Breakup, Enoughness, and Listening to God
I knew for a while.
That it needed to end, I mean.
Every time I laid in bed waiting for attention while he was on his phone, I knew just a little more. This was not working.
I felt less than, not enough, invisible. But I couldn’t just quit. And he was very manipulative, so every time I tried to ask for something – a date, attention, gas money after a road trip – I believed him when he told me I was selfish and asking for too much. Isn’t it crazy how takers always attract blind givers?
But one day I wasn’t blind anymore. I knew it needed to end, I just didn’t know how yet. So I told God that He would have to make it happen if it were going to happen, because I couldn’t.
And He did just that, in a more graceful, healing, and loving way than I could have possibly envisioned. I simply woke up one morning, with my boyfriend next to me, and anxiety in my chest. And for some reason on this day, as opposed to others where I automatically reach for my medication, I decided to ask the anxiety what it wanted to tell me.
“I am afraid you are not enough,” it said, like a scared little child.
And then I thanked the anxiety. “Thank you for sharing that with me. Now let me tell you the truth.”
And for the next ten minutes (inarguably the most transformative ten minutes of my life), I sat in the truth and presence and the sobriety of the thought: “I am enough. Right here. Right now. Exactly as I am.” While those ten minutes ended, the high and clarity lasted the entire day. It was like something clicked in my mind. Like I had just been exposed to a life altering truth and I could never unsee or unhear it. And for the next three days, I began to see clearly every relationship, habit, and behavior in my life that was a product of my lack of “enoughness,” an attempt to get something or something external to prove to me that I was enough. In that one week, I stood up for myself at work and healed my broken relationship with my boss. I sat with my roommates whom I had had numerous falling outs with and decided that all walls would come down now. Only love remains. And I owned up to the fact that my romantic relationship was entirely an attempt to win approval from someone who was not capable of giving it. It was an empty and loving addiction.
But since I made a promise to God that I would not quit, I decided to give this one last go. I would list out all of my needs (which were basic human needs), and ask if he could meet them. At this point, I now knew I am WORTH having my needs met, and then exceeded. I had been doing the exact same for him, and now I could see clearly that I was NOT selfish to ask for them to be returned.
So I asked.
And he said no.
“I cannot take you on dates. I cannot kiss you long and slow. And I cannot put my phone down when we spend time together. And since you keep asking for those things, and I can’t do them, we should not be together.”
I asked him if he was sure, and he said yes.
And I felt relieved. I cried a little, but my heart was nowhere near broken.
In fact, it felt like I just put one piece of it back together. I felt my heart thanking me for loving it well. And I thanked God for all the preparatory work He had done that led up to this moment.
You see, I am not a religious woman. I don’t go to church, or attend life groups, or read the Bible religiously. But I know without any doubt in my heart that God, Universe, Love… whoever you want to call it.. is a loving and omniscient presence who is constantly working for the good of us as we work to become more aligned with His presence. This breakup was painful in some ways, but healing in most.
It taught me I can trust my gut. I can trust myself. I can trust God.
It taught me that loving myself well is what allows me to attract others who love themselves well. And others who love themselves well, are likely to be good at loving you well.
In perfect timing, I had a friend ask me to dinner and drinks a few nights after my relationship ended. I said yes, because I just wanted to smile. And it ended up being one of the most enjoyable nights I have had in months. He made sure I stayed smiling. Cracked another joke if he saw it fading. Ordered my food and drinks for me. And did not even hesitate to take the check when it came.
“Oh,” I thought. “This is how it is supposed to be.” This was the kindess I had been trying to give away. And here it is coming back to me.
I have been working to love myself more, so I can love others more. And this is the kind of care and respect I should expect to receive in return. Because I am worth it. I am enough. And I always come back to a quote from the novelist Paulo Coelho:
“life is less about becoming who you are, and more about unbecoming all the things you are not.”
That day, I “unbecame” unworthy. And I can never unsee, unhear, or unbelieve that truth.
And to my friend whose only desire was to see me smile, your kindess was a light I needed more than you know. Thank you.