Breakups are really tough. We feel like we've given so much, sacrificed parts of ourselves, spent time and energy on someone else and still … it wasn't enough.
Many of my clients come out of relationships feeling like they've failed, like they weren’t good enough, and that they're now afraid they'll be alone forever. They say things like, “I am not good at relationships,” or “I am not meant for love.”
I can sympathize with that frustration. That confusion. That fear. But I also know, because I have guided my clients through it, that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
There are three specific ways to make the healing journey easier and (even more importantly) that will help you emerge stronger, better, and clearer about who you are, what you desire, and how you can open yourself up again to the love you deserve.
1. Feel the pain while surrounded by people you love and trust.
The only way to properly heal is by acknowledging the pain and lovingly nursing your soul back to health. I know it doesn’t feel good to feel the loss of a failed relationship, but at the end of the day, the only way to get past it, is to get through it.
The difficult, yet utterly crucial, part is to find a way to feel the pain without abandoning or turning against yourself. Can you still love yourself even though you are heartbroken?
That’s why having a community of people who love and support you is so important: they remind you that you are loved and cared for. Sometimes, the most independent and strongest of us need a bit of that support. This too requires vulnerability.
It’s not easy to lean on your friend and say, “I am hurting. Can you be here for me?” However that is what friends are for. They will show you the way back to loving yourself when that feels hard. Healing doesn’t have to be a solitary journey.
2. Reflect on your past relationship(s) and explore what parts of yourself were suppressed.
Often, the women I work with have a tendency to want to be perfect in their relationships. Perfection always requires the suppression of the not-so-pretty, the embarrassing, the edgy parts. Perfection is also at odds with uniqueness, character, authenticity and vulnerability.
In other words, perfection or flawlessness is not only not sustainable, it also prevents people from hooking into each others' deeper emotional world. When someone is working hard to be totally perfect, they are also not fully themselves and therefore will always attract the wrong person.
By asking yourself what parts of yourself you suppressed in the relationship, you can consciously begin to tune up the volume on those parts of yourself that are authentically yours as well. That way you can be your full self and that’s what needs to love and be loved anyway.
3. Treat yourself the way you wanted to be treated in the relationship.
You teach other people how to treat you, so if you treat yourself poorly and are waiting for others to fill the void, you won’t ever get there.
Experiencing extremely loving treatment from yourself will make sure that you never settle for less again. It’s how you raise your own standards for yourself. This is true not only for physical, real-life treatment, like pampering yourself, making yourself look and feel beautiful, treating your body lovingly and carrying yourself with pride, but also for your internal world: do you treat yourself respectfully in your thoughts about yourself? Do you speak to yourself kindly?
If not, this is your chance to elevate the most important relationship of all — your relationship with yourself — to a supreme level. This elevating your relationship with yourself is what most of my work as a coach consists of, so I know that there is a way to real self-love and acceptance!
In the comments below I’d love to hear from you. Which one of these resonates with you? Do you have any other advice on how to heal from a painful breakup? There are clearly many ways and everyone has individuals paths of healing. Let me know what works for you!