“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” ~Zig Ziglar
No matter how old I get, no matter how experienced I become, ending a relationship is agonizing.
It represents a loss, and losses hurt.
Deep down, I know if I go through with it, I’ll feel freer—well, not right away, but in a little while anyway—but I’d rather crawl under a rock and ignore the whole thing.
When I was a teen, I went out with a guy who had a major crush on me, although I wasn’t attracted to him. After four months, I wanted out, so I completely disappeared! I ignored all of his phone calls, and that was the end of it.
Another time, I hoped that my boyfriend would cheat on me and get caught so I could find a good enough reason to end things, which eventually happened. And in my twenties, since I lived with my boyfriends, I would just keep quiet, letting things drag on. Cowardly thing to do, huh? Yeah, I know.
Later, I realized that I disliked conflict. I was afraid of it. I was afraid of the disappointment it would cause in them and in myself. And most of all, I was afraid of failure.
Today, I’m no break-up wizard. Trust me. It’ll always be hard. But with time, I developed a few thoughts to give me strength to truly voice my unhappiness in my relationships, and they should help you too.
1. One day these painful moments will be a distant memory.
Think about your past relationships—the one you had fifteen years ago, the one you had ten years ago, or the one you had five years ago. They aren’t your current reality.
Whatever current reality you’re living in will also become a memory five, ten, or fifteen years down the road. Thinking this way helped me lessen the importance of constantly keeping them in my mind.
2. We’ll both be thankful I took action instead of regretful I didn’t.
When I projected myself into the future without the other person, I imagined an alternate life where both of us were with the right person. I imagined us being happy. And then I’d think: how could we hate each other for meeting the real loves of our lives?
Of course in the present moment, we’d be regretful, but in a different time of our lives, we surely would be thankful that someone decided to end things so we could be happier. Why not let that someone be you?
3. Losing someone who makes me unhappy is actually not a loss; it’s a gain.
Losing someone might make you feel like a loser. But if you think of the actionof losing someone who makes you unhappy and wonder what it would feel like, it changes your perspective on things.
When I did this, I felt strong. Because I then had the willingness to move, correct, and change the course of my life.
And that’s an achievement in itself. Getting away from someone who brings you torment is the biggest relief. It makes you regain your freedom, your energy, and your life.
4. Maybe we were meant to cross paths with each other, not meant to walk our paths together.
Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements, teaches us that we’re all messengers. We receive messages, or teachings, from people all around us.
And we receive them at certain moments in our lives. Just as teachers came and went in school, other people will also come and go as life, or the school of life, goes on.
And if you have nothing else to learn from someone, it’s simply time to take the other person’s lessons gratefully and continue to walk your path.
5. A relationship is a chapter in my life, not my life’s entire story.
Imagine being the author of your own adventure book. Picture yourself reading it and finishing a chapter. Then ask yourself: What will happen in the next chapter?
And since you’re the writer of your own book, you can add as many chapters as you want. This approach really helped me get excited for my next adventure—which I admit, might be a little scary too.
6. The moments we shared aren’t destroyed; they’re my opportunity to grow.
We always think that when we break up, we kill everything else that was created from it. You can learn so many things about yourself from your previous relationships. In my case, I learned to be more present, more attentive, and more thoughtful. I learned that I had to give myself emotionally if I wanted to have a stronger relationship.
Meditating on your past relationships makes you grow, and learning from them improves future relationships.
7. A relationship isn’t real if I’m not real with myself.
A relationship is about true communication and intimacy. Whenever you’re not honest with yourself, whenever you’re not true to your feelings, you can’t strengthen your bond with your loved one.
Having an honest relationship with yourself might be difficult, but it’s critical.
8. Leaving will hurt, but staying will hurt even more.
If you can’t stop thinking that you’d destroy your loved one if you left, think about how you’d destroy yourself if you stayed. Bring the focus back to yourself and picture yourself in a distant future being in this exact situation. Do you like what you see?
This vision made me see a dark portrait of my life. So I understood that I should only worry about how I feel about myself in the present and that I needed to stop worrying about others so much.
9. I can break free because I trust myself.
You possess a profound inner voice—an all-encompassing, nurturing, and loving voice. Its purpose isn’t to bring you down, but to elevate you and make you accomplish things that are so great and unimaginable that you can feel gratified beyond belief.
Your inner voice will never lie to you. It will always express your deepest truth and guide you with the most precise discernment of what will serve your highest good—even if that means getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks.
It has never let me down, and it won’t let you down either.