Thursday, June 2, 2011

Through the Changing Ocean Tides

(A note for my girl friends and sisters on how to cope with a painful break-up)

I love escaping to places like this to retreat and contemplate(from Asri's Album)

“Well I’ve been afraid of changing ‘cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, children gets older, and I’m getting older too...”
(Landslide, Fleetwood Mac)

How many times have you built your life around a person?
You feel comfortable, you love that person with all your heart, and you do everything possible to be with him, yet something unexpected comes on your way at the most unpredicted time, tearing the bonds between you and him all in a sudden. Feeling lost, disoriented, hollow, shattered, (well you know, all those keywords in break up songs...) are the most possible impacts. After all, he was the center of your life. Being with him was the main direction you were heading to.

Suddenly you don’t have to do many things that you usually do. No more preparing for breakfast, lunch box, dinner, or special menu on weekends. Suddenly you have to watch all your DVDs alone on Friday nights. Suddenly you don’t have anyone at the other end of the line to chat with. Suddenly you have none to hug, to look at closely with that look-of-love, with a little smile drawn at your lips. No more special nicknames for each other. No more dreams about the kinds of future that you would spend together. You eventually realize that all the savings you have to build a future with him would be there in your bank account for an idle purpose. No more trips on holidays, and you start to pack all the pictures, valentine’s day and birthday cards away from your sight for those start to feel bitter to see.

Whether you are separated by death or by betrayal, still you would have this moment of post-break up disorientation. However, in the case of betrayal, the sense of disorientation might go even worse because you end up questioning if you did really knew the person you were together with for a quite long period of time. You would question whether he really loved you as much as you believed when he said that to you while at your back he was cheating on you. You lost orientation on how real love should look like, and it may affect you for longer run, often way longer than what you predicted.

Feeling disoriented is painful. For any kind of pain, you need a cure. But first, you have to know exactly where it hurts. Everyone knows that different from physical pain, the wounds that trigger the pain after an end of a relationship are invisible. If treated carelessly, the wounds might turn into very sensitive scars in the future. Many of us try to ignore the pain by simply moving on. Alright, it is true that time heals most wounds. But time does not guarantee that it would heal the torn layers beneath the scars completely.

What the wound is about is the thing that we need to figure out. Is it your trust wounded? Is it your self-esteem? Is it your dignity? Is it your pride? Is it your confidence? Is it your intellectuality? Does it invoke some kind of fear? Or is it about the insecurities? Are you angry? Are you afraid of the sudden changes? Are you in grief? Do you grieve for losing the person that was so important to your life, or for losing some kind of status that comforted you? And if he was that important, what made him so important to your life?

You can ask many questions to yourself to explore the meaning of that now-broken relationship to yourself, the meaning of that lost person, and at the end, the meaning of yourself in relation to those matters. Asking those questions would help you seeing what do you think is good, important, and meaningful. This would help you a lot in mapping out your new path. :)

Breaking up is a great moment to reflect. After all the storms of rage, sadness, sleepless nights, series of questioning and fact-finding efforts, at the end, here you are – all alone. The closest person that you have is YOURSELF. So love her with all your heart. Take care of her. Take care of yourself.

Whether he left you because he was lonely, simply unfaithful or plain stupid, whether it was because he was insecure about your relationship, or because there were some ill-mannered women breaking into your relationship to fulfill their lust and ego, or because your personalities couldn’t stop colliding and quarreling most of the times, at the end you moved out from that toxic relationship because you have decided that you didn’t want to take those pains anymore.
So hold on to that and read this loud and clear to your mind: you moved out, because you don’t want to take more pain. So be it. Let the post-break-up moment be the time to heal the pain.

Sometimes the break-ups are rough, depends on the intensity of the pain happening during its process. Betrayal cases are usually the worst. I would suggest you to not reaching out to your ex when you still feel enormous pain and anger in you, because the betrayed feeling can hit you multiple times when you see him again, knowing that you (used to) love him so much (and maybe still) but at the same time you hate him so much for hurting you beyond anything you could imagine. Before you reach your inner happiness and peace, moving closer to the agent of agony is close to self-torturing acts. You may say that you would learn to forgive him, but ordinarily, forgiving is much easier to do when you can control your mind from recalling all the hurt that he cause to you.

As much as it feels good and liberating, forgiving is a work to be done, not something that would come automatically. To me, forgiving doesn’t mean “accepting/tolerating the acts done by the perpetrator/s”. I believe that forgiving means “to let go”. Out of weaknesses or out of mean purpose, what is wrong in the perpertrators wrongdoing is still wrong and I don’t need to condone that fact. But I have to allow myself to let go. I don't have to invite those persons who have harmed myself back into my lives or be friendly with them. What we do have to do is allow ourselves to release all negative emotions associated with that person, because if we hold onto the pain, we would allow that person's past actions to continue hurting ourselves. Learning from the hurt, I promise to myself is that I wouldn't want to betray anyone I love in the future, and I never want to be the woman who intrude in other couple's relationship. I want to live peacefully, without regrets or guilts. I'm sure many of you want that to.

Putting our priority to reach out to kind people is better than wasting our energy trying to reach out to those who have hurt us. We can learn more about kind acts from those kind hearts and affirm our path right there. As far as I know, kindness - that we do for others, or that others do for us - never fails to soothe any wounded heart.

After the break up, many people rush to find a new relationship, thinking that it would heal them faster. The truth is, we, people, tend to fill that vacant place with a person that is familiar to us. And those people are most likely the person with similar qualities as the one with whom we have just broken up with. That could jeopardize the healing process. Be careful with your steps. You don't want to get hurt twice. If you feel attracted to someone, don't ignore any signs that tell you there is something that is not right with that. Listen to your heart and just walk away before you re-commit to another circle of pain.

At times you may feel very sad, missing your ex and many things you used to share, and feel lonely sometimes. That is okay. We are human, the social animals that have the needs to bond, as much as the ability to cherish such beautiful affection called “love”. Embrace your grief. Let yourself cry if you want to. After all, he was your other half and he was important to your life. When you cry, you may tell yourself that it was great that you could love someone that much and you have done many things to keep that love alive in your past. Now, it's the time to bring back the love to yourself. When you are ready, burry your memories in the most respectful ways you know. Pack your old pictures in a box, remember that you were part of it, but now you are determined to move on. Let the past relationship rest in peace. Literally.

Now it’s the time to build your life around yourself. Take care of yourself, find some lessons from your previous relationship. Try to ease yourself, pamper yourself, do things you always want to do which would never have happened if you were still in a relationship with him, take care of others around you, do things that make you happy, make a list of good things that happen after the break-up, and re-map your future. Ask yourself what you really want in life, what makes you feel happy, and what kind of relationship you want in your future. Take your time. Walk those baby steps if you need to. No rush. Cherish every blessings that comes to your life, and you would find that life is full of bliss, that happiness comes in many forms, and your positive energy fuels your trips to meet great people and experiences. Good luck with your new journey. You’ll be alright, sooner or later. :)

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