The day Adam* left me was one of the most bittersweet I've ever experienced. At 9:32 a.m., I was given a massive raise (we're talking 20k difference) and at 10:39 p.m., I went from being happily in love to devastatingly heartbroken. You see, I was certain that he and I would ride off into the sunset with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids and a yellow lab. To me, he was the dream. However to him, the dream involved me being a housewife who supported his career. When it ended up being the other way around, it became a nightmare for him and the raise was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Now, this post isn't about how he's a chauvinist who probably needed a good feminist kick in the butt, but rather about the steps I took to move forward and keep my hustle going at work, when my personal life felt like it was crumbling to pieces.
1. Take a day to grieve and reassess
The day after Adam and I split, I was still reeling. I needed time to recover and to cry and to eat Rocky Road Ice Cream. I spent the day in my robe while watching Sex and the City. Every breakup shown in the episodes would result in a "See? Men are jerks!" from me, as I dabbed my eyes and grabbed another handful of Doritos. Some folks may say it's counterproductive, but I'm the type who needs to let it all out before I can push through. Think of it like facial peel: It's going to get worse before it gets better.
2. Do a full cleanse of your shared history
When you're in a relationship, your lives begin to intertwine. From social media to clothing, there will always be remnants remaining of the relationship you once had. Get rid of them. You could go the "Angela Basset in Waiting to Exhale route" and have a yard sale/burn the rest, but that's a bit drastic. I decided the most important Adam-related thing to cleanse was social media. I deleted him from my Facebook, my Twitter, even my LinkedIn. I mailed him all of his belongings left at my place. I then went on a delete spree and removed his number from my phone and every text message we ever exchanged. It was like hitting the 'delete' button on a part of my heart. This also saved me tons of time at work from stalking him on Facebook and wondering if the girl next to him is a friend or more.
3. Get your butt back to work, you have bills to pay!
Seriously, once I mourned the loss and cleansed him from my world, I then had to remind myself of my motivation to work. I loved my job at the time. I reminded myself that my career was in full upswing and who the hell is he to steal that joy from me?! Also, Verizon does not care if your spouse broke up with you, they still want their money.
4. Keep an emergency prep kit
Just because you purge someone out of your life completely doesn't mean your mind won't become a traitor and start bringing up memories of happy time with your ex. And mine was the Benedict Arnold of them all! Memories would leak in while giving findings on a report, while driving on my commute, even while terminating employees! Adam would seep through, and I would become a wreck. To combat this, I kept and emergency kit in my desk: tissues, concealer, eye drops and Preparation H (It works wonders for puffy eye bags right before a major meeting!) My kit included a secret weapon -- a list of all of the amazing things I've accomplished that did not involve him in any way. This reminded me that I'm a bad ass and he can't take that away from me!
5. Keep it moving
After about two weeks, I looked at myself in the mirror in my office restroom. I looked different. I felt different. Stronger. In a moment of courage, I said out loud "He's gone. We're done. I'm single. And that's OK." And, as strange as it seems, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Well, more like the feeling of a knife in my chest disappeared. I began to focus on the good in my life: my career, my friends, my family and my ability to keep my hustle and never be deterred.
These are the things that matter most. Yes, a loss of love can be earth-shattering, but I couldn't let that impact the other really awesome, really major parts of my life... and neither should you.
*Name changed to protect the ignorant
Amber Aziza is a Millennial career strategist and Founder of The Aziza Group, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between Millennials and Corporate America. She is also producing The Global Millennial Conference, focused on advancing Millennials from around the world. Find out more at www.gmc15.com