The emotion can be overwhelming when you experience the loss of a relationship, it can be difficult to sleep, difficult to eat, and the grief over the loss can send you into a downward spiral that might be difficult to get up from. There's fear and anxiety abut where to go and what to do next. Losing a love that you always thought you'd have is devastating. But just like anything, there’s always a silver lining.
It can be difficult to just put one foot in front of the other, and a challenge to get through the day without shedding a tear or two, but it gets better and there are some actions that you can take, to push you towards the healing phase. It might feel like you're just going through the motions at first, but once you find your stride, these actions can take you to a whole new you, and you can come out on the other end as the best version of yourself.
I'm pretty optimistic when it comes to the healing process, and I get that in the beginning it might seem like a climb up Mt. Everest, but the view from the top is breathtaking!
It takes one step at time to get there, and here are 3 actions that you can take today to help you off the emotional roller coaster, and into a new phase of confidence and self-love:
1. Recognize that the way you are feeling now isn’t the way it will always feel.
It’s easy to let the overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness take over and govern all aspects of your life, but there will come a time where the edges of your sadness are not so sharp. In fact, one day you’ll have moved on and be in a place that makes you so happy that you’ll feel like it was all a bad dream.
You know that feeling, right? You wake up and know that you were feeling scared or upset, but you can’t remember why or much of the detail and as the day passes, you forget about it completely.
I’m not saying you’ll completely forget about your ex, or the trouble in your relationship but there will come a time that it won’t be consuming, and you won’t have to hold back tears when you recall things about your relationship or come into contact with things that remind you of them.
The best way to start the process is with gratitude. It’s easy to get stuck and caught up in focusing on what you don’t have (your relationship), so much so that you miss all of the amazing things that are going on around you. The more that you add in positivity and focus on it, the less time you have to allow the negativity to consume you.
Something that you can start daily is a gratitude practice.
Every morning when you wake up, let the first thought be, “thank you.” If you’re religious you can thank God that you woke up and that you have another day on this earth. If you want to skip the religious part, just say thank you to your body for working, for breathing, and to the universe for allowing you another day.
Then make a mental or written list of 5-10 things that you are grateful for before your feet even hit the floor. In that moment where you aren’t yet ready to open your eyes and take a stretch, and are typically thinking about how badly you need more sleep, think of the things you have to be grateful for – a place to live, running water, a warm bed, your health, your family. These things can be big or small, but they deserve to be acknowledged, and those acknowledgements will change your attitude and help combat that sadness you feel.
Practice this exercise for at least one full week and notice how it makes you feel. If you’re feeling like overachieving, when you get into bed at night, think of 5-10 different things that happened throughout your day that you are grateful for and let those good vibes you’ve created lull you to sleep rather than the sadness you feel over sleeping alone.
2. Awaken your inner badass and unlock the power of positive affirmations.
Just as with gratitude, positive affirmations have the power to change the way you feel inside. In fact, there’s a great study that says the smile on your face can change the way you feel inside, meaning it actually changes the chemistry in your brain and in your body. So even if you aren’t feeling happy, put a smile on your face and see if it doesn’t help improve your mood, even slightly.
That’s kind of how this whole positive affirmation thing works. It’s normal for a breakup to make you feel off your game and unlike yourself. Having someone you trusted and loved tell you that they no longer wish to be in a relationship with you is one of the ultimate bubble bursts in terms of self-esteem.
But you do have plenty to offer. Those amazing qualities do exist and practicing positive affirmations helps to keep them in the forefront of your mind. Spending more time on positivity leaves less room for negativity.
In order for this to work you have to take action and practice, practice, practice. Start by making a list of 10 positive things about yourself and then put that into a sort of mantra that’s easy to repeat. Your affirmations can be things that you’re totally not feeling at this moment, but deep down you know are true.
Something like, “I am bright, I am beautiful, and I deserve to be loved.” Or, “I have much to offer the world, and to others. I am kind.” Or maybe just, “I am enough.”
Then do whatever it takes to repeat a couple of your favorites throughout your day and especially in times that you feel down. Use post-it notes and put those suckers all over your mirror, your car, or your cubicle. If you want to be a little more discreet, set reminders on your phone for them to pop up at random times throughout the day to remind you just how awesome you really are.
3. Reconnect with your strengths.
Many times in relationships there are parts of us that become lost, or overshadowed, but those parts are important, and they make us who we are. They contributed to who we were before we entered into the relationship, and yet those parts often get neglected.
In order to reconnect with those strengths, reflection and introspection have to be involved. Were you once an athlete, or involved in some sport that you no longer do? Is there a creative side to you that you don’t feed because you’ve become too busy? Are you great with money? Are you a great parent? Are you a great friend?
I want you to look at those strengths and get back to them so you can start to feel like yourself again, but also more importantly so that you can begin to realize that although this relationship is lost – while it’s extremely important, it isn’t all that makes up your life.
Sometimes women can place far too much emphasis on their romantic relationship and allow it to govern all other aspects of their life rather than having a full life and allowing a relationship to fit in the picture as well.
Find your strengths; accentuate them, or build new strengths.
Do you know what your strengths are? If not, take some time to reflect on them. Ask your close friends and family what they see as your strengths, or even what they saw that used to be your strengths, because maybe they’ve noticed you’ve lost them along the way as well. It can be difficult to put yourself out there in such a way, but a close confidant will likely be truthful if you approach them in the right way.
I’m a huge proponent of journaling; I recommend it to almost all of my clients who are struggling through life’s challenges. While you’re trying to heal you can start journaling and thinking about the parts of yourself that you’ve neglected that once brought you a sense of happiness and strength.