Sometimes, love is not enough. Sometimes, no matter how hard they try, two people are just not meant to be together. We all meet each other for some reasons and then, when the lesson is learned, it may be time for each to go their own way. And sometimes, we need to accept that we don't know exactly why it went that way and just surrender to what is.
Most separations are painful for both parties involved. Ending a relationship can be particularly challenging when there is still love, when no harm has been done on purpose and when no cheating or lying is involved. In this case, many couples might stay together in the hope that something will change, others will break up and get back together and break up again, caught up in a circle which will eventually destroy the love they had.
If you are going through a breakup with a person you still love, cherish and respect, know that you are not alone. Sometimes you might even wish you could hate your (ex) partner, as it would make it easier. On the other hand, if you are breaking up with a person who hasn't been treating you right, at a first glance it might seem simpler to let go of them. In such situations there's a lot of anger involved.
Just stay with whatever you are dealing with and go ahead reading.
1. Make time for yourself.
This one may seem pretty challenging for many of us. In our society, we learn to hide our emotions as a way to be strong. When it comes to work or duties, we often believe that we need to be persistent and hang in, no matter how we feel, until we really cannot give any more and we have to take a break. We get to burn out as a consequence for our over-achieving society and our conditioning. But here's the thing: you don't have to let it drain you. If you are going through a painful moment in your life, it's wise to take some time for yourself. If you can manage it (and very often you CAN), find a babysitter, go on a sick leave, or take a short vacation. Create some space and time for healing. It might seem hard and even exaggerated but believe me, it's gonna make your recovering time shorter. Instead of dragging a breakup over months or even years, taking some time off will help you to recover much faster and deeper. In case you truly can't take some days off, find a way to create some time only for you in your schedule. It is absolutely vital that you stay on your own and let yourself feel it all.
2. Feel it.
You may think that what you need in this moment is to be positive, have fun and distract yourself. I'm not suggesting to isolate yourself from the world and live under a glass bell of despair. What I'm suggesting is to create some space and time for you to feel it all. Take walks in nature, lay down in a park and watch the sky, and let the feelings arise. Try to not get into your head, stay in your body. Stay with the feelings until they seem almost unbearable to you. If you allow yourself to get to this point, these feelings will be heard and they will fade. Your unheard emotions will cause patterns to arise and will attract people and situations to have you face them again.
3. Express it.
Listening to yourself is the first step to heal a break-up. But what do you do with all this stuff that is emerging in your consciousness? Sit on the couch with a journal or voice recorder and write down or speak up your emotions and thoughts. There are several ways you can go about it and it's very important to express everything you are leaving unexpressed, otherwise you won't be able to really close the circle. If you know that you have been withholding something in your relationship, express it, good or bad, it doesn't matter. Writing is an amazing tool. You can write and write for days and days until you feel everything has been expressed. If you want it, you can decide to share it with the person who's been your partner and let them know. And if you feel this is not your wish, don't. You can ask a good friend to simply listen to you while you are expressing what you need to let out. A therapist, a coach or a healer can also support you to navigate through this moment of your life.
4. Be complete.
A fundamental part of expressing everything 100% is to acknowledge the other. What lesson have you learned? What are the things that you admire in them? What are you grateful for? By revisiting good memories and positive traits of your ex, you might also get nostalgic. This is ok, allow it. However, don't skip this step: this will remind why you chose them in the first place and will show you that you are not a fool who started a relationship with someone who was “bad” for you, but rather someone who had something to offer and share. It will also remind you what you cherish in a companion and help you keeping it in mind next time you meet someone new. Express your gratitude for the other and be complete with it. Once again: you don't need to let the other know about it, if this is not what you feel like doing. You can also do it just for your self. It's worth the same.
5. Surround yourself with the right people.
As much as you may need more time on your own, this is a time to reach for help and support. Don't tell yourself that you will make it only on your own. Receiving support and sharing with others will make the whole process more effective. Ask yourself with whom you'd most like to be right now. Who really understands you and supports you, no matter what? Now it's the time to reach out for these people in your life with whom you can be 100% yourself. They won't tell you to just go out and have fun, as “there are plenty more fish in the sea”. People who care about you will simply be there, they will hold the space for your sadness and loss, for your words and silence. And they will push you gently, if they notice you are letting yourself slide into self-pity. They will handle you the next kleenex while taking you out for a walk in the sun.
6. Celebrate yourself.
What have you missed in your relationship? What were the things you would have wanted to do or experience but you haven't? Take some time to think about it and see what comes up. It's really important to clarify your needs so that you will become aware of them and be able to ask for what you need next time. For now, promise that you will be responsible for giving it to yourself. For example: if what you've missed is more romance, what can you do for yourself to experience more romantic moments in your life? What about a date with your Self? Or buying you flowers or dressing up for a nice dinner with... You? What else can you think about? In the beginning it may feel silly and uncomfortable. However, learning to give yourself what you need is a huge growing experience. Even if you find it particularly hard, do your best to become more creative and daring and see what comes up for you. Another example: if you need more physical closeness, what could you do? Ever thought of contact dance? Cuddling parties? Massage courses? You can have fun in the process and involve friends too! You are not alone.
7. Stay open.
As hard as it may seem, this is what you most need: to stay open. Feel, express, share, ask, give, receive. Very often the first reaction to pain is to close ourselves, back to our cocoons where everything seems safe and easy. Or to roll into a sharp ball like hedgehogs, hiding our soft spots and using our spines to keep others at a distance. You can do it. However, is it really serving you? We all need a space which is only ours to feel safe and we definitely need to learn to set limits and protect our hearts. This is healthy. However, if you close yourself up and separate from your feelings and from others, life won't be much fun. It will just be a blurry picture. I'm inviting you to be courageous, that is, to live life from your heart. You can freeze your heart if you distance yourself from emotions and connection, but your heart won't break. You might have the feeling that it will and it can be excruciating, I know. And yet, the path to growth goes through your heart. If you allow it to crack wide open, no break will happen, even if it may seem so.
By allowing yourself to fully feel and be complete while going through a break-up, you will honour yourself. Expansion, flow and love will follow. Your cracked up open heart will show you the way.
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