08/13/2010 01:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

After a Breakup, Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

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A year ago today, the hardest words I think a woman will ever hear were said to me.

"I don't love you anymore."

"I no longer want to spend the rest of my life ... with you."

I can still remember the blur, the feeling, the crushing physical pain that shocked through my heart ... the numbness. Within a matter of five words, my entire world, the reality that I based my life around, was shattered.

Just ... like ... that.

I thought I would eventually just run out of tears. I mean, was it even possible for a girl to cry so much, and still have more tears left to shed? In all honesty, I didn't see it coming. Quitting, not working things out, those were not even options that crossed my mind even in the toughest times. The ironic thing is, it ended when I thought things were going so well. Perhaps I was in denial; perhaps my commitment to fight for something I believed in, and my devotion to honor loyalty and commitment outweighed my rationale.

I felt like I had lost my best friend. I doubted myself and questioned if "I was good enough." I wondered what was so wrong with me that someone who had once envisioned an entire lifetime together could just change their mind in what seemed like an impulsive instant.

I was broken for a long while, even if I didn't show it to the world, and nothing could fix me. One night, I found out he had moved on - and offered that same world that was once painted for me, to another person. If I had thought before that I couldn't be broken any more, I found out that night I was wrong. Shattered in a million pieces again -- there I was, on the floor of my bathroom, in my beautiful vintage dress, crying and crying and crying some more. I felt so alone.

But eventually, piece by piece, I started to come together again. Time was my glue, along with amazing friends, self-reflection and planting seeds of joy that were not dependent on external variables. Today marks a year later, and I'm happy and proud to say that those seeds have really started to sow.

A year later, I have deepened my friendships with existing friends, cultivated relationships with new friends, opened up to meeting different people and have built a community that is based on value exchange, growth and support. I sold my condo -- a property I had purchased for all the wrong reasons and have moved in to a loft that finally feels like home. In my career, I held out moving to another company until the absolute right fit came along, and that time has come. I've accepted an amazing opportunity at my dream job.

And in my heart, I feel content. Before, I was always either looking for someone, with someone or missing someone. For the first time in my life, I am happy being just as I am. And while things are really on the right track, I feel that even if I lost the external factors I'd still get up and adapt. My joy is my own.

A year later, I can look back and see clearly how the longevity of that relationship didn't happen for a reason. I have learned that no matter how much you love someone, you cannot lose yourself and change the person you once were. Despite the many laughs and beautiful moments we shared, at the very truth of it, it didn't fit. And I knew that deep down, whether I wanted to admit it or not. So did he. He just chose to face the truth.

If you're reading this and going through a similar experience, I hope that this piece gives you some hope and maybe some relief -- that yes, it sucks right now as you're going through it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And as you slowly reach it, things just start to make sense more and more. You grow so much, and when you look back, all you have are your lessons learned, the clarity to make better choices and the knowing that you handled yourself with grace, with class and without regret.

We are all familiar with the old adage, "Everything happens for a reason." But the opposite is also true. "Everything doesn't happen for a reason." When something doesn't work out according to plan, it's natural for us to feel upset, slighted or unfairly punished by the universe, but when you eventually get through it and look back, in retrospect you realize how one door didn't open because you were meant to walk through another.

Please note that this blog was originally written in 2009, but only published now. To read more of my blogs, visit