“Breaking up is never easy I know…” (Classic ABBA song).
No, it’s not. Even if it is for the best.
The pain of a breakup is felt deeply for most people. You are experiencing one of the most stressful things in life.
You may have spent quite a bit of time with this person – had plans, a future, perhaps you have children together, a life, memories.
All of these things feel lost during the intense beginning part of parting ways. And the pain often lingers way too long.
I too have felt the bitter pain of a breakup and the lingering pangs of grief that take hold of our hearts. I have used many, if not all of these things, to help me move on. It is a process and you may have to keep returning to the process again and again.
How can we feel better and start to move on?
1. Talk about your feelings with trusted friends. Talking is a wonderful way to release the energy of emotions. If you need more support than friends can provide, go to a counsellor and get some talk-therapy done. Many of us learn and process our emotions verbally.
2. Don’t be afraid to feel. Avoid drowning your sorrows in alcohol, drugs, or destructive behaviours. Instead, move through the pain – which simply means to really feel the emotions.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill
Processing our emotions through feeling them deeply can help prevent them from getting stuck and building into rage and resentment, which are destructive forms of emotion.
3. Journal. Write as much as possible – hopefully daily – about your grief, your anger, your loneliness, perhaps your relief, whatever you are feeling. Write about everything. Don’t censor yourself! No one else needs to ever read this!
4. Accept where you are and what is happening. Often we prolong our suffering by fighting against it. Accept that you are hurt. Accept that you are disappointed. Accept the breakup.
5. Unfollow your ex on each and every form of social media that they are on. It is important not to just “check out what they are doing”. This keeps you stuck in the past and causes even more pain as you see them out having fun and building a life without you. This step is crucial.
6. Avoid putting your ex on a pedestal and romanticizing your relationship. Sometimes it can be very helpful to write down all the negative, annoying things about them. Write down all the ways they weren’t a good match for you. Remember the bad times. People sometimes only remember the good, or long for the comfort of the familiar and this can make us feel as if we have lost something irreplaceable, which upon honest reflection isn’t true.
7. There is no time limit on the pain or grief. Don’t feel bad if you take some time to heal and move on. You need to grieve as much as you need to grieve. Ignore people who say, ” It’s been 6 months, aren’t you over him yet?”
However, be aware you do have control over what you dwell on and think about and many people prolong their pain unconsciously by refusing to let go and heal.
Take the time you need and be consciously working on the healing process.
This too will pass. I know it sounds trite, but it will get better. Eventually.
8. Forgive yourself. Sure, you screwed up. Everyone does. You are human. You must understand that you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. So did your ex-partner. So start with forgiving yourself and maybe move on to forgiving them, when you are ready.
Forgiveness is a process. If you want it, you will find it. It takes setting an intention to start the process.
Forgiveness releases you – it’s not about them. It’s not saying what they did or didn’t do was okay. It is simply you letting go of negative emotions.
9. Become a better person. Figure out how you contributed to the breakup and see if you can start understanding your personality, your emotional wounds and your triggers. Read books, watch helpful YouTube videos and find some good podcasts.
Change your negative traits to become the best version of yourself.
Of course your ex screwed up, maybe big time, but relationships are a two-way street.
Once you are able to see that you can only change yourself, you take back your power. You stop feeling like a victim because you see that you have the power to change your thoughts, beliefs, actions and yes, even your emotions.
By learning from your mistakes, avoiding getting stuck in the blame cycle and changing your emotional immaturities, you can take huge leaps to avoid repeating the relationship pattern.
10. Embrace your new life. You may have lost your future plans you had with your ex, but you are still alive and get to make new plans! Plans that you make for you. You have an unlimited future, unencumbered by other people’s constraints now.
You can make your future whatever you want!
It will be okay.