You can’t build your happiness on someone else’s pain


One slinyana day, as I was minding my own business and wasting precious time social networking, my Facebook inbox notified me that I had a message from someone whom I felt, at the time, should not have even had the audacity to utter my name. However I was persuaded not to click delete because of the message subject which read “I’m so sorry…”, I was intrigued and my innate curiosity demanded that I read the message in its entirety. And it began with…

“This is very weird, I’m actually shaking as I type this but I feel it has to be done. I don’t expect you to reply or forgive me as I know I don’t deserve any of that from you but I hope you read this and know how sorry I am.”

Let me stop here and give some context. This message was sent to me by a woman who had effectively stolen my “muntu”. She was that ex who became the mistress and then my replacement. And I of course was a little broken and a lot bitter about the situation. Although I knew of her, and had access to her, we had never spoken. Simply because I believe in dealing with the person you have chosen to be in a relationship with, as opposed to the outside party they choose to bring into your relationship, so you can imagine my surprise at this unexpected communication.
The message continued…

“All I wanted to do was get this person back into my life… Not at any point did I consider how you were feeling about them & I hated you because whenever your name was mentioned my insecurities awakened… Today, as I type this we are no longer a couple as this person cheated on me. Long story, but the point is now as I sit here I know that karma has come around to me and only now that I’m feeling the hurt, betrayal and emptiness I can only imagine how you were feeling when I did the exact same thing to you. Nolwazi , I am so sorry, I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for not at any point respecting what you two shared. I was selfish, stupid & a real class bitch. I should have known better… I want to make things right with you in order for me to truly move me on.
I’m so so so sorry Nolwazi, I’m sorry that you were hurting because of me, I’m sorry I ever hated you, I’m sorry I ever made you cry I’m so so so sorry for EVERTHING! I know sorry is never enough when it comes to matters of the heart, but I’m hoping that in some point in your life you will be able to forgive me. There is no excuse for what we did, honestly we weren’t even thinking and a year later as it all crumbles up, I need to apologise to you… I’m so so so so so so sorry you got hurt…”

Now I have fortunately finally moved on from being the bitter ex so this isn’t a blog post about that, neither is it about karma because I believe in grace, and the two can’t exist in the same space. This is simply to illustrate a lesson that life has taught me repeatedly; you can’t build any kind of happiness on the foundation of someone else’s pain. If someone else has to hurt – if tears must be shed in order for you to obtain your little piece of sunshine – then it is illegitimate and therefore intangible and you will lose it. Painfully. It is simply the law of reaping and sowing.

I’m not trying to suggest that we all remain in unfulfilling relationships that make us miserable, I’m not suggesting that you stay in a place that you no longer have any business being in. Neither am I suggesting that you stagnate your own growth and not move on for fear someone may not embrace the decision and therefore be hurt by it. I am saying that you should leave in the same spirit with which you first came.

I’m also saying that you should leave for the right reasons, go because the journey has come to an end on its own, not because of outside influences that were not there when you jumped onto the train in the first place. A reality I have lived and witnessed time and again is that leaving for “greener pastures” is almost always a bad mistake, because the grass is rarely ever greener on the other side and worst times you get there and you realise its actually astroturf. Don’t leave to go to someone else or somewhere else, leave because the situation no longer grows you, no longer serves you, doesn’t make you better, no longer makes you happy at least once a day. Leave because it is time.

The ending of any beautiful experience is sad and painful and difficult, just like new beginnings are joyful and scary and exciting. I don’t know that there is any way to make endings easier, I do know that there is a way to make endings better though. There must be a way to walk away from something or someone you once loved without the mess, the added pain, a heart haemorraging or a soul breaking. I am learning to be gentler in moving on, to remain mindful of the special positions that different people and relationships and moments have held in my life. And also to remember how vital all those situations have been in helping to mold who I am becoming. I am trying to learn to choose to remember love rather than allow myself to be ruled by anger or frustration or bitterness or even the hurt in an ending. I’m growing, you should try it, it hurts! Keep your head up, you’re blessed. 🙂


4 thoughts on “You can’t build your happiness on someone else’s pain

  1. Hi Nolwazi, recently went through a bad break-up. When I read this piece, it was amazing how similar our experiences were, with the only difference that it happened to me twice in the same year, first with an ex and then after he swore it’ll never happen again, he went and cheated with a new woman, all the while claiming nothing was the matter and assuring me he just needs time to sort his head out. I was devastated, somehow questioning my ability as a woman to keep a man, not even considering that I gave this relationship my absolute best, even compromising my own needs in the name of “making it work”.

    Anyways, what I do really want to know is; what happened to the muntu, where is he now etc.

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