Your relationship has ended. You are alone. Whether from divorce, break up or death. How do you move forward? How can you go on?
The feeling of overwhelming sadness (or any other number of big emotions) takes over. The first thing to do is allow the feelings to be there. Sit with your favorite blanket, journal, stuffed animal or real animal. FEEL your feelings. This is the hardest thing to do when your broken heart feels like it might swallow you whole.
It’s common to feel like the pain will never end. IT WILL END! But not until you allow the feelings to be released. Feeling devastation is something no one wants to experience. Especially when the feelings are big and hairy and seem like they will never go away. The natural human response is we want to run and hide and escape them. Allowing your feelings to be ~ without avoidance, allows healing.
“Every time your heart is broken, a doorway cracks open to a world full of new beginnings, new opportunities.”– Patti Roberts
But how? This is the trick…the golden nugget, the needle in the haystack. For any of us to heal, we must be brave and do what our first instinct screams not to do. Otherwise we stay stuck and keep repeating the same relationship over and over (with a different face).
Heal first. We must heal first. Society does not necessarily support this. It supports shopping, eating, obsessing over things that don’t matter. Anything to keep from facing the pain. Our parents didn’t teach us this. If yours did, bravo for them! That is a rare thing.
“When you’re dreaming with a broken heart, waking up is the hardest part…”
– John Mayer
Ugh…so true! Sleeping makes you forget. Waking up makes you remember.
After a particularly horrible break-up with my ex-boyfriend of 5 years, I remember going for a run (I am not a runner). I was lost in the agony of losing what I thought was a wonderful future and forever love. I ignored the years of red flags that told me otherwise. I was in denial about who he was.
One morning I woke up with my chest feeling so constricted and tight from grief, I felt as if I couldn’t breathe from the pain of sadness and loss. I decided to go for a run to see if I could dislodge it. Running made my chest feel better. It jarred my feelings loose and allowed me to get air into my lungs.
“A broken heart is just the growing pains necessary so that you can love more completely when the real thing comes along.”
– J.S.B. Morse
As painful as this breakup was for me, I was determined to not do what I wanted to do. I wanted to eat. Food has been my nemesis since I was a child. My father died suddenly when I was 7 years old. He was my hero. I adored him to the core. I began sneaking little bowls of powdered sugar to my room; dipping my finger in it and licking it off until it was gone. Then I would hide the bowl under my bed until it was safe to wash it and return it to the cupboard.
Food became my “healer”. Or so I thought. I didn’t realize it became my addiction, obsession and distraction for the next 50 years. If I was focused on a diet, I didn’t have to face reality. I blamed all my problems on being overweight. If I could just lose the weight, all my problems would be solved.
The bottom line is this: don’t run or hide from what you are feeling. If you want to have a healthy life, you must allow yourself to heal without escaping. I promise you, if you allow yourself to cry until you have no more tears, your heart will heal. You will become a stronger person because of your loss. And you will be smarter in your choices instead of replacing your love with another mistake.
This takes courage and faith. When each step you take in the process is with the end game in mind (healing), your life will transform. Your loss will not be in vain. It will teach you things you never dreamed possible. And your next relationship will be healthier. Learning from the past opens our eyes and allows us to do things differently, which in turn, makes it all worth while.