You noticed I didn’t say, “Get Over” a breakup, did ya? There’s nothing to get over. It’s true, I feel like all experiences, labeled good or bad by our efficiently judging minds, have their place in life. I’ve always felt it good to remember that nothing has meaning except for the meaning you give it.
So… Quick Disclaimer Paragraph: I just went through a breakup. I can’t use the term “bad breakup” because as they go, mine was pretty mutual and pretty mild. No one has to explain a forehead laceration from any piece of China, and no one is trying to figure out how to get their dog back. Still, it hurts. They all do, whether you’re the breaker or the breakee. But, it doesn’t have to be an event that crushes your world and leaves you strung out for months. “You’re sooo Money, and you don’t even know it!” -Trent Walker
With my very best smile on, here’s what I’ve learned to have gratitude for over the past several days; perhaps you’ll agree with a few.
- I get to work on myself for a while. I think everyone should work on themselves, all the time. Life is a constant classroom to always be learning and growing. The trouble is, we get out of the habit quite easily. A breakup will elicit much free time from your schedule and give you enough incentive to goose your ass into a self-improvement project of some sort – the first two on my list are physical body and enhanced confidence.
- I’m thankful that I am the same guy I was before the relationship. Indeed, I’ve added some life experiences and new perspectives gained from being in that relationship. But at the core, I am still me – and that kicks ass. A relationship, regardless of how meaningful or deep, does not take away or kill any of the primal mojo that makes me, me.
- Productivity will increase, if only a little. I don’t have to interrupt flow with random text messages, I don’t need to book an extra day on either side of business trips to see my honey anymore. You get the idea. Listen, I don’t mean to give the impression that I wasn’t thankful for those ‘distractions’ while I was in love – I definitely welcomed each of them – but there are 3 sides to each coin. The good, the bad, and the wisdom you can glean. That wisdom resides around the edge, where few people look.
- I’m no longer keeping my ex from meeting her ‘one’. Since I wasn’t him, it was actually a little selfish to be keeping her off the market for my own pleasure and enjoyment (not that I knew any better – I’ve never been conniving). We had a lot of enjoyable times I can look back on. Still, I’m thankful that she is now free again to search for her ‘one’ (she deserves it) and I’m able to continue the search for mine.
- A small factor of stress is released when you separate from a relationship. How do I know there was stress? Because it dissolved. If it dissolved, there was a period where each of us could feel something was wrong and that’s stressful, sometimes very much so. That stress of wondering and navigating is now gone. Be sure you do not replace it with a different flavor of stress by belaboring the situation over and over in your mind, wondering about what-ifs, have-nots and if-only’s that are, frankly, irrelevant.
- I now have the opportunity to notice more beauty in my world. Yes, I’m talking about women (or enter your desired gender here). I’ve got plenty of testosterone in me, and I definitely dig the female form, but I’m also a gentleman (mostly – stop snickering). When I’m in a relationship, I don’t make it a habit to ogle other women that much. Once your relationship status changes, there’s a sort of awakening to all the pretty faces that have you’ve been walking right past for the past several months/years. Enjoy that.
- I’ve built a lot of skills over the course of the relationship and even the breakup. I have learned more about compassion, compromise (even if she might disagree), resiliency, strength, and kindness to name a few. I’m very thankful to be given these gifts, even if the teaching environment was unpleasant in the end.
- I’ve been thrust out of my comfort zone – so get growing! It’s so easy to start resting on your laurels when you’re in a secure relationship. The most obvious example being fitness. We are usually trying to put our best self on the block when we’re single, but if you already have a partner, it’s so easy to let it slip, and this goes for other parts of you too. Now that this comfort zone has been eliminated, I have the opportunity to jump in feet first into things that I’ll be uncomfortable with, but will indeed help me grow.
- I have been given the gift of awareness about the world around me – take advantage of it! When you’re in a relationship, it’s so easy to get tunnel vision and take for granted the beauty in this world around you. Each time I’ve found myself post-partner in a reflection period, I notice things I had forgotten about. Things like stars in the night sky, ladybugs, kind gestures between two nearby strangers and watching a dog try to eat bubblegum. These are precious gifts; I’m happy I can see them now.
- This is a rebirth of sorts, so use it to start something positive/constructive while I’m in this zone. It’s infinitely easier to start or stop habits when other things are changing in your life than it is to just inject a new habit into your entrenched life. Example: would it be easier to decrease your morningly Starbucks habit when you’ve moved to a new city and have a choice of work routes that don’t pass by one, or by quitting cold-turkey, as-is? When your life gets shaken up by something that changes it drastically, use this opportunity to introduce a great new habit or stop an old bad one during your ‘rebirth’.
- I have a friend who knows me very intimately now. Even if you can’t speak to one another in the near or distant future, that kind of intimacy is rare, and a very special gift one human being can give to another. For that gift, I’m extremely grateful.
If you just got out of a toxic relationship, that’s already enough to be thankful for! Do not punish yourself with delusions of grandeur like, “But that’s just the way he is” or “But you don’t know what she’s like when we’re alone.” Healthy relationships aren’t toxic. Take some time to heal your self-image and go find a good guy/girl – there are millions of them out there.
I heard someone say once, “When it comes to breaking up, always leave them better than you found them.” I think this is just about the best advice one can use when approaching a terminal relationship. If you have been the best person you could be during your relationship (all things considered), if you taught each other things about the world and differing perspectives, and if you haven’t intentionally hurt your partner, then I think you’ve accomplished that goal. Don’t try to caress your ego by saying vicious things you can’t take back, even if you never plan to speak again, it does no one any good and makes the world a slightly darker place. Just leave them as unharmed as possible, and perhaps they’ll return the favor. Hey, we’re all trying to make it out here – separately, but together. I know she left me better than the man I was before we met. I only hope she can feel the same.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.