Seven years ago, I was living in Vancouver where I was born and raised. I thought I had it all — a very high-status job, a six-figure income, my own place and a relationship with who I thought was the love of my life. We had everything planned out — eventually, we’d get married, I’d take care of the kids — the whole thing…

First, I lost my job. I decided to get out of my apartment to save money and moved in with my boyfriend. I used a chunk of my savings to take us around Europe for his birthday. When we got home, that relationship fell apart in a very traumatic and very abrupt way.

I had put so much of my identity in these external things — the job, the status and mostly in my relationship. Without all those things, I had nothing left, at least that’s what I felt at the time.

I was completely broken apart. The rug was pulled out from under me. I had depression, panic attacks, thoughts of suicide. It was really dark. I looked to everything to try to heal — therapy, yoga retreats, psychic reiki, you name it… There wasn’t anything specific for the type of pain I was going through. 

Fast-forward a year and a half, even though the crazy emotional swings had stopped, it didn’t matter who I dated because I had this cloud of resentment and bitterness and anger that followed me no matter where I went. I was telling this story to a friend of mine, catching him up on the betrayal and what kind of person [my old boyfriend] was and he stopped me.

“Amy does this story serve you?”

“No”

“Can you think of another time when he was honest and loving and kind? Give me an example.”

I started bringing up all these memories that were so positive but were forgotten because all I was focused on was the anger and the blame. At this moment, I just stopped and realized you may not be able to change the events of your history but you can choose to change the story.  It was the glue that brought all of these things together.

I went home and on beautiful pink French stationery, wrote him a letter. I acknowledged my part in everything and I forgave him and gave him gratitude. That breakup shook me in a way that forced me to make changes in my life and I was really grateful for that.

After that, I took a job outside of Vancouver, in San Diego. All of the things I never even dreamed were possible, I started to do. If you look at me now, I’m living in New York, I have a business built around breakups and helping people. There’s a point where I know there are two paths to go — you can spiral down and physically harm yourself or you can have a positive method for healing where you say, Hey, I have a blank canvas and this is my opportunity…

What I realized is that I was given an opportunity to question every storyline that I accepted as truth from my parents, my upbringing, my culture and society. I could create the life and the love that I wanted and I’ve done that.

My life is a dream. I have so much abundance in my life. I have a business that helps support women through hard times, I have so much love from romance to platonic — I would never have dreamed this was possible.

I’ve learned that if you’re not flexible in your life plan, you can find yourself in a position that when life throws you a curve ball, you’re completely frozen. I’m at the point that when the storyline changes, I’m cool with it. Getting out of a relationship can be the best opportunity ever — how amazing is it that you actually have the pain and suffering to push you to the point where you actually create change in your life.

Amy Chan is the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. She is also the founder of JustMyType.ca – an online magazine that focuses on the psychology of love, lust and desire.