A Breakup. There is not much that feels worse than heartache from ending a romantic relationship. Although it feels awful right now, trust that you will be okay (and are okay even if you don’t feel like it). Not all romantic relationships are supposed to last forever. Some come with what I call an “expiration date,” meaning that they are supposed to end after they have served their purpose. We think the purpose of a romantic relationship is to last forever and get us to “happily ever after;” but the true purpose of relationship from a spiritual perspective is to serve as a mirror, give us the opportunity to see and heal our issues, learn major life lessons, grow our consciousness and open ourselves up to love even more. And sometimes a relationship has to end for us to learn the lessons that are most valuable.
I know that knowing that does not make the heartache disappear and you have my compassion if your heart is hurting. The good news is that you won’t feel this way forever, and the even better news is that on the other side of a breakup is a breakthrough. But in order to get to the breakthrough full of all the yummy lessons this relationship served up, you have to get through the yucky part of the initial separation.
After navigating my own breakups and helping lots of other people through theirs, I have seen that there are ways to expedite your healing process and avoid unnecessary struggle. A breakup is bad enough and you may be engaging in behavior that is making it worse. There are five things you can do immediately to ease the pain of your breakup and get to your breakthrough a lot sooner.
1. NO contact with your ex. And by no contact, I mean zero, nada, zilch communication of any kind. No phone calls, text, email, tweeting, facebooking, or any other form of communication. Don’t buy into the misunderstanding you are going to “help” each other through it. You are broken up for a reason. It’s time to take time to get to know yourself again. Even if the split is amicable, it’s important you both go your own way and stop leaning on each other because that keeps you emotionally and energetically tied. You prolong your healing process and may be preventing learning the lessons you need to learn by continuing to have contact. Don’t lie to yourself by trying to convince yourself you can immediately transition to being friends. If down the road you want to be friends, that may be possible but do not expect it now. Give yourself at least six months of no contact if the relationship was less than a year and at least a year of no contact if the relationship was longer than a year. Trust me, this is one of the most empowering action steps you can take. Resist the temptation to reach out to your ex when you are feeling sad. He or she is not the person to help you and you are not the person to help your ex during this time – unless you want to hang out in codependency and delay your breakthrough! Let your ex GO. Release them and embrace YOU!! Lean on yourself, your friends and family, and the Uni-verse.
2. Go on an Ex Detox. Purge everything and anything that reminds you of your ex. Get rid of all the physical reminders like pictures, articles of clothing, playlists on your ipod, gifts that trigger ex-memories, and so on. If you don’t want to actually throw physical items away, pack them up in a box and find a friend’s place where you can store it. Stop going to restaurants you frequented together. If you worked out at the same place, switch gyms. Stop driving by your ex’s place. Do this immediately – it’s unhealthy to allow your ex’s presence via memories to linger in your life when they are not physically present anymore. And UNFRIEND them on Facebook as well as their friends and family so you don’t have to see status updates and torture yourself via Facebook stalking. Yes I know this seems drastic but you want to heal and move on, don’t you? If you feel bad unfriending people, send them a message that says, “I am focusing on healing from my breakup with (ex’s name). I am so glad I met you through our relationship and value our connection. In service to my healing, I am unfriending close friends and family members I knew through (ex’s name). Please understand this is not personal at all. With love, (your name).” Detoxing your ex is crucial because in order to accept the present and move on to the future, you have to eliminate the reminders of the past. And the future is going to be even better, I promise!!!
