How to Breakupward: Finding Gratitude for a Broken Heart – Interview with Chelsea Leigh Trescott
Have you ever come out of a breakup feeling more alive, grateful, and full of life? Have you ever used heartbreak to propel your life forward, into a positive direction? My guest today, Chelsea Leigh Trescott is an amazing breakup coach who helps people do just that. She teaches her clients how to love and let go fearlessly. I am so thrilled to be sharing her mission with you today!
I met Chelsea when I was interviewed for her podcast, Thank you Heartbreak. In my episode, we chat about my divorce and the healing I was able to do through the process of letting go of my ex. We chat about the pitfalls that perfectionism played in the downfall of my marriage and the self worth journey I have embarked on since then. We also discuss how this led me into my current healthy and open relationship.
(We also worked on a written interview for Mogul that you can check out here.)
In addition to being a breakup coach, Chelsea is a talented writer (as you will see below) and you can feel how much she believes in the power of Breakupwards. She is an advice columnist, a solution-focused life coach, and a certified badass!
Whether you are in the depths of a tough breakup now, or have experience one before (hello, humans), then I really encourage you to read through Chelsea's interview below and take in the power of her words. We can find healing through a shift in our perspective. We can allow ourselves to stay stuck in misery, or we can work towards incredible self growth. The choice is yours 🙂
1. Chelsea, I have had the pleasure of enjoying conversation with you and learning a bit about your mission. I would love my readers to know a bit more about your story and how you found your mission.
I’ve begun to wonder how it is that, by now, I don’t have a short and quick way of explaining what led me into breakup coaching. The reality is that attempting to reduce a specific, somewhat novel, career to a linear narrative minimizes both the magic and the fact that several, if not every, trip up and victory over my lifetime conspired together to lead me here. I stress this because I’ve always felt that we each have a message within us and, if we look back, we can see that message traveling throughout our life, struggling to be realized, emphasized, and claimed.
Over Thanksgiving I stumbled upon my high school yearbook where I had dedicated my senior page to my past relationships. “If I could, I’d go back to the start and relive it all again,” it began. “I owe too much to all of you not to say something. Because of everything, I am who I am today. Thank you for the experiences. The memories will never fade.”
I can’t say the tribute was surprising but I was fascinated. Thanking my heartbreak and preserving the integrity and significance of my relationships, openly and shamelessly, has been apart of me all along.
Another defining characteristic of mine has been my instinct to reframe experiences so they become too meaningful to bury. As a writer, and even as a photographer, I’ve always done this. I’ve established a loving relationship with the most minute detail as well as every left turn by realizing what it’s been a catalyst for. If the catalyst is great enough, it’s nearly impossible to resent or minimize what’s gone awry. It’s nearly impossible to not appreciate what once reduced you. If you can see that you are more (whatever that moreness means to you) than who you were prior to the experience, you have every reason to be proud of the gain and thankful for the loss.
At this point, I don’t even know if I believe in losses. It’s just a pivot in the next necessary direction. It’s a continuation of the message.
Again, this way of processing my life has been instinctual for me. So, when it came to being certified as a coach and really identifying what kind of coach I was going to be, the question became what is a natural strength of mine, what can I sit and process with someone tirelessly, that will make both my client and I feel alive, seen, and less alone, and taken all together where is this strength and processing most needed in the world?
The coaching arena, and moreover the helping professions, had an obvious gap. There were dating coaches, matchmakers, couples counselors, divorce lawyers, even lifestyle coaches, but not one breakup coach? As soon as I saw the opening, I felt right at home there. Not to mention, I knew that person—a breakup coach—was missing from my life during my last relationship and had I had that person or been that person a three and a half year relationship would have only lasted 2 weeks.
I’ve suffered a lot in my life, largely at my own hand from fear and isolation, but when I had that a’ha moment that “I am a breakup coach,” it was easy to see what I had been suffering for and who I had been in the process of becoming.
My career choice required me to become a breakup coach—not only a certified coach and not just a person who could break up but a person who could Breakupward for herself and alongside others.
A few months after this revelation, I withdrew from my doctorate in clinical psychology and began my business as a coach. It was the most fearless decision I had ever made, and I have never been as connected to others as I am now.
2. I love that you were inspired by your youth self. That's usually an incredible sign that you're on the right path for your life. I'm curious, how do you describe the term "Breakupward" and how did you come to use that term?
To Breakupward means to use the very experiences that could break you to catapult you, instead, to a higher playing field and elevate you into a higher perspective. It’s a choice you have to be bold enough or desperate enough to see yourself make. But the reality is, anyone can choose the higher road and the path less taken. Truly, you can be in your weakest place and make this choice. You just have to value a stronger self more than the alternative.
Those who Breakupward will often forfeit short-term gratification (everything from rebounds to anger, blame and blocking) because they are driven by character not pleasure, lessons that come in thanks to a person, not the possession of that person. In other words, to Breakupward is to overlook a burst of pleasure and momentarily relief for a future of unwavering strength. I call it the scenic way into yourself and back to love. The difference is the love that awaits you becomes an empowered choice not a grasping and enables you to fear less, love greater and more wisely.
