“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
― Khalil Gibran
A very good friend of mine recently went through an excruciating breakup, and he asked for my help. While I usually avoid taking on friends and relatives as clients, I just couldn’t turn him away.
So we sat down together, and I gave the initial talk where I explain what lies ahead and what the next weeks are going to look like. While I talked about the three main things he has to tackle in order to start his recovery, I noticed a weird look on his face.
It’s the face someone makes when you tell them something they don’t want to hear.
Because the path he was about to embark on is definitely not an easy one.
He continued to look at me in that weird way until he finally broke the silence to finally tell me what was on his mind.
He said, “Why on earth should I take on this heavy burden with all this pain on this excruciating path? Why not just take the shortcut?”
“What is the shortcut?” I asked him.
“I could just find someone new and just start from the beginning.”
“It doesn’t work that way,” I replied. “You have to go through the pain in order to make the best out of this traumatic experience”.
He didn’t seem to understand, so I decided to go a little deeper into that matter.
I then explained him why this breakup is an opportunity for him – not just a burden. I told him the three reasons why I was happy to have gone through this challenging time and why I knew that taking the shortcut would never have worked in the long run.
I told him that all I am today, the life I have built with my wife and kids, all the happiness and fulfillment I am experiencing now, is thanks to this breakup.
If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And I certainly wouldn’t have the wonderful family I have today.
He looked at me in a very suspicious way, as he didn’t believe a word I was saying, so I continued.
3 Things My Breakup Did for Me
“You never know how strong you are…until being strong is the only choice you have.”
― Cayla Mills
It isn’t easy to convince someone who is in great emotional pain, and who just wants it to stop, that this same pain has its purpose, a usefulness that lies beyond what we feel.
So I started to tell him my reasons why I am so happy and thankful my Ex left me and forced me into recovery:
#1 – The pain will identify the personal areas you need to work on.
One of the best things about a breakup is that it uncovers things you’ve been struggling with your whole life. But the problem is, it uncovers them in a brutal, almost violent way.
We all have what I call a “hidden pain” buried deep somewhere inside of us. This may be early childhood experiences, some minor traumas, or just stuff that went wrong in the past and created a false belief system.
When a breakup happens, it sticks and twists the knife exactly in that wound.
What sounds and feels awful can actually be a blessing. Because it shows us exactly where we have to work on ourselves.
Isn’t that a useful thing?
#2 – The pain will remove your Ex from the pedestal.
At the beginning of the breakup, it is normal to see the Ex as the ultimate partner who is perfect in every imaginable way. We’ve put them on a pedestal to worship them every day.
When you go through recovery the right way, it will remove the Ex from that pedestal and show you the real nature of the relationship and how it really was. In fact, this is a necessity if you want to progress through the different phases.
If you take the shortcut, however, your Ex will most probably stay on this pedestal for infinity. This will make it very difficult for you – if not impossible – to learn from past relationships and to improve yourself, becoming better and better with time in relationships.
This is a must – because who wants to make the same mistakes over and over again?
#3 – The pain will make you stronger and happier.
This is definitely one of the biggest and most obvious benefits of a painful breakup (even if it’s nearly impossible to believe that right at the beginning).
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
A recent study conducted by Ty Tashiro and Patricia Frazier and published in the Journal of Personal Relationships showed that most of the surveyed students reported their overall life quality improved after they recovered from their breakup:
When I started my own recovery, it was almost impossible for me to imagine that one day this pain will stop, that one day I will be a happier and stronger person (no matter who told me).
Most of us aren’t able to do that.
Those of us who are going through a breakup right now are left with the vague trust that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a reward at the other end of the pain.
I know that it’s difficult, but there is hope and strength in believing and trusting those who were there, who have persevered and survived.
When I told my good friend that these three things made my recovery the best thing I have ever done in my life, the look on his face changed from being skeptical, to being excited to start.
While I knew that the skepticism was still there, I also knew that this boost of excitement would be enough to get him to start doing the things that needed to be done in order to heal.Sometimes, we just need a small push in the right direction to overcome the “force of friction.”
The rest of the voyage we have to do on our own.
There is no other way when you stand at the crossroads after the breakup, choosing which way to go.
Will you choose the shortcut, or will you take on the pain and the work it takes?
Tell me in the comment section below!