Breaking up is hard to do, as the saying goes, but after counseling my clients and from my own life experience, being broken up with is the much harder task.
Scientific studies have proven that the same neurotransmitters that are responsible for drug addiction are responsible for the intense feelings of affection and dependence when falling in love. If you’ve ever fallen in love, then this fact makes a lot of sense. And if you’ve ever known someone who’s tried to end a history of substance abuse, you can understand that losing your “love fix” can result in months of devastating withdrawal.
Whatever the reason for the breakup, most everyone will go through the same five stages of grief (originally termed as The Kübler-Ross model): denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Obviously, acceptance is the ultimate and inevitable goal, but it takes a lot of work to get there. Acceptance, however, can only come after you’ve peeked your head out of the cave of depression and begin to discover the world around you and all the wonderful things it has to offer.
Here are some time-honored methods to help you along your way when you’re ready to make that step.
- Rediscover your passion. Oftentimes when we get involved in a relationship, we allow it to fulfill our purpose and even let it supersede our own aspirations and individual goals. This is unhealthy and lends itself to a type of codependency that hurts all the more when it’s taken away. It’s incredibly important that you rediscover why YOU want to get up in the morning. Not what motivates US, but what motivates YOU. Becoming your own individual self is directly related to your personal dreams and goals and how you want to accomplish them. Ask yourself what made you want to get up in the morning before the relationship. Once you remember, go do that. This will open up all the doors to a renewed vigor for life.
- Reconnect with old friends. We all have the tendency to spend less time with friends when cupid strikes. Reach out to them now—they are an anchor to the independent you, and a reminder that the world does not end when one relationship ends. You are surrounded by love, although you may not have noticed during the relationship.
- Wait to date. Now is not the time to jump into another relationship. Remember the fact I mentioned before about neurotransmitters and love? If you get involved with someone else, there is a high probability that you’re chasing the love high, and not the person you think you’re so enamored with. Now is the time to date yourself. Be alone. Get comfortable with the silence and the empty space next to you in bed. Learn that being alone does not necessarily mean you are lonely.
- Travel. Nothing shows you a world of possibilities better than the world itself. Choose places where you may be uncomfortable or out of place. Doing so will force you to connect with your Authentic Soul and show you what you’re really made of. You’ll discover you’re fully capable of being alone while realizing that the cocoon of your past relationship has allowed a beautiful butterfly to emerge.
Remember to be patient with yourself! Allow yourself to feel– this speeds up the healing process and ensures you dispense with any baggage that may clog up future relationships, while reconnecting yourself with your Authentic Soul–something you may not have been in touch with while you were caught up in couplehood.