It happens to every single girl sooner or later...and usually at the most unassuming times. You know the drill: you're sashaying along through life, happy as can be, not a care in the world, when all of a sudden, you turn a corner and come face to face with...Your Past. Also known as...The Ex. Not just AN ex, but THE ex. The one who can melt you into a puddle of mush with one glance in your direction. The one who can make time stand still no matter how much time has passed since you last saw him. The one who, most likely, broke your heart - maybe even unintentionally. And the one who still possesses the power to singlehandedly rock your world more than the entire cast of People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue showing up on your front doorstep would.
You have three choices when this climactic life moment occurs. You can A) Run in the opposite direction with your tail between your legs B) Stand frozen, without moving an inch and try to blend in with the mannequins in the window of the closest store (although this option is only really only useful if you happen upon your ex somewhere like Forever 21 or Bebe, and then that presents a whole other set of issues) or C) Take a deep breath, face the moment head on with a smile and be your most rockstar self. Not the you that he walked away from, but the you that he won't remember WHY he walked away from once he sees the fabulous transformation you've made since he exited stage left.
Here's the key: It is often only in LOSING a relationship that wasn't meant to be that we WIN back parts of ourself that we had lost: our independence, our self confidence, and most importantly, our groove. That special spark that makes us who we are. A break-up is very often a wake-up call to remind us how to get back in touch with our most fabulous selves. So why, once you have reignited your inner goddess, would you ever back down like a scared little girl? An encounter with an ex can be enlightening, healing, and even downright empowering, when handled the right way. Life is handing you an opportunity to come full circle, to shine your light on the dark days of your break-up and to exorcise the ghosts of your past right outta your life once and for all. And occasionally, a brush with an ex can actually turn into the reigniting of a spark - if both parties have grown, matured, and evolved into people that are ready for one another. Sometimes a relationship ends because of bad timing, or extinuating circumstances, or a lack of maturity - and all it takes is time and distance to erase the mistakes of the past and give your love a clean slate. Whatever the case may be, when life designs a chance encounter between you and your ex, that's a powerful thing; it's a synchronistic thing; and it's an opportunity for growth that should be seized. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving when your path collides with an old flame:
1) First and most importantly, make sure the encounter is not staged. C'mon, ladies, if you're Facebook stalking him to time precisely when he's going to be at the gym in order to "accidentally" show up on the Stairmaster right next to his, he's gonna know. A staged "run-in" reeks of desperation and will only serve to send him running in the opposite direction. If life and fate decide you're ready to run into him, you will...and until that happens, carry on with your life and stop using his Twitter updates as your own personal dayplanner.
2) Remain calm. As hard as this is to do, you must try and keep the nerves in check as much as possible. Even though your heart will likely be pounding like the Dixie Stampede, try as best you can not to let him see the visceral effect he has on you. If your hands are shaking and your knees are quaking, it's going to keep you from being able to project your most fabulous, carefree self. Remember, your life's happiness if not based on how well or how disastrous this encounter goes - so take a few deep, calming breaths, relax your mind and go with the flow. If you keep in mind that he is likely going to be at least a little affected by seeing you, too, it will help you keep your own nerves in check long enough to coherently maintain the conversation.
3) Confidence, confidence, confidence. It doesn't matter if you've just exited Zumba class covered in sweat with your mascara flowing down your face like the River Nile - hold your head high like you are Heidi Klum strutting your stuff on the Victoria's Secret catwalk. Here's the thing: carrying yourself with confidence allows the other person to actually forget what you look like in that moment, no matter how disheveled you may be, and focus on your inner glow that is knocking the socks off of everyone you stroll past. Confidence is the single most important secret weapon you will ever carry. So shoulders back, spine straight, chin up, add a little swagger...and he'll be left scratching his head long after you walk away, wondering just why on earth he let you slip through his fingers.
4) Most of all, remember who you are. You are a queen - a beautiful, worthy, irreplaceable queen - and no matter what happens when your path collides with your ex's, a few minutes of conversation with a shadow from your past cannot take away the shine of your future. Let go of any need to control the situation and allow life to take over. You might find that after seeing him again, you can't for the life of you remember what you ever saw in him to begin with. You might find that your heart healed itself without you even realizing it. Or you might find the love of your life staring back at you, now ready to move onto the next level with you. Whatever you find, it doesn't change the person that you are today. Allow yourself a brief emotional road trip to the Past for a few minutes, then follow your heart back to the yellow brick road of your fabulous future. You battled a broken heart and won. You didn't let the loss of someone you loved defeat you. Now you've faced down the ghosts of your past and guess what? You're still standing. Was there ever anyone more worthy of a crown than the girl who faced her history and didn't back down?