There are two facts we need to acknowledge about breakups.
Breakups are rough.
In some ways breakups are like experiencing the death of a loved one. The loss is tremendous. Your shared dreams and plans for the future, the beautiful connection and relationship you invested time, emotion, and energy into, and your best friend are all gone unexpectedly.
In some ways breakups are worse than the death of a loved one. At least with a death, the person didn’t choose to leave you. At least with a death, the person didn’t fail to do everything possible to make your relationship work. At least with a death, you don’t have to keep seeing the person over and over again after the relationship has ended.
Breakups need to be taken seriously.
Nearly every adult has been through a breakup. But just because breakups are common doesn’t mean that they are insignificant. Breakups strike right to the heart of who we are as people. Breakups really hurt and how we respond to a breakup can make all the difference in the world.
How you handle the grief and hurt from your breakup is really important. Here are some helpful strategies to help you heal.
1. Recognize the Process
Coming out of the pain of a breakup is a process. It has been said that ‘Time heals all wounds’ and it really is true that time is an important part of healing broken hearts.
Such a major loss results in grief. Grieving is a process. In fact there are five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and… finally… Acceptance.
We all like to take shortcuts, but shortcuts aren’t always a good idea. To fully free yourself from all of your hurt, disappointment, and grief, you will need to allow yourself to go through the natural grieving process.
That whole process of grieving really is natural and really will be key to your healing.
2. Value Your Progress
The grieving process is a journey towards healing and restoration. Keep an eye out for landmarks along the way. Recognize essential aspects of grieving along the way. Celebrate small steps toward healing such as getting out into the community, having lunch with a friend, and waking up with hope. You are making progress. That means that in time your journey through the grieving and healing process will be complete.
3. Release Your Feelings
Those powerful feelings in you need to be released. Stuffing them down is not healthy. If you hold all those emotions in, then you will not get truly free from them and they can become toxic to your wellbeing.
Give yourself permission to relax and roll with the emotions. Cry, scream, just let those emotions out. This is so important to your healing.
4. Give Yourself Space
You of course have to adhere to acceptable behavior at work and you don’t want to disturb neighbors with your screaming. That is why you need to create safe spaces in your life for releasing emotions. Give yourself a set time for crying — a time when you know it will not affect your job or your parenting responsibilities — and cry. Drive out to the countryside and with your windows rolled up scream. Let it out in the space you have created for releasing your feelings.
5. Give Yourself a Break
Many workplaces give people time off for grieving the loss of a loved one. Workplaces don’t, however, give time off for breakups. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need some time off. If you have vacation time saved up, consider using it. Give yourself a personal day.
Allow yourself to spend a day in your pajamas. Rest and heal. You have a lot to process so give yourself a break from other daily activities so you can focus on processing your loss and feelings.
6. Connect with Supportive People
Some people are really good about being empathetic and caring. These are the people you want to connect with at this time. Tap that call button on your cell phone.
Allow people who care about you the privilege of being part of your support team during your time of need. You know you would want your best friends and close family members to call you in their time of need. Well, this is your time of need and they want to be there for you. So, let them. Healthy relationships bring healing.
7. Write a Letter
You probably have a lot of questions and thoughts for the person who broke your heart. It is actually very healthy to express these questions and thoughts as words. Expressing those words is a great way to acknowledge and release your feelings.
Since it’s probably not a good plan to say all these things right to the person’s face, writing a letter is a good way to release your words to the cosmos.
Just let the words flow. Let it all out onto paper. Then, read the letter out loud. This is a good time to let that lump in your throat grow and let the tears flow. Let it free and so will you be.
You should not send the letter. The letter is for you, not for them.
You may wish to ceremonially rip up the letter after it has served its purpose. With each tear of the paper imagine your words and emotions being released to the universe.
8. Raise Positive Energy
While crying into the pillow and sleeping in serves its purpose and is important to the healing process, getting out of your bedroom is helpful too. Getting out into the sunshine and getting a little exercise raises positive energy in your body. Get out and take a walk, take a bike ride, walk the dog, check out the garden. It’s good for you and will also help give you a bigger, brighter perspective than you’ll find in your bedroom.
9. Avoid Big Decisions
This is not the best time to make big decisions. Put big decisions on the back burner for a time. All those big feelings and the big changes happening in your life right now can warp and cloud your perspective. It is best to save those big choices for a time when you have your feet on the ground again.
10. Rekindle Connections
Now that you aren’t spending all your time with that special someone, you have the chance to get in touch with people who you might not have talked to in a while. See how they are doing. Let them know how you are doing. You had a lot of people in your life before you were in a relationship and they are still there now. You just have to connect with them. It’s as easy as sending them a message on Facebook or pushing a button on your cell phone.
11. Care for You
There are certain things we do every day that are just plain healthy. Eating a well-balanced and nutritious meal, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and exercising are all examples of healthy life activities. While it is okay to slack off on things like exercising and showering for a day or two, it is helpful to resume these activities as soon as you can. These healthy activities will help you feel better.
It is important to keep your body healthy so your healing and strengthening energy can go towards healing your soul. You are sad and hurt but you still need to eat.
At the same time, beware of overeating, drinking alcohol, or other self-medicating behaviors. You want to deal with the pain – not drown it. It is by experiencing and processing the pain that you will be free of it and healed.
12. Release the Person who Broke Your Heart
Part of your freedom will come from releasing the person who broke your heart.
From your heart give them permission to move forward in life and be happy. Speak a blessing of release and forgiveness over their life.
By releasing them, you are in fact freeing yourself to be healed and move forward in your own life journey. To hold onto bitterness towards them in your heart is only hurting yourself as that bitterness is toxic to your being.
It is okay to acknowledge that they hurt you. But it is important to find in yourself the compassion and love that allows you to forgive them. We all make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses. And perhaps the breakup is for the best as it will allow each of you to walk the journey and find the life partner best suited to each of you.
Let them go and you will be free to go forward with your life.
13. Believe in Your Future
In the valleys of life it can be difficult to see the beautiful journey that lies beyond the sides of the basin-like valley in which we find ourselves.
As you go through the grieving and healing process, keep in mind that this low point in life is only a temporary dip. You have a wonderful future ahead. You have wonderful dreams-come-true and splendid surprises awaiting you. You have a beautiful future to create.
The pain you have now will someday only be a memory and you will someday see a bigger picture and know that everything worked out for the best. Never stop believing in your future.
14. Grow as a Person
Relationships with people are tricky business. From every interaction and every relationship we have lessons to learn. Keep on growing as a person by turning mistakes made into lessons learned.
Each new day brings new challenges, new opportunities, and new blessings. The journey isn’t easy, but it is full of thrills, special moments, and extraordinary miracles. You are a shaper of this world and the world will be better because of you.