One of the somewhat awkward parts of running a semi-successful blog and having a growing online presence is that lot of people end up knowing your shit. This can be tough when you write a personal development blog in which one of the key topics is happiness and you aren’t feeling all that happy.
But hey, I get all of my material from my real life. I may not say names or specific detailed stories, but everything I write about – hell, everything I talk about – has come in one form or another from something I’m dealing with in my own life. In fact, the whole reason I started this blog in November 2010 was because I was a hot mess, and I figured if I was going through things then other people out there must be feeling the same way.
For my own sanity and the authenticity of this blog I have to call myself out here – I’ve been kind of a mess lately. I’ve been stressed, unable to focus and very emotional. I’ve let work pile up like I never have before and I find myself wanting to sleep more than anything else. Then, when I do wake up, the first thing I remember is why I’m so upset to begin with – I had my heart broken by someone I care about.
Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a deceitful betrayal or anything like that – it was just a realization that things weren’t going to work out. In fact, despite the tears and the emotionally charged conversations – it was about an amicable a break up as possible. Or, at least, certainly the most amicable break up I’ve ever had. A break up where there’s no doubt the two parties care about each other. But even still, it hurts. A lot.
It’s a feeling I need to learn how to deal with since I typically avoided relationships like the bubonic plague for years on end. And it finally gave me an excuse to pick up Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love which emphasized something I already knew but still needed to hear -sometimes pain is what happens when you start opening yourself up again – the Universe throws you shit and you have to learn the lesson. Sometimes the Universe gives you an assignment precisely to bring up your shit – not to hurt you, but to shed light to it and help you overcome it. Besides, if you start truly living life you have to fully accept all of it - pleasure, pain and everything in between.
Typically I’m very hard on myself as a personal development junkie. Some of you may experience this as well: when you get upset at yourself for feeling hurt or angry. You think there’s a timeline to get over stuff. You think you should be stronger. You think you should be better.
In reality the only thing we need to be is compassionate with ourselves. We need to give ourselves the time we need to heal and take care of ourselves. And we need to do it without any judgement. If we don’t do that it may be much harder to forgive the person who hurt us. After all, if we don’t clean our side of the street how can we possibly be there for someone else? How can we even fathom forgiving someone else if we can’t even forgive ourselves for having feelings? The simple answer is we can’t.
Let yourself feel.
If something is coming up for you don’t resist it, just feel it and let it go. The day the break up happened I left work early and didn’t even show up the next day. I was literally sick to my stomach and knew I was too much of a wreck to function properly for a few days. So I stayed home and cried until I just couldn’t cry anymore. I took a step back and allowed myself to really feel whatever was happening at that moment. That way when I did go back to work I could at least focus a little more and get the job done.
Of course, I’m probably not done crying. In fact, I may have cried at work a few times this week. But the point is I have to let myself cry. I have to let myself feel the pain. Otherwise it will only get worse because resistance only causes further suffering.
Have a support system.
My friends are awesome. Period. Point blank. And even many of you readers (at least the ones I’m closer to) have reached out to me.
The last time I went through something like this I thought I had to figure it out all on my own. I didn’t let anyone in and just internalized everything which resulted in a 4 year hiatus from dating. This time is different. I’ve got my people and my people support me; especially when they take turns getting me out of the house, take crazy kick boxing classes with me, bring me cupcakes and constantly remind me that I’m doing okay.
Become aware of your ego.
It is so easy for the ego to take hold during heartbreak. For instance, despite the fact that I know damn well this person cares about me the ego still makes its presence known by questioning it. After all, romantic relationships are my Achilles’ heel. Or, even worse, the ego causes me to judge myself for getting sad or angry on the harder days.
Now more than ever I need to continue actively changing the conversation in my head. I need to remain positive, hopeful and present. I need to trust that it’s all working out the way it’s supposed to for what ever reason. I need to practice love and forgiveness on a daily basis. It’s all one big lesson at the end of the day.
If you’re going through something similar and don’t know where to start, you can begin by recognizing and outing your ego.
So although life is handing me a bit of a shit sandwich at the moment I know at the end of the day I’m going to be fine. It may not be today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or even next month. But if I continue to just let myself feel and practice compassion toward myself I can truly speed up the healing process. And one day I’ll be able to provide the same compassion and support for the person who hurt me – which I truly feel is the lesson I’m supposed to learn through this relationship.