Everyone has, at some point, experienced the loss of a romantic relationship and the accompanying heartbreak that goes with it. Sadness, anger, and shame can follow us for weeks, maybe even months, as we process our feelings. It’s important to honor those feelings and not take anything personally as we heal.
Despite the turmoil, now is a great time to get objective and assess the events that led you to where you are. Setting aside your emotions will really help to get perspective and learn from what transpired.
My experience has been that of “emotional housecleaning”: clearing the relationship that didn’t work to make space for the one that does. I recommend starting with a physical cleaning: collecting the objects that remind you of your former partner and putting them in a one place. This includes any clothing, personal items, and, especially, photos of him/her or of you together. If any of the items need to be returned, do so. If they’re objects that are free and clear and you’re ready to dispose of them, great! If not, use Plan B and put them in a non-see-through container like a shoe box until you’re ready to make that move. It’s a good idea to take those objects out of your space as you work through the emotions and lessen the reminder of the past.
From there starts the emotional work. In my history, the initial hurt feelings I had stemmed from a place of ego. You know, variations on the theme of “I’m not good enough.” Those negative core beliefs tricked me into thinking some defect of mine was revealed and scared my man-in-question away. Not only was that not true, it was my ego trying to beat me up and make me feel bad.
The truth of the matter is: some personalities just don’t mesh. It’s not “in the stars,” as they say, and it doesn’t make one of us “bad” and another “good,” nor does it make me “right” and him “wrong.” It just is. Now, you might be in the throes of heartbreak and think you’ll never feel the same, but it’s temporary, I promise. Not only does time really heal those wounds, that knowledge is powerful and will serve you for years to come.
When I was donating my Members Only jacket to Goodwill in the 90s, there was no upset toward the jacket. I had just outgrown it. And so it is for relationships. Sometimes they don’t fit or ring true for us as they once did. For me, that was the sign of a new emotional plateau and a sign from the Universe to move on. I sincerely believe all my former romantic relationships have been profound learning opportunities. Not to say I felt that way during the initial sting of what I perceived as a “loss.”
My philosophy is that the Universe puts lessons in our lives when we’re ready for them and, somehow, my romantic life has been the greatest “classroom” ever. Recovering from a heartbreak is an excellent time for self-analysis and inventory. It’s not a time to beat myself up, but to see what my role was in the relationship. I always ask, “What can I do to be more loving and compassionate to myself and others in the future? Could I have done more? Were there times when I should have done less? What were the features of the relationship I liked and disliked? What type of partnership would I like for myself in the future?” I take stock of my part and use that knowledge to enrich my future relationships.
After a breakup, intense feelings make being objective a challenge, but being able to get to this place has been extremely rewarding. I speak from personal experience when I say this thinking has shortened my recovery time by releasing my feelings into to a point of objectivity as quickly as possible. Take what you like and move on to better days, my friends!