3. Schedule time to grieve and then get on with it. A grieving process full of feelings like anger and sadness is par for the breakup course. It’s important to cry all your tears – but not drown in them. I see a lot of people get stuck in their emotions and lose momentum in their lives during a breakup. Another common tendency is to become addicted to the suffering as a way to hang on to the relationship. So what I recommend is to set a 15-minute time period (you may do longer if you feel you need it) in the morning and at night to feel your feelings around the breakup. You can use this time to cry, scream, journal, punch a pillow, ask “why?,” entertain the irrational thoughts that usually are part of a breakup process, and do whatever else you feel like doing to just get it out of your system. But when the time limit is up, you must STOP and MOVE FORWARD with your life. The only exception is if you have a session with a coach or counselor (which I highly recommend during a breakup because it is such a rich time for self-discovery and healing). During the day between your process periods, if you find yourself getting emotional, paralyzed by the past, or moving into obsessive thinking about your ex, remind yourself of your scheduled time and save it for then. I came up with this process during my most brutal breakup and it REALLY helped. Sticking to my 15-minute morning and night grief times supported me in getting unstuck in my life. I even wore a rubber band around my wrist and would give myself a gentle snap when I was tempted to travel to grief or paralysis by analysis territory during my day. Over time I noticed that 15 minutes felt too long, so I gradually decreased it until I had truly transitioned from breakup to breakthrough. And you can too!! Your life is NOW and ahead of you.
4. Leave la-la land. During a breakup and recently after, the tendency is to fantasize and remember all the wonderful things about your ex. And there are wonderful about him or her, otherwise you would not have ever gotten into the relationship. But you have to remember the TRUTH: there were things that were not aligned and did not serve your Highest Good. Even if you were the one who was broken up with, there are things about your ex that did not work for you. Get him or her off any pedestal. YOU are the source of your Love, not your ex. The Uni-verse is your ultimate source of unconditional love and happiness, not your ex. Make a list of all your ex’s undesirable qualities and the reasons the relationship was not a fit and look at it when you go to la-la land. Write it from a neutral rather than vengeful point of view. In other words, stick to the facts rather than going to blame. The purpose of this list is not to vilify your ex or make him/her wrong, but rather to anchor you to reality. Sometimes the simple reason of “the person did not want to be with me and I deserve to be with someone who is ready, willing, and wanting me” is all the reasoning you need. Have friends in your life who will deliver a reality check to you when you need it by reminding you of what was not a fit. Have them on speed dial anytime you are headed toward la-la land. Trust Divine planning and release fantasies of what was or what coulda, woulda, shoulda been. If your relationship was meant to be, it would have been! And if it is meant to come back around it will, but you gotta let go first.
5. Write a completion letter. This is a powerful process that will help you uncover the lessons from your breakup and support you in releasing your attachments to your ex. Note: this is not a letter you ever send or share with your ex, it’s just for you. Set aside some sacred time to write this letter. Light a candle before you begin and set an intention for healing, clarity, grace and whatever else you’d like to experience. Actually hand-write this letter rather than typing it because writing with your hand accesses more of your right brain where your emotions and intuition are sourced. Use these three paragraph starters for your completion letter:
- I’m saying goodbye because….(or this is over because…or I’m letting you go because…)
- I learned from you . . (or you taught me….)
- Thank you for . .
Write as much as you can and don’t edit yourself. Really let it flow and allow whatever comes forward to come. You can continue to add to this letter as you see fit. Your completion letter will become one of your key sources from which you can extract the lessons this relationship is teaching you. If you are craving “closure,” this will get you there. You do NOT need communication with your ex to have closure. It is something you can 100% do on your own.
There you have it – five ways that will get you from breakup to breakthrough with a lot more ease and grace! Along the way remember:
You will get through this.
It won’t hurt this badly forever.
You will heal and feel happy again.
You do not have to protect your heart by closing it down or hardening it.
Keep opening up to love – love is all around you!
Reach out for support; you don’t have to do this on your own.
Utilize this time to love yourself even more.
Just because your ex is not in your life does not mean there is less love in your life. The relationship may be over, but the love you shared will never die because it always belongs to you. You are so worthy of the loving relationship you desire and this is just a step along the way.
Be gentle with yourself during your breakup . . . your breakthrough is just around the corner.
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Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor. Join her for a life-changing transformational retreat for women this July – if you have recently had a breakup this retreat will catapult you to breakthrough in 2 days!