Sunday, November 29, 2020

“It’s Not You, It’s Me…”

The end of any relationship can be difficult, especially if there’s no agreement on the need to end it. This is particularly so with romantic break-ups, which can be dramatic.

For example, there’re people who start behaving so badly, they leave you with no choice but to break up with them. Then there’re those who just disappear from your life – they avoid your calls and leave you to ruminate over what you might have done wrong.

Others still have perfected the art of the drive-by dumping- they rely on technology to avoid awkward face-to-face meetings. They dump you through a brief e-mail or text message; or simply change their Facebook status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’ so you can draw your own conclusions.

Where the dumper actually cares about you and wants to minimise the psychic wreckage, they may use clich├®s such as, ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ which, although designed to make you feel better, actually leave you with more questions than answers.

Most relationship endings leave us feeling powerless and in pain. We fear that we’re unlovable, or have failed to please our partner in some way. We also feel bad because we want something we cannot have; and we have no control over the way the other person feels about us.

Break-ups don’t just batter us emotionally, they affect us biologically too. As human beings, we’re wired to bond; and that’s why we find it difficult to get over attachments.

Research conducted by anthropologist, Helen Fisher, found that we react to rejection like drug users going through withdrawal. During the period immediately following a break-up, just thinking about the person who dumped us makes our brains shimmer like those of an addict deprived of their substance of choice.

Unless we’re able to find healthy distractions, it’s difficult to let go. At one end of the extreme, we may engage in so-called ‘passion-killings,’ or start to stalk an ex; and at the other end, we may simply keep tabs on them through common friends.

The truth is, while we may not be able to control whether a partner goes or stays, we can control the way we feel about it.

When somebody leaves you and you feel bad about it, find any excuse to make yourself feel better. Nothing is more important than that you feel good.

Regardless of your partner’s explanation for why they’re leaving, don’t assume the guilt or responsibility for it. Also, avoid detailed discussions of where things went wrong; you’re unlikely to ever agree on it.

If you want closure, remember that the real reason why anyone leaves a relationship is because they think it will make them feel better. In fact, unless they’ve done the emotional work, they won’t find happiness elsewhere, but that’s their problem, not yours.

Also, don’t beg your partner to stay.
Realise that unless you both want the relationship, it’s going to end. Don’t demonise your ex to your friends either ÔÇô remember, the more you talk about them, the longer they stay in your mind; and the harder it becomes to beat your ‘addiction.’

Avoid prolonging your agony by trying to be ‘just friends’ with an ex. Make a clean break until you can be around them without feeling bad. Remember, there’s nothing ‘grown up’ about pretending you’re not hurt when you really are.

Finally, don’t tell yourself that you’ll never find real love again. There’s nothing magical about one person and if you allow yourself, you can find ‘magic’ with anyone!

Here’s the thing to remember: when somebody loves you, it makes you feel good, but it has nothing to do with you and whether you deserve it or not. You were born worthy; and you always deserve to be loved.
It’s because in the moment that they love you, they’re connected to their source, or to God; and they’re feeling love and choosing to shower it on you.

But we don’t always experience that connection (we can if we choose to meditate, or look for things to appreciate). Often times, we become sloppy thinkers and start to look for what’s wrong in our relationships rather than what’s right; and our feelings about our partner change.

That’s why you should never depend on love from another person to make you feel good. Connect to God, who dwells within you, and then you’ll always experience unconditional love.

To connect to God, we need reach for thoughts that make us feel good. For example, if someone leaves you, tell yourself it’s because there’s something better coming your way. Thank God they left you sooner rather than later. Remind yourself that you deserve the best in life; and then you’ll then attract somebody who appreciates this sense of who you are.

Most of us go through painful break-ups because we think it was (or is) our job to please other people. From our parents, to our teachers; to our pastor and then our partners ÔÇô we’ve been trained to try to evoke their approval.

But other people are fighting their own internal battles. They don’t always approve of themselves, let alone us. What’s more, it’s not their job to make us happy. It’s our job to make us happy.
When someone leaves you, remember, you’re in charge of the way you feel, because you choose where you focus your attention. Find some great place to place your attention, until feeling good becomes a habit for you.

And the next time somebody tells you, ‘It’s over, it’s not you, it’s me,’ realise the truth in that.

Say to them: ‘you’re right. Thank you for helping me become clearer about what I want,’ and then focus all your attention on creating a great future with someone who deserves you!

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.