"Self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.."
When my relationship ended unexpectedly, I felt a whole range of emotions... numb, defensive, self-doubt, guilt, pain, shame, sadness, disappointment. The cycle played this rotation for two weeks straight. I was exhausted and moving away from my inner happy space more frequently!
This cycle can play out in some people's lives without a lot of impact on their daily lives; but not all have this luxury. Some might be single parents, carers, people with greater levels of responsibility and challenge that the need for a faster paced recovery is a blessing.
I believe that the first step to getting over any relationship is accepting that it is over. If you are holding out hope for a re-union, then there will be no closure and limited momentum to move on.
Once this is done, the next step is self-care. Moving from the idea of "us" to "I". It may be easier said than done because our hearts and minds have been under training to merge with another. Being in a relationship relies on you taking some of the focus away from yourself and blessing another with your attention, resources and allowing them space in your thoughts, your energy and your emotions. That person means something to you, they are a part of you. When the relationship is over, it is time to take those actions and resources back and use them to take care of yourself. Find meaning in new thoughts, ideas and opportunities. Here are some ideas that I am experimenting with.
P.A.I.N - Pay Attention Inside Now:
I started over by trying to fix the situation but it was clear that this was not on the cards. So, I took the time out to accept the end. I then started exploring my life to see all the spaces where he existed. I started paying attention to the times I felt him, thought about him, cried about him, prayed for him, wished for him, talked about him, wanted his energy and began asking myself why ? I changed his name to Why on my phone (sighs and verbal eye rolls) I asked myself what I was missing or what I needed in those moments that made me yearn and long for him. I would ask myself why do I want to share this with him ? Why only him? I would note down my answers to these questions. Over time I realised that these were all parts of myself that I had neglected or parts of myself that I really enjoyed. It became clear that I needed to think of ways that I could do these things for myself. There was no us anymore just me!
Example: He was fun, had a zest for positive living and I believed he had the capacity to love me unconditionally. The one thing I had never consistently given myself was unconditional love. There were days when I showed up in my own life as the critical parent that drove myself to the depths of despair trying to get things done perfectly. Even when I believed I had failed at something, he would say he was happy and he would say thank you .
I acknowledged that it had felt good to be loved unconditionally and I started looking for ways to love myself in this way more consistently. I increased my positive meditation and introduced new healing practices. I enhanced my bedtime and morning routines with things that had my soul, body and spirit leaning to wells of happiness more deeply. I actively took on projects that were important to me and pushed them forward without worrying about the outcome. I made the decision that I would stay committed and complete them. Doing all this got me back to myself but this time in a stronger, clarified and deeper way. My happiness was more consistently unconditional. Not based on what I did, achieved or delivered.
Changing the reference point from the relationship back to myself and what I wanted was a major step in healing faster.
Heal the Blame and Shame:
I am extremely sensitive to other people's emotions and so when I have hurt someone and it doesn't seem like they will forgive me, I spiral into a space of shame and blame. Sometimes, I know it is not entirely my fault but I will beat myself up so much whilst playing the if only I had not, if only I had tried, if only if only if only ...
recording in my head. Urghhh - sooo annoying. I normally apologise endlessly and I also try to explain because I just want the other person to feel better and not hate me !( P.S - avoid any of this at any cost. I did not know any better till a couple of weeks ago. )
In the last break-up, the situation was so awful, he refused to speak to me forever. So you can imagine my internal turmoil ... I journaled for weeks but I wasn't making any headway on working through the blame and shame I felt . I then found a video by accident! I can't remember what video it was but it saved my life. I typed what I learnt into my phone - I will share what I typed below...
Everything is a co-creation. We all have a certain amount of responsibility in each situation. I played my part and he played his part. In order to find relief, I have to take responsibility for the part I played then leave the rest of it to the universe.
Who I was in that moment when I hurt the person I loved was the person that felt less than wonderful. It was the person that had forgotten the value of "feel good in every moment". To move on I am leaning into the principle that I had forgotten for that split second. I want to feel good in every moment - when I feel good - I am invincible. I feel good when I am free ...
To feel good and to feel free, I need to be free from the guilt, free from the blame, free from the shame. I will work on being free from the guilt, free from the blame, free from the shame. I will embrace all that makes me happy. I will embrace positivity, hope and trust. I will trust that he has the framework in him to go through the situation we created and get to his true destiny. I will trust that he is making the right decision for his journey and his future. I will trust that the Almighty and the universe have him in their arms. I will trust my inner voice when she says to me, "Sweetness, I tried. I did everything I could..."
Being free from blame and shame will give me freedom and release me from the worry and anxiety and eventually I hope to be alright with the devastating way the relationship ended . I will be free to focus on what I truly want for the next chapter in my life. Hopefully this could be useful for you too.
Do It Your Way:
My way is disconnecting. I delete! Simple. In the beginning I listened to friends who told me to keep everything and grow through it. Apparently, I would wake up on the other side and see my growth. I also had promised myself and him that I would not disconnect from an experience again. I tried it for the two weeks. Utter failure. Keeping this promise and trying to be "mature" as they called it did not serve me in any way. I eventually went with my heart and erased/deleted the biggest triggers. Some of this included important things but also things that may seem trivial like my beloved spotify playlist. The playlist had included songs I loved along with all the songs he had ever sent me. I would cry at nearly every song ... The playlist had to go!
I then found it easier to spend less time focusing on him and more time focusing on myself and where I needed to be. The reminders about him were reduced and I thought about him less and less with time. This may not work for everyone but it is my way.
For others, you may have children or reasons to be in contact often. Setting boundaries that work for both of you would be useful in creating an equilibrium that allows you the space to move forward.
Change Habits and Find New Routines:
For this section I will use quick examples:
I used to speak to him every night and he was part of my night time meditation session. I took him out of the routine so that I could stop going to sleep and waking up with him in my thoughts. For jokes, I had a friend who offered to call me every evening and tell me how amazing I was to replace his night voice in my brain...
I had reduced my work schedule so that I could have more time for him. I slotted in new personal projects into those time slots. Note I didn't add work back in, I added new things. They were new , exciting , challenging and greatly fulfilling.
I also looked at the places in my life that needed a reboot and set aside activities to support my growth and my healing.
I intentionally focused my mind on things that would add more value to my life. The positive results I enjoyed from these changes increased my happiness and the failures became challenges and problems that I had to solve. Overall even though he was once of the things I loved to think about, I was being re-programmed to find other things to be fascinated and enchanted by - MYSELF, MY FUTURE, MY NEW LOVE, MY DESTINY.
This has been a long one but I couldn't think of any other way to present this. I hope the message is clear. Focus on yourself and your inner voice through self care and you will heal from a break up at a much faster rate, no matter how much you loved the other person. It is not easy but it is easy at the same time. Spend less time longing and looking to the past and surrender willingly to the new future that awaits you. Surrender to what is emerging not the circumstance you are in. What is will always contradict what is coming. Focusing on "what is" slows down "what is becoming". Loosen your grip! Walk to a more fulfilling future with belief and hope ...