Sunday, June 21, 2020

Creating Meaning Through the Pain and Challenges of a Breakup

There is no doubt that the end of a marriage or a long term relationship is a complicated and often heart-wrenching experience. How you decide to view this experience can support or sabotage your ability to overcome the challenges you will face in the process. One of the first steps you want to take is to explore your current thoughts and beliefs about what you are going through and alter any perceptions that could ultimately stand in your way.  

Now some claim that experiences in and of themselves have no meaning. They are neither good nor bad. We ultimately are the ones who choose what meaning we will decide to give to our experiences. Victor Frankl, the author of Man's Search for Meaning, proposed that we have the freedom to choose our attitude and our way in all circumstances.  

Cultivating this way of thinking will not eliminate the pain or suffering from your breakup or the end of your marriage. But, it will give you the courage, strength, and resilience to overcome the challenges you will face on your journey.  

That's all great in theory, you say, but how do I do this? How do I turn all this fear, confusion, and despair into something even remotely positive? You might also be thinking that this is a ridiculous pie in the sky idea reserved for those who choose to wear only rose-colored glasses. Nothing could be further from the truth, my friend. Many great men and women have encouraged us to view our lives from this perspective. 

Elizabeth Gilbert

"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."

Stephen Hawkins

"The meaning of life is not out there but between our ears. In many ways, this makes us the lords of creation."

Joseph Campbell

"Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question [what is the meaning of life] when you are the answer."

Maya Angelou

"Life is Pure Adventure, and the sooner we realize that the quicker we will be able to treat life as Art."  

What is this Art of which poet and writer Maya Angelou speaks?  

It is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. 

What more beautiful and magnificent way is there to express ourselves but by giving powerful meaning to all experiences of our lives and creating something beautiful out of what seems ugly and hopeless?

Now you probably don't remember this because we forget mostly everything about the day we were born. 

But on your "Birthday," the universe gave you a beautiful, shiny gold box with a huge silver bow. You were so excited to be born and to be receiving your very first birthday present. You impatiently untied the bow, and as you did, a voice spoke to you. The voice (presumably from the universe) revealed that you were to open the box once a day. Every day, wonderous new information and experiences would be disclosed to you. The voice also informed you of your incredible ability to be the artist and creator of your own life. It reminded you that all of the gifts contained in the box were pieces of a masterpiece. Each piece held it's own value and could be part of this masterpiece. It was up to you to put all the pieces together to create an incredible life and legacy. 

So there it is. Life presents you with an assortment of experiences. The universe has provided you with the mind and the creativity to choose what you will create with these experiences.  

So what will you decide to do with today's experience? This ending of something you thought would last forever? The pain of losing something or someone, dear? The confusion of not knowing what to do next? 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to examine your current beliefs about your present reality and, if necessary, begin to transform them into creative and empowering ones.  

You can decide what meaning you will give to what you are going through right now!!

  1. If you were watching a movie starring your favorite actress and she was going through your exact situation. How would you like her to behave and respond to her challenges? How would you know the director had written a happy ending to the movie? What would your heroine be doing, saying, and thinking to move towards this happy ending?
  2. In what ways do you feel this situation is happening TO you? When you write down this list, how does it make you feel?
  3. In what ways could you reframe this list from the perspective of things happening FOR you?
    1. I could never depend on my ex, and that is why I find myself in this position. 
      1. My ex is one of my most important teachers. There are lessons and insights hidden within this relationship that will allow me to grow into my best self. 
    2. I cannot handle all the responsibilities of running a home by myself. This should not be happening to me!
      1. This is all happening for a reason. I will learn, and I will grow. I will take baby steps and learn that I can be independent and take care of myself and my children. 
    3. Everyone is judging me! No one is supportive. If I had the support, I needed I could get through this. But I don't have that support, so no wonder I'm such a mess.  
      1. I Am a mess right now, and that's ok. I will get through this, and I will find people to support me. I am learning to respect myself and surround myself with friends and family who will do the same. 
  4. How can this experience help you in modeling and teaching valuable lessons and values to your children or other significant people in your life?
  5. How can this experience allow you to become a better person? What skills, qualities, insights, and wisdom might you acquire?

The above is a small list of questions to get you started. I recommend that you continue to reflect on what creating meaning in your life looks like to you. Think of your strengths, hopes, and dreams and imagine how you can pull valuable lessons from your situation to move towards your aspirations. 

For more information and support in this process, feel free to reach out to me @

Or schedule a free 60-minute consultation to gain some insight into how you can begin this process in your own life.

Create an awesome day!

Joanne 💗

1 comment: