Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Upside of a Bad Breakup

Oh, the drama of a bad breakup is something the average person doesn't escape in their lifetime. I recently heard a good friend's breakup story and other than feeling glad to be out of the dating pool, I was somewhat happy for her. Yes, happy.

Breakups are full of pain. They're a unique kind of agony where you question every thought and action that brought you to a relationship's sad end. I don't mean standard hum-dum breakups, I mean dramatic tumultuous fall outs.

As I heard my friend share her tale, I was reminded of my own heartaches and heartbreaks. I remembered the stories of friends that came before her and I remember how the common thread in all stories was the depth of our inability to comprehend how things could turn so sour through infidelity, lies, arguments, or worse, verbal and physical abuse. We come out of relationships like these often questioning how we could let things get so bad. But what we don't always consider is the upswing of the bad.

Coping: If we can start a healthy healing process of forgiveness and moving on in a nondestructive way, from destructive relationships, we suddenly gain valuable coping skills. The scary downs teach us to begin facing other life obstacles with a newly refined set of coping mechanisms and a perspective of functioning from a place of been-there-done-that in the toughest of times. Suddenly, we know how to deal with many of life's smaller challenges thanks to those big ones.

Friendships: Of course, bad breakups are a time to rely heavily on honest to goodness relationships. Admitting the intimate details of a bad breakup to friends not only makes us further vulnerable, but truly human and increasingly bonded. It's in these difficulties that our truest, most supportive friends shine. It is those friends you remember to keep around when things suddenly become good again because goodness will return. 

Lessons: Lessons even the scary, painful ones, are lessons worth learning. A previous mentor once counseled my husband and I through a rough time. As she did, she reminded us that though our love saw immense lows, we'd also been able to love in a place of immense highs. This would be especially true once the storm of challenges had passed. She also reminded us that loving each other with the intensity we did might not come to be ever again if we let go of our relationship. We clearly had a deeply supportive union, with a firm foundation but we were stuck in a not-so-ideal runt. We were at a place where we could learn and grow for good or completely throw in the towel. I'm happy we chose growth.

Strength: Like the saying goes, "you don't know how strong you can be until you have to be." This doesn't mean stay in the bad relationships that bring you down. This means reflect on the greatness within you and the strength you'll carry into future experiences, relationships and all journeys of life. Strength adds to your personal boldness and might even be the thing that propels you further into adventures you once couldn't complete, or worse, you played it too safe to ever set out on adventures you so craved. Bad breakups often spark a courage in you you didn't know you had or were too afraid to unleash. Strength overrules fear and bad relationships only breed more fear. Choose strength over fear.

Karma: I believe 100% in Karma. If you left a relationship devastated and mostly on the receiving end of the pain and deceit, life will work things out to reward you in the long run. Humans that come from a place of inflicting pain (such as that dirty dog of an ex) don't get out of this short journey of life unscathed. So DO NOT stoop to anyone's low standards or hurtful ways - life will even out the score. It always does.

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