Why does it seem like it’s always so much easier to give advice than follow it? This is a post by SYBD VIP Serena09 who often gave really sage advice on the forums. I always loved how she shared her own brand of soulful support (and still does to me as a dear friend). As she had so many chestnut theories about life, love, loss and recovery, I suggested she write a post of her wisdom. Grab yourself a drink and read on…
A Little About Life Lessons
Over the years of working through my own crap… err, I mean, issues in life, and watching others’ dramas unfold, there have been a few themes that I have found myself harping on… err… I mean discussing over and over. None of these ideas are new, nor are they mine, but I find myself being drawn to their power and truth.
No One Gets Away Scot Free
Considering this site’s founder of SYBD is based in Scotland, I find this apropos. In feeling “wounded“, there is a fantasy that is very heady, intoxicating and deadly powerful. That ‘fantasy’ is that the life of the person who wanted out of the relationship will automatically become wonderful.
Many of us believe that “they” (exes) have all the cards. Maybe they have a new love, a better job, any job, passions, talents, direction, while often we feel very lacking in these areas, regardless of the truth, in the days/weeks/months after a break-up.
Often we, “the left” if you will, start off by feeling broken, lost, hopeless and helpless. We think that it is no wonder they left such a loser such as us, and then proceed to sob into our pillow again.
It is all a fantasy though. Even if they have all these “things”, those “things” are never the way anyone is really happy in life.
“There is no magic bullet to happiness. No woman/man, no sex, no money, no job, no house, no car, no child, no talent…”
Of course we may want those things, and they do bring special meaning to our life, BUT… and that is a big but(t), not a single object/event/job/person is the answer to any real lasting peace, joy or contentment in life.
Let them “win” in your head, then pull back and retreat. Find your space and heal.
Making Ridiculous Mental Movies
When I would find myself overwhelmed by the fantasy of their lives, I would then create the MOST ridiculous fantasies that I could think of.
He was with this perfect human being now. They were so very in love and living the perfect life, that unicorns and magic elves danced around them, 24/7. I thought of them winning the lottery, winning awards for their talent, having children, staring in uninterrupted bliss at each other, for days on end. I pictured that someone would mention my name, and he would reply “who”?
Thinking these things would return me to the central question: “Ok, he has magic unicorns and bliss. Now what-the-F am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
When I realise that he has no magic, I can start to create my own, for the right reasons. This leads to another big discovery.
There is No Replacement for Integrity. None.
I have found myself repeating that phrase over and over, whether as a self-soothing mantra, or to others struggling with how they feel about themselves after being so badly hurt.
Integrity does not mean being perfect; nor does it even mean being honest all the time.
It means trying to do the right thing, as best as I can. It means trying to be a good person, regardless of what others do.
This again goes back to the fantasy of a breakup that “they” hold all the cards, have all the goodies, and are quietly sniggering at what sad sacks we are. Even if they were, what way to live is that? I want to love people, be a caring person, and someday feel free again.
Yes, there will be anger, yes there will be fantasies of revenge, but the more self control over my actions I have, the better I will come to feel about myself and the situation. That is why, for me, it is best to never, ever, let them see me out of control crazy, and instead focus on what matters to me the most.
Webster’s dictionary defines integrity as:
“Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code; The state of being unimpaired; soundness;
The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.”
For me, this means fighting my “ego” battles in private, with trusted friends, writing in a journal, or message board. After the dust has settled, I have always been very grateful that in keeping my wits about me during those first rocky months, I have had very little to apologize for later.
If I Say Nothing Now I Can Say Something Better Later
This final point ties into the whole idea of breaking all contact (No Contact/NC) when any kind of break up happens.
Everyone has their own reasons for no contact, but I think if nothing else, after the trauma has been gotten over, I am left with more ‘clarity’ than ‘crazy’.
In the beginning, I am just too unstable. My emotions are going from zero-to-sixty in about 10 seconds. One minute I am crying, the next I am raging, followed by the sure knowledge I am “over it”.
Now imagine if I decide to write all this out, getting all these “true” feelings out to my ex. Then the next day, I feel all these new and different things and send another email.
Now I have become what is known as the “psycho-ex”.
Are most of these poor unfortunates crazy? No, they are feeling just like the rest of us, but decide to share, over and over again.
If I can hold off for a good month or so, then I can, at least, have enough self awareness/control to get more of my longer running feelings and thoughts out.
When I decided to make the first contact, I created a “48-hour rule” for myself. I would write out everything that I felt I needed/wanted to say at that time. Then I would have to leave said letter for 48 hours without changing one word. If anything in that letter changed, then I would have to start the clock all over again.
This kept me from sending a lot of emails that I know I would have regretted later because I rarely made it past the 48 hour mark in the first few months.
I guess the underlying theme here is that having just the tiniest bit of self control during the craziest days of pain and chaos ended up leaving me in much better shape in the short, as well as, the long run.
I don’t like regrets. Learning how to take care of my, sometimes, overwhelming feelings without creating more pain for myself (and others) becomes a priceless tool in the work of recovery.
Hold your head up. No matter how much pain a breakup causes, pushing through to become a better person for it is something that no one can ever take away from you.