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Emma

How I Turned Heartbreak into My Motivation

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Sometimes, in order to find the motivation to make the change you’ve been waiting for, some things that have seemed constant in your life for so long have to fall apart.  Of course, I’m not suggesting that something catastrophic must occur in order for us to change our ways, but destruction in any form is the beginning of building something new.  Sometimes this destruction comes from inside of us, such as ridding oneself of an old mindset and replacing it with a new one.  However,  many times it can come from some external force.  Recently, for me, this force was heartbreak.

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Long-term relationships can be tricky in that we spend so much time thinking about ourselves with another person that sometimes we do not spend enough time self-reflecting.  When the relationships we’ve cherished for so long end, it can leave us feeling lost, despite the fact that we functioned perfectly well before the other person came into our lives.  But feeling lost gives us the chance to self-reflect — something we often forget to do.  After mutually ending my last relationship, I gained much time to think.  In the beginning, it was easy to focus on only my pain, but eventually I decided to turn this into a question of: what will make me happy in this life?  What do I hunger for, and how do I fulfill this desire myself?  

For a few years, I had considered pursuing a research internship, but between school, summer programs, and working, I never seemed to be able to fit it in.  Around the time of my breakup, I had been wondering what to do with the upcoming summer.  I had given thought to possibly applying to internships, but the one thing holding me back was self-doubt.  I felt like I wasn’t qualified enough; I had been in college for only one semester and feared that my education and skill levels were insufficient.  While posed with the question of how to spend my summer, I did not initially think of applying to any internships.  

I had planned to stay in my hometown and take some classes at my local university while working my old retail job.  But the one thing heartbreak did best was spark a desire in me to get away from my old environment, which completely conflicted with my original plan.  So after some moments of feeling helpless, I realized that I had the power to turn this desire into a reality — just as I had the power to choose to stop feeling helpless in my heartbreak and take responsibility for my own healing.  To anyone who may have similar feelings of being stuck at a dead end, this is the most useful and important realization to make.  As soon as you recognize your own potential, it is the first step in working towards achieving your goal.  Even though I doubted myself, I applied for an internship, and when I expressed my interest, one mentor suggested other opportunities for which  I could apply .  In the end, the opportunity she suggested ended up being how I spent most of my summer.

Although the situation worked out in my favor, I definitely had difficulty turning my emotional rumination into objective questions about self-fulfillment.  This process took time, but it happened so much faster when I learned how to stop resisting my own feelings.  It seems easy for society to discredit the emotions of young women in love and falling out of love.  We are expected to be the more emotional ones, so much so that often when we reveal authentic, negative feelings that any normal person will have during their lifetime, we can be seen as overreacting.  This is a reason why breakups can be so hard for so many people; we hide our feelings to seem strong, but what we really need to do is let go.  Emotions manifest themselves in not only our minds, but our bodies.  This is why we might feel heavy with grief, or sense a nonexistent entity welling in our throats when we feel that we are going to cry.  These emotions will stay locked in our bodies if we do not allow them to flow through.  It is okay to cry and to address and release your pent-up emotions in healthy ways.  This will make you much more resilient and motivated to continue your life and reevaluate.  

Recognizing your potential is the first step toward achieving your goal.  

Even if you are not seeking to make any major changes to your life, as you move on from this point, it is important to take care of yourself.  You might have more free time now,  so take some time to do what you love.  Maybe that is reading, writing, or exercising.  Whatever it is, make an effort!  It can be difficult at times, especially when you may be sad and have low motivation, but fitting this kind of self-care into your schedule is important to recovering and bettering your quality of life.  It is crucial to remember what’s important to us as individuals, and to never let these things go, whether you are in a relationship or single.  In either situation, it can sometimes be easy to forget and get caught up in the daily grind.

Through the ending of a relationship, I found the courage to make a change that I used to doubt I could manage while learning how to heal myself.  Looking back, I realize that anyone can make a change in their life at any time of sadness or disappointment. whether they are unhappy with their current job or lifestyle, or leaning toward parting ways with old friends they no longer have much in common with.  By contrast, if you’re  happy with your way of life,  you can take your goals to the next level by making  these kinds of changes.  The most important thing to remember is that your life is important and that you are never stuck on one pathway for life.  As soon as you ignore self-doubt and take the first steps toward what you want, no matter how impossible it may seem, you could be getting close to pleasantly surprising yourself.  

 

Emma Henricks is a sophomore at Connecticut College majoring in Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology.  She enjoys open water swimming, running, playing the violin, and spending time with loved ones.  

 

 

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