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Good Advice Is Only Good When You’re Ready

July 21, 2011

Right after I cancelled my wedding, one of the executives at my company and a woman I admire very much, Patrice Tanaka, sent me a book she thought would help me, titled “Finding Your Strength During Difficult Times.” This little book looked promising, but the minute I started reading, I knew it wasn’t for me.

I mean, it was telling me to take charge of my life. It affirmed that while people can hurt me, I am responsible for the way I feel. I am responsible for my own happiness.

I know, crazy talk. How does this crap get published, anyway?

I put the book in my bedside table, thanked Patrice for her kind gift, and proceeded to forget all about it.

Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I was searching for a lost receipt, and ran across the book. I mindlessly thumbed to a random passage and started reading. Suddenly it made so much sense. Miraculously, the authors knew exactly what they were talking about. I began frantically highlighting passages and emailing them to friends.

You see, I wasn’t ready before. When I first received the book, I wanted to wallow. I needed to. I had to feel sorry for myself, down on my luck. I wasn’t ready to move on and take charge of my own life.

It’s amazing what a year can do. Maybe the cliché is true, time does heal all wounds.

The passages I’ve shared below have been helping me deal with my recent anger, struggles letting go and reflection about the past. I really hope that you enjoy them as well. And if you aren’t ready, come back and read this later. Trust me.

 

Let Go

You were hurt.

Badly hurt.

Someone you trusted betrayed you.

Your plans fell through.

You took a risk and lost.

What are you going to do about it?

Seek revenge, live in an angry fantasy, eat your heart out?

If there is peace to be made, make it, but not at the price of hiding your hurt or pretending that everything is OK.

You need to let go of what doesn’t work for you.

Risk admitting what you already know in your heart.

Learn whatever lesson there is to learn from your loss, what matters and what makes no difference.

Save what can be saved.

Let go of what is never going to be.

Holding onto the impossible is the source of most of your pain.

Remember, in the end, suffering is just another choice.

  

Forgive

It’s time. What is the point of keeping your hurt alive?

To justify your anger and make you feel better about plotting your revenge? Not a good place to live, in a mind that is filled with hate, and you are frozen in hatred when you don’t forgive.

You don’t want to forgive? You probably have good reasons, a long list of good reasons. Without arguing with the fact that you were hurt, why is it that you are the one who is still suffering?

Forgiving is the next step and the last step.

Forgiving is letting go of your hurt.

If you are holding onto your pain because you want to show the person who hurt you how much damage he or she caused you, or if you act in a self-defeating way, always courting failure, allowing success to slip through your life, displaying your hurt by playing the role of a damaged person, perhaps you are making a big mistake.

If the person who hurt you could be influenced by your suffering to feel guilt and remorse and make amends to you, he or she would most likely be the kind of person who never would have hurt you in the first place.

Life always gets complicated when you conceal your hurt and wait for people to come to you and apologize. Your withheld hurt turns into anger and makes you victimize yourself.

If you expect others to make repairs, you’re always disappointed.

You deserve to forgive as much as you deserve to be forgiven.

You need to forgive if ever you are to love again.


55 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 9:04 am

    Funny, I believe there are so many books in life like this… that you have to read at the right time or they just don’t make as much sense. Great post! And great clips!

  2. July 21, 2011 9:07 am

    Thank you again 🙂

  3. July 21, 2011 9:25 am

    So glad you came across the book again. We always seem to be given a little insight exactly when we need it, right?

    • July 21, 2011 7:13 pm

      Exactly! I sort of stumbled across it on a day I really needed it. Odd!

  4. July 21, 2011 9:31 am

    Catherine, I am so proud of all the hard work you’ve done to get to this place. You are my hero! Love, PT

    • July 21, 2011 7:14 pm

      The feeling is mutual! Thanks Patrice… As much as I didn’t like the book at first, I love it now! So thanks!! 🙂

  5. July 21, 2011 9:43 am

    Wow. Thank you for posting these quotes, Catherine. I think now is the time I needed to read them.

  6. July 21, 2011 11:52 am

    “If the person who hurt you could be influenced by your suffering to feel guilt and remorse and make amends to you, he or she would most likely be the kind of person who never would have hurt you in the first place.”

    That’s my favourite one of them all!

    Thanks 🙂

    • July 21, 2011 7:46 pm

      I loved that part too, Amanalynn. It’s amazing how true that is… But it had never come to me in this way. Loved these passages! Glad you liked them too!

    • Becky permalink
      July 21, 2011 9:51 pm

      That is totally my favorite too – SOOO TRUE!!! 🙂 What great insight that this stuff makes sense and hits home when we’re ready for it to. Crazy…

  7. July 21, 2011 12:41 pm

    Wow, so true. Thanks for sharing this, Catherine!

