer, go to a conference, take a class, travel… just do something.  Make sure it’s something healthy though, engaging in self-destructive behavior won’t help you deal with a bad situation…it might feel good at first, but in the end, it will just make everything worse.

4)  Stay positive – All of the things on this list helped me stay positive throughout my hard times and when that didn’t work, I made an effort to practice gratitude.  Even in my darkest days, I was able to list the people and things I was thankful for in my life – and it made a huge difference in helping me heal.

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I can tell you – looking back from the other side of my own pain – if you’re struggling, hang in there.  Better days are coming. 🙂