The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive, said author J.K. Rowling in her Harvard Commencement Speech.
Going through a breakup is unlike any other experience. It can be terrifying, disorienting, and devastating.
There are though, ways to approach a breakup that help you ease the stress and negativity; and even use the experience as a catalyst for growth, an opportunity for change, and a chance to emerge more confident and resilient.
In this first installment of our three-part series, we’ll take a look at 2 ways of getting through your breakup.
Feel the Feelings
As Professor Dumbledore once famously said to Harry, “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
He couldn’t have been more right. We can bury our feelings, ignore them, and try to push them as far down as possible; but until we fully experience and process them, they’ll just keep coming back to haunt us.
Instead of feeling ashamed of, or hiding from, your emotions, allow them the space they deserve. Feelings are important - they give you information; telling you where you stand, what you want, and what your boundaries are.
As psychologist and writer, Dave Richo says, “Always be on the lookout for your deepest feelings, wishes, and needs...”
Process the Emotions
When you’re feeling strong emotions, it’s important to process them fully, so that you can move on with your life.
“It’s common to sweep those emotions under the table, but you have to work through them or they’ll pollute your life going forward.” says Robert Alberti, PhD, co-author of rebuilding: When your relationship ends.
Finding a safe place to process your emotions is essential; whether it’s at your best friend’s house, or in therapy sessions. If therapy sounds intimidating, remember it’s simply a health resource. You would go to the dentist for a toothache, and likewise, going to a therapist when you’re hurting emotionally is just another way to take care of your wellbeing.
Acknowledge the Struggle. Tap Into Your Strength.
A breakup means the opportunity to undergo a major struggle; and to become stronger and wiser.
As the Dalai Lama says, “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”
Part II and III Summary: In the second installment of this series, we’ll look at the importance of reaching out for help when you need it, and the benefits of making mistakes. In the third part of this series, we’ll talk about how to trust that things will get better, so you can move forward.