11/16/2011 05:15 am ET Updated Jan 16, 2012

After a Breakup, Choose Integrity

I've been blessed with a very fortunate life. But like everyone else out there, I've had my share of hardships and demons to battle with. I've been through the death of close friends, been bullied to the point of misery, hurt my self-esteem repeatedly, and endured other painful life events growing up. But all those things were easy to handle when compared to the pain of heartbreak. Perhaps I just have an extra fragile heart, or maybe that's one area that I never could quite control or master. Regardless, heartache is something that I find incredibly difficult to handle and there are moments when I think that I'm really going to fall apart.

During a time when your heart has been hurt, the pain can grow very dark. Often, your deepest insecurities and fears from every bad experience of your past decides to reappear in your life. Suddenly, you find yourself acting or thinking crazy thoughts. You are not yourself and at times you feel out of control. Emotions take over. You helplessly watch yourself transform into a person you never thought you'd be. But, hurt people hurt people. And when we are in pain, a common reaction is to inflict pain on others -- especially the one you thought you'd live happily ever after with. This only deepens your own pain and adds to a vicious energy cycle. Nobody wins. Everyone hurts.

In moments of clarity, I realize that I may not be able to control the sadness, the missing, or the wave of tears flooding down my face. But I can control my behaviour. I can control my integrity. I have that power. I can choose to continue the pain cycle, or I can act according to my values. I can choose fear or I can choose love.

You'd think one would get better at breakups after going through a few. In all honesty, it doesn't get easier. But you do get wiser. And you do get stronger. And when the darkness and pain subsides, you do realize that the person was brought in to your life to teach you a lesson. Then it's your choice to grow from that or repeat the same relationship and issues with another person -- continuing your karma.

And isn't that just the lesson of life? The universe throws curveballs at you when you least expect it. And you make a choice. On the surface, you may feel like you lack control or that you are powerless, but really, the picture is yours to paint. You have the power to choose each time -- to get up, to grow, to be better, or to accumulate hate, anger and darkness.

So my biggest lesson of heartbreak: choose integrity.

Cry until you have no tears left inside you. Talk to people you feel safe with. Try to remember the good, even when the bad keeps trying to take center stage. Have faith that when one door closes it's because another is meant to open. Let the emotions pour out of you -- feel them, embrace them, set them free. But no matter what you do, don't forget your integrity. Because even in the darkest moments, integrity is the one thing that is yours -- that you own. And no one, can take that away from you.

Amy is a relationship & lifestyle columnist. To read more of her blogs, visit

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