08/09/2012 08:59 am ET Updated Oct 09, 2012

Woman, Deconstructed

Deconstruction vs. destruction. It's funny, but the difference in the spelling of those two words isn't all that big, just a few letters here and there. Yet its meaning and implications are enormous. At one end, destruction brings to mind tragedy, suffering, and misery. I'm reminded of Hurricane Katrina, the tsunamis and the tornadoes that ravaged parts of the world. Devastation. Destruction. The two words go together like hand in glove. It is not the ideal state to live in.

On the other end, we have deconstruction, or "the breaking down or dismantling of constituent parts," as defined by Webster. This can also be painful, but I'm also finding it can be quite useful. Einstein said that, "No problem that was ever created can be solved at the same level of awareness that created it," and so this notion of deconstruction to create more awareness is a very valuable tool we can use in our lives as well.

At least this is what I tell myself.

Like the next person, I certainly don't like to think of myself and my "constituent parts" dismantled and lying about in pieces on the ground. But, unlike destruction, which can leave pieces shattered to smithereens, those pieces of me, these attributes and characteristics that are intrinsically part of me, are for the most part intact. I believe the human spirit is strong. It's just that, well, I made some poor decisions in my unawareness, and now my spirit needs some major reshuffling or deconstructing. I think the beauty of deconstruction lies in the fact that you can take those parts -- those values, goals, and buried dreams -- and you can begin to build again and reconstruct your life into the way you want it to be.

Having been in a toxic marriage for more than 15 years, I believe I'm due for a little deconstructing. Ours was not the celebrity-marriage-flyby variety; both of us made a gallant effort. In fact, I tried everything. I was self-appointed healer, protector, and personal savior in that relationship. But in the end, what he needed was not something I could give. And in the meantime it was destroying me trying to fill a void that was not mine to fill. Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you've been through a tough breakup. Or maybe you've lost your job. Whatever challenges you may be experiencing, it's times like these when we can choose to either be destroyed by our fears or be willing to endure the temporary deconstruction of our parts, thus creating awareness and shifting our perceptions, in order to be whole again.

I chose fear for a while, and that fear kept me under lock and key for a long time -- until, as Anais Nin said so eloquently, "The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Well, that day came, and now here I am, face to face with my constituent parts strewn around. I may appear a jumbled mess of bits and pieces with no rhyme or reason, but slowly and sometimes painfully, they're being put back into place, gently, tenderly, creating wholeness once again.

How are you facing deconstruction in your life?

For more by Lucia Franco, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.