Seven months ago, I chose to end a three-year relationship. In the past, I would’ve told myself to just get over it. This time, I let myself feel. So I fell into a bottomless pit of fury and grief. Climbing out of it hurt like hell. But to my surprise, I resurfaced holding missing puzzle pieces. Now, after the breakup, being my own woman is transforming my life.
What I learned was simple, yet profound: To get a life I really want, I have to put myself first. This goes against every value taught to me since childhood. After the breakup, being my own woman means valuing me.
I was raised to take care of others. Sure it’s an admirable quality. But I always give too much, which leads to exhaustion, frustration and resentment. When I’m giving and the other person’s not changing, the relationship turns toxic.
During the weeping, I began to realize that I really can’t change anybody. And what do I know anyway? People have a right to make their own decisions. Who made me God?
The only person I can change is me. At some point in my misery, the aha! moment spoke…
Unless I stop giving too much, I’ll never, ever make truly satisfying connections with other people. I’ll always be giving more than I receive. After initiating the breakup, being my own woman meant reclaiming what was mine all along.
The breakup forced me to take charge of myself. I reclaimed my house from remnants of the live-in relationship. Rearranging the rooms and decluttering opened up space to breathe.
Now I’m reclaiming my life, with open eyes. I can see my past is the past. It’s time to let go.
So here I am, after the breakup, being my own woman. After years of tending to elderly parents, they’ve both passed on from this world. I’m empty-nesting because my daughter is about to graduate from college. After decades of rescuing men and stray animals, I’m down to just two cats.
It took me a while to come out of hiding. Eventually, I started seeing all that I have. Daily gratitude lifts me up. Every day, I wake to this view from my bedroom window. I am thankful for each new day, each sunrise.
Friends new and old helped with the recovery. When my neighbor asks me to stop by and play mah jong, I say “yes.” I started eating out again, too. Plus, I’m in training to be a life coach, which has introduced me to a whole new community of kindred souls.
There’s also retail therapy. Seriously, this is important. To see myself through fresh eyes, my eyes need to see me looking fresh. Note to bargain hunters: If you’ve got a Lord & Taylor’s near you, check out the end-of-season super-sale going on right now. I just bought six, nice-quality tops for $68. :)
Honestly? I’m operating from a place of inner clarity and quiet that is totally unfamiliar. It feels like I’m visiting a foreign country, but one that I just might fall in love with. Getting comfortable will take time. Sometimes, a memory will trigger me back to a sad place. But that’s okay. It’s part of being human. When this happens, meditating keeps me breathing.
If you have advice, suggestions, reflections or questions, please do share. And if you’ve read this far into the post, thank you. Thank you for being part of the new, emerging me. I feel your energy and it makes a difference. xo