A bad breakup could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
I first fell in love when I was 21. At that age most of what you know comes from books, or from a tutor. Yet here I was, beginning my journey as a grown-up, realising that no one ever teaches you how to fall in love.
Apparently it's natural, you can't study it and you certainly can't major in it. There is no formula, no recipe, no tick-sheet to make sure you are falling in love the best way possible.
As it turned out knowledge isn't everything and there's a lot of joy in the hands-on approach. Learning to love was a charming and gradual process that couldn't be taught, with every day adding a little extra to what we had together.
And yet there is nothing; no books, no friends, no teachers and no amount of advise, that can prepare you for the absolute devastation of your first real breakup.
After years of learning to love your partner, expecting yourself to stop loving them is ridiculous. Mix that with the pain of suddenly sleeping alone again, and at that time, when all you feel is the hollow ache inside of yourself, you wish you had never learnt to love in the first place.
Breakups can destroy the best of us. It doesn't matter how many cocktails you drink with your friends, how much time you suddenly spend at the gym, or how many people love your new wardrobe, you're still writing dark and loathsome poetry that Marilyn Manson would be proud of.
And then comes the moment where everything changes and a bad breakup becomes one of the greatest things to ever happen to you. You will almost be able to pinpoint the change. Breaking up may break you, but when you are broken you get to choose how to rebuild yourself.
I'm no biologist, but when a caterpillar is due to become a butterfly it goes into a cocoon, protecting itself. While inside the chrysalis the caterpillar breaks downs, and effectively turns to mush. We see this often when people are going through a breakup; they wrap themselves away and have an emotional collapse.
The beautiful thing about the lifecycle of a butterfly is that when the caterpillar tissue breaks down, then begins the process of transformation. This rebuilding, called histogenesis, results in the emergence of a beautiful butterfly, free to fly wherever it likes.
A breakup is your chance to become a butterfly. Never be afraid to fall apart, for as much as it hurts, you're in the best possible position to make a difference to your future.
The end of a relationship can tear you apart but it can also teach you to make your life your own, reminding you not to rely on getting happiness solely from a relationship.
Breakups will shake you out of ruts, force you to grow, teach you how to enjoy your own company and, above all, they will make you stronger.
It's a journey of self-discovery. A journey that you may not want at the time, but a journey you will one day look back on, realising that what you thought was the worst time of your life, was actually the beginning of the best time of your life.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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