Fights, Break-Ups, and the Lose-Lose Situation


Luckily, nobody but my poor exes has had to watch me fumble my way through a break-up. But even in the fights that I have had with family and friends, I often see sides of myself that I do not recognize, brought out in the heat of the

moment. When we are at our saddest, angriest, and most afraid, we are likely to act out of character. Even in these stressful spots, we can practice present moment awareness and mindfulness to reduce the harm we do to others and ourselves.

In hindsight, we might like to have done things differently at those pivotal points. While we cannot change the past, we can prepare for the future by learning to recognize the signals our brains and bodies are sending. In times of desperation, our heart rates skyrocket as adrenaline surges. With our minds and bodies racing, it is critical to first identify what is happening. Notice the changes occurring within, and then begin to slow them down. Pause, breathe and try your best not to blurt out thoughts before they are fully formed.

There is no perfect script to follow, and often the outcomes of these tense times will leave both people hurting. That said, we can significantly reduce this pain by making an effort to stay connected and compassionate throughout the interaction. While it may be a lose-lose situation where neither party will come out feeling happy, we can often sever things in a way that is at a minimum respectful, tranquil, and authentic.

Lastly, as we drudge through some of the worst moments of our lives, know that these are indeed the low points. If you can make it through the worst of the storm, then there are guaranteed to be clearer skies ahead. By staying true to your values while upholding your convictions and honesty, you will get through these conversations with your sense of self intact. You were whole before the break-up — and while it never feels this way at your emotional nadir, you will be whole once again.


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