Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

We are back at it and I am so thrilled.

Faith

I know. Hi Lois, it’s so good to be back in into a brand new week.

Lois                         

We are in a brand new week and boy, we’ve got a tough discussion coming up. The goal that we have in everything we’re doing is to provide more to life and hope that you will grab onto these bits and pieces no matter where you are.

Faith                    

So even when we discuss some of the tougher topics, there is still so much more to life in them. And that’s what we always try to bring to light is that no matter what you face, there is a way through it. And there’s more to life.

Lois                        

Last week we talked about the impact of losing your position and that is such a challenging one, especially as it relates to our identity. So I had some things to work through. Just even bringing those back up to the surface that you think you’ve dealt with and you realize, wow, that still means a lot and it opened a lot of doors and I’m so glad I am where I am now. So revisiting those highlights was great for me.

Faith                     

That’s wonderful because revisiting them just mean to just kind of processing the little things that are still tied to it.

Lois                       

So today we continue a very big challenge that you might have to face or maybe you’re facing it right in this moment or maybe you have just completed facing this and you’re still reeling from it because we’re on episode 60. Transition. The impact of breaking up.

Faith                     

Ouch. That is a tough one. And it comes in so many different forms, right? There’s don’t break up of a marriage, a relationship that you’ve been in for a long time, a friendship and even in your spiritual communities, those are some of the most painful at times when you have those breakups.

Lois                       

So a job, yes, a community. If you relocate, maybe, uh, you know, even your health club. I mean there are things that you choose to leave that are a breakup that really do change your life up because you have been functioning in a certain way with these people, with this community and you’re stepping outside of that. So there’s a bit of fear there and there’s just, there’s no way around that, you know? I mean there’s a reason that we’ve written so much and read so much about what breaking up is and how hard it is to do.

Faith                   

Or how many songs have been written about breaking up.

Lois                       

You can think of one right now. “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” Well, I mean cutting anything off is loaded with so much emotion. There’s a disappointment that our relationship didn’t turn out exactly the way you wanted or that a job or a community didn’t work out as you had hoped. And there’s real fear of what or what might not come next. Because sometimes we feel like once we clear the path, something else is going to come in and take its place. But Faith, sometimes that doesn’t happen and there is this period that leads up to a breakup that can be challenging and it’s almost as agonizing as the breakup. Why is that period so difficult for us?

Faith                    

It’s conflictual to start with, we’re afraid of the conflict, but a lot of it is really woven into that terror that we began to feel that we are going to be rejected and that we are rejecting someone, so whether we are the one who is going to reject and to come out or that person is going to reject us, it’s pretty terrifying. We want to be accepted, we want to be known, we want to be valued, we want to be loved, and when there’s a breakup that’s immediately where it goes.

Lois                      

I’m not wanted something I’ve been able to do after the fact. I do a lot of journaling, and I was in a number of difficult relationships years ago and I would journal through this and the most amazing thing would happen every couple of months. I would read, and it was like I was repeating exactly what was happening because there was something going on in this relationship or workplace or something that wasn’t working. But instead of me making a decision to step out or move on, I tried to fix it or tried to do whatever I could to keep the process going and I would repeat these things. So like I say, it took this hindsight of looking at these journals years later and realizing I was repeating every couple of months, nothing was changing. And it took me in some of the instances, years to make a decision to step out of it. Other people could see it. And you’ve noticed that, right? You come up to a friend going, well this clearly isn’t working. And you go, well I’m not sure about that. But when you read back, you realize this hasn’t been working for a very long time. So if you are journaling and if you’re in a relationship that’s a great way that even if you can’t do it right this moment, it does become clear at some moment.

Faith                   

Absolutely. And we think too that in breaking up that we’re doing something wrong. So there’s that guilt and kind of heaviness that we bear. Like I shouldn’t be breaking up, I shouldn’t be leaving this position at my work or at the health club or wherever it might be. It must be my problem. So it can kind of go both ways. We can see it as something that isn’t working, or we take ownership so much to the extreme that we feel like we are stuck there. One other reason, too, why it’s also difficult is that we’ve been given messages throughout time, sometimes from our family, like breakups don’t happen in our family. And so it’s like, oh, I have to be the bearer of the first one to ever have a divorce. It’s like, I don’t think so. And so sometimes you feel the guilt and the shame and the weight of what you’ve been told. And that can also come from our spiritual influences as well. Yes. And I think this is where we have to weigh, like you did in your journaling, what is really happening here? What is truth, what is working, what is not and can it be resolved? And if you go to any length to try to resolve it and it’s not resolvable. Hmm. That may be time for the breakup.

