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.