This trip down to Gold Coast is much needed, not to run away from anything but to take solid time away to heal. It hasn’t been an easy period for me the last few months dealing with the sudden breakup, but thankfully, after a week of blue skies, fluffy clouds and personal time, I gained the clarity (plus a nice tan) I needed to plan the next steps in life.
During this solitude, you can only imagine the whirlwind of thoughts rushing around my head. Waking up in the morning was the hardest, because that’s when reality hits you most. That the one person you believed in the most and had a lot of faith in, could let you down in some of the worst ways possible.
In the face of loss, betrayal, disbelief, disappointment and hurt, it is often easy to start inwardly blaming yourself, as you tear yourself apart and beat yourself up for what happened. You replay scenes over and over again, wishing you had done certain things differently; you question your character and you start regretting some of your words and actions. STOP doing that; just stop. It’s over, mate.
Your self-worth inevitably takes a bashing as you get crushed under all of that pain, but this is also where you have to muster every drop of strength you have and pull yourself out. And you have to do it yourself, while your support network cheer you on. It might feel difficult to do so, especially when the pain flows through your veins at a level so intense you have problems breathing sometimes. But time will heal and your heart will catch up with what the mind already knows.
Most importantly, you need to understand that it’s not you.
Here are some of my key takeaways through this pain:
Don’t be afraid to confront your inner demons.
I have to confess – I didn’t realise that I was still struggling so much with my self-esteem until this breakup happened. I was alright with the way I looked, but self-esteem extends beyond the physical. I was relying too much on a partner for validation, to the point where I compromised my beliefs and values just to get his approval, thus when he cut loose abruptly, I fell apart. I felt worthless, I felt inferior, I felt like I wasn’t good enough.
That’s when I realised that I based my self-worth on the wrong things. Don’t let other people, material things or external events define you. Find your self-worth within yourself. You deserve to be happy because YOU matter. You don’t look for someone to complete you – you are a 1.0, not a 0.5. You can stand complete on your own. Look for someone who adds value to you.
If you have a faulty foundation within you, don’t run away from it. Confront your inner demons and explore these hidden depths of yourself that you have been avoiding. Dive deep into your emotions even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, so you can discover more about yourself and life. When you feel you’re lousy, you end up attracting the wrong type of partners and fall prey to toxic relationships. Respect yourself – your self-worth starts from you.
You don’t have to be strong all the time.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s ok to not be ok. Sometimes we try too hard to portray a certain image of ourselves to people, because we want to be perceived as a strong and independent individual. However, there is nothing wrong with letting your guard down and showing your vulnerability. Not everyone will be there for you because suddenly you’re not the pillar you seemed to be, but the ones that matter are more than happy to support you and give to you as much as you have been giving to them.
Nobody expects you to be strong all the time – it’s you who demands yourself to be strong all the time. Letting people in will improve and deepen relationships with them. I mean, it’s hard to relate to someone who is strong all the time because it makes you feel weak. Allow yourself to be supported, allow yourself to ask for help, allow yourself to have moments of vulnerability and weakness – because you’re only human and you have a heart. It doesn’t diminish you or make you less of a person.
Learn how to find love in other places.
A lot of us place too much emphasis on love from romantic relationships, so if we don’t get the emotional satisfaction/assurance we want from our partners, we are left feeling unwanted and unloved. But look, there is a lot of love out there if you learn to attach love to other aspects in your life besides relationships. Loving your job, finding passion in a sport, investing more time and effort with friends and family – you can open up your heart and find love in all of these things. Love is everywhere.
Being alone does not mean being lonely.
Learn to enjoy your own company. It is normal to feel scared of the unknown and we don’t like the idea of being suddenly single, but it is only when you can truly be alone before you are ready for a relationship. Spending time with yourself doesn’t have to be lonely if you value yourself right. Take the time to work on yourself and understand yourself. You owe it to yourself.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to heal.
We often think that we have moved on and gotten over it, only to find ourselves getting vastly affected in the face of a trigger. You start questioning yourself and getting exasperated because you thought you are fine, only to find that all-too-familiar chill in your heart that might make you cry (or not). You get upset with yourself for not being able to let go fully, but hey, HEY, it takes time. Don’t rush it. Don’t give yourself a deadline. Let time do the healing for you. Do yourself a favour by not obsessing over it and distract yourself with other exciting things in life. Time will be your best friend.
