Breaking up is hard to do. . .

No doubt we can all remember the song of that title: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.  And it’s likely we have all experienced the trauma of it happening to us.  I am presently watching, with a supportive eye, open arms and a loving heart, a very dear friend pick her way carefully through the many brambles of a relationship gone bad.  It’s an ending that very much needed to happen but it’s not easy to execute, regardless.  Or experience.  Breaking up is simply never easy. Yet it’s often necessary, sometimes even life-preserving.

In the work I have been doing for a few decades now, my focus has been on relationships, as many of you know. My recent few books, (see book section for their titles), and the body of workshops of late have focused almost exclusively on creating more successful, productive and peaceful relationships; at home, at work and with strangers too.  Perhaps it’s my advancing years that have inspired this narrower focus or my heightened awareness of the tension that seems to reside in so many of the encounters I observe among friends and strangers too.  Way too many people simply seem out of sorts, don’t they?  Edgy.  They frown rather than smile.  Bark commands rather than politely ask.  Dismiss their fellow-travelers rather than engage in kind bantering, the form of attention that lets the other person know she has been seen and heard.

And this is a good segue back to the topic at hand: breaking up.  One of the primary reasons many couples end a relationship is that one or the other party feels unheard, unseen, disrespected in some way.  In a movie I saw a number of years ago a detective pointed out to the protagonist who was certain her husband was having an affair that everyone simply wants a witness to their life.  People want to know they have mattered.  Made their mark. Contributed in some worthy way.  Of course we do all have that purpose.  A shared one of mattering to the whole of the human universe.  But it’s especially nice to be told, to be acknowledged in that vane.

Through my books and workshops it’s my hope to teach people how to make those tender connections so that breaking up doesn’t remain the default position that it has too often become in our culture.  Giving love a chance, giving witnessing a chance, giving peace a chance is guaranteed to make breaking up a much harder thing to do.


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