The ending of her 15-year union was both scary and painful, Daily said. “I felt like a huge failure and so, so alone. I couldn’t think of anything worse than facing the world as a single person.”
Yet the next day, while she wanted to curl up and die, she showed up on a TEDx stage, wearing a red dress and a hundred-watt smile (framed by her signature red lipstick), sharing an inspiring message in spite of her heartbreak. This triumph would prove to be a giant step toward reframing her shock and sadness into an opportunity to embark on a grand adventure.
Connecting others through shared story
A creative self-starter and self-described overachiever, Daily soon discovered a way to use her story in a practical and purposeful way. The Suddenly Single Show podcast, an idea born of pain and a desire to understand herself and others, began as a gift. “It was one of those things that just came to me as though the Universe dropped it in my lap. Along with the name of the show came all that I needed to turn it into something.”
Daily went to work putting together the website, recording the first interview, and getting the artwork made. But after publishing the first episode, it was as if someone had knocked the wind out of her sails, she said. After a month, she still had no inspiration or motivation to keep going with it. So, she moved on.
Fast forward to 2018 when the idea started rattling around in her head again. That’s when a friend pointed out why he thought she lost her initial enthusiasm: “You were in too much angst at the time over your own pain to be able to listen to people and hold the space that you hold for them now,” he said.
“He was right on. I had the idea. I had all the equipment, skills, and willingness, but my heart was still bleeding too much for me to be open to hearing what are oftentimes very painful stories,” Daily said. Since relaunching, she has published 70 interviews and has recorded more for future release. A new story is published weekly, she said.
What has surprised Daily most is the response from the featured guests. “Often, when we hang up or weeks later when the show is released, people will come back and say, ‘I hadn’t thought about that before,’ or ‘I never told my story that way.’ It serves the guests by allowing them to process something or discover something about themselves,” she said.
“As far as the listeners, I think it helps people to hear stories that are similar or different from what they are going through so they know that they are not alone. And sometimes it helps to hear that somebody has been through something far worse to give you some perspective that you don’t really have it that bad.”
The show comes with perks for the host too. “It fills my heart to be the facilitator of sharing these stories. It makes me feel connected, and hearing someone else’s thoughts and perspective helps me make sense of things that happen in my life,” Daily said.
Whether single through divorce/separation, death, or just good old-fashioned getting dumped, no matter how the relationship ends, there is always pain, Daily observed. “Even when the person is happy that they are no longer [in the relationship], the pain is often more about the investment they made and their vision for the future with that person. So, they process the pain of the loss of that person or the anger over the relationship, but then that continued feeling of mourning still exists. The grief that comes with losing that vision is raw for a long time.”
Daily’s biggest takeaway from the show is a realization that when something ends and you take the time to grieve it and do the work to figure out what role you played in it and how you want to show up differently, things that you never dreamed were possible for you become possible. “I certainly would not have been able to become [who I am now] inside the relationship that I was in because I was too focused on getting my just reward for all the hard work!” she said. [Divorce] freed me from that and gave me the opportunity to take up all those shattered and broken pieces and put myself back together in a way that pleased me and left me plenty of room for growth. I’m so grateful for that.”
Daily has also learned the value of sharing her own vulnerabilities. “I used to want to give this impression that I was a person who had it all together. By sharing my heartaches and failures, it has allowed people to support me and cheer for me and has helped me have a new perspective on who I am and who I’m becoming.”
Daily’s dream is to take her podcast to television as a talk show series. “I would like to see a bigger discussion culturally about grief. I think it’s an important conversation to help people feel less alone, and this is one tiny thing I can do that would make a significant difference in how people think about their story and the meaning they assign to their losses. There is real value in people witnessing the pain but also the transformation and triumph that comes with going through heartbreak, disappointment and loss. You’re sort of like a clay pot that has been put in the fire; you’re all shiny, glazed and gorgeous,” she said.
Summing up her ongoing personal growth process, Daily quotes Rumi: “I am blooming from the wound where I once bled.”
Danielle Daily is a speaker, author and founder of the Suddenly Single Show podcast. Tune in to The Suddenly Single Show or apply to be a guest at www.suddenlysingleshow.com. You can also find the show on iHeartRadio or ask Alexa to play it on your compatible device.