“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
These words are true for so many people and especially so after a breakup or divorce. Nobody wants to be in emotional pain. Nobody wants to suffer with sadness, fear, anger and anxiety….
But, we keep doing the same things over and over again that bring us pain.
- We keep re-living memories (bad and good) of the past.
- We keep asking ourselves ‘what if” we’d said or done things differently.
- We keep telling ourselves that we’ll never feel better or loved again.
What do you keep doing that freezes you in pain and torment? What are the thoughts and actions you repeat again and again that leave you feeling even more hurt, angry, disappointed, dissatisfied, uncomfortable, used up and taken advantage of?
Broken heart pain can be a lot like a persistent rash. Maybe you are having an allergic reaction to a particular food which starts on your arms and later continues to spread. With everything else going on in your life, the itching and discomfort makes everyday stresses even more difficult to bear.
You get to the point where you think, “I’ll do ANYTHING to get rid of this itch!” You really just want a quick fix. If you’re told that in order to calm your rash you can’t eat that food, you might resist. You really enjoy that food and you’ve always eaten that food and don’t want to give it up– even if it means you’ll possibly stay itchy and uncomfortable.
When it comes to your broken heart pain, you may get to the point where you say you’ll do ANYTHING to feel better but you don’t really want to stop certain things– like going through photo albums, visiting your ex’s Facebook page throughout the day, texting him or her or dwelling on regrets.
You may have mixed feelings about doing what it’s going to take to feel better.
When you take the brave step to loosen your focus on the past, you’re one step closer to pain relief and healing.
What’s keeping you stuck?
Take an honest look at what you’ve been doing since your breakup or divorce. What are your habitual actions? How much time do you really spend thinking about your ex or about what happened in the past? How often do you text your ex or spy on him or her via Facebook or Twitter?
Make a list of the ways that you hold on to your ex and your relationship that’s ended. Do this without criticizing or putting yourself down. Just notice what you do and how often.
Weigh the benefits.
Please remember that it’s natural and normal for you to spend time focusing on the past or on what your ex is doing now. This is part of the process of shifting away from being in a relationship with this person.
What is most important is for you to recognize what you’re doing and to assess the benefits (and costs) of your actions. Think about how and if your current actions are helping you move closer to healing and what you want for your future or if they are preventing forward movement.
Again, it is completely normal for there to be some backward-looking as you grieve the relationship that ended. And there’s nothing wrong with occasionally looking through photo albums or thinking about a past experience. The invitation here is for you to start making conscious choices about what’s going to help you have the kind of life you want given the changes that have happened.
Make a list of what you want for yourself in the short-term and the long-term.
This can include how you’d like to feel and what you want to do. This can be very general or more specific. Set intentions for what you want and let yourself feel hopeful about these things actually happening.
Then, the next time you’re tempted to check your partner’s Facebook page or to spend an evening going through old pictures, take out your intentions list. Ask yourself if these actions will help move you in the direction of your intentions or further away from them. Make in-the-moment decisions that soothe you AND help you move forward out of the pain.