Breaking up [with Yourself] is Hard to Do

by P. Braithwaite

“I’m going through a break up”

That, in a nutshell, is my humble excuse apology to anyone who may have noticed I’ve been gone for a while [Hi mom]. See, usually my breakups drive me to the page — this blog is, after all, an attempt to make sense of a break up from a million years ago. So why has this breakup caused me to disappear? What’s so different this time?

This time I have officially broken up with myself.

I’m not sure when happen, but I got into a committed relationship with an antiquated version of myself (usually we flirt but refuse to take each other too seriously). I became intimate with the dysfunctional voice inside my head, and I began to believe thoughts like: “you’re not good enough,” “you shouldn’t even be writing,” “you’re going to be broke forever,” and my favorite, “your book is stupid — you’re writing a book about your breakup while your ex has a wife and babies” (that last one is the most potent).

Although I knew it was unhealthy, I was comfortable with this version of myself. This voice was soothing. At first the whispers were occasional, but before I knew it, these words and thoughts became a full-time thing. My thoughts and I had been hanging out for months before I realized it was a problem because, as long as I whispered these words to myself, I didn’t challenge myself to be better than I am, I didn’t require myself to grow or stretch, and I didn’t attempt at anything different. I was stuck, and I was comfortable with it.

See, comfort is a strange thing — it feels right, but it’s (often) dangerous. It tricks us into holding onto things that are familiar (old ideas/past grievances), to protect us from the unfamiliar. We don’t realize that it’s impossible to grow this way. Eventually we start to believe that growing is dangerous, and we become paralyzed.

So its time for me to break up with myself, and, as I resurface and recommit to the best part of myself, I am reminded of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Voice of Knowledge. He writes: 

“The voice in your head isn’t even real, but it’s ruling your life, and it’s a tyrant. Once that voice hooks your attention, it makes you do whatever it wants you to do. How many times has the voice made your say yes when you really wanted to say no? made you doubt what you feel in your heart? How many opportunities to do what you really want to do in your life because of fear – fear that was a reaction to believing the voice in your head…you can see what you can have done by following instructions from the voice of knowledge –by following the lies.”

 I’m not sure if anyone is listening, but I open this up to you: How would your life change if you broke up with the negative part of yourself?