I’m Not Broken
I was devastated. How did I get here? I was everything I had always despised: pathetic, mopey, and heart-broken. We were at Barnes & Noble for my nephew, after all. It was his birthday, and he wanted to buy some Pokeman books with his birthday money. At some point I had wandered off on my own. I had been stuck in my own head, wallowing in self-pity for weeks and now here I was, standing in the self-help section like a sad, desperate woman begging for help on the Oprah show.
I knew I had to do something to make a change. I was turning into a shut-in. It had been five weeks; it was time. 35 days had passed since the world I once knew came crashing down; I lost my job and my boyfriend all in one day and it destroyed me. I didn’t even recognize the person that I had become. I didn’t want to see my friends. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. All I did was shove food in my mouth, watch sad movies and cry.
I stood there, reading through all the titles on the shelves. Then I saw it, the book I had heard so much about, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt. I picked it up, read a few pages and decided it was worth a shot. Next to it, by the same author, a book titled “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, The Smart Girl’s Break-up Buddy.” It had a bright, eye-catching cover. The main picture was a vivid turquoise and hot pink tub of ice cream. Yes, perfect, this is SO me! It was a book Greg had co-written with his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. It seemed witty and insightful and I couldn’t wait to get home and dive in.
I read “He’s Just Not That Into You” in just a couple of hours. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. It only reassured me that I had made the right decision in leaving all of my previous boyfriends in the past, but it wasn’t all that I felt I needed to help me with my current situation. I started to read “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” and I’m not sure that I ever put it down, except to sleep. I read it in just two days, and then I read it again. The first time through, I ignored the exercises and most of the commandments, thinking they just seemed so silly, but took almost all of their advice. The second time around, I really paid attention. I participated in all of the exercises and applied ALL of the commandments.
Greg lays out seven firm commandments. They were wonderful tools. I found a few of them to be a little more important than others. For example, Commandment No. 1: Do not see him or talk to him for 60 days, also known as “he-tox.” It seemed impossible. He called me several times a week and I would still see him once or twice a week, he just wasn’t my “boyfriend” anymore. By my second time through the book, I was ready. He-tox was the first step in getting my life back, on getting ME back. When the time came for me to break off all communication with my ex, it was actually very empowering. I immediately felt so strong when I said the words to him, “I can’t see you anymore, and I don’t want to hear from you either. You aren’t the one for me. I really do love you, but I’m learning that I love myself so much more. The only thing I can promise is that I will love you a little less every day.” That was the day my journey began!
I started to feel the transformation almost immediately. I couldn’t get enough of it. I kept going through the steps. The next major commandment that really helped me to move past a huge hurdle was Commandment No. 3: Get rid of his stuff and the things that remind you of him. This step resulted in a huge breakthrough for me. I rearranged my furniture and my bedroom. I boxed up all of his things. In doing so, I not only removed physical items, I also went through the mental process of removing him and accepting that he would no longer be there. Certain parts of this process were sad, but a larger part of it was liberating and it felt great! I was single, I had my own place and my own life. It was time to reclaim what was once mine, and that’s just what I did!
The last commandment is something that I still struggle with, on and off, in my single, everyday life. Commandment #7: It won’t work unless you are number one. That statement couldn’t be more true. It is probably the biggest key to this growing process. It not only applies to boyfriends, but to all friends. Every day we have to remember to put ourselves first, in all situations, because if we don’t, no one else will either.
I have passed this book around to at least six of my girlfriends. I know they have all loved it but they haven’t all taken it in as much as I have. The key to the success of this book in your life is to be willing and totally open to the ideas and exercises.
This book changed my life. It has been almost four years now since this transformation occurred. I no longer even have the desire to date or have a boyfriend. I realize that may not be the healthiest thing either, but I have become so focused on my wants, my needs and my dreams that I can’t even imagine making room for someone else. I spent so many years worrying about how someone else felt, what someone else needed, and how to achieve someone else’s goals that I completely lost track of my own. I realize I really had no self-worth, and I depended on my boyfriends to make me happy and to make me feel complete. Through his book, Greg showed me that I had the ability to feel happy and complete all on my own, and that is exactly how I feel today. I could never fully begin to express how much this book means to me or how much it has changed me, in every way. I do know that I count Greg Behrendt as one of my heroes, and I am eternally grateful for his wisdom and knowledge. I no longer rely on anyone else to make me feel good about myself. If I start to feel like something is wrong, I take a step back and I try to figure it out. I am now the only one who controls how I feel and what I think. I wouldn’t trade that for the world!