Lois                      

A few weeks ago you mentioned a line that I carry with me so much and that is life happens, things happen, right? And it doesn’t mean it happens to me, it just happens. Life happens and we function and we don’t like how it happens. Well, I really believe that’s the case in many situations with a breakup. And people don’t like to hear that because we take it so personal. But breakups happen, people change. And especially if you entered into a relationship where you hadn’t checked off all the things that might really matter in the long run because you thought, oh, they will eventually just resolve themselves. That was me, by the way. So it may be that you’re in a situation of a breakup because you didn’t check out things to begin with, and so therefore it never had a chance to really gel and resolve because it wasn’t correct from the beginning. But it taught me something I learned, I grew, I’m very happy where I am now as a result of those situations because I know what to avoid. Sometimes that’s what we learn, but when I could say breakups happen, wow, that’s a very different way to look at it, Faith.

Faith                   

Yeah, so then it’s not condoning it breakups. Okay. It’s never saying it’s okay. The thing that I think is so important is that you do whatever it takes to try to not have the breakup happen in the first place in the first place. Yes, but a breakup means there’s two. It’s not one. One person cannot hold a relationship or community together or your health club together. If it’s not working for you, you must find ways that you come together and if you’ve done everything you possibly can to see if it can happen and it doesn’t happen, the breakup is probably the best for everybody.

Lois                        

And it is true that sometimes the most difficult time we face as we’re getting into a breakup is the buildup to the breakup, because we’re afraid of the outcome. We’re afraid of how other people will feel, how we will feel. So if you’re contemplating a breakup or if you’re in the midst of one or if you’ve just gone through one, we have a couple of ideas we’d like to throw out there that might help it be more manageable. And Faith is so right in pointing out, we’re not saying go out and break up, but we know these things happen. So how can you prepare yourself better, once again so that it doesn’t happen. But if you’re at that precipice, here are some things that we’ve found in our life and experience and research that might be beneficial as you’re going through it. And one of the first things is to own it. Own the break up.

Faith                    

Own the reality of what is happening, which is what you did when you finally looked at all your journals and said, oh my goodness, I need to own this. This is not working. And when you own your part of it, instead of blaming, now it comes more into balance. Like what was my part in it? What do I need to make amends for or own with the person or the organization or the community or my friendship. What do I need to own? It doesn’t mean that the breakup may still not need to happen, but you own your side of the fence.

Lois                      

And you know, you talked before about we do certain things like we either get therapy, we get together and we have these conversations of trying to get to the root of this. And you go through all of those steps. You have a support group around you and you still end up in this place. So when you have that difficult conversation, what I used to do when I was really young was like, I think you really want to end this relationship and so I’m going to give you that. And then what happens is the other person says, well actually no, no, I don’t want to end that. And then what do you do? Because you just threw it to them wanting them to take the ownership for this breakup and they’re going, well, I don’t care. I mean I can live with this. What’s wrong with it, Lois? And that is such a dangerous place to be when you’re trying to please the other person. So can you own it? And Faith, why is this so hard for so many of us to take this on?

Faith                    

It comes back to the fear factor. It’s going to be how are they going to react? How are they going to respond? How are they going to reject me and blame me? And if you’ve been brought up to be a people pleaser, then that’s going to be your role. And so often roles come into action in serious situations. It’s my job to take care of. It’s my job to make things smooth, to be the peacemaker, to make everything okay. And this is where we lose our identity because we’re starting to lose it into what we do rather than who we are. And again, it’s always about how do I live out who I really am and live that out to the fullest in life with my family, with those I love with those that are friends and how do I do that well?

Lois                      

You know, sometimes I have really clung to some of these words, which is this just isn’t a fit because then it’s not someone did something wrong, right? I’m wrong, you’re wrong. It just isn’t fitting no matter how we try. That goes back to our earlier point, which is that’s why it’s so important as you come together, whether it’s in a community or in a relationship or in a job to really do your homework and see if you’re a good fit to begin with. Because if you’re not at the start, it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to start fitting somewhere down the road and then there are children involved. There are other situations that do make it very difficult and there’s no doubt this is painfully hard to go through this process.

