Why Having a Breakdown Is the Best Way to Make a Breakthrough

You can’t have a breakthrough without some things getting broken. Paul Gilmore

“I was let go from my job a month ago. My company was bought out by another big conglomerate and I’d been diligently trying to secure my positioning there,” says my beautiful 30-something hospitality client.

“Secure your position there?” I question. “But you hated that job. Hadn’t you been miserable there for the last three years?” I ask.

“Well yes I was, but I still needed a job,” she murmurs.

“And that job was the best you could do for yourself?” I ask.

“Well, it’s a difficult market out there and it’s always better to have a job while looking for another one, than it is to be unemployed and looking for work,” she quips.

“I fully agree, but were you really looking for a new job?” I ask.

“No, not really. I was just trying to make sure I kept this job until I could find something else.” she replies.

You get what you accept.

If you don’t ask for better for yourself, how will you ever get better?

“You accepted this job for such a long time. How were things ever going to change for you if you were not working towards bringing about change?” I ask. “You just kept accepting bad behavior from this organization and allowing it to continue poisoning you,” I tell her. “And you told yourself that this was O.K.?”

You can tell yourself a story about your life, but the truth will always catch up with you.

“You were extremely unhappy with that company and unfulfilled in the job. How long were you going to allow yourself to deal with those conditions? Did you think they would just go away if you ignored them?” I ask.

“I kept hoping the situation would change,” she replies. “I thought that if I could just take the higher road it would all work out for me.”

“But after three years of ‘taking the higher road,’ you hadn’t seen much change, correct?” I ask.

“Correct. I hadn’t seen any changes,” she says.

You can only hold onto something that is not working for so long.

We spend so much time trying to fix things when in reality sometimes we just need to let things go. We need to trust that the thing we’re clinging on to will be replaced with something or someone much better.

“I see this as a very good thing for you,” I tell her.

“Good thing? How could it possibly be a good thing? This was so humiliating for me. It’s caused a complete mental breakdown and it’s also taken a toll on my self-esteem and made me feel completely worthless,” she says.

“Losing that job didn’t make you feel worthless.” I tell her. “You only feel worthless for now realizing how badly you were allowing yourself to be treated by staying there. That’s what’s humiliating.” I tell her.

“After 13 years with this company, I don’t even know who I am anymore,” she says. “I was hoping you could help me put things back together,” she says.

“Well, actually, I wouldn’t spend one more minute trying to keep it together. Let it fall apart,” I tell her. “Bring on the breakdown!”

There’s beauty in the breakdown.

You cannot build anything healthy on a faulty foundation. When re-building  your life, the best thing you can do is let the old structure crumble to the ground and start anew.

“Breakdowns enable you to break down your mental constructs and your expectations that were no longer serving you. When everything else is taken away, there is space to process what has happened. Then you can see better what is left and where you need to go from here,” I tell her. “In other words, you had to have this breakdown in order to get to the breakthrough you’re hoping for.”

You need to break down the image you have of yourself to be truly open to the right path for you.

“Truth be told, if this job was actually right for you at this stage of your life, you wouldn’t be having this breakdown right now,” I tell her. “This breakdown is a clear indication that something needed to shift in your life. Don’t resist it. Dive into it.”

You don’t always know what’s right for you. But you can always trust that often when something is taken away from you it’s because you have outgrown it.

A breakdown signifies that it’s time for change.

Breakdowns quite purposely break you down. They take away what isn’t working for you and help usher in what will. Your only job is to step aside and not get in the way of the breakdown—let the change begin!

Breakdowns and breakthroughs are opposite sides of the same coin.

Whenever there is a breakdown occurring, trust that a new understanding and a new life is about to begin for you. Breakdowns and breakthroughs go hand-in-hand. The mistake we often make is that we get caught up in the breakdown itself and we use it as an excuse to play the victim of our lives instead of realizing the gift that it really is.

Don’t curse the breakdown; praise it.

Once you’ve broken down your dependence on what wasn’t working in your life, you make yourself free to embrace something healthier and more fulfilling. You are also creating the space for it to come into your life. The breakdown was not a bad thing; it was the catalyst to bring you to a much better place.

Don’t get caught up in the breakdown. Let it break you down and break down your constructs of what you thought was right for you. Only then will you be able to see more clearly what is right for you. Life is funny that way.

Based in New York City, Donnalynn is the Author of “Life Lessons, Everything You Ever Wished You Had Learned in Kindergarten.” She is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach (ethereal-wellness.com), Inspirational Blogger (etherealwellness.wordpress.com), Writer, Speaker and Yoga Teacher. Her work has been featured in Glamour, the iHeart Radio Network, Thought Catalog and Princeton Television. You can follower her on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn,  Facebook and Google+ . Read Donnalynn’s column for Observer

Why Having a Breakdown Is the Best Way to Make a Breakthrough