Two steps forward, one step back
Since launching Bambi & Baby, I’ve been overwhelmed with the response from women from all around the world who've experienced a similar situation to me. While the exact circumstances are always different, there’s a distinct familiarity that binds all of our stories together. Take comfort in the fact that no matter where you are in your healing journey, you’re not alone. Every step you take, another woman has tread in the exact same spot. Sure, the size of her shoe may be different. But she is you. You are me. We are all united in our determination to rise from the ashes and reclaim our sense of self.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a phone full of screenshots of motivational quotes, crystals by the bed, meditation apps at the ready. You’ve surrounded yourself with uplifting friends and family. Blocked and deleted your ex off every social media platform. You’re finally feeling strong. Confident. Your wounds are slowly but surely healing. Perhaps you’ve even dipped your toe back into the dating game. The days you spend laughing are starting to outweigh the days in bed crying. You’ve got this.
You see/hear something that pushes you tumbling head first down the hill again. Your stomach drops. Everything hurts. It’s difficult to breathe. With your head in your hands and tears streaming down your face, you feel the world caving in on you. That’s when the realisation dawns that you certainly haven't healed as much as you thought you had. Because after all, if you were feeling as strong as you thought you were, how could you be this distraught?
Your old mates Failure, Self-loathing, and Worthlessness have arrived to pay you a visit. They don’t even bother ringing the doorbell. They know exactly where to find you: curled up in bed feeling sorry for yourself.
Sound familiar? Ah, of course it does. You were two steps ahead, when suddenly, you were forced to take one giant leap back.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let’s start with the bad. Healing ebbs and flows in waves. No matter how great you were feeling, there was always going to be something hiding around the corner ready to jump out and unexpectedly grab you. Frustratingly, this is part and parcel of this healing journey.
The great news is the set backs don’t last half as long as they used to. Yes, they knock you around a bit. Shake you up. But if this same event happened even a month ago, you would have been down and out for much longer. The blow is painful, yes, but it’s no longer debilitating. You need these setbacks to realise you’re so much stronger than you were even a week ago. This, my friends, is healing.
Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and get on with it
After a rough night sleep, I woke up determined. This wasn’t going to beat me. Instead, I called upon the techniques I’d learnt throughout the last few months. I kept myself busy. Meditated. Talked it all out until there was nothing left to say. Every time a negative thought entered my head, and my mind filled with incessant chatter, I released it with the mantra: “I let go of thoughts that do not serve me”.
I threw myself into my blog, my burgeoning copywriting business, and my son. The best way to overcome pain is to fill that space with the gratification of success. Within days, I’d secured work with big brands I was desperate to work with, entered talks with some really exciting people to help further my career, went for a walk every day, and even sweated it out in the gym a number of times.
Wow. Reading back that paragraph takes my breath away and sends an excited chill down my spine. Sometimes, you have to take a moment to stand back and look how far you’ve come. Once upon a time, not too long ago, I was utterly consumed in grief. There was no way I could sit at my laptop, engage in meaningful discussion with a potential client, or even muster the energy to step foot out of the house. Such a minor, inconsequential event had the power to destroy me. Now, I have the strength to know I can overcome whatever is thrown at me. That feels so damn good.
That being said, I’m absolutely not perfect. I still have pangs of sadness. I still miss what I had. I still mourn for what could have been. Sadly, healing isn’t linear. It peaks and troughs. But as long as the pattern is trending up, you’re on the right path.
When my ex first left us, I was consumed by something new and crushing every day. But the thing is, it’s been weeks since I’ve felt so awful. And eventually, it’ll be months between triggers. Then, one magical day, not too far off in the future, this chapter will feel like a bad dream. I might feel down every now and then, that’s natural after such a major life event. But I now refuse to let my past control me. That’s empowering.
Take comfort in the fact that every single woman who has reached out to me, and is ahead in their “healing journey” has said the exact same thing. Each one says they’re stronger, happier, and wiser as a result of what they’ve been through. None of them regret it. Most have now found their soul mate. The rest are travelling the world, killing it at work, and enjoying the time getting to know themselves.
Now, I ask you to write down everything you’ve achieved since something happened to you that turned your life inside out. It could be as small as finding the energy to go for a walk every few days or writing in a journal. Once your list is complete, please give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve to know how well you’re doing despite all odds.
One hundred per cent of your bad days are behind you. You survived. Now all you have to do is keep in mind that some of the best days of your life haven’t happened yet. How exciting is that?