Breakups are brutal
Whether this break up was your idea or your partner’s, it really doesn’t matter does it? There’s no greater pain than watching the hopes and dreams you shared disintegrate before your eyes.
What I’m not going to give you is a bunch of pat answers to make everything better, but what I will give you is a mini-road map for recovery. Recovery-out-of-pain.
Right now it seems like a long road ahead, but remember, if this painful period is used correctly, it can set you up to fly. Consider this time as the fertile compost you need to grow a life you’ll love again.
When we realize that emotional pain is normal during any ending, we can walk away trusting that even though we’re hurting, the right decision was made. When we equate pain with making the wrong decision, that’s when we get tangled up inside.
The love you shared doesn’t have to go away when you end something that’s not working, but the drama and trauma of a mismatched relationship does – and that’s the good news.
Maybe the decision to end things wasn’t yours. In this case, you’ve got to decide to trust the process and believe that all is in order, otherwise you’d still be together, right? Try to remember that forcing something that’s clearly not working is far more painful than standing alone for a little while.
While time does eventually heal all wounds, there are some specific things we can do to find our footing again. Here are my top 8 ways to find happiness after a breakup.
So first off, if you’ve got it bad, I mean the really bad: I can’t get out of bed, I just want to exist on pizza and beer from the comfort of my sheets for the next 3 years sort of bad~ you’ve got to set the tone for the day the second you open your eyes.
Think of 10 things you’re grateful for in life before your feet even hit the ground when you wake in the morning. Your gratitude may only truly be that the sky is blue and you’re breathing; but you’ve still got to get yourself into the process of feeling gratitude.
One of the most important keys to emotional freedom during rough times is found in setting the tone for the day by giving your brain something positive to work with. Don’t step one bare foot out of bed until you’ve done this first exercise. I want you to count 10 things in your life that you’re grateful for before getting up and beginning your day.
2. Catch up on your to do for me list
Breakups not only take up all of our headspace, they eat up our energy too. You’ve just been handed a bunch of free time back, so use it productively.
Have you been meaning to organize your garage? Paint your kitchen? Clean out your car? All that time you’ve spent fighting, breaking up and in turmoil has now been put back into your hands.
Make a list of things you need to accomplish and things you’d love to accomplish. Take steps everyday towards accomplishing this list.
3. Stop stalking
Social media can be fabulous when you’re looking for love, and devastating when you’re getting over it.
Stop frequenting their facebook page and block them. You don’t need to torture yourself by watching their every move and besides, doing so keeps you stuck in the past.
Don’t frequent places you went together, and don’t do the dreaded drive by hoping to see a glimpse of your former. Doing these things will just leave you feeling sad, lonely, and damn embarrassed if you’re caught.
4. Give yourself a makeover
Change your hair, change your style, and reinvent yourself! Let’s face it, our partners tended to like us the way we were when we met them and often wanted us to stay the same. Use this time to reinvent who you are and rediscover who you wanted to be before this relationship came along.
Were you edgier than your partner? More conservative? Did you want a beard but never had one because they complained? Now is the time to do what you want and reinvent yourself.
5. Tune it to now
Don’t wallow in old shared music for long. Clean out your ipod and rediscover some new favorites that inspire you. Music, like scent, holds memories and can spark emotion immediately. Be careful with what you want to conjure with your music selection.
Preparing a fresh start for ourselves can be made symbolic by discovering new music and creating a fresh start themed playlist. Find songs that make you feel strong and invincible again. Create break up playlists for moving anger and another for moving sadness.
Create another playlist for motivation that leaves you feeling like: YES, I can do this, I’m still here and I’m going to be better than ever. Something like a motivational playlist can be the little nudge forward you need on an otherwise difficult day.
6. Switch up your routine
Try a different coffee shop, grocery store or route to work. Flood your brain with new memories and new faces. Each time we experience something new, our brain creates new neuro-pathways that allow us to write new stories. This is why we feel so relaxed on vacation; we’re creating new neuro-pathways and rewriting old patterns with fresh data.
Places, like possessions, hold memories and old energy. Torturing yourself with old memories and haunting old locales the two of you frequented is just asking for sadness to stay with you in the present moment.
Vow to completely let go and start over- you never know who you might meet when you venture out into new territories.
7. Ask yourself: Who AM I?
Think back on the person you were prior to your recent relationship. Were there interests and hobbies that got lost along the way? When two people come together in a relationship, the bond between them forms a third entity of shared interests and activities.
Unfortunately, in bad relationships, all your energy can be focused on trying to make something that isn’t working work, and your own interests fall by the wayside. Is there anything that you’d like to learn or start to do that was put on the back burner?
Now is the time to follow through on your own dreams and aspirations. What’s extra wonderful about this step is that there’s no better way to meet someone new than to be doing something you authentically love on your own time.
8. Create a rite of passage for yourself
A ritual or ceremony to honor your future ahead symbolizes your new path and facilitates a sense of reverence for where you’ve been. Whether it’s in your men’s group or with a group of close girlfriends, figure out a way to symbolize your ending and your new beginning.
A ritual can be as simple as a solo all day hike in the forest or a shopping expedition for a new look. When I divorced my husband, I spent the early morning hiking to a favorite spot and then buried our wedding certificate. By the time I stood up and wiped off my tear stained face and dusty jeans, I felt strong and walked away knowing the past was over.
This step obviously cannot be rushed. Previous stages must be walked through, but it’s nice to put icing on the cake when you’re ready. I was truly ready. You’ll know when you are too.
Sometimes all we can do is trust
Trust that time heals all wounds, true love cannot be destroyed, and there is no way you’ll spend your life alone if you don’t want to…
Surrendering to what is and knowing in your heart that this too shall pass, isn’t merely word play.
If you look back on every ending over the course of your life, you’ll remember feeling as though you’d never love again- but you did didn’t you? There’s a whole world of sweetness ahead of you. You simply can’t see it yet.
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Image Joe Newton via Isthmus