  8. July 21, 2011 2:04 pm

    Lovely post – and definitely timely advice for me!

    • July 21, 2011 7:18 pm

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it… It’s all about getting the right advice at the right time, huh?

  9. July 21, 2011 3:34 pm

    Great post, Catherine! I think I currently fall into the group who will need to come back in a few months or so for this to sink in. It all makes perfect sense, and is great advice, but I’m not ready. I’m still busy wallowing for now.
    I’m putting it in my calendar on my phone to come back 🙂

    • July 21, 2011 7:23 pm

      I totally feel you, undertheabaya. When I read it the first time, I thought it made sense, but it just didn’t make sense for me. A year later, I found so much more meaning in it. I hope you have the same experience.

  10. July 21, 2011 9:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Catherine….I find myself struggling with letting go of the hurt and forgiveness. I feel if I forgive him, and let go of all the hurt he inflicted…that would be telling him it’s okay….what you did to me was completely okay….and it’s NOT.
    It is good to see in print what I need to do….now to work on me even more so I can put it into action.

    • July 23, 2011 6:23 pm

      DC BBW,
      I know what you mean about letting go of it all. It’s like saying that it’s over, done, forgiven. BUT – for me, anyway – letting go of it (little by little) shows me that I deserve to be free of it. Maybe he doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, but I benefit from forgiving more than he does. Holding on to all of this is light a weight that you carry. It hurts him, but I have to believe that it hurt YOU more. Good luck with it… it’s not an easy journey for any of us.

  11. July 22, 2011 10:32 am

    Sometimes when we are upset, confused, and hurt, we look at something like a book of wise words, presumably written by some content work-from-home inspirational author, as a bother. Like a “you have no idea what the fuck I’m feeling” kind of thing. But then, when we calm down, come to terms with our feelings, and reflect, suddenly it looks different. Nice post.

    • July 23, 2011 6:16 pm

      Brettelizabethmurphy,
      You are so right. Sometimes you are like, who are these crocks giving me this advice? Clearly they’ve NEVER been in my situation. But with a little time, this kind of advice can sometimes provide great perspective. I think the key is to just be open to the advice, and use it when you are ready. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  12. July 22, 2011 12:38 pm

    Thanks, this is exactly what I need! I am copying and printing off I need it to hang someplace I can always see it.

  13. July 22, 2011 1:24 pm

    Force-feeding somebody never works, unless they’re ready to eat. It’ll only encourage resentment otherwise. Glad you were able to appreciate the book when you were fully ready to appreciate it.

  14. July 22, 2011 2:55 pm

    Oh gosh, this is soooo true. One of my best friends gave me the ‘more fish in the sea’ attitude quite a bit with my break-up. I’ve even done it myself. It’s not until she went through her own break-up that she realized letting go happens in layers and how brutal it can be. It’s a choice everyday… little a-ha moments and mini miracles that come into your life as the days pass. Books happen for me like that, too! ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (which people either seem to love or hate), because of its spiritual journey, helped me immensely through my break-up whereas ‘A Return To Love’ by Marianne Williamson has allowed me to truly let go in love recently. I highly recommend it! Of course I have my moments but it’s amazing how God or the universe helps us out when we ask for it– and like you said, when we’re ready for it. My ex gets married on the 13th and I wanted to do something. I wasn’t sure what. Do I just enjoy the day because it shouldn’t be a big deal? Do I book my trip to Paris that day? What do I do? Then I saw a friend on Facebook recently went skydiving. Hmmm… My ex told me that I was the love of his life but that he chose the more pragmatic, easy option. So I thought maybe jumping out of a plane would be a great way to show my intention of always choosing to live over a zombie-like existence. Obviously a guy that can choose to be with someone else when his heart is elsewhere is NOT the love of my life. He would never let go of something so awesome. So it would be my way of saying, “Hey up there!! I’m serious about this sh*t!!! We’re doing it!!! I’m ready for the real good stuff now!!!” We’ll see… 🙂 In the meantime… my friend sent this link to me. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Sex & The City but I love the idea behind this. Hope you enjoy!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyuCwCN78lA

    • July 23, 2011 6:13 pm

      Mandi,
      I LOVED this clip. This is one of my all time favorite scenes from SATC. I think you are right, if he didn’t have the courage to choose you, saying you are the love of his life, then he very clearly isn’t the love your life. He would have been able to make a better decision if that were the case. I’ve struggled over the relevance of certain days, too. Like the one year anniversary of what should have been our wedding day. Do I do something empowering? Do I act like it doesn’t exist? Sometimes, I feel stupid because I remember these days and they do affect me. And the way I see it – if I remember it, if it affects me, then instead of deny my own emotions and pretend it doesn’t exist, I should try to find a positive in it. So instead of be sad all day, I should do something that makes me feel empowered. And then maybe someday, the day will just pass by like it doesn’t matter. So, all this to say, I love your skydiving idea. Or any idea that reminds you that you are something unique, special, and that you will be OK. I say go for it 🙂

  15. July 22, 2011 3:21 pm

    Simply love this.

