No matter how bad my heart has been hurt, I always try to find the silver lining. It isn’t always easy. When heartbroken and newly single, many women lean toward the negative to pull them through. I get it. As I often tell my friends, I am not a saint. During my early 20s, I refused to be friends with ex-boyfriends. That’s how bitter I became when I got hurt. I also expressed myself with many expletives that I shall not repeat.
Once I matured, I decided to turn all the hurt and feelings of betrayal into a positive lesson. “What can I learn from this breakup?” I’d ask myself. “What would I say to the last man who hurt me?”
Simple. I would say, “Thank you.”
The last man who really hurt me was Elijah. It was a hurt I never thought I would get over. He was my first love. My only love to date. And I felt betrayed, used, and extremely confused. When we broke up he said, “I eventually want to get back together with you.” And we did. I write all about it in my book, Love Trips. But then he had a child. Again, it’s all in the book.
Still, I thank him. I thank him for catering to my needs when things were good. I thank him for putting me on a pedestal, like no man ever has. I thank him for viewing me with eyes of wonder, admiration, respect, and love. I thank him for loving me as I am, and teaching me that’s what real love is. And I thank him for letting me love him like I never loved a man before, and I still haven’t.
Other women have positive things to say to the last man who hurt them. Dee, a 24 year old from New York City, realized that she fell in love with an illusion and not the person. The relationship was not a healthy one, and the breakup was devastating. However, a silver lining broke through dark clouds.
“That breakup made me dig deep to find what makes me happy and complete,” she admitted. “It made me build this new, stronger, and more outspoken person that seeks the bright days in a relationship, not the darkness.”
Milan, a 38 year old from NYC, can agree. The father of her first child didn’t want anything to do with her or her son. Yet she still found it in her heart to forgive and move on. She says this about what she would say to him.
“Thank you for leaving the door open for my husband to come into my life. I learned many lessons. I no longer accept poor treatment. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to stand on my own two feet and now have a love that I deserve.”
Learning about self seems to be the common thread that ties us all together. Lucy, a 36 year old from Long Island, is also thankful for the hurt. She thanks her ex for teaching her about herself and sums it up beautifully:
“Each relationship is like a mirror, showing you what you need to work on.”
That’s the best way to turn pain into growth.
Photo Credit: Flickr.com/Timove.