Relationships between people end. They always end, one way or another. Our son recently lost his young wife to illness. She died, leaving him with two small children to raise by himself. A restaurant owner I know suddenly left his mate of many years in favor of his new trophy girlfriend. Relationships end and the survivors must figure out how to go on.
Let me say that the mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was one of the wisest men I've ever read or listened to. He was a true sage and I love to read his wisdom. Yesterday I was skimming through "A Joseph Campbell Companion" and found the following, talking about the survivor mentality.
Joseph Campbell wrote ...
When a relationship breaks off, it takes a person a little while to settle and find a new commitment. It’s after the break off, when there is no new commitment and life has been divested of all of the potentials, that this painful reaction takes place. For some people, this is a dangerous period.
The psyche knows how to heal, but it hurts. Sometimes the healing hurts more than the initial injury, but if you can survive it, you’ll be stronger, because you’ve found a large base. Every commitment is a narrowing and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a larger base and have the strength to hold to it.
Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment – not discouragement – you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments that seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it look and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.