When we’re in the throes of heartbreak, whether from a break up–or because something awful happened to us or a loved one–there are a series of things you can do to get through it more quickly. But before I give you the steps you can take, you will benefit by understanding that your thoughts are what cause you to feel bad. Your thoughts about how hurt you are, how abandoned you feel, how angry, how resentful…all those thoughts are felt in your body, which is where you feel the pain of emotions.
Yes, most of our thoughts arrive unbidden. They just march in and take over. But when you notice that they have arrived, you can send them away. But to do so successfully, you must actually replace them with other thoughts, thoughts of your choosing. I’ll explain how to do that below.
1. First, it’s important that you feel all your feelings as fully as possible. To deny our feelings only pushes them beneath the surface. They’re still there and the concern is that they will either squish out in some surprising way, like over-reacting to something or someone, or they fester inside and cause us physical harm in the form of simple stress, an ulcers, heart problems to even cancer.
So feel it all. Cry, scream, beat on a pillow. Whatever will be a good outlet for all that you’re feeling. And talk to only a couple of trusted friends or relatives. Tell them to let you know when you’re wearing them out and to stop you from going on and on. But do talk. It’s important. I remember a workshop leader saying once, “I kept telling the story of my divorce until even I got tired of hearing it.” But don’t tell just anyone who will listen. That will keep you in your emotional stew.
2. Next, write about it. Even if you don’t ordinarily journal, if you do this, you’ll discover how cleansing it feels. Write about EVERYTHING. The good feelings, the bad, and the ugly. No one will see this so write and write and write until you have nothing more to say. Then, do a ritual and burn it or cut it into tiny little pieces and throw it away. As you do so, release it from your being, letting it go, fully and completely.
3. One thing that causes us to get stuck in painful emotions is that we don’t know how to make peace with them. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to discover what there is to be grateful for. If this person died, instead of leaving you, this would be an easier process. But it can be done, no matter the circumstances of the breakup. So, on a piece of paper, write all the things you’re grateful for, all the things that enriched your life from being with this person. Then, thank them. Not in person, but silently to yourself.
4. Take a look at the problems that were part of this relationship. No relationship is problem free, although some are big problems and some small. In what ways could the breakup be a blessing in disguise? That’s the question you want to search for. Write your answers down so you can see in black and white that maybe there is some good to come out of it. You may not feel it yet, but with time, you will begin to realize the truth of what you discover in asking this question now. Later, you will come up with more answers to add to your list.
5. I mentioned above that you have control over your thoughts, but only as you become aware that you’re thinking about something that is upsetting you. When you notice you’re focusing on the hurt, humiliation or loss, for example, replace that thought with something that will shift your energy. You can turn on a funny movie, pick up a novel that really gets you sucked into the story, go out in nature, exercise, call a friend and ask them what’s going on in their life, not what is going on in yours, offer your time to a charitable organization, be with children, pets, whatever will take your mind off of your uncomfortable thoughts, at least for a time.
Yes, those thoughts will come back, but the more you take charge and purposefully shift your thoughts from those that make you feel bad to those that make you feel good, you will more quickly move through the emotional crisis. You will also gain a lifelong skill.
6. Once you are past the worst of it, begin to get out. Make dates with girlfriends but don’t talk about your break up. Sign up for dancing lessons, or something that will be fun and get you out socializing. Register for a matching service and just date to be dating, not because you’re desperately looking for a replacement.
The most important point I want to make here is that you’re in charge of how you react and respond to whatever happens to you. If you can begin to take charge of what you’re feeling and begin to purposefully choose what you’re thinking, you will move through heartbreak much more quickly.
I feel it is a waste of a heartbreaking experience not to learn the lessons that are waiting to be unearthed. By doing the above exercises, you will always learn the lessons that are there, waiting for you. When you do, you will grow, you will become wiser, and you will move ever closer to having more amazing experiences from dinner out with a girlfriend to a deeply loving romantic relationship. We are ever evolving, always moving toward the best version of ourselves. You get to choose how you respond to life.
From my heart to yours,
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