How to Heal From a Breakup


It can be even more difficult during the holidays

The feeling of heartbreak that often comes with the ending of an important relationship is always painful, but for some people it can be even more difficult around the holidays.

There are three main reasons for this:

  • We have memories of past holidays spent with our ex which get triggered
  • We idealize how good it could have been this year based on media images of Martha Stewart holidays
  • We are convinced that everyone else is having that beautiful holiday experience and we the ONLY ones feeling lonely or sad

Regardless of the reason or the time of year, healing from a breakup can be a difficult journey. The keys to successful healing are expectations, self care and acceptance.

First of all, be realistic in your expectations for yourself and the time it can take to heal your heart. Don't tell yourself that you are weak if you are in pain or feeling sad. Loss is a natural part of the human experience and it can be very painful. Allowing that pain is an important part of healing. That energy has to move, has to be released by allowing it's expression. If not, it stays inside of you and does all kinds of fun things like eat your guts out (can you say stomach aches and other illnesses) and foster unhealthy habits to numb the pain. Sublimating that energy by running up your credit cards or drinking 'a few extra' glasses of wine will not help you heal. It will just prolong the process.

Next, you must take very good care of yourself and be very compassionate. Think about how you would treat a beloved friend in the same situation and give yourself that level of attention. That means being a good listener when you need to vent. This can be done using journal writing.

I also recommend giving yourself messages often. Yes, I'm referring to 'talking to yourself'. You do it anyways all day long without giving it much thought. Take some control over those thoughts and intentionally give yourself healing messages....

You are going to be okay Ellen

You will find love again Ellen

It is okay to feel what you're feeling Ellen

It is helpful to use your name, as if a third person were talking to you. It will help these messages stand out from the unconscious ones that repeat over and over (I'm never going to get over this, I can't go on, I was a fool to ...).

Lastly, accept the reality of the breakup. Spending time analyzing what he or she might do next and wondering if they are going to call you or change their mind , etc. only keeps you in your head obsessing on thoughts that you are basically making up. This mental gymnastics often serves as a defense mechanism against feeling the pain in the present moment. Which prolongs your healing process for the reasons I mentioned before. So just be with what is right now. Accept reality. Because as Byron Katie says, "When you argue with reality you lose, but only 100% of the time". Accepting what is brings peace and is an integral step in healing.

So expect to hurt for a while knowing you will get over it and feel better. Take exceptionally good care of yourself and be very compassionate with yourself. Accept what is and where you are at right now. And remember, those people you think are having a 'perfect' Hallmark holiday may be more focused on how it looks and not having that much fun anyways!