Breakups are hard. They can feel like a huge part of you has been ripped out of your chest, leaving you breathless and gasping for air as the world spins on. Heartbroken and heavy, we can feel alone in this new space that exists without the person we once held in such high regard. One second they were here with us, laughing joyously at everything that lights us both up, and the next, they disappeared out of our lives forever. Such a sudden change, if not handled with care, can create disruptions in our wellness and well-being.
When remembering the ache of such feelings in my own life, I realized just how far stretching the grief of these losses can flow. Furthermore, I recognized how the term “break-up” falls short in accurately describing our actual experiences. Most often the term is used only to describe the end of a romantic relationship, however break-ups come in many shapes and forms that all result in the underlying feeling of grief. Friends who have loved each other for years fall out, family feuds end in unforgivable disappointment, mentors show their true colors after years of gaining your trust. Each and every one of these break-ups can take hold of our hearts in an attempt to break us, but with a little reframing, we can use the pain of loss to show gratitude and appreciation for our time together. Additionally we can use that energy as determination to rise above, entering into the next chapters of our lives. Though their season in our life has come to what often feels like an abrupt end, the lessons they have taught us live on. So go ahead, be gentle with your heart and take some much needed time to remember what once was while celebrating what is to come.
1. Acknowledge Your Pain
News of break-ups often bring with it an onslaught of emotions. Ranging from feelings of hurt, anger, and sadness to confusion and even a bit of relief. No matter what feelings come up for you during this time, it is important that you acknowledge your feelings. When a sudden and drastic change occurs in our lives it is easy to overlook how it makes us feel. Instead of allowing our emotions to surface we can sometimes suppress them in an attempt to “just get over it”. Unfortunately emotions do not work that way. They come and go in their own time and it is up to us to simply acknowledge their existence in our lives. So no matter what comes up for you as you tend to and begin to mend the wounds of a breakup, be sure you are giving yourself, and your emotions, the space to exist freely and without judgement.
2. Let it Out, Then Let it Go
Once you have acknowledged your feelings and given them the space they need to become whatever they need to become, you now have to express them. Yes, you read that right, express them! Now I know some of you are thinking “wait, why would I want to go and do something silly like “express” my feelings”? Well, I’ll tell you why. Your emotions are sources of energy, and energy is meant to flow. The longer you hold onto your emotions, the longer they continue to build up inside of you. This build up causes stagnation, keeping us going around in circles instead of progressing forward. Not to mention, it can even sometimes lead to feelings of resentment years after something has taken place. Avoid these compounded feelings by simply letting them out, remembering that this can look however it needs to for you. Personally I write, and it also feels really really good to hit things so I kick box, but for you, it can be painting, dancing, running, meditating, creating something new or even joining a new kink group, the choice is yours. The point is, get up and let your emotions out! After all, life is about moving forward, not staying stuck.
3. Be Patient With Yourself
After you start the process of letting go it is easy to beat yourself up when old feelings come up all over again. Starting to think things like “Uggghhh, not again, I already dealt with you”, you can start to feel as if your healing isn’t working, or at least just isn’t moving fast enough. My advice, SLOW DOWN. Break-ups of any kind are hard on us emotionally and they can require time, lots of time, for us to recover. Emotional growth is not a race, it is just that, growth, meaning it is a process, a journey, that takes patience, understanding, and time, but don’t worry, one day before you know it, the pain won’t hurt so much.
4. Recognize that Your Break-Up Doesn’t Define You
Being half of a partnership or a core member on a team for so long can make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Providing feelings of connectedness we can easily feel happier around another person. If that relationship or connection ends, the emotional road traveled after is a slippery slope that if we are not careful can trap our minds into basing our self worth on an ended relationship. Accept this as a reminder not to do that. Nothing or no one other than you defines who you are, least of all a relationship of any kind. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, that is not a testament to your character or who you are as a person. You can still get up and go be great without them.
5. Fall in Love With Yourself Again
When in relationships of any kind it is very easy to give lots of our time, energy, money, resources, and even attention to other people. Though it is great to spend time cultivating important relationships, it is of the greatest importance not to forget the most important relationship of all, the one you have with yourself! Break-ups are harsh but they give you the space you need to be yourself again. You can do what you want, when you want, and always on your own time. This is a perfect time to enjoy life without having to consider the thoughts or feelings of anyone but yourself. It is a time to be completely and unapologetically selfish. Take yourself on a date, pick up that book you have been wanting to read, or even just sit back and relax with your own thoughts. Reconnect with what it was like to just be with yourself and allow your heart to fall in love with you, as it is one of the greatest gifts of all.