Faith                 

It takes time to get to really know someone really well, not in a few weeks or in a few months. It usually takes a year or two and that’s where you begin to come into some of the conflict, not only in your romantic relationships and committed relationships, but also in your friendships and in community relationships. That’s where you really begin to kind of see where the rubber meets the road and now you find the areas of conflict, the things that you don’t necessarily agree with. That’s an opportunity always for growth, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s going to be on the same page about that. Some people are pretty adamant, no, it’s going to be my way or the highway and if that doesn’t fit for you or if you happen to be that person and it doesn’t fit for the other person, you’re going to run into conflict and now if you can’t resolve that, we’re back to square one. Right?

Lois                       

So that’s one of the things that you can look at in this process is to own this breakup, whichever role you have in it. Another thing to really consider, especially when it comes to a relationship with two people, do your best to have this conversation face to face. You know we live in a world where we read all the time that somebody texted here or emailed or even put a post on Facebook and changed their relationship status and that’s how someone discovered that a breakup is underway. Consider this, especially when it comes to two people in a relationship, how much you would prefer to be at least considered to that level that you have a conversation about it face to face.

Faith                

That is so true. We are in this day and age where everything is done by texting, by emails and it’s an avoidance. It’s an avoidance of feeling. That other person is a real human being and they have feelings and they have thoughts to consider and I think we’re becoming a little bit immune to that and numb to it and we need to not get that way. That’s what sets us apart from everything else in the animal kingdom is that we relate, we connect and we communicate and to honor and respect somebody by saying this is what I need to say is a true gift. Even if it is painful.

Lois                        

I can’t agree more. You know, we’re in episode 60, the impact of breaking up. More to Life with Faith and Lois at its core is about relationships. We are discussing transitions this year, but the reason we’re discussing it is how we relate to others and how we relate to ourselves and then how we commune spiritually and with everything in our presence. And so having that connection of a conversation, looking to somebody in the eyes, as hard as that is, I think will help everyone go a long way with that. Absolutely. The other thing that starts happening when you have breakups is sometimes things go in waves. Have you noticed that with Faith? Because once you have, once you step into making a decision to leave a job, let’s say, and this hasn’t been working out, there is something that you get almost like this surge of energy that you start looking at other things in your life. Is everything else going according to plan? Is it smooth? You will notice sometimes when people change one thing, they may change a couple of other things in their lives. It’s not always midlife crisis either, but it really does happen like that.

Faith                  

I think the momentum gets going and it gives you an awareness of you want something better. You want something to work better for your life. These are transitional moments in time that always awaken. What are the possibilities? What are the options? Where am I going? So we’re asking the deeper questions. A lot of times when we’ve had the shockwave of a breakup, it we’ll send through like what am I going to do next? What does this look like for me and where am I going to find new friends or a new relationship? I mean, all of these things begin to fall into line. I think that’s a part of it. The one danger is also is that the breakup sometimes creates the wave of being crushed and you can move into depression and deep sadness and withdrawal, and that is something I really encourage. If you are an a breakup, yes, there’s going to be a phase of grief and grief is very different than total withdrawal, so grieve it. Talk to your friends, talk to a therapist, talk to a spiritual mentor, whatever works for you, but talk it out and work it through so you can move through your grief so you can enter back into the fullness of your life.

Lois                       

In fact, that is one of the very things that we would like to encourage you in that is to own your pain because it is going to hurt. There’s a Rutgers University anthropologist, Helen Fisher, who says that everyone reacts to rejection, like a drug user going through a withdrawal. You know, it’s kind of an analogy with breakups and addiction as it relates to the intensity of your feelings. And so never for a moment think that we are saying, oh this is just going to be easy and tomorrow you’ll just go pick up the groceries. No, when you pick up the groceries you will remember what you ate with this other person or how you were in community with this group that you can’t do this anymore. This is extremely painful and there is no fast, quick way to get through this.

