i) My Break-Up as the Beginning
A break-up is like the flu—medicine may not cure it, but time will heal it. It feels awful, but hold on! It just takes a little longer. Be patient. You will eventually recover and grow much stronger, and may even become immune to heartbreak.
This is the advice I gave my friends when they whined to me about their break-ups. To be honest, though, I learned the hard way that it was easier to say these words than to live by them. While going through my own break-up, I found out just how destructive it could be to part from someone with whom I had developed such a deep connection.
My emotional crisis brought on an overwhelming bitterness that enslaved me. I fell into a spiral of countless sleepless nights during which I thought a lot about myself, my life, and the meaning of living in this world. During the darkest moments soon after my break-up, inspired by my chaotic feelings, I wrote a few songs and their background stories, which became the starting point of this book.
Following my break-up, I felt ashamed. It hurt not only my heart, but also my ego. I was upset with myself, but only with myself, and no one else. I was sad about my stupidity and mad at my irrationality.
I thought, “I’m a strong person; I’m well-educated; I always pay my own bills; I stay healthy and fit; I’m a decent person ... Now, why should I be heartbroken because one man won’t continue to see me? There are so many single men out there. What’s the point of being so attached to him? How can I be so foolish? What’s wrong with me?”
After having time to review my broken relationship objectively, I began telling myself, “It’s OK if you do not feel all right. Intelligent scientists, successful entrepreneurs, strong athletes … all sorts of capable people deal with emotional crises, too. You’re just one of millions. You’re made of flesh and blood, not cold stone, so you have feelings. You don’t have to blame yourself; you should just be kind to yourself.”
This break-up led me to severe grief, yet also stimulated me to live the life I aspired to have. Instead of remaining frustrated and negative, I endeavored to “optimize” myself—I persevered in fitness class and strengthened my body; I made sizable progress in my career through my dedication and time management skills; and, most importantly, I recorded my unforgettable experience in music and words, which was incredibly fulfilling.
At long last, I defeated my heartbreak using my “secret weapons.” One year after my break-up, I unveiled the upgraded version of myself.
I lost myself when I was with him.
I then lost him, but I found myself.
Pondering my break-up, I realized that many of the economic and financial principles I had learned in school and the working world could be applied to emotional situations as well. Viewing my emotional avalanche from this rational perspective helped me walk through the sadness and then successfully rebound. My feelings evolved from shock, to a sense of betrayal, to depression, and then, finally, to relief.
Overcoming the break-up blues was a triumph for me. Recognizing how these experiences and thoughts had enabled me to recover from the break-up, I decided to share my methodology with you to assist you in your journey. In contrast to giving guidance, I lead you to come up with the best solution for yourself.
ii) Understanding Other Types of Break-Ups
Besides parting with a lover, other types of separations may also lead to heartache. Therefore, the term “break-up” in this book refers not only to the end of a romantic relationship, but also to many other types of “goodbyes,” including:
§ The termination of relationships with family members, friends, employers/employees, and/or business partners
§ The loss of a loved one
§ The loss of something important (such as a skill, one’s health, one’s youth, etc.)
§ Transformation (farewell to one’s old self)
§ Career change
§ Moving out of one’s comfort zone
There are different goodbyes I have said and will say to different parties throughout my entire life, before the last “Goodbye!” I will eventually hear from this world.
iii) What I Offer You in This Book
Here, I honestly share my experiences and perception to inspire, enlighten, and entertain you. I boldly tell you my views, some of which might not be openly spoken about. I sincerely hope my feelings resonate with you and my words are of value to you.
Break-ups are similar to perfect storms. They can demolish one’s life unexpectedly and cruelly. They may occur several times throughout one’s life—very likely between adolescence and middle age, but also at other stages. My heart and soul have grown stronger from every emotional challenge. Having survived this devastating crisis caused by a failed romance, I am now able to manage my emotional issues much better than I was before. In many situations in daily life, work, and study, one’s emotional intelligence, known as “emotional quotient” (EQ), has a greater impact than cognitive intelligence, known as “intelligence quotient” (IQ), in terms of solving a problem.
Challenge and opportunity have an interesting relationship—very often, crisis gives rise to growth. To memorialize my break-up, I wrote a few songs and then this book, which became souvenirs of my vanished love story. While writing candidly, I worried about what my family and friends would say about me behind my back. I wondered, “Will they judge me for disclosing my private pain?” Despite such concerns, I decided to express my opinions openly because I place greater value on benefiting others by sharing my experience than on what people think of me. Offering you this book is like making my secret diary public.
This book (totaling 15 chapters which are comprised of 88 sections) will bring you a mixture of feelings—sadness, bitterness, empathy, and delight, as well as inspiration. This work is not exactly soul-healing chicken soup; it is more like spirit-boosting spicy chili chowder. Some of my readers found this content blunt, while others finished reading and felt encouraged, like seeing fresh green leaves in the spring following a long, cold winter.
I also wish to take this opportunity to motivate you to write whenever you are facing a difficult situation (a question for you is prepared, and space for you to write is reserved at the end of most sections of each chapter—I hope you will engage with the content). It is not only a course of writing and creating, but also a process of logical reasoning, because you think a lot while you are writing, reviewing, and revising. Very likely, by the time you finish turning your thoughts into words, your problem will be solved.
People have different values, mentalities, and lifestyles. Everyone is unique. I hope that you will digest my thoughts in your own way and let them benefit your life.
Break-ups are never easy. It takes strength and patience to get through them. However, after overcoming one, you will realize how much stronger and wiser you have grown.
My hope is that my experiences and insights here will be your companion as you walk through the darkness and then welcome the sunrise, enjoy the fresh breeze, and smile in bliss.