Getting dumped a few weeks before my wedding was the most painful experience of my life to date, but how I came through it is the single proudest moment of my life.
When I met with his mother four years after the breakup, she said she’d felt so guilty over these past few years. “I loved you like a daughter, and he’s my son—I never want any of my children to feel that pain.”
I told her I was glad it happened, not for the fact that the breakup needed to happen (was inevitable even), but to have experienced the pain and loss, to confront my then-unconscious fear of failure straight on, and to not only survive, but thrive as a result.
I told her I look forward to failing now. More accurately, I appreciate the lessons learned and the growth I’ll only be able to experience by getting back up, dusting myself off, humbly reflecting on where I went wrong, and pushing forward with a more finely tuned compass.
But that perspective didn’t come easily.
We were together for eight years through our twenties and into our early thirties. Four years in, we got engaged.
One month before the wedding I went from bliss to being sucker punched in the lower intestines (emotionally speaking).
It was a Tuesday. This was two days after coming home from one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I’d just finished yoga teacher training at an eight-day intensive on Long Island, Maine.
It was a perfect week. I came home still buzzing with blissful vibes and gratitude. When he said we needed to talk, my stomach dropped so hard and so fast I thought it would fall out of me.
He said he didn’t want to get married anymore.
The contrast and transition from high to low was dizzying. In one week I felt both the best and worst I’d ever felt in my life.
The following months were comprised of uncontrollable crying, deep sorrow, and some of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned.
Reading the stories of others who have loved and lost were so helpful to me when I was in pain, as were the bite-sized inspirational quotes from great and kind minds that I could carry with me through the day, so I’ve included those that helped me the most. It made me feel connected and not alone; it gave me hope knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel.
That’s why I’m writing this. To share what I learned through this whole ordeal, how it set me off on a path of self-discovery and development, and how I’m a smarter, stronger, and more compassionate person because of it. The same is possible for you.
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I never stopped to define failure and what it means to me. At the time I would have said it meant to make a mistake, to not reach your goal, to fall short, to not be good enough
I’ve never been more accepting of my emotions and tolerant of pain since this experience. This journey and everything I’ve learned has led me to be my happiest me.
Not to say I’ve reached the end of my journey. The best part is there is always room for more growth, learning, compassion, love, and happiness. And I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to pursue it every day.
Once I got a taste of self-improvement, I was hooked. I started to see that happiness—true happiness—and freedom from the control of emotions, of feeling not good enough, from constant worry, were all attainable.
This experience was a blessing. A painful, messy, crash course in learning to navigate life’s difficulties with grace and resilience.