Look, breakups can be tough and messy. If you've been through one, you know what I'm talking about. Breakups are hard; they hurt. We get slammed with truths we didn't know, surprises we never imagined, and jabs from someone who is supposed to love us. No wonder we call this getting dumped—because we get crap dumped all over us!
HOW WE MAKE IT WORSE
And then in the middle of our pain and sadness, we beat ourselves up for not being perfect. We beat ourselves up for crying all the time, for feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, sad and angry. We beat ourselves up for struggling at our job, not being able to focus, and wanting to just stay home.
We beat ourselves up for thinking about it all the time, talking about it too much and wearing out our support systems. We beat ourselves up for every little thing that may have contributed to it, for not seeing the red flags, for being too trusting. And we beat ourselves up for loving someone who treated us so badly.
And then we wonder why we can't get over it!
LOSS MEANS GRIEF
No matter what the circumstances, moving through a breakup is a loss. And depending on the details of the relationship, it can be a big complicated loss. It's not something we can generally just get over and get on with our lives after, acting as if nothing changed...because everything changed.
Breakups put us straight into the stages of grief because breakups are the loss of someone significant in our lives. We grieve that loss just as we would a death. And you know what? It doesn't matter if our relationship to the person was six months or six years, we grieve it all the same.
FEELINGS COME IN WAVES
The loss of someone significant to us sets off a wave of feelings that drop like dominoes once the first one is pushed: sadness, anger, hurt, betrayal, anxiety, fear, etc.. Then we get dragged into confusion, disbelief, overwhelm, self-doubt, desperation, panic, etc.. Sound familiar?
As if all this isn't enough, we shift into self-judgement, beating ourselves up for every little thing we don't do perfectly as we wind our way through the breakup, trying to find our footing and make sense of things. It's no wonder we struggle!
FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL
So let's do ourselves a huge favor and stop beating ourselves up. Instead, let's agree to feel whatever we feel because it's our truth...at least, in the moment. Like everything else, feelings don't last forever. Nor do they define the rest of our lives. But they can if we don't give ourselves the space we need to feel them and heal them when they arise.
I'm here to tell you it's much easier to heal our pain than it is to keep holding it inside pretending we're fine. It takes a ton of energy to hold our true feelings inside. And the reality is we aren't very good at it anyway, so they come flying out when we don't really want them to and in hurtful ways we may regret.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
Let's do better than that. Let's take care of our feelings and ourselves. Let's stop beating ourselves up for all the ways we think we aren't perfect and are still learning and growing. Let's cut ourselves some much-needed slack and give us a chance to find our footing.
And then, let's ditch the perfection measuring stick and accept ourselves just as we are, for who we are, in all our mental-emotional messiness right now. Not that we will be this way forever, but let's allow ourselves to be this way for now. No matter what our struggle is, this will give us the space we need to let things air out so we can see more clearly what our next right step is in getting over the breakup.
Let's face it—breakups are hard. They hurt and throw us into mental confusion and emotional turmoil. We question every little thing and wonder what we did wrong, how we could have changed things and if it was our fault. We spin in a million questions and want to know why, to understand what happened and get closure.
The result is we stay stuck in the past and unable to move forward with our lives. I know plenty of women who struggle--really struggle—to move past a breakup. I understand; I've been there too. We say we know we have to move on but we just can't. We spend months and even years of our lives clinging to the past and suffering over it.
Why? What's the problem? The easy answer or at least what we tell ourselves is we still love them. It's easy to love them because it wasn't all bad. And we weren't perfect either; we did our share of hurting them back. Maybe we should just be happy with things the way they were; they weren't so bad. Maybe we could be happy...
This is settling. We've all done it. We love them and we want them to love us back. It feels good to love and be loved; we all long for that. And we don't understand why or how their feelings changed for us when our feelings for them haven't. We still love them. And we convince ourselves whatever love they toss our way is worth it or that if we can just show them we are worth their love, it'll be fine.
The problem with settling is it doesn't work. We will end up unhappy inside and will blame them for it. Then they will be unhappy inside and blame us for it. And eventually the relationship will end...again.
