From Tiny Buddha.
I thought I was okay with it, but I was damaged.
I realized somewhere in my late 20s that it affected me. I felt an intense emptiness inside. I’d become sad at times for no reason. I’d feel like crying but couldn’t.
I tended to lean towards the negative. The future always seemed uncertain and scary.
It influenced relationships in ways I didn’t realize until recently.
It impacted my ability to express emotions because I’d decided that being strong meant holding them in. I wouldn’t have been able to write this a year ago.
I managed to make it to the age of 29 without having my heart broken; in fact, I was only 5 months away from 30 when it happened. It was a traumatic experience for me, probably because it was the first time.
The abandonment aspect was hardest part. I was depressed. I felt certain that something was wrong with me. I blamed myself. I hated myself. My confidence and trust were shaken. I felt abandoned. I thought I would never recover. I felt damaged yet again.
Some time later I reconnected with someone I dated briefly in college
I tried to hold on too tight to feel a sense of control. Eventually she felt suffocated and broke up with me.
It was a self-fulfilling prophecy really—I lost her because I was afraid I would.
Now comes the good bit, we can all change, we all have the CHOICE.
The break-up hasn’t been easy, but I’ve managed better than I could have ever imagined.
I started writing in a journal every day to get through it and understand myself better
I started making a list of things I would learn from the break-up.
“I can choose what affects me.”
By the time I finished the list those words lingered. I repeated them over and over out loud. Every time I said them I felt more powerful. I felt more control over my life. I repeated different variations of the theme:
I can choose what affects me.
I can choose to not be damaged.
I can choose to not be afraid.
I can choose to not let this break-up depress me.
I can choose to look at mistakes as learning experiences.
I can choose to be confident.
I can choose to be happy.
I can choose to feel loved.
I can choose.
Every time I said a phrase I felt a chill in my body. Tears started flowing, but I wasn’t really crying. It felt like they were escaping; like I was letting go of this deep sadness I’ve carried for so long.
It was an awakening: a healing. It was one of the most significant and amazing experiences in my life.
I wrote the words “I can choose” on my hand as a reminder. They give me the power to take control of my life. Every morning I write them again. Eventually I won’t need a visual reminder.
Whenever I feel my thoughts become negative I look at my hand and remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to be slaves to our pasts. We don’t have to go through life with emotional scars.
We don’t have to let negative experiences define us.
We all have power over our lives. It may be difficult to see, but it’s always there. We always have a choice.