Our lovely city has a lot of nicknames but one that resonates with a lot of people is “The Graveyard of Relationships”.
Everyone knows at least one story of a couple who looked like the postcard for ‘happily ever after’, then all of a sudden announced their divorce. Seen from the outside, these events feel like they come out of the blue: one minute you hang out at weekend BBQ’s, looking all normal and happy.
And then there is the home life. Business as usual if you ignore how lost and lonely people feel while sitting right next to their significant other.
How does it ever come to that?
If you’ve ever experienced anything like a sudden breakup or separation, you may be familiar with that feeling of confusion and conflict that is so typical of grief. Those late nights lying in bed wondering where all your feelings have gone… When all you feel is numb, closed off, like a part of you who used to be vibrant, adventurous, happy somehow got lost along the way.
But was it really that sudden? Did it just vanish from one day to the next? If you really think about it, it was the gradual loss of attention and effort put into your connection. From both sides. It’s easy to blame the other for not being there for you, focusing on how they were not giving you enough.
If you were perfectly honest with yourself, it was the little things you both stopped doing that kept chipping away at happiness.
If you’ve been there and one day you wake up with a new mission – to find yourself again, to recover that spark, the zest for life, the drive to reconnect to that version of you who actually knew how to enjoy life – here is a place to start.
- Losing oneself is often a result of losing sight of who we want to be. Letting others choose where we’re going, doing things to please others because that’s what’s expected of us.
Claim back the power of self-determination by asking yourself:
Who do I really want to be at this point in my life? Am I just a mother/father? A boss? Are there other aspects of me I need to express?
Create a new vision for how you want people to see you and imagine what they may say to you on your 80th birthday. You have several decades to reinvent yourself and show people what you are really made of, so start today.
- With that vision clear in your mind, spend some time reflecting on the lessons of the past. Focus on crossroads in your life where different choices would have led to different outcomes and ask yourself :
If I could live that whole experience all over again, would I choose the same path?
Even if at the time you thought you made the best choice, hindsight may show you different options. Notice what choices fill you with hope and renewed energy and which ones bring you down. This is your own internal stop/go system guiding you through life and now is a good time to start using it for your future actions.
- Start with baby steps. Do something different every day, even if the change seems inconsequential. Action of any sort is the hallmark of growth. Learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of trying new things and give yourself permission to be reborn like the phoenix from the ashes. The new you has not been created yet and every choice is another step forward.
So ask yourself:
What is a small thing I can do today that will get me closer to my vision?
It can be literally ANYthing so don’t judge, just do it!
Keep reminding yourself that right now you are the most advanced and wise version of yourself, a permanent work in progress as long as you don’t stop learning.
This article was first published in Hong Kong Living Magazine