Suffering because we still love our ex is the easy answer. It's hard to let go of people we love. But there's a hard answer too, something deeper we overlook, yet is key for us to recognize. And that is that when how we feel is not aligned with what we believe we must do, a war breaks out inside of us between our will and our hearts, and we can't move.
It takes a ton of energy to make ourselves do something we really don't want to do. So if we really don't want to break up, we won't have the willpower to take the steps that we need to take, to move our lives away from our ex. It's that simple.
That's why so many of us say things like, "I can't let go. I can't stop thinking about them. I want them to miss me. I want them to come back. I know I need to let go but I'm stuck. I can't bear to go no contact." The truth is we hope our ex will realize they made a mistake, change their mind, and come running back to us, declaring their true love!
It's the trap of fairytale love. It could happen, but if it does, it's the extreme exception rather than the rule. For most of us, we waste too much of our precious lives wishing things were different, crying over someone who left us in the dust and never looked back.
So what's the truth in your situation? How do you really feel about your ex? Is he or she someone you believe you could forge a trusting, supportive, uplifting, long-term authentically-loving partnership with? If so then lay your cards on the table. Be honest with them about how you feel and see what happens, because something will happen. If you don't get real with it, you'll be trapped in the push-pull of your heart and will, stuck in suffering and unable to move forward.
Or do you love them but...you know they aren't good for you, can't love you the way you want, or can't be trusted...and you really do want to release them? If you are sure you don't want to be in a relationship with your ex, yet are still struggling to let them go, there's something deeper going on. Get your will and your heart aligned with your highest, deepest truth so that what you want and what you do can work together. Then it will be easier to release them, and the grip of your struggle can begin to ease up.
When I set out to write July's blog, I thought I'd be writing about the lunar eclipse. But that is not what came through! This month's blog tackles things I generally keep between me and my clients but...I trust it is in perfect alignment, so here goes.
Do you know our greatest power comes from our energy? Most of us don't relate to our energy. It's not something we're taught growing up. We can't see, hear, taste, smell, or touch it so it's easy to ignore.
If you're a Star Wars fan like me, you may relate to the idea of "the force." The force is the mysterious life force energy that flows through us, animates us and gives us life, the spark of life that is our Soul Light. Without it we are dead, empty corpses. We can't see it but we know it's there and working because we are alive, just like we can't see electricity but we know it's there and working because the light is on.
When we are born (and healthy) our life force energy is vibrant and open. We feel connected to a larger whole and to Source. We see the world around us as us. From that place of wholeness, we are actually very powerful.
If we could maintain this into adulthood, we would save ourselves a ton of trouble! But we don't and our most powerful assets—our sense of wholeness and our connection to our energy body—get ignored. What a mistake that is! This brilliant TED talk by brain scientist and researcher Jill Bolte Taylor tells it like it is.
What does our energy body have to do with our personal power? If we feel tired, depressed or reactive, we are not in our personal power and it's a sure sign there are issues with our energy body. A disconnect from our energy body messes with our thoughts, feelings and actions, leaves us vulnerable to stress, and if we ignore it long enough, makes us physically ill.
I know this from personal experience. I've been there...too freaking tired to get out of bed, to focus, to take care of business, to do anything at all. We call it depression or stress or overwhelm, and it is, but those are symptoms of a depleted energy body. When the energy that sustains us gets weak, it leaves us feeling diminished, defeated, deflated and unable to take desired actions. I know it may sound odd, but that's because talking about these things in relation to our energy body is unfamiliar and uncommon.
The good news is we can learn. I was taught years ago and this is something that I teach to clients today. It's not magic. It's a very natural part of who we are. And the thing is, it's not hard to learn with the right mentor.
One last thing: On July 16th there is a partial lunar eclipse of the full moon, and although we won't see it in North America, it still impacts us. Eclipses are powerful times to explore the lightness and darkness within and restore balance. How? By embracing your wholeness as a reflection of both the lightness and the darkness. We all have both. It's what we do with them that matters. And...inner balance is linked to the vibrancy of your energy body. There, I got that covered!
This blog offers alternative insights and practical coaching to help restore a sense of personal power and sovereignty in relation to some of life's challenges.