This article was originally published on Medium here.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Your ex may put on an exasperating “better than everyone” persona, but you know better.
There’s a reason you got out of that relationship.
Somehow, though, past pains tend to come visiting and hang around when you least want to deal with them. Exes are particularly good at doing this.
A New Phase
Though the worst of your toxic times are over, there are still difficult memories, and often even family visits to contend with in your former relationship.
Then there may be mutual friends or family who seem to think your ex is actually the nicest person ever.
Lest you seem petty, you usually have to grin and bear it. This kind of silent frustration is a new and tricky phase of the breakup, and for many of us, it can last years. Sometimes it can feel as though you have no one to talk to, or no one would believe you if you tried.
It’s time to write it all down
If there’s one thing your ex doesn’t want to hear you say, it’s “I’m writing a memoir.”
Why? Because you’re the one who knows the truth.
Even though your ex may act like the greatest thing since sliced bread, the facts don’t lie. When you write your story, not only will the process of writing be a healthy release of your pent-up anger and disappointment, but the finished work will also serve as a revealing document about what truly happened.
What should I say?
Say the truth.
Remember, though, that this isn’t a story about your ex. It’s a story about you.
You’re the star of this memoir, so focus on the stories that show what your life has been like. There are many ups and downs to describe, and you should consider them all before you get started.
There’s an amazing peace to be found in the process of writing your own story.
Studies have evaluated the amazing things regular writing routines can do to improve blood pressure, stress levels, and general happiness. When you write, you search for common themes and larger meanings.
That’s a major part of telling any story. When you write about yourself, this part takes on a new level of importance. You go through the incredibly cleansing process of finding meaning in your own life.
Don’t Get Even, Get Happy
When all is said and done, the true goal of your memoir isn’t to get even with your ex or to bash your past.
That part of your life is over and done with, and you’re working toward moving on.
The goal, instead, is to be honest.
Maybe for the first time in a long time, you’re going to find your voice. You’ll finally share the truth of your experience and your feelings, and you’ll find what those things have meant to you.
In the end, you may discover that you don’t need to share your memoir with anyone at all. Simply having written it was enough.
The ultimate revenge is not needing revenge at all. It’s having the ability to look your past in the face and smile as you say, “I’m so much happier without you.”