Faith                

No, it’s agony. That’s the best word that I can describe it because I’ve experienced it one not only in the relationships, but I’ve also experienced in community and it just has ripped my heart apart and it takes days, weeks and it takes a period of time, whatever it takes to heal and to move through it. And it doesn’t happen quickly. You have to own it, you have to experience it, and then you begin to see the light. And the hope and the new beginning.

Lois                     

And there’s no question, at least for me, I needed a certain level of distraction. I didn’t need to numb myself, but I had to change up my routine because if I did the exact same thing I was doing before, all I would do is bring these waves of emotion and because this person or this community wasn’t in that place. So that’s when your support system and your friends and people that you really trust, if you can gather them around for when you need it and then also recognize that you need the space to be able to go through it. We’ve said so many times in this podcast that if you choose not to face something and you think you can just push your way through it, it will come back and it will come back as a bigger wave.

Faith                    

Yes, and there’s also the ache and the longing to know what’s going on. So we want to go to their Facebook site or we want to talk to somebody who’s still in, and is involved with them. Oh, I just encourage you, don’t do that. All you do is delay the process of pain because you keep getting back into it and if you’re breaking up, if that’s what’s happened, move away from it. Don’t look at the sites, don’t do it. There will come a time where maybe you can enter back in but not right away.

Lois                       

And acknowledge that we all break up differently. Just like we live differently, we break up differently. So if your friends are complete opposites from you and their style is – I wait. I pursue every little detail and I’m not going to do this and I’ve got to look through things. Be careful if you’ve gone through the process and they’re basically trying to pull you back in or the reverse. If you’re going through a slow process, not sure and someone says no, do it right away and do it right now and then you dive and you’re not quite ready to dive. I think that’s one of the beauties as we start to recognize who we are, that we’re going to go through breakups differently and some of us take a long time and we need to read our journals for a couple of years and other people say, oops, that’s done. I’m out of here. And maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of one of those other two ways of doing it and you’ve done it differently.

Faith                   

No, it’s your own unique process. And again, it’s always honoring and respecting what works for you, what works for someone else, not necessarily going to be the package deal for you.

Lois                        

When the relationship is over. I mean, do you feel that it’s messy? Have you gone through this process and can you breathe? I mean, all of us want closure, right? Isn’t that part of what we hope for? And I think that the more kindness we can show ourselves that maybe we can even show this person who’s really hurt as will allow us to come through this process a bit smoother. It will be hard. It will be difficult, but cruelty rarely gives you the revenge status that you want after, you know, the first five minutes of saying something really horrible.

Faith                 

I would say, I’ve never seen it work. I’ve never seen revenge pay off. Well, it always comes back to kind of slap you silly in its own unique way and what you want is this is an opportunity to be who you really are. It’s that going back to identity, how do you want to be known? Do you want to be known as someone who w that is revengeful and bitter and nasty? Okay, well that’s how you’ll be known if you live that out. But if you want to be known as respectful and kind and generous you when it’s hard, even when it’s painful, that’s how you will be known and it goes a long way for both for you and for those around you.

Lois                       

And as you start the healing process, you’ll be able to say, how will I do this differently next time? Always. That’s the growth part. Yeah. That’s the possibility to say, okay, I see where I came into this thinking this and this is why this is here and that’s what this is all about because our lives are going to ebb and flow and we are going to make decisions that we sometimes have to remove ourselves from. Something to notice is that when you let go of one thing, do you find yourself letting go of other things? Or do you finally feel like, ah, I can breathe and now I can move into a process of new life for myself. And it’s, it’s hard because sometimes we do beat ourselves up.

Faith                 

Oh, we totally beat ourselves up and we, there’s a lot of times where we’re going to have those moments of, did I do the right thing? That’s a part of it. It’s okay. Yeah. These are all the different steps that you’re going to move through.

Lois                      

Maybe we could say you could have done this better in the moment. Plenty of people have said that to me. All I can say is we’re doing the best in the moment that we’re in, right, and we’re going to do our best, trying to pick up the pieces.

Faith                  

That’s really good. Breaking up is never easy. We want to avoid feeling hurt or feeling that we are hurting someone else except the truth. That breaking up will be painful. It’s the only way to healing.

Lois                       

And if you haven’t already, would you subscribe to our podcast? You can use any platform that works for you or go to our website, More to Life with Faith and Lois dot com. And join us next week for Transition, The Impact of Personal Evolution.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.