What does self-reliance during a breakup mean?
Why do the words “self” and “reliance” seem difficult to swallow right now?
Probably because the idea of turning inward for solace rather than outward seems nearly unbearable, right? It feels good to talk it over with someone that cares about you; doesn’t it? I hate to admit this but I know that I was a big pain-in-the-you-know-where to some of my friends and family members when I would go through a breakup. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t “want” to be. It just so happened that I was. Sometimes, do you wish you could rely a little bit more on yourself than others? It can come in handy, say, in the middle of the night when you’re feeling really sad. Or when the radio plays “your song.” Actually, I’m sure that there are many opportunities during the course of any given day where helping yourself through the breakup would feel really good. Also, last time I checked, YOU are available at all times.
So what does that look like? How does it feel? Let’s dive in and find out.
1. Talk yourself through it. If you’re alone, I suggest doing this out loud. If people nearby are going to think you’re a nut case, by all means have the conversation internally or in a journal or piece of paper. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What could I do right this very moment to make myself feel better?
- In the BIG picture, how important is this? Be honest! I know that I “occasionally” made an earth-shattering occurrence out of something really quite frivolous. It’s hard to admit that now…so I’ll move on.
- Does this really deserve my energy right now? Is it something I need to address immediately? If it’s not (which it probably isn’t), then make a choice to turn your all-important attention elsewhere.
2. Slowly start to limit your calls/emails to others. I understand this can be difficult at first. It’s okay to take baby steps. I am in no way implying that you shouldn’t have conversations with supportive people in your life. You absolutely should. However, if you’re contacting a few treasured folks multiple times a day perhaps try to shave off one call during that day. That’s it. Pretty easy, right? As you begin to feel more mighty, you can pare the contact down as you see fit. It boosts your confidence as I explain below.
3. Choose an activity that refocuses your attention. At some point, make a list of things you like to do. You could make two lists ~ one for work and one for home. It ought to be something really simple and easy to do but fun just the same ~ something that makes you smile and feels good. Maybe it’s playing a game with your kids or giving yourself a manicure or reading your favorite book. Then when you’re struggling, you whip out your list, wherever you happen to be and choose one of the ideas on your list to do right NOW…and then do it.
So…what are some of the benefits of self-reliance?
First of all, if you rely more on YOU, you get to rely less on others. Sometimes, I felt like I could actually hear my friend’s eyes rolling as we chatted about my saga for the THIRD time that day. It wasn’t her fault at all. I would call her at the drop of a hat…whenever I had an emotion to share…or another reason why he was a cad…or whatever minute detail occurred to me about him as I went through the day. Then I’d hash it out with her…and rehash it…and then rehash the topics of our first two calls that day. Gees, no wonder she was rolling her eyes! Just thinking about it now makes me roll mine. Do you have a friend or sister/mother/aunt like this? They’re your go-to person. If they’re not accessible at the very moment you need them, you fret until they call you back. Or you move on to no. 2 on your list of buddies and so on and so on and so on. If you don’t mind me saying, this is a pretty sucky cycle. Wouldn’t it feel better if YOU felt your emotions and then comforted yourself through them?
Secondly, you may be surprised by a new confidence that starts creeping up inside you. It feels good to triumph through some momentary anguish, come out on top and give yourself a high 5 for doing it alone. Yep. Just you. You can do it. Each time, you’ll feel a little stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s a beautiful thing. No one can take it from you, either. You earned it and you get to keep it, Gorgeous!
Relying on YOU during a breakup is a way to be gentle and loving towards yourself. It means that no matter what happens during your day ~ you KNOW that you can and will maintain your sassiness ~ no question about it!
As some of you may know, I like to get out in the local community and connect with others. One of the ways that I do this is having an exhibitor’s booth at community events. I did just that on July 26. To set the stage, this is an outdoor event called MarketFest. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. The night began gloriously. Not a cloud in the beautiful Minnesota sky. It was a bit windy but I was going with the flow. Around eight o’clock, the sky began to darken a bit. Oh, well ~ I thought to myself ~ we’re almost done. It will be okay.
Guess what? Right after that, the weather began to change rapidly. My husband had just arrived to visit and he had to park our vehicle six blocks away because the Fest was so busy. The wind began to howl. Everyone scattered. Next, I could hear LARGE droplets of rain start to pelt my tent. I started to chuck all my materials, tablecloths, etc. into my bins. The tent was in danger of being blown away so we had to try to get that down as quickly as possible. Once we had everything ready to go…you guessed it…my husband had to run/walk six blocks to get our truck so we could load everything in it. Luckily, I had brought an umbrella. Also, right before this little adventure began, I had ducked out to grab a burrito at one of my favorite food trucks. I had time to kill, a storm blowing through, my burrito and an umbrella.
My choices were: Try to find cover, surrender my burrito and shrug my shoulders in defeat
pull up a chair, enjoy my burrito and let nature take its course.
I went with the latter option. I sat quietly at my table, soaking wet, my umbrella trying its best to keep me dry, savoring every bite of my yummy food ~ with a big smile on my face. I knew I wasn’t in real danger because it wasn’t an electrical storm. It was only wind and rain and some discomfort. I tried to make the best of it. People around me thought I was nuts ~ I’m sure of that.
Why do I share this with you? Because I know that dealing with a divorce or breakup is a similar situation. You feel a little scared and out of control. Nothing’s in its place anymore. You wonder when it will end. It’s uncomfortable. It can be dark. You can feel alone.
Carlos Castaneda, a well-known spiritual author, said, “We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
So I ask you: Next time you feel scared, uncomfortable or uncertain, what will you choose? Are you going to be lost in the dark abyss or go WITH the flow and come out on the other side feeling stronger and more confident than ever?
Since I know how amazing you are, I know you’ll choose to enjoy the burrito in the rain.