The Breakup Was Better
I thought I learned a lot in my relationship. We came from very different walks of life, so I thought learning how to work together and deal with our differences taught me everything I needed to know about building a budding relationship. I just knew I had been stretched as far as I could have been with everything we went through together. But the years following our relationship transformed me into a woman I never thought to become.
My post-breakup growth was beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
Our three-year relationship was powerful, but it was not without flaw. We both experienced different levels of insecurity, mistrust, and tons of miscommunication. Dealing with these things taught me a lot about patience, teamwork, and grit. It taught me how to identify what’s worth fighting for, and how to buckle down and stick it out.
He restored my esteem after a toxic situationship, and helped me find my worth. I brought him closer to Christ and affirmed him in ways he’d never been affirmed before. He taught me about the importance of letting go and recognizing that not everything is going to be perfect – a lesson a spoiled brat like me desperately needed. I taught him the important of intentionality and healing from the past trauma that he’d been holding onto. We were growing beautifully together.
Then that changed.
The relationship we had finally learned to make magical was over. My heart was shattered. I spent multiple moments crying in the arms of a mother who, in my teen years, told me I only have 24-hours to rest in sadness before I had to get over it. This time, though, I had long surpassed that 24-hour limit.
Learning to accept a new normal, we settled for a friendship that would prove to be one of the most transformative journeys of my life — more than the relationship itself. A lot of healing had to happen in the aftermath. A lot of difficult conversations and honesty. A lot of revisiting and releasing pain. A lot of growth. A lot of change. And through this I learned a lot about myself, conquering hurt, and the truth about love.
I learned that nothing worth having is easily maintained. That it being for me is merely half the battle; that I must be in a position to sustain it. I learned that doing so will require a level of resilience and fortitude. I learned that I’ve been equipped with both.
I learned how to be compassionate and understanding. That everything is not as black and white as I once thought they were. I learned that there are so many shades of grey in relationships and life. That I should honor those shades and respect them for what they bring.
I learned that in order to truly grow with someone — and as someone — I must take the time to learn their inner workings, as well as my own. I learned the beauty of that pursuit: constantly uncovering and uprooting hidden things. I learned that new revelations aren’t scary, they’re exciting; that the constant discovery of oneself is power. I learned to tap into that power.
I learned how to express myself in kind ways, despite my anger or sadness. I learned the importance of spending time — real time — trying to find the best way to articulate thoughts and feelings. How to effectively start, honor, and learn from difficult conversations. I learned how to speak life. How to use my tongue to empower and embolden, rather than tear down.
I learned that when we communicate, in an attempt to understand one another, no one is wrong. Both our perspectives are valid and they should both be honored.
I learned that empathy is more than just a feeling; that it’s an action, a way of caring for others. That how I choose to love myself manifests in the way I love others — and the way I receive love. I learned that patience is a huge part of love, and that we’re all just learning together.
I learned what unconditional love looked and felt like. I learned how to love people right where they are. I learned how to be honest with myself about how I feel and what I desire. I learned how to demand those desires. I learned that flaws don’t make me any less deserving.
I learned that my humanness is not synonymous with brokenness.
I learned that life will not fit the image I crafted in my head. That, no matter how intentional I am, God will still have His way with me. I learned to trust God anyway. To have faith in the unseen. To rest on His promise and His timing – no matter what. I learned true and total surrender; what it felt like, what it looked like. I learned that my obedience to God doesn’t make me immune to life’s trials, they make me a target; and in that same vain, it also strengthens me.
I learned that time does not heal all wounds, self-work does.
I learned that growth is part ‘going through,’ and part ‘willingness to learn’. I learned to welcome the pressing and the shaking. I learned that not all things that are good for you will feel good. I learned that pain is part of the process and my refusal to accept that will delay my becoming. I learned that who God is pushing me to become is far greater than who I’ve been.
So yes, the pain might be real. It may sting, and burn, and ache for as long as you can imagine. You may not get over it in a month like you hoped, probably won’t get over it in a year, either. But the lessons you’ll learn through the pain will remind you of why it had to happen. It’ll take you through a process of refinement. It’ll reveal to you who you are. It’ll usher you into a level you didn’t think you’d get to. Sometimes, it’ll even shine a ray of light into your heart reminding you that God is still very real.