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Breakups, Breakdowns, and Breakouts

Is being broken always a bad thing?

By the end of her freshman year of college, every girl is pretty much an expert on breakups, breakdowns, and breakouts.

Sometimes a person breaks up with you, sometimes you break up with them. Sometimes you suffer from mental exhaustion after studying until 6 am and end up crying in front of the entire student body in the university library. Sometimes you have had clear skin for weeks and weeks, until you wake up the day of your spring formal and suddenly your face could be mistaken for a pepperoni pizza. And sometimes you bounce back from these things immediately, but sometimes you find yourself wondering what you could have done to prevent that breakup, breakdown, or breakout.

Breakups.

Breakdowns.

Breakouts.

Promise breakers.

Heart breakers.

Law breakers.

To break anything is to destroy it, to ruin it. To be broken is to be perceived as being unwhole, wrecked, and shattered. Relationships that have broken up, or people that have had break downs, or promises that have been broken, or houses that have been broken into; they are no longer the same as they were before. They are no longer intact or undamaged. They have been proven to be breakable, and we as people strive to be the exact opposite.

(Okay, we’re done being sad now)

But what about spring breaks.

And scientific break throughs.

Ice breakers.

Break rooms at work.

Giving yourself a break.

Someone’s big break.

Breaking the mold.

The song “Breaking Free” from High School Musical (I mean come on, that is a good song).

To be broken means to be destroyed or weakened. But to be broken or to have a break can also mean to be released from something, and to suddenly change tones or directions. The sound of a breakup or having a mental breakdown or my face breaking out sounds awful - but I look forward to my lunch break all day long.

When something is about to break, it is almost human instinct to do everything in our power to save it. We try to catch it, to stop it from hitting the ground and shattering into a thousand pieces, because no one wants a broken vase, or a broken heart.

However, we undeniably and happily allow breaks from studying, or giving ourselves much deserved breaks, because we desire a change in the current state and pace of the moment. Sometimes things weaken so much that a break is suddenly good.

When we say that a glass breaks, we mean that it is damaged, shattered, and deprived from future use. But to say that there was a breakthrough in a news story means that it has developed, matured, gained something, and evolved.

When you and your boyfriend break up, or when you are on the verge of a breakdown, or your face is starting to break out, you have a choice. You can either let that break damage, shatter, and deprive you, or you can use that break to gain something, to mature, and to evolve.

It is difficult to view broken promises, broken hearts, or houses that have been broken into as anything other than a source of pain—a memory of something that once was but is no more—and proof that nothing lasts forever. But when examining bones, we know that they only break when they cannot withstand the pressure of an outside force. More importantly, though, bones heal themselves, not only getting rid of the old, damaged material, but also growing newer and stronger tissue. Any break in your life—good or bad—is an opportunity to come back stronger.

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