There is so much heartache out there. I get many emails each week from women out there that are hurting. From loss or divorce, from breakups to loneliness. I find myself at my computer crying just reading about some of the things you are going through.
Here are a few of the things I would tell myself at 27 (and a few things that I did do) back then and maybe it will help any of you that are going through a divorce/breakup/separation:
1. “Go forward in great faith. The best lies ahead.” -Gordon B Hinkley. It seriously does. I remember my early morning runs gave me the biggest testimony of that truth. Each morning I would be out in the complete darkness for my run. It was so dark I could barely see my hand in front of my face without a headlamp ha. At some point along the way, whether that was 1.5 miles into the run or 9 miles into the run, the sun always came up. It never didn’t come up. It was my daily reminder that whatever we are going through, the light does come. It might take a lot longer than we hoped for but at some point it comes. At some point you will be grateful that things happened the way they did. At some point you will have to put your sunglasses on because it’s almost too bright out there while you are running. Move forward and get excited for goodness ahead or at least not feeling what you feel at that moment. I sure wish during that time I could have peaked into my future ahead with the addition of Andrew, Knox, Skye and Beretta into Brooke’s and my world but I didn’t have the details of our future… I just knew that we had a lot to look forward to.
2. Another relationship is not going to make you feel whole or complete. I was POSITIVE at the time that it would… which is why I started dating way too soon after I left California. I look back on that time and realize that dating and searching for someone to fix me quickly made things worse. It made the drama more extreme and the heartache triple at times. Just know that you can start dating again whenever you are ready. Whether that be 6 months or 5 years. You know your heart, you know what’s best for you but take time to remember that somebody else isn’t going to fix you. I feel like we can’t find the right one until we have fixed ourselves on our own.
3. Feel every little thing that you need to feel. Don’t try to numb it, don’t try to find a buffer to get you through the day to avoid all of your feelings, F.E.E.L. it. I am the expert at finding buffers to avoid feeling the stuff that really hurts but I wish I could go back to that time and grieve when it happened, rather than a year later. God gave us those feelings for a reason so when they come you gotta just figure them out and move onto the next one rather than bottle them inside and let them explode out a year later.
4. To go along with the above suggestion… I think our society is currently obsessed with being busy. Being busy is another buffer. I look back at that time of hurt and see that I booked myself to the max. I think I had each meal of the day packed with friends or going places and kept moving from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. My real healing didn’t come until I slowed down. It allowed me time to think, feel and renew. Being busy is just another buffer for me that keeps me from feeling what I need to feel. I would go back and tell my 27 year old self to keep including some time with people and doing the things that helped me to feel better but to cut out all of the extra so I had time to rest and process.
5. Find the little pieces of joy in each day. SEARCH for them. When life hits the fan it is easy to only see the rain clouds but if you look for the bright spots, you can absolutely find them.
6. Your worth has absolutely nothing to do with what somebody else thinks about you. Nada. Zilch. <— Please do not forget this one. There is no one on the planet that can take away your worth so remember that what other people think of you is none of your business. No matter what they did you to in the past, DO NOT let their actions/thoughts/words to you continue to take you down. Don’t give ANYBODY that power. This is definitely something I wish I understood better when I was 27.
7. Healing takes work. Uggggg. I would have hated hearing this one back then ha. I just wanted it all to eventually disappear. And while time does help in so many ways to lessen the pain, it takes work. It took therapy for me, it took journal writing, it took study (religious for me personally) and it took cutting things out that weren’t helping me to heal. Expect to do some work to get through it.
8. Trust God’s plan for you! This one might not be for everyone but for me it really helps especially now that I can look back. God’s plan is beautiful. If I look back on the last ten years of my life I can see exactly how perfectly things have worked out even though it took a bajillion lessons to get there (and I’m sure there are even more lessons than that up ahead). He knows what we need to learn and how we need to get to become the people we are meant to be. It takes some refining and it’s usually different than we would have expected but it is perfect and I’m so incredibly thankful for the turns my life took.
9. Cut the relationships (or at least put them on pause) that do not help you and only hold you back. Whether there is a lot of drama with your mutual friends or your old in-laws or whatever… your relationship is done, you do not need people adding to your sadness at this point. I think I would go back and tell myself that I always need to be kind to others BUT I do not need to put time/feelings into relationships that bring me even more down or even more into the drama.
10. You can do hard things. You’ve proven it to yourself 100% of the time in your life so far so feel confident in your ability to bounce back eventually because you will again and again throughout your life.
11. (I thought of another one:) Create a plan. That plan might not actually happen but dream big to give yourself some hope. I remember that I decided my new normal was much different than I expected it to be but that wasn’t going to stop me from creating some HUGE goals. I made the goal to go back to school (didn’t happen), grow my blog to X amount of hits per month and work with some big brands (that did happen), religious goals (that did happen) and a few more. Having goals for me as AN INDIVIDUAL got my heart pumping again, looking forward to the future and realizing that I now had the chance to go for the things I wanted and it was amazing.
***BONUS: Please spoil yourself a bit. Take yourself to dinner. Go to your favorite yoga class. GET THE PEDICURE (often). Stay in bed on a Saturday and read all day. You are going through a lot emotionally right now and you need this right now. Say no to the things you don’t want and say YES way more often to the things you love. For me, running was my favorite way to spoil myself during this time and to take time each day to focus on myself. It helped me immensely each morning to get up and go meet my running friends for a run. BUT I know that taking a break from running is needed for a lot of people during hard times too. Pay attention to what you need and do it. Running is there to help you get through the rough stuff but it will always be there when you are ready for it if you need to take some time off.
Remember, the relationship is over. There is no need for anymore drama (YIPEE… I remember that feeling so nice when I would go to bed at night in my parents’ basement after leaving). Now is the time to show your strength and who you really are. Follow your instincts and show off your class. More growth will come to you during this time than any other time in your life. This is your chance to become the person you’ve always wanted to become and I’m sure you have a lot of eyes watching you along the way that see you as an example.
Who has been divorced? Separated? Through a crazy break-up?
What has gotten you through the really hard things?