When I first came up with the word, it too was an a’ha moment. It was incredibly visual to me. I saw breakdowns, breakthroughs, breakups, even breakouts, as expected stages and phases of a life. To Breakupward is certainly a redefining stage, but it’s not a phase. It’s also important to note that it’s not about moving on. When I think of moving on, I think of forgetting, burying, even abandoning, what and who was once integral to one’s life, and then reaching to their left or right—grasping for the next good or familiar thing and person. When you Breakupward, there’s no abandoning the broken pieces because they become apart of you and there’s no looking to the left or right because you’ve got your eyes and mind set on upward. Upward is where you look for guidance, it’s where you wish on stars and dream. It’s also where we look when we say “thank you” with grace. My coaching practice embodies a movement toward that.
3. Yes! I have never felt the need to "move on" from relationships. That felt cold to me. I would rather have a shift in what the relationship looks like, not necessarily an ending. Same with myself, there is a shift in who I become each time. What is some of the advice that you share with your clients who are going through a breakup?
One of the most important things to remember when you’re separating is that how you leave or respond to being left often colors the entire relationship, not to mention can set the tone for your behavior and perspective in future relationships.
Remember that. Nothing defines a man more than how she or he treats the person they no longer love, need, or care to have around. Before you act, ask yourself, how might this define me in the heart of another? Do I want, not even that name (an asshole, crazy, selfish ex) associated with me but, that feeling attached to me? Am I comfortable with being responsible for that experience and emotion? Because those experiences and emotions live inside another person’s body, heart and mind.
Now, of course, you can’t control how another person feels or thinks but you can be a significant influence.
Maya Angelou said it best, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Don’t wait to channel this insight while you’re in love; channel it on your way out and channel it when you’re without love too. This isn’t just for the benefit of others either. The way you at least try to make others feel will directly contribute to how you feel about you and your character.
When you don’t know how to act, always err on the side of love.
A few other tidbits: If you’re initiating a breakup, speak from the I. Talk about yourself 80% of the time and the other person 20% of the time. If you do it the other way around, it’s like an assault on someone’s character. And the reality is, their character may be entirely lovable, it’s just that you have outgrown, not the person so much as, the relationship you developed with them.
Rather than questioning your ex, begin to question yourself. Be inquisitive. Breaking upward, after all, is all about redeveloping a relationship with yourself and elevating your self-awareness. Start with these 5 questions:
- Imagine that your heartache is here to actually shake you awake from the life you had begun to slip into. What do you think the world is trying to wake you up to or, perhaps, is even saving you from?
- We’ve all heard the saying, “When one door closes, another will soon open.” If this breakup is an example of that one door closing, which door do you hope will open next? Describe what’s behind that door. (It can’t just be a new person wrapped in a bow!) Try to be as vivid as possible.
- Where in your life do you need to be in order to take advantage of that door opening? What kind of person will you need to become in order to walk through that door with absolute faith in yourself and allowance for all that is awaiting you on the other side?
- How could you respond to setbacks more powerfully so your spirit isn’t reduced by them?
- What lessons would you need to learn in order to say that in retrospect your breakup was for the best? What revelations would this require?
4. Yes! It felt so incredible to share my gratitude for my divorce on your podcast. To me, it was a test of my character and I am thankful for it. You've been interviewing people from all walks of life for your "Thank You Heartbreak" Podcast. Can you share anything that shocked you so far on your podcast?
It wasn’t until I interviewed my first male guest that I actually received a critique, and feedback, from listeners. I wouldn’t say it shocked me but it did make me think “of course” and “really?” at the same exact time.
A more feel good surprise that’s come from my podcast is, I haven’t had one guest who has veered away from my own philosophy and the underlying meaning and message of what it means to Breakupward. To me, this validates that “Thank You Heartbreak” clearly communicates who it’s for and what it’s all about. It instantly speaks for itself, and that’s both reassuring and tremendously exciting.
5. I love your mission so much, Chelsea. How can we support your cause to teach others how to find gratitude for heartbreak? And how can my readers find you?
If you know someone who could benefit from relationship guidance or has a Breakupward story to share, (yourself included!), connect us so they can come on Thank You Heartbreak as a guest. In addition to featuring guests, like Taryn, who can speak to the upside of heartbreak, the podcast will also begin taking anonymous callers who are looking for clarity within a current relationship or about a past relationship.
In exchange for a podcast review on iTunes, you will receive a self-development book of our choosing and own of my signature love letters. 🙂 Just send a screenshot to ThankYouHeartbreak on Instagram or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching, including e-coaching, you can find my coaching services at www.breakupward.com. You can also shop those services directly from my site at www.breakupward.com/shop.
One of the things I love about Chelsea's philosophy is the importance of returning to self love through the journey of heartbreak. This has been such a true pattern in my own life. In fact, my divorce is the catalyst that helped me renegotiate my perfectionist tendencies and find self worth.
Have you had a similar experience? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you are experiencing any heartbreak, I am here for you and always happy to talk. I encourage you to reach out to Chelsea or send me an email at Taryn@theremoteyogi.com. I promise, you can triumph through this.
All my love,