The other day I talked on the phone with my ex. We were engaged, for a year, and just broke it off a few months ago when all the fighting finally got too much for excuses. When we finally realized this isn’t what love looks like. So we called it quits while we could stay friends.
He runs his own business in the US, and I’ve always played a supportive role. This is tricky now, because it means we have to do things—like talk regularly on the phone—that aren’t normally part of a breakup. It can be excruciatingly uncomfortable—yet growth always comes in the uncomfortable places. I know that.
So a couple days ago, we talked, and even though it was supposed to be about business only, somehow we strayed into personal territory. He made a remark about not processing his feelings around the breakup yet because he has to focus on getting his finances sorted, and I felt so stupid: oh my god, I’m doing nothing but process my feelings around the breakup, I guess this is why I’m not a millionaire, I guess I should stop feeling my feelings and work more. After we hung up, I bawled my eyes out. I couldn’t even say why.
Later I had a walk with my little girl, and two insights came to me.
One, I didn’t come into this world to work 40-hour weeks at a desk job. Part of my work, part of my purpose, is my spiritual and emotional growth. It doesn’t earn me money, per se—but it is no less valuable for me than the work that does. Only by becoming the best version of me can I ever achieve the impact I came to this world to have, or earn a living that gives me any fulfillment. So I give myself permission to spend time with my feelings, turning the insights into useful actions as I recreate my life in the wake of this breakup—this is some of the most important work I could possibly do!
Two, the reason I’m so sensitive to my ex-fiancée’s opinions (real or imagined) is because he stood in—as did all the men I dated before—for my dad, a lovely man who was overworked and unavailable when I was a little girl and just couldn’t show up in the ways I craved. Decades later, I’m still attracting overworked and unavailable men into my life, perpetually recreating a story that I should have outgrown years ago; what was true when I was a little 5-year-old girl isn’t true of the life this 38-year-old woman lives, and I have to stop outsourcing my approval—and, by extension, my confidence—to the man in my life. That, too, is part of my work (yep, the part that doesn’t earn money!). By committing to let that old story go, I am creating a future where I actually choose a partner because we are deeply compatible, not because he gives me the approval my 5-year-old self craves.
So I commit to creating a life that works for me. That means throwing myself with total commitment back into this book I’ve been laboring to bring to birth for the past three years. It means living into my means of service in the world, every day. It means being an overwhelming experience of love in my own life, and in the lives of those around me. Even my ex. Especially my ex.
It means being true to who I am and living the life that works for me. I give myself permission.
Yeah, I don't actually blog anymore....
I used to blog all the time, but it was really TMI, so I finally wised up and took it down. Now I just write about life-and-business stuff, and even that is inconsistent. So lately I decided to cheat and post my newsletters here too. (You can join the newsletter list on the Home page.)