    And great insight- advice really does have its time and place in order to be effective. thanks for sharing those passages.

    • July 23, 2011 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Larissa! It’s funny, so much advice I’ve gotten in my life has not really been effective at the time I received it. But, later, I remembered it and it helped me. I thik it’s just about keeping your ears open, listening to the advice (and trying to remember it), even if it doesn’t feel particularly relevant or good at the time.

  16. Sarah permalink
    July 22, 2011 11:05 pm

    I just wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. I have been reading your blog the last few weeks; I’ve been going through a rough break-up and have found a lot of what you’ve had to say helpful, though of course our situations are different, and I hope you don’t take this to mean I am comparing the two. But I see parallels, and I am so glad I found your blog and especially this post. Everyone keeps telling me I need to just focus on me or to just start my life again. That’s all great advice, but sometimes I still just feel like crying or being sad. I don’t want to be, nor do I believe I will be, feeling this way forever, but I do need to grieve – even if I am grieving the person I thought he was and not the person he actually is. Thank you for sharing your experience and these passages; I fully intend to read and re-read them, when I am ready for them.

    • July 23, 2011 6:03 pm

      Sarah,
      Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment. I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been going through. I know what you mean about sometimes needing to cry and feel sad. As much as you want to move on, I believe you do need to take the time to mourn what you lost. Someone commented one time and told me that I should allow myself to be sad, but to put a limit on it. They basically said that if you feel like crying, allow yourself 30 minutes to completely have an emotional break down. But then, when time’s up, you gotta wash your face and move on with your day. I’m not sure if this helps you, but it really helped me. It helped me find a way to let out my emotions, but to not let them take over my life. “I am grieving the person I thought he was and not the person he actually is”… I COMPLETELY feel you on this. And it takes a while to get over that. Take your time, take care of yourself. And I promise, much of their advice will start to make sense…it just takes time.

  17. July 23, 2011 10:48 pm

    Hey Cat, Love this post.. it does make sense.. Hmm.. I’ve got to look for this book at my local bookstore. Thanks for posting it.

    • July 25, 2011 8:11 pm

      No problem! Glad you enjoyed. The book is great – covers lots of different topics. Some I’m ready for, others I may have to wait a while for 🙂

  18. July 24, 2011 5:19 pm

    This is very true that a person will only accept good positive advice if they are ready for it.

    It is difficult, hence to be a good friend when a tragedy has occurred. My sister died almost 10 months ago and so some friends didn’t know how to respond. The best ones were those who didn’t give me advice, but were just there to listen to me.

    I actually don’t read much self-help books full of those sorts of advice. I just haven’t been oriented there. I find it better look deeply inside myself and talk alot to some good friends. Go cycling, do some art, etc. and yes blogging abit.

    Time can be a healer. But for some of life’s tragedies it can take a long time.

    • July 25, 2011 8:16 pm

      “The best ones were those who didn’t give me advice, but were just there to listen to me.” That’s the same experience I had, Jean, when I cancelled the wedding. Some people were full of advice, but it was those who just let me mourn and were there for me that were the best in the end.

      I think that some of these books can give good advice, but you have to be oriented to them, as you say. But I think just about anyone could benefit from a self help book or two 🙂 Just gotta find the right one.

  19. 2NewBeginnings permalink
    July 24, 2011 8:25 pm

    Love this post and great quotes to think about. What I have learned this year is this one…..”Life always gets complicated when you conceal your hurt and wait for people to come to you and apologize. Your withheld hurt turns into anger and makes you victimize yourself.” That’s why this year is about forgiving people who have let me down over the years and letting go. I don’t have to like any of it and I can’t change it, but I can choose to let it go and no longer let it affect me in a negative way. Hard lesson to learn, but I am so much happier because of it. They are fine, probably don’t even know how bad they hurt me, probably don’t even care less, so the only one who has to deal with it, is me. Letting go is choosing happiness for me and going after it despite the past.

