The end of a romantic relationship can be painful and full of deep complex and negative emotions. Anger, disappointment, and shock fuel drama that can manifest in many unhealthy forms including screaming matches, nasty emails and text messages. This type of behavior is destructive and can eat away at the soul.
The natural course of things is peace, and this can certainly apply to a break-up. As a divorced and single mom, my life is complicated. A partner must cherish the deep commitment I have to my growing children and the schedule of that dedication. A particular person might not fit right now, but in the future, well who knows? Deal breakers, living arrangements, actually all circumstances in life can and will change as time marches on. Parting with peace leaves open the possibility for someone to naturally cycle back into your life in the future, when it is ready, and if it is meant to be.
When one of my post-divorce relationships ended I received a barrage of hate filled communications. I wondered why this person felt the need to spew such hatred, most of it lies, in my direction. The ranting and raving was full of anger and it showed me (time and time again) how glad I was it was over.
I did not allow my own disappointment in him to consume me by retaliating with hateful messages. Working with Michele Granberg and my dear friend Susan, I made a choice to focus my attention on the positives and the lessons I learned from the relationship. Trust me, it was hard, and I had to dig deep, but I knew examining the good would bring me great peace... and it did.
The idea of parting with peace fits with the growing movement to live life practicing mindfulness and gratitude. Many have made claims that living from the heart and taking time to say thank you each and every day can bring profound peace. I have found this to be true, and when you apply it to the end of a relationship it can help you heal from the loss and damage. You can stay grounded even when grenades are still being launched at you.
At first you may not be able to think of a single reason to thank your ex, but the gratitude will flow from your soul when you accept that everyone walks onto your path for a reason. We can learn and grow from every experience, the good and not so good. People come into our lives to stir our pot, to hold the mirror, to teach, to settle, and sometimes just to prepare us for what is coming next. In some relationships we build strength to tackle something larger coming our way in the future. Some hold us up during a difficult time or just hold our hand when we need comfort. Some stick around for the long haul, others for a nano second -- gone in a flash. Let's face it, some relationships are just fun placeholders. Many simply ignite a fire within us or open our eyes in some way. Certain relationships exist to simply show us what we do not want. All reasons are important even if the person caused us great pain.
What can be included on your list of gratitude? Absolutely anything and everything -- there is no right or wrong -- it's your list. My lists are extensive. First, each in its own way, my post-divorce romantic relationships have brought me a tad closer to knowing what I want and do not want in my next significant relationship. I have learned to take great caution when a red flag appears and to never settle. One relationship showed me very clearly that while money is fun to play with, love is the driving force in my life. In another I learned that love is actually not enough to conquer all. I now know that I cannot save anyone and I do not want a needy partner, I want someone who is already whole and complete. In one relationship I found my signature drink, became a dog lover and was introduced to the convenience of spray suntan lotion. Another taught me the basics of football and got me hooked on the NY Giants. So even though these people weren't worthy of the bigger commitment, their impact was significant. I am grateful as I move forward, now spraying my SPF 50 with peace.
What you do with the list is then your choice. You don't have to share it with anyone. I mentioned earlier the breakup where my ex chose to unleash his uncontrolled anger in my direction -- yeah, never sitting down with him again, he's not worthy of my time. It is OK if the closure through gratitude only happens in the silence of your heart. No need to step back into the lion's den, you are free, protect yourself. You may want to send an email, handwritten note or a simple text. You'll know the correct course of action by what feels right, let your heart guide your way.
If nothing else start with my favorite definition of Namaste -- "all the goodness and power in me bows to all the goodness and power in you." Even if you can't see clear yet to why they crossed your path, just start with a general thank you and start moving forward.