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Posts from December, 2008

How To Get Over A Break Up?

Dec 08

Here are 7 practical steps to make the pain of dealing with a break up disappear as soon as possible. I’m hoping they’ll give you some ideas about how to get over a break up and turn surviving into thriving in the quickest way.

Break up

Whilst in the first couple of days you can feel a little numb there comes a time when it will hit you. Heartbreak is really, really painful and I know that there are times when coping with a break up can feel over whelming. I also know that, while it may sound trite to you right now, time is a healer. Sometimes it’s enough just to draw another breath or get out of bed again.

You need to know that you are far bigger than your biggest feeling and keep in mind that even your darkest hour is only going to be 60 minutes in length.

That said I understand that right now it may well not feel that way. I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad and I wish you didn’t have to deal with it, but here we are. It’s my hope that after reading this you won’t feel quite so alone.

I’ve worked with people that felt like surviving their heart break was impossible. They were unable to forsee a time when the pain would disappear. The truth is that it doesn’t just disappear. The pain leaves you a little day by day, week by week and then month by month. One day you’ll wake up and realise you’re having more good days than bad days and you know you’re on the way to healing your broken heart.

Over the years I’ve learned a couple of tricks and techniques for having this process happen much more quickly and I’d like to share them with you here.

If you really are hurting in such a way that you wonder if you’ll make it through the night, then please get help. You could see your GP, get in touch with a counselor or give me a call for one of my emergency sessions.

Skim through the steps, then print off this practical advice on dealing with relationship break-ups. Keep referring back to it as you work through each step of the process. Yes, it will still take time, but working through the steps will reduce the pain of your break up as much as possible as well as minimizing any long term damage.

1. Feel your Feelings

If you’re already in the midst of dealing with a break up you’re probably already doing this bit and are looking to move on, but feeling your feelings is an essential part of the healing process.

Some people really struggle with feeling certain feelings, some of us are easier with anger, others with grief. I’d encourage you to explore them all by writing a ‘Grief’ letter to your ‘Ex’. It’s important to know that you’ll never send this letter so you can really explore every aspect of how you feel.

Take the time to explore what you are going to miss and what aren’t you going to miss. What are you angry about? What are you sad about? What do you fear this break up means? What was your part in the break up? What are you always going to love or appreciate about your ‘Ex’.

Explore these questions in such a way that you can feel all the things you suspect may be true even if you’d rather they were not. Write the letter as if you were writing it to someone who really cares about how you feel.

It’s really important that you take time to do this. At first it may not appear that this is the most critical step of coping with a break up, but every time you leave a relationship there is a danger that you will harden your heart due to the pain and disappointment. That hardening makes you less attractive and makes your life a lot less loving.

Whilst coping with a break up it’s possible that you’ve been making yourself promises like, ‘That’s it I’m never trusting another man again!’ or ‘That’s the last time I date a blonde!’, you know the kind of thing. Well over the years those kind of things begin to stick and people seem to get harder and just a little more bitter with each year that passes.

I often work with people who are trying to find love but are so full of resentment, due to their past, that they are totally unattractive. It’s much easier to feel and therefore heal feelings of pain and disappointment now than trying to clear them out years later.

If you do this properly you’ll be able to reconnect with at least some of the love you felt for your partner. Not in a way that eats at you, but in a way that nourishes your sense of life.

Taking the time to write this letter will allow you to grieve and hopefully you’ll be able to let go of some of the tears. Sometimes I get the sense that a client is so busy holding back their sadness that they are drowning on the inside. Don’t spend the rest of your life trying to stay numb, it’s really not worth it. Admit it, getting your heart broken really hurts.

If writing the grief letter doesn’t help you get to your pain then put on a movie that touches you in a special way or listen to some of those ‘special’ songs. It will serve you to take the time to really feel your feelings.

If you’ve loved deeply once then you can do it again. If you take the time to heal you will come out of the relationship even more able to love than you were when you entered it. Work to keep your heart healthy and open.

2. Recognise the signal to move on

At some point – whether it’s days, weeks, months or even years- you’ll get a sense that you’re fed up with feeling bad. Maybe there’s a growing frustration with yourself that you aren’t moving on. Maybe you’re there right now and that’s why you’ve come looking for break up advice.

The signal that you’re ready to move on is not just when you start berating yourself. Self hate is not what I’m talking about here. If you catch yourself saying things like ‘You are so pathetic!’, or ‘Get over it loser, she left you.’ then you’re not ready to move on. It’s bad enough that your relationship ended. Don’t make it worse by locking in more self hate.

Go back to step one and take the time to work out what you’re still angry or hurt about. I’ve written How to Get Over A Break Up because it’s so easy to get stuck in the process of healing your heart. If you feel like you’re really not moving on fast enough then please get in touch, I can help!

So what’s the signal you are looking for?