    • July 25, 2011 8:20 pm

      2NewBeginnings,
      I completely feel you on this. We have to let go at some point. As hard as it is, we have to find a way. Because, I’m learning more and more each day that the people who hurt me in the past aren’t holding onto it. They may be sorry, but they are trying to push what they did to me out of their minds. Maybe they are in denial of what they did. But my job is not karma enforcer. It is not my job to make sure that those who have wronged me feel bad or suffer. I just have to move on…and believe in a universe where things will work out in the end. I will be happy. (NOT I will be happy and they will be unhappy — simply, I will be happy. I don’t have to worry about the rest). “Letting go is choosing happiness for me and going after it despite the past.” So beautiful, and so true.

  20. July 26, 2011 9:58 am

    “Time heals all wounds, and wounds all heels.”
    One of my favourite quotes for its simple truth!

    I totally agree with the whole timing thing. Last year my friends would tell me that if I hadn’t just set myself on fire, the heartbreak would have been a lot more manageable but I wanted to believe that they were irrelevant. Months later, I agree with them: it never would have got to that point if I hadn’t been at what was most probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been.

    Glad to hear the book makes sense now!

    • July 26, 2011 9:49 pm

      Alexia,
      Exactly! It’s funny … even those closest to us, our friends, know what’s best for us/have insight into our lives…. even with them, we can’t see it until we’re ready. As long as we see it eventually, right?

  21. July 26, 2011 4:55 pm

    It’s so very true that you have to be ready for it – but I also have to say that, things like this may not make sense if you haven’t been there before. I’ve been through a few break ups now and although I can’t say it gets easier – I can say that I know it will get better, I know the healing “system” as it were. Sometimes knowledge comes from experience and no matter what people tell you, it will not make sense until you’ve experienced it yourself.

    So glad you gave it another chance now though, it shows that you’ve grown, moved forward, got stronger!

    • July 26, 2011 9:43 pm

      AWildDog,
      This is such a great point. Just thinking about what I’ve been through the past year, I just know I am so much better prepared to handle a break up than I used to be. I used to think my life wouldn’t go on without my ex. I couldn’t even imagine it. Now, I know that no matter who you lose, you can move on. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and how to keep myself busy AND happy. I’m not sure I knew how to make myself happy before. That’s a skill will help me my entire life, I think. There’s no better education than life experience, huh 🙂

      • July 27, 2011 6:19 pm

        Totally understand that, I was a bit like you – I had a long relationship when I was quite young, I was engaged to the guy. So I grew up in that relationship, I grew up learning how to make “us” happy. Of course I knew myself but not as well as I do now.
        Nothing wrong with finding the right guy early in life but if it falls apart there’s a heck of a steep learning curve!

  22. September 16, 2012 5:07 am

    I’m bookmarking this for when the time comes.. As of right now i’m still not ready but i’m somehow confident that this will definitey help me in the long run. I’ll be back on this post one day and i’ll definitely post follow up comments on progress. 😀 thank you so much for sharing this! The words are pretty motivating and somehow its giving me strength to look forward to a new beginning. Thank you! :’)

  23. June 8, 2013 1:45 pm

    Reblogged this on For when love starts to hurt..

  24. June 16, 2013 10:11 am

    Reblogged this on Lady Novitiate and commented:
    I must remember this, if and / or when the worst happens…

  25. July 23, 2013 11:44 pm

    i just figured “this” is what i needed to know…i was awakened..like yeahh i was…thank u catherine!:))) i wish i could hug u right now

  26. Billie Jean permalink
    August 26, 2013 6:53 pm

    Thank you for this. I just stumbled upon your blog…because I’ve been Google-ing how to recover from a break-up…as silly as that sounds. It’s all really raw right now…found out three days ago that my boyfriend of nearly two years cheated on me. Twice. And he felt the need to tell me he didn’t even feel bad the first time. Anyhoo, all this to say thank you. Thank you for writing your story, and for letting me read it.

  27. rima permalink
    January 6, 2014 3:18 am

    time doesn’t always heal wounds. when it is infected, it will never be the same again. I was devastated after my break (I still am) after three years. I lost interest in everything. I have read a great deal of article, books, about ways of healing from love pain, I always feel hurt. I can forget sometimes, but it is really a short time, most of the time I am not well.

  28. November 23, 2016 11:45 pm

    I somehow stumbled across your blog and THANK GOD that I did. First holiday for me post traumatic breakup (honestly, most breakups are, aren’t they…), and while feeling sorry for myself, angry, sad, lost, etc. found exactly what I needed in your honest, direct, and understanding words. I cannot thank you enough for giving a transparent look into your life and process. You have no idea the comfort I have found in relating to your words and hope from seeing the path you took lead you to happiness.

Trackbacks

  1. Loose Ends – August Edition « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  2. Breakup Prescription « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  3. Good Advice Is Only Good When You’re Ready | An Ordinary Day In An Ordinary Girl's Life

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