If we never ask, life will never answer.
In short: if the train didn’t stop at your station, it was not your train. It was not meant to be. Otherwise, he’d stay. Forever.
At least that’s how I look at it now. He was in your life for a reason. You might think it was to hurt you, and it may certainly seem like that. But I think differently.
Your breakup was to show you that there’s something that needs to shift within you... that you deserve better. That you’re capable, strong, and can thrive without him.
Ultimately, he left to free the space for The One.
Do you believe that? Now, this is important, because if you do, it will be so. And if you don’t, it will also be so.
But why would you not believe? Because nobody ever told you how valuable, good, smart, worthy, lovable and deserving you are. Until now.
I remember how when my younger sister, Anna, lost her boyfriend of four years, she was devastated. She thought that something was wrong with her, and that nobody would ever want her again.
She despised other happy couples, had panic attacks just looking at engagement rings, and basically lost her faith in fairytale endings.
Then one day, she called me late at night, hysterical about what she’d just learned: Her ex was engaged to an older woman with two kids.
After tucking my kids in, I drove to her house to be there for her but also to help her see beyond her pain and zoom straight to the real issue. I believe that the true course of our pain is always emotional and always pre-existent — before the problem emerges.
It’s like when I’m feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, ignore it, and get gastritis. If I just down Mylanta instead of addressing these core emotions and shifting my underlying negative state, they’ll resurface again and again, becoming a chronic problem.
And so, shortly after my arrival, we sat on her bed in our sweats and oversized t-shirts, accompanied by a box of tissues, Oreos, bottles of wine (for her) and milk (for me), as we embarked on a journey to gain clarity about what really has happened.
And sure enough, it turns out that (just like with my gastritis) the real issue is not the guy, but my sister’s chronic feeling of helpless unworthiness. It’s something many of us feel, to some degree or another, but often ignore.
"I probably had bad karma with him or something," Anna sniffled, finishing off the first bottle of wine.
"Sure," I agreed, liking the idea of blaming the ‘bad things’ in life on the mysterious b-tch who stole her ex. It’s karma. "But in any case," I added, dipping a cookie into my glass of milk. "It is what it is. And as Mom always says, ‘It’s for the best.’"
While it makes no sense to repeat this phrase over and over when I’m facing my own breakdowns, at this moment, it makes her feel good. And that’s important.
Why? Because it’s in sync with what even science has been discerning lately: that good-feeling emotions create good-feeling outcomes, both in our bodies and in our lives.
And so, how do we turn the ship of karma around toward the bright side? By asking ourselves one simple question: "What kind of relationship do I want?"
If we never ask, life will never answer.
And so, I asked my tipsy sister this question: "Anna, what do you want in a guy?"
At first she stared at me with a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look. And I get why: There is no pathway in her brain established for this question. We were not raised to think in terms of what we want. In fact, nobody ever asked us that question.
Instead, we were told what to do and were expected to do it, whether we liked it or not. And now, all grown up, we still feel as if we're out of control, powerless and choiceless — the root cause of our unworthiness.
And it begins with this powerful query: "What do I want?"
And so, convinced she has nothing to lose by trying (and that taking charge and doing something does, in fact, feel better), my sister pulled an old notebook from her nightstand and, twirled her pencil around and proclaimed: "I don’t know what I want.”
To which I responded, "That’s not possible. You’ve had experiences with guys,and you know what you like and don’t like about them. Just pinpoint what you've liked about your relationships and write it down."
After strong coffee with dark chocolate, her resuscitated mind began presenting the requested data, and Anna’s pencil flew across the paper.
"But how do you know that this will happen, Katherine?" she paused to ask.
“Because I know that you deserve to be happy and have fun in life, like so many people do. So why not you? There’s nothing wrong with you, and you’re allowed to have what you want.” I reassured my baby sister and helped her replace the old mentality responsible for her breakup with one that will call The One into her life.
Sitting next to her, I suddenly realized that I truly believe what I was saying, and that it didn’t happen overnight.
But now, after years of practicing the mindset of self-esteem and personal empowerment, I seem to have internalized these authors’ wise concepts. In a way, I’ve become them and now I’m sharing their learnings with my sister — and you.
For the next month, Anna stubbornly repeated Mom’s mantra and mine: "It’s for the best and I deserve to be happy."
Meanwhile, she added more nuances to her ‘preferred guy’ list, and then… he showed up! She bumped into him in the cafeteria at the hospital where she worked; it turns out they are co-workers.
And, at that point, she was ready to welcome him without an ounce of insecurity about losing him because now she knows that you can never lose what is truly yours.
Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a Medical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Consultant. She is the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. Call her for an office or phone consultation to attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Visit www.achievehealthcenter.com.