Hopefully it’s a voice full of love and compassion for you and your struggles. All you need to know is that this sense of frustration with yourself is a signal. The signal says that it’s time to take the necessary steps to move on from the end of your relationship. One of my favorite quotes is that ‘you don’t drown by falling into water, you drown by staying there!’

What do you do as a result of recognising this signal? Just complete the remaining steps of this process.
3. Use your emotion to move you on

Tony Robbins teaches a fantastic method for using your emotions to move you forward. He defines every core emotion as being a signal for action. This step is all about action and making the decision to move forward.

So what are you really feeling? Most commonly after a break up it will be hurt, inadequacy or loneliness. If your prime emotion is something else I’m sorry, there are too many to deal with in this article, but if one of these is your main emotion currently, here are the steps to take:

Hurt – maybe as a result of your sense of loss.

Get a sheet of paper and a pen now. Take 10 minutes and write down all the reasons you won’t miss your partner. All the things they did that annoyed you about them. All the things you would have changed about them if you could have done. All the things you wanted from them that they couldn’t or wouldn’t give you. Keep the list and review it and add to it any time you get those feelings of hurt again. Try to think of at least 5 really big incidents during the relationship where you clearly knew it wasn’t working for you. (You’ll need this sheet later on in the process.)

Inadequacy – Feeling unworthy.

Get a sheet of paper. For 10 minutes write down all the things you appreciate or feel proud about yourself for. What would your friends say they like or love about you (you may actually even want to ask some of your close friends). What do your family love about you? What have you achieved in your life that you were proud of? Who do you know that loves you? Sometimes when we feel low this can be hard to do. If you’re struggling with this and there’s nothing you feel good about then ask yourself ‘ If you could feel good about just one thing what would it be?’ Then ask yourself that question again as many times as you can. Trust me – you are bigger and better than you think, you are a miracle in progress!

Loneliness – You need to connect with someone.

This is an important part of the process anyway even if you aren’t feeling lonely. Stay in contact with and go out with as many of your friends as you can. It’s important that you do this ahead of time rather than just waiting for the weekend to happen to you. Trying to reach out when you’re miserable is really hard and you can end up getting caught in a spiral. Being single is a luxury that you could easily miss. This serves to remind you that you still have lots of people to connect with in life and it also helps your mind to focus on some fun things.

4. Rid your environment of reminders

What you focus on you is what you feel. If you spend your time thinking about the loss of your partner – guess what? You’ll feel miserable. That’s why, once you’ve dealt with the real signals that the emotions give you, you must do as much as you can to focus your mind on things that please you.

Take the practical steps necessary to remove the reminders of your ex. from your environment. They will only act as triggers to think about him or her. Instead, when you see a reminder, use it as a trigger to get rid of that reminder – IMMEDIATELY!. Delete the telephone number, remove the pictures, store the presents. I’m not asking you to destroy them, just put them where you won’t see them on a day to day basis.

I know this may feel harsh given they were such a part of your life for so long but it makes a huge difference. Make a deal with yourself that if you are really missing them, and feel the need to re-connect, you can pull out an old photo or that old T-shirt. Take the time to go back and feel sad for a while or write about how much you hate them in that moment and then get back to your new life.

Out of sight, out of mind.

5. Do fun things!

As I said above, what you focus on you will feel. So generate yourself a list of things you like or love to do. Yes, again, you must write them down. So when you’re next focusing on things that are making you feel sad, you can run for the list, pick something off it and go do it. It’s the best way to speed up the process of moving on.

You’ll be amazed at how this works to change your mood.

Keep adding to your list… listen to loud music, dance around the room, sing your favorite fun song, watch your favorite film on video, go for a run or call a friend. You know the kind of things I mean.

The simple, easy and quick to do ones are the best.

6. Recognise you’re ready to love again

Well, I wish I could give you a really practical step here, but I can’t. What I can tell you is:

* Only you’ll know when you’re ready
* How long it takes is in your hands
* Set yourself a time limit

When you’ll be ready is a gray area. The truth is it will happen when you’ve fully accepted your past relationship is over and when you’ve fully dealt with your emotions around the break up. Not easily measured, but doing all the steps in this process will speed it along.

A rough guideline I quote for a limit to getting over a relationship is 1 month for every year of the relationship. Set that as your own time limit for moving on. What will be your month? Keep in mind that men tend to rush into the next relationship much too quickly and women tend to stay single too long.

If you feel like it’s time and you’re still finding it difficult to move on, then get some assistance.

I work with some clients I refer to as scared singles and, as far I’m concerned, they have every right to be afraid about getting into a new relationship. Unless you understand what your part was in the ending of your last relationship you run a very real risk of repeating your mistake.

7. Learn from your relationship

The reason you broke up? The real reason – was that you were either not compatible or communication was poor. To ensure you increase your chances of finