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Let’s face it: the internet is chock full of amateur therapists who rarely practice what they preach.
They’re full of writers who incessantly get involved with people so wrong for them that they can’t help but tell you the five reasons you need to focus more on yourself. They tap away at their keyboards as they snot and tear their way through one box of Kleenex after another.
I know this because this is me.
Although, truth be told, I don’t cry during breakups. Breakups usually just make me angry. I feel more comfortable being angry. Sad is such a non-alpha emotion. I can’t really relate to it. This doesn’t mean I never cry, though. Sometimes when I look into the eyes of a beautiful woman—especially one who makes me feel desired—I cry. Sometimes in poignant parts of Cheryl Strayed’s reading of Tiny Beautiful Things, I’ll cry.
As a guy, I like to save it up for when I can be in control. No one makes me cry.
I have a tendency to attract the wrong people all the time. They read the stuff I write about and tell me how much it resonates with them and then I go as far out of my way as humanly possible to get intimately involved with them. It’s one of my most ridiculous character traits.
Hypothetically speaking, if someone writes to you about how much they identified with your article about your inability to stay in relationships for longer than three months, there really is nothing in the world that says you shouldn’t try to date them. This is, obviously, as long as you are okay with the relationship being short-lived.
“How short?” you ask. Like, say, two or three months.
The fact that I am heartbroken over this eventuality only reinforces and proves my own stupidity. I generally don’t think these things through.
There are remedies for this sort of madness.
Now, if you are familiar with Pema Chödrön, which I assume a lot of the Elephant Journal readers are, you know that she is well-known for her advice on rejection, heartbreak, death, misery, and most things humans try to avoid.
Her advice on avoiding these things? “Don’t.”
In her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times, Chödrön advises us to “lean into” pain, fear, and anxiety. No drinking, no chocolate cake, no “getting under someone new to get over someone.” The Buddhist thing to do is to just sit with it. Become an observer of your own nightmare. Become curious.
Here’s the thing, though: I don’t f*cking feel like it today.
I want to be angry and sad and road-ragey. I want to feel sorry for myself and concentrate all my attention on the reasons for the break-up that I can do nothing about, like my past for instance. Whenever someone decides they can’t date me because of my history of addiction, it opens the door for a lot of self-pity. The past can be difficult to change. Especially if you’re not a politician.
As far as I’m concerned, this is self-care.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will have plenty of time to self-help my way into calmer days into the future. Today, I am going to indulge in anger, sadness, self-pity, and rumination. I might even act out sexually. Who knows?
Some people take bubble baths. I wallow in my own sh*t. “Whatever gets you through the night,” as the golden oldie says.
This is human and I am at a place in my spiritual journey where quiet tantrums are still totally permissible. It all comes down to moderation, as demonstrated in Aristotle’s “Golden Mean.” If you find yourself in this space, take my advice. Give yourself the day. Two, if you really feel awful.
Eventually though, you’re going to have to pick up the book. Watch Oprah’s “Super Soul” conversations. Let a few tears out.
I saw a meme on Instagram today that said we tend to date the same person over and over again until we finally learn what’s holding us back. It’s true. So, we need to keep learning.
It doesn’t have to be today, though. Today I’m not leaning into sh*t.
I’m running like Forrest Gump.