One of the most painful experiences of my life was when my girlfriend dumped me, but it was also one of the most transformative.
We were three years into our relationship when she decided to pull the pin and my heart shattered. I didn’t see it coming.
I wanted to save the relationship but there was no saving it. It was over.
A Painful Experience
Looking back on it now I can’t blame her. We were a few years out of university and I hadn’t got my shit together.
I didn’t have a vision for my life or any goals.
I didn’t have any drive or ambition.
I lacked motivation and enthusiasm.
I was lost.
I had stumbled into a career in television and I was just bumbling along.
But it wasn’t just with my career, it was with my mental and physical health as well.
I was up and down all the time. But mostly down.
And I’d started to treat my body like a garbage bin.
I was a ship without a captain, just aimlessly floating along.
No purpose. No direction.
So I got dumped.
And I did the usual things that people do when they get dumped.
I felt sorry for myself and cried, playing things over and over in my mind.
I went out and got drunk to escape the pain I was in.
But eventually getting dumped sparked me into life.
Getting My Shit Together
It was the shock to the system I didn’t want, but desperately needed.
It got me to wake up to the life I was living and made me start giving a shit about my life. About me.
How could anyone love me if I didn’t love myself?
I started taking better care of myself. I started putting some effort into my life.
I still went to some dark places, but I’d started taking steps to improve.
I started exercising more, getting myself fitter and healthier.
I put more energy into my work which saw me land some really good jobs.
Eventually, after 18 months of sorting myself out, we ended up getting back together.
And 8 years later we got married.
Painful Experiences Can Be Positive
But despite the happy ending. Despite getting back together.
The real reward wasn’t in getting back together with my wife, as lovely as that was.
The reward was turning a painful experience into something positive because getting dumped forced me to take stock of my life.
To take stock of why I’d been dumped. And when I did I used it to propel my life forward. To get my shit together.
These moments of self reflection are important and can be incredibly powerful because you gain the opportunity to see what’s happening in your life with a different perspective.
You get to see what good can come from it, rather than focusing on the bad because you choose to see it as an opportunity to grow.
And that shift in your mind allows you to transform the energy of something negative into something positive.
But it can be extremely challenging to do this with painful experiences in your life.
It definitely took me a while after getting dumped, to change my perspective and make some changes.
So if you’re having a hard time or going through a painful experience, just see if you can take a moment to reflect and think about what’s happening.
Is there a lesson you can learn?
Is there something the experience is teaching you about yourself?
How can you use this moment to propel you forward with your life?
Eventually, with a little bit of time and some space to reflect.
You can transform a painful experience into something positive.