If you want to know how to recover from tough times because you feel stuck in a negative thought loop, I have a helpful tool. Read on…
Note: The following is an excerpt from my popular video course: Broken Heart Recovery.Although this article is about heartbreak, the “powerful sentence” and lesson learned (shared below) can apply to any tough time or challenge!
A long time ago, when I was in my 30’s, I dated this handsome Ivy League guy.
We ultimately broke up because we were very different people.
You see I am a morning person and he was a narcissistic control freak with sadistic tendencies.
I joke – but I’m serious.
I’ll call him Tox – short for Toxic Partner.
Tox didn’t show up as an obvious Toxic Partner. He was charismatic, successful, funny, generous, romantic.
Tox inundatated me with love letters, flowers and candle-lit dinners.
Unfortunately, Tox also had his hidden underbelly Toxic side.
Tox didn’t like it when…
- I went to the gym or yoga class without him. He worried I wanted to meet men.
- I arrived home from work super happy. He became jealous that I loved what I did for a living even more than I loved him.
- I dressed in anything somewhat sexy. “When you dress sexy, it makes me think you’re interested in meeting other men,” Tox explained.
For the record:
I wasn’t. I liked to dress sexy to feel sexy for me and Tox. Kaput.
But while dating Tox, I entered into what I refer to as “My Amish Girl Period.”
Basically, turtlenecks became a staple throughout all four seasons.
“If you ask me,” my friend Lisa told me one day. “You’re not involved in a relationship. It’s a hazing experience.
One time Tox was heading to Chicago for business for a full week. Before he left he handed me a little white box. Inside it was a plastic button pin with the words:
“Don’t even think of sleeping with me.”
“I saw this pin in a store,” Tox explained, “Want to wear it while I’m in Chicago?”
Was he joking? Did he really want me to wear the pin?
“You’re joking, right?” I asked Tox.
He smiled awkwardly. “You can if you want to,” he said. “After all, it’s funny, right?”
I chose not to wear the pin – but showed it to my friend, Lisa.
“Tell him I want a pin, too,” Lisa said. “One that says ‘Don’t even think of sleeping with Karen.’ I’ll wear mine wherever I go.”
“Tox would be in trouble if we did wear pins like these,” I laughed. “After all, you know how men can be! Wearing a pin that says ‘don’t want me’ might only make men want me all the more.”
Although Lisa and I laughed, I confess that deep inside me I was not laughing.
In fact, I was quite scared.
I knew that Tox’s jealous and possessive behavior was problematic. However, I could not bring myself to break up with him.
After all, I was in my thirties. It made me sad that I’d invested so much time, love and emotions-of-all-kinds into our relationship.
I worried if we broke up, I’d lose my chance for having a family.
And Tox talked all the time about how he wanted to have a family with me.
After the “pin gift,” I experienced a “Freudian misread” related to my fear of marrying Tox.
Lisa lent me a book about successful coupling. I kept misreading the words “LOVE MATES” as “LOVE MATS.” I wondered: Do I feel like a “love mat” in this relationship?
I realized that staying with Tox would bring me lots of tough times ahead.
However leaving Tox would also bring me tough times – of a different kind.
I didn’t know what to do.
Soon after, with the support of a wonderful therapist I broke up with Tox.
The short story about this tough time…
I feared if I merged my destiny with Tox, I’d lose my soul’s destiny altogether.
It was a really devastating break up. My parents were confused.
After all, Tox was smart, Ivy League, handsome, charismatic, successful, funny- and I was in my “ancient” 30’s!
My parents wondered how I could jump off this relationship when it was sailing towards marriage and babies!
Yet I left.
I knew in my heart and soul that it was the right choice.
Although I was the one who left Tox – I felt totally heart broken.
I worried this break up was a redirection towards “unhappily ever after.”
So how did I ultimately move on and survive this tough time?
I told myself a powerful sentence – which helped me not to view the break up as a Gigantic Life Sentence.
This empowering sentence was….
The part is not greater than the whole.
This is a mathematical principle based in fact – which also completely applies to life.
Think about it.
A break up is just a part of one’s life – it is not one’s whole life.
Nothing is everything.
A break up is not everything.
A challenging event of any kind is not everything.
A tough time is merely something going on INSIDE one’s life!
A hard time is NOT one’s WHOLE life.
It’s just a slice – not the whole!
And it’s up to us to keep this “slice of life” in perspective.
When I began thinking of the break up as a “mere slice of my life,” I gave myself permission to enjoy all the other yummy parts of my life far more
If you want to recover from tough times…
If you’re going through a challenging event right now, please keep in mind that this challenging event is just a mere part of your life!
It is not your whole life!
The part is not greater than the whole!
Please re-focus on ALL the MANY other yummy parts of your life!
Please know THIS about recovering from tough times…
It’s never too late to rejigger your life – so you find yourself on the path towards your soul’s true callings and cravings.
You have it in your power to survive tough times – and come out stronger, better, wiser.
I know this personally.
I now no longer accept toxic people into my life – thanks to this break up.