How My Breakup Strengthened Me

Growth in Spite of Grief

Patricia Brooks
4 min readMar 6, 2021


“You will be successful,” Nicolas’ text message read.

I did not respond immediately. Receiving a message of encouragement like this one just four months earlier would have buoyed my spirits. It would have made me believe, at least for that instant, that what I was going for was perhaps possible for me. Someone else believed in me and in my abilities. Over the years, I have put a lot of weight on what others have believed about me (both good and bad), yet this time this message felt empty. It did not raise my hopes or belief in myself. How could it?

I know I will be was the first thought that crossed my mind upon reading this text. My faith in myself was now stronger than his belief in me. Even though this self-acknowledgment of my future success was not coming from a place of ego, I dared not respond with it; it might come across as haughty or unappreciative, which wasn’t the case. I’ve been working on my subconscious beliefs and on reprogramming my mind over the last several months and I have come to know how powerful we as humans are, and this includes me. I know, without a doubt, that my intuition-driven, calm efforts will pay off in my success. In many ways they already have.

After being dumped by Nicolas, my boyfriend of eight months (which in pandemic years feels more like a year and a half), I garnered the strength to continue in life on my own, once again. It was the longest and most serious relationship I’d had since my divorce over nine years earlier. The breakup had fallen at a particularly bad time for me, or so I’d thought. We were heading into the winter holidays, which I typically celebrate with a sigh of relief on January 2, comforted in knowing that I will not have to go through that particular flavor of loneliness again for another 11 months.

During our relationship, I had envisioned me and my sweetheart celebrating Thanksgiving (something completely new to my French beau), Christmas, and New Year’s Eve together. At the breakup, lonely holiday memories of years gone by and the words of that Gilbert O’Sullivan song, “Alone Again Naturally” flooded my mind.

But I’ve come to believe that the breakup’s timing was perfect. I was just beginning to build a new business, conducting market research and starting the sales process. Nicolas’ belief in me fueled me in the early days. But when we said goodbye, Nicolas and his supportive words were no longer a part of my life; if I were going to be successful in my pursuits, I had to learn to believe in myself, by myself.

I began reading books like Raymond Charles Barker’s The Power of Decision and US Anderson’s Three Magic Words and watching motivational videos like Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret and Claude Bristol’s The Magic of Believing to change my thought patterns. I started to understand how my two minds, the conscious one that I have the power to control and the subconscious one that runs my bodily functions on autopilot, work in concert. I began to appreciate how the subconscious mind takes instructions from my conscious mind’s real beliefs and turns them into my reality. These real beliefs aren’t what I say I want. They aren’t what I tell myself I deserve. And they aren’t what I haphazardly commit to. No, these real beliefs are what I, beyond a shadow of a doubt, truly know I can have, know I deserve to have, and know I have the willpower to achieve.

During the first months after my breakup, through meditation, reading, and putting in the work on my business, I broke through. I now wholeheartedly believe in myself. I know I will be successful. This newfound faith in myself has a solid foothold in my mind now, but I continue to strengthen it. This positive way of thinking can be fleeting, especially in the beginning, and can transform into its opposite at the first sign of defeat.

Nicolas’ message, “You will be successful,” was awaiting my response. Instead of replying with my first thought, “I know I will be” I simply responded, “Thank you, Nicolas.”

I am grateful for his sentiment and in some ways grateful for our breakup. Had I still been dating Nicolas I would have used his belief in me as a crutch and I might not have learned and grown to believe in myself as I have.



Patricia Brooks

Bold, fledgling entrepreneur, author, podcast host Discovering Courage, Finding Freedom, Living in France! Adventures.Insights. Stories.