Dear John

February 14, 2021
M-J Kelley's drawing of a man receiving a heart shaped Dear John letter. He is crying. This is the large feature image

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

The deadly triple whammy breakup. Those words written on a heart-shaped card and sent on Valentine’s Day. Oof, harsh. 

Who does that? Well, quite a few people. Valentine’s day is a popular day for breakups. I should add they are planned breakups. So is Spring Break (eye roll), April Fools Day, and two weeks before Christmas, which is the most popular. 

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what day it happens. It hurts. But it makes for a better story if it is on Valentine’s day. Spring break seems a bit suspect too. 

Anyways, the “Dear John” letter seemed to have caught on during WWI. John was the most popular name for a boy, and during the war, many servicemen who were overseas received these letters ever so aptly named “Dear Johns.”

So you are probably wondering, “How is John?”

Well, John was heartbroken. But he knew there was no second chance, this time. For some, it is easier to turn a page than it is to look at oneself. But that is not what he did — he turned his grief into a moment of contemplation about what brings him joy. Where was his sadness pointing him? 

He spent a great deal of time reading about spirituality and the laws of the universe. He read brilliant life-affirming quotes:

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

He developed a daily ritual that involved meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude. He also exercised regularly, enjoyed his hobbies, and worked hard. It took him 82 days to stop wondering about his relationship and why it had failed. He was able to put the negative chatter behind him. Not that there weren’t hard days, but they were fewer and fewer

The most unexpected and wonderful thing happened during his healing process. John learned how to address his fears. He did this by leaning into them by using a mechanism known as R.A.I.N. 

Recognize what is happening;
Allow life to be just as it is
Investigate inner experience with kindness; and rest in the
Natural state of awareness or non-identification.

—Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

By doing so, he defanged what hurt him most. 

John continues to do all of these things because they bring happiness, wisdom and comfort. He will be more than “just fine.”

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