Hey there blogverse,
This post is dedicated to one of my best friends, Deirdré. When you came into my life my suffering ended because your friendship gives me so much to be grateful for.
I felt kind of weird doing this sort of post, but then I realised how many of these type of posts I’ve read that are seemingly completely pointless or even borderline oversharing that have had such a positive and inspiring impact on me that I decided to push through and publish it anyway. I’ve realised that most of the YouTubers and bloggers that I’ve connected with the most are the ones that have opened up to their readers/viewers and have shared bits and pieces (some more than others) of their personal lives that we could relate to.
I’ve come to realise that I can continue posting content on this blog in the hopes that someone will find it and connect with it somehow, but that isn’t the superficial type of connection I want people to have with my blog. What’s the point of spending so much time and energy on a blog that I so desperately want people to connect with if I continue withholding all of the content that can be used to spark connections. In order to make authentic connections that blur the line between reading something written on a computer screen and chatting to someone in real life, I have to be something that I’ve spent a large portion of my life fighting not to be: vulnerable.
About a month ago I started chatting with a guy that I went to school with. We had two dates and I thought that things looked promising, however more or less a week later he ghosted me. It wasn’t until I had to explain to my mom what ghosting meant that I found during an internet search that its definition was no longer only confined to the Urban Dictionary . That was when I realised just how commonplace this type of behaviour has become. My mom immediately wanted to blame it on social media for enabling people to get away with hurting others without having to face the consequences of their actions, but I believe that the power of social media lies in the way we use it.
My first immediate reaction when I realised I had in fact been ghosted was to gear myself up for a revenge body 2.0 and I had already planned the outlines of a blog post comparing the stages of dating in 2017 with different mental illnesses, which I still might write, but before I could do any of this an internal switch went off. Before I started chatting with this guy I had been working on personal and spiritual development. That work had not been for nothing because instead of feeling my heart pump bitterness through me that left me cold, vengeful and hurt- I found a voice within asking what I could learn from this experience? I remembered something that I heard during one of my guided mindfulness meditations. I remember something along the following lines: Apparently there is a buddhist/zen technique that in its essence teaches that the state of suffering can only be overcome by practicing gratitude. Suffering and gratitude cannot coexist. I’m going to say it again because the importance of grasping this concept can’t be overstated, you can’t suffer and be grateful at the same time. Now I am open to correction as I am not a practicing buddhist, but I am a very keen admirer of its practices, teachings and beliefs.
As soon as the understanding of this teaching bloomed in my soul, I was able to look at being ghosted in a completely different way. Another technique I’ve learnt from my therapist is to always distance yourself from the emotions you’re experiencing in order to establish what you’re really feeling, but also to see them for what they are: emotions. Emotions that come and go and when ultimately analysed can be seen as neither positive nor negative. They simply are. So when I became sick and had to spend a week in bed the self-pity for being ghosted hit me like a pile of bricks. Put simply, I was suffering, which is when I started asking the following questions: What is the purpose of me having this experience? How could I take this situation and glean from it something that would help, better or prepare me for the journey I am on? How could the lesson hidden within this hurt teach me something that would help others as well as myself? And most importantly, how could I practice gratitude in order to counteract the suffering?
And as swiftly as the reasons why I should feel sorry for myself had raced through my mind, reasons for practicing gratitude seemed to flow from my soul until the immense gratitude I felt seemed to fill my veins like melted stars, shining through my skin. I made a conscious decision to shift my focus from being ghosted to being grateful for my best friend who sent me a handwritten note as her phone was broken, but she made a plan to communicate with me nonetheless. I made a conscious decision to be grateful for receiving a personalised voice note from my cousin, who had recently immigrated to Canada, during which she had her two and a half year old daughter say phrases like “Hi Zoë!”, “I miss you!” and “I love you!”. I made a conscious decision to not harbour resentment towards all men because a few had hurt me. Instead I chose to be grateful for having a Dad who buys me flowers regularly “just because”, but more recently bought me the beautiful white orchid (which is one of my favourites) that is in the photo. After he had given it to me, I was standing with the orchid in my hands and he told me that I am even more beautiful than the orchid I was holding and he thinks that I’m the catch of the century. I chose to be grateful for having a guy best friend, whom I call my Bestiecle (Bestie with testicles) that I introduced to you in this post, for continually being a loyal friend that I can count on, even when I don’t deserve it. Having someone ignore me had renewed my gratitude for the people in my life that do the opposite, that show up, that love me unconditionally.
“Do not let the behaviours of others destroy your inner peace.”
After this realisation I made a conscious decision to practice gratitude every time the feeling of suffering would stick out its destructive head and make me so depressed that my bones start to feel like led. In this case practice really does make perfect… until a few days ago when I received a Facebook friend request from an ex-boyfriend. He was my first love and we had been in a relationship for a few months during 2013/2014 and when we broke up my world had completely fallen apart. I was shocked and enraged that after what he had put me through he would have the audacity to reach out to me. He had been sending me annual friend requests since we had broken up, but I think because I had just been ghosted a few weeks earlier, a crucible of anger and hurt had been brewing internally and with seeing his name on my phone again, it reached a boiling point.
In retrospect, I think I was much angrier at myself for letting a friend request push me over the edge more than three years after we’d broken up, but then I realised that I hadn’t had the tools and knowledge, which I have at my disposal now when we had first broken up. Once again I forced myself to practice gratitude and after one of the most difficult meditation sessions I think I’ve ever done, I found myself grateful for being in the position and having the perspective to now actively start work on healing a wound that had during the years become infected because I didn’t have the necessary skills and knowledge to treat it.
I wrestled internally with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, but finally made the conscious decision to be grateful. I am grateful for my personal growth and for the knowledge and skills that help me navigate through life. I am grateful for the ex-shaped wound across my heart because without it I would have never had to develop the skills to heal it. I am grateful that he sent me that friend request because sometimes when you’ve had an injury for a long period of time, you stop seeing it as something that can be healed and treated, but rather as your own failure that later becomes a part of your identity. I am grateful for that friend request because its shock showed me that I’ve been living with an untreated injury, letting it latch itself onto my identity and become a part of me. I am grateful for this realisation because after this wound receives the proper care and treatment, there’s nothing holdin’ me back.
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”
He replied, “Nothing. However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
I’d like to leave you with the following lyrics from Sofia Carson’s song Back to Beautiful,
“All these words starting wars
Over who can hurt who more
Gotta get back to beautiful”
All of the people’s links listed below have played a part in inspiring my personal growth. I highly recommend you check them out ♡
Blog: misschelsearose.com by Chelsea Rose Hart
Music: Back to Beautiful by Sofia Carson feat. Alan Walker