Just let the pain flow and let yourself stay broken for a while. Don’t rush around to try and mend yourself. Putting on a happy face and telling everyone you’re fine, while you’re actually hurting inside and wishing you can be numb, wishing you can erase all the memories. Don’t be afraid to feel.
Put yourself back one step at a time and it may take longer than you hope for, it may feel that you might never be the same again. But it will be, it really will. It’s not wrong to stay broken for a while, you don’t have to pretend you’re perfectly ok even if you’re not, because putting up a pretence will cause you to fall apart again. However, don’t wallow in self-pity for too long. Take the time to heal, learn what you need to from the pain, understand how you don’t want to come back to this dark space again and then go. Go on and live your life full of colours, go on and be better than before.
People don’t change; they just reveal their true colours over time.
A leopard never changes its spots. Stop making excuses for people, stop thinking that the problem is you. Sometimes people think they can live with an appearance that they put up, but again, time will tell and it will show if they cannot keep up with that front. You feel shocked, you didn’t see it coming, you don’t even know this person anymore. No, they have not changed – they are just finally showing you who they really are. And be grateful that this surfaced earlier than later.
What’s meant to be, will be. Let the universe work its magic.
A lot of times we think something or someone is meant for us, meant to be, and we cling on to it too tightly. We keep wanting it to happen, we keep thinking this is the one and thus when it fails, we find it so difficult to let go. Here’s the thing – if it doesn’t work out, just let it go. It’s not meant to be. Accept that. Don’t be afraid to let go because life has other plans for you. Let the universe work its magic! Greater things are in store for you. Trust the process.
Always keep positive thoughts.
Thoughts carry energy. We don’t realise how strong our mind can be and thus, when we hold negative thoughts, we unknowingly end up willing these things to happen. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, be more conscious of your thoughts. You have power and control over them. If your thoughts do not lead you to a place that makes you happy or to an outcome that you want, shift your thoughts.
I kept believing I was in a dark place and I chose to stay in it, and that’s what my life was all about during that post-breakup period. But realise that reality is what you make it. Be conscious of where you allow your thoughts and feelings go.
What your mind believes, it will achieve.
I suddenly had the idea of going into triathlons last December and so the ex and I decided to do it together. He had a bigger goal to go into Ironman but at that time I was happy to just do an OD (1/4 of a full Ironman) and I recall saying I will never do an Ironman, not even a half.
In the last few months though, I found a new vein of courage amid all of that hurt and sorrow, not just in sport, but also in other aspects of life such as career and personal development. I nearly gave up the sport because it reminded me so much of the ex and it was killing me. But why should I let go of this newfound passion that has become a lifestyle?
Something then unlocked within me and suddenly doing a (half) Ironman doesn’t seem impossible or scary anymore, so I set new goals.
I started to see things differently; I started to see how you are limited by your mind. What the mind believes, it can achieve. So back to YOU, don’t say “I can’t” or “It’s impossible”. Of course you can – it’s whether you want to or not.
My #roadtoIMPhuket kicked off when I registered for the race and it has been really fulfilling so far, as I realise how much more there is to myself. I too hope that YOU will unleash all that hidden potential and strength. It’s right there.
This trip felt more like a training holiday, with daily double sessions and some personal time with the coach, but I’ve never felt better. Life is good and I am surrounded by so much love, which I can finally absorb its in entirety. Previously I was refusing to step out of my darkness and hence not able to fully receive what everyone is giving to me. I have lots to be thankful for.
Essentially, there will be certain points in your life where you will feel insignificant and lost. But you must know that you DO matter; you do play a part. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel small. In the face of loss or disappointment, don’t feel that it’s on you. Some of us tend to self-blame a lot, but it will drag you down further.
Until you are broken, you don’t know what you are made of. You are worth so much more. Life is too short to waste time on people and things that suck the happiness and joy out of you. Forget the past and remember the lessons. Take the positives and rise.
Once you value yourself, you will find love in the right places. You will know how much you should be compromising, how much shit you should take before you choose to depart and how you should treat yourself better so you will be treated the way you deserve to be.
So stop blaming yourself already, love yourself first and remember, it’s not you.