How to Transform a Breaking Point into a Starting Point
Big breakthroughs happen when
what is suddenly possible
meets what is desperately necessary
– Thomas Friedman
I caught Sweetbitter author Stephanie Danler on her book tour in Green Point, Brooklyn this month, and she said something that resonated with me. I made mental note of her words, reflecting on times when they've felt true, and storing them away for a later time when I knew I'de need them.
Talking about the main character, Tess, in the book, it suddenly became less about the book and more about real life.
“To hit rock bottom is a form of empowerment. To hit rock bottom means you can begin to rebuild.”
I think when we're in the thick of it, this is the hardest thing to remember, because we're so focused just getting through it. But the thing about breaking points, is they are hidden starting points. If you remember to peek up, and look around when you're down there, there is new perspective everywhere. You have a surge of empathy and compassion, and a renewed opportunity to steer your life in whichever way you choose.
Your story is yours to create again. You're no longer doing the thing you hate. You're past that.
Danler intentionally didn’t conclude her coming-of-age novel (which I highly recommend) with a marriage (what a nice surprise.) Nor did she give it a happy ending or prince charming. Instead, she kept it real and raw, like life.
She penned a more realistic life path for many twenty-something women—reaching a self-imposed breaking point, and finding our own way out.
When breaking points happen, there is no choice but to surrender. No matter how good you are at holding on (me) or tight the grip, a softening is inherent to the process.
I used to think with a positive attitude I could feel my way around the problem, without having to come face to face with it. But, that didn't get me anywhere. I'm learning to feel through it all to rebuild in the right direction. Use these steps below to get real with yourself next time you are at a breaking point, searching for a way out.
How to transform a breaking point into a starting point:
1. CHOOSE HONESTY OVER OPTIMISM
I know all the self-help books preaching to visualize and be positive and shout mantras, but none of that works for me. The only way to move through it is to surrender, to let myself feel it all and be really sad or really mad, versus doing all the new age tricks to make myself think I'm not feeling what I'm feeling.
2. BE OPEN TO ALTERNATIVES
Sometimes it's not about tried and true. Sometimes it takes exploring new forms of healing to get unblocked. Sometimes it's nothing familiar or easy and it takes work.
3. DOING THE WORK
Write until it make sense. Take note of
4. Change Your Scenery
A breaking point happens when you’re so lost, doing what you’re doing isn’t going to cut it and you just have to go seek clarity. Or fresh air. Get on your shoes and walk, or on the train or in the car. Get into nature. And if you're in the middle of the city, rooftops and parks. Rooftops and parks.
Just don't get on social media and compare yourself to other peoples highlight reel.
6. Remember, There is no blueprint to life.
We are not here to know all the answers, we are here to help each other, and love each other, and have some fun along the way. Your life is yours, don't try to make it like someone else's.
You are expanding. Stay focused on your big picture and be easy with yourself. And don’t let anything hold you back. Especially yourself.
Usually breaking points are the tipping point for change. The moment when the tide opens. The moment to take the leap, into the project or the place or yourself. If you need support on this exciting, invigorating and transformative journey, let's connect over a session.