When we broke up I cursed the day we first met.
I’m not the type of person who has regrets—I always try to extract lessons from bad situations.
When we’re too involved in a painful situation (physically, emotionally and spiritually), it’s difficult to discern the good outcome or the lesson learned.
This was the situation I was in the day we broke up.
All I could remember was how toxic our relationship was. All I could recall were the women he cheated on me with, our fights and my sleepless nights.
The thing is, I knew deep down that I could eventually forgive him.
But it was me I couldn’t forgive.
I couldn’t forgive my weakness and foolishness for lingering longer than I should have. I regretted every “yes” I said, every ticket I booked and every sea I crossed to see him.
Just as the morning light doesn’t quickly brighten a room, we don’t learn the moral of a tough situation until we’re ready. When the sun comes up, it slowly illuminates small sections of the room until it lights it up entirely. Month after month, my regrets have lessened and the good outcomes have started to surface.
When the room was finally fully illuminated, I learned an important lesson: no mud, no lotus.
The lotus is a beautiful flower that grows only in the mud. If there is no mud, there is no probability for the flower to emerge.
I believe the growth of the lotus best describes my situation and who I’ve become after that relationship.
I will never forget that everything beautiful emerges from the ugly. This is why I decided to ink “no mud no lotus” on my chest—to forever remind myself that having regrets is futile, especially when it comes to entering toxic relationships.
The thing is, toxic relationships don’t come with warning signs or disclaimers—if they did we wouldn’t enter them to begin with; or else we would be masochists.
However, sometimes, we enter healthy relationships that turn destructive. What’s more difficult than being in those relationships is not knowing how to escape them.
Leaving a toxic relationship is painful, especially if we are dealing with a narcissist or a dependent, manipulative person. The more damage the relationship causes (in our life and ourselves), the more we suffer the consequences and the harder the struggle is to rebuild ourselves anew.
The worst part of leaving those relationships is the feelings of regret. We wonder what would’ve happened if we avoided meeting that person or if we said “no” instead of “yes.” We wonder how happy we would’ve been if we just left instead of giving them endless chances, thinking they will change.
What we are oblivious of during this painful period is that there’s light somewhere, making its way into the room. Nevertheless, we can’t see that light coming in because the feelings of pain and regret are so prominent. The presence of pain in our system blocks our ability to sense any good vibrations developing just over the horizon.
Toxic relationships are agonizing, and we don’t plan for them or willingly enter into them. But, if we ever find ourselves in one, we can take it as an opportunity to make way for the light to enter the room. It’s our chance to demonstrate our power, strength and ability to handle difficult situations and rise up again in strength.
Just like the lotus needs the mud to grow, challenging situations in life are opportunities for personal growth. These tough situations are teaching moments to focus on how the lotus will transpire, rather than focusing on how the mud will never vanish.
It took me years to transform the destructiveness of that relationship into personal growth. It required mental and emotional detachment and courage to leave and move on. When I look back on this relationship today, I can say I’m proud of myself for doing so.
Pain is difficult to transform. However, once we do, it transforms us and our life in a way that shows us how capable we are of rising up in strength.
Through that relationship, I now know how to manage a healthy relationship. I now know when to stay and when to leave. I can differentiate between tears of joy and tears of misery. I know how to love another and myself at the same time.
I have learned lessons on love, forgiveness, attachment, suffering, and life I couldn’t have possibly learned elsewhere.
If you ever find yourself in a toxic relationship, know that a lesson is out there waiting for you once you make space for it. The first step is leaving that relationship.
Personally, after I left mine, I became who I am today.
Because, no mud, no lotus.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Caitlin Oriel