In the past year, I’ve ended about half a dozen (formerly) key relationships in my life.
Friends. More than friends. Clients.
Some of those goodbyes felt like a breath of fresh air. Some felt like a grenade to my insides. And for some, I’m still finding bits of sadness littering the floors of my heart.
Breaking and healing a heart is a process.
And whether it’s a lover whose time is over, or a friend you’ve grown apart from, deciding to end things might be the most loving, compassionate step you could possibly take – for everyone involved.
For the next time you find yourself in the land of the Brokenhearted, here are:
1. Don’t believe the small voice telling you that breaking a heart (yours or anyone else’s) is selfish or mean-spirited (unless it really is).
Assuming you’re not a sadistic jerk, deciding to break someone’s heart is unquestionably courageous.
Because most people don’t trip into breaking a heart. They give it great thought and consideration. Long before they say the words or write the email, they know it’s going to hurt. Bad. And they are by no means excited about causing this kind of pain.
But they muster the courage and do it anyway.
This makes you courageous.
Because you’ve decided that (in this particular situation) breaking a heart or two today, is the best way for you to honor and care for yourself tomorrow.
Because you know that hearts have to break in order for the pieces to reorganize themselves into something stronger.
Consciously choosing the agony of heartbreak instead of remaining silent about your resentment or lack of fulfillment is an act of profound bravery. You are brave.
2. Asking yourself, “Will I regret this in 30 years?” is the wrong question. *
You will probably (on more than one occasion) wonder if you did the right thing, whether there was a way to save the relationship, whether some ‘work’ might have shifted the balance.
You’ll worry that you’ll wake up at 65 and regret it.
Here’s the thing: That kind of worry is a waste of your time. You cannot predict how you’re going to feel in three decades.
So instead of pondering the possibility of regret, the question needs to be:
For the person I am today and for the person you are presenting yourself to be today, is staying together the healthiest, most loving decision for both of us, TODAY?
You’re not living twenty years into the future. You’re living in the here and now. So worrying about the possibility of future regret isn’t helpful. Go take a nap instead.
* (Hat tip to J. Clement Wall for this one.)
Want the other 9 things (including the song that got me out of bed after my last heartbreak)?
They’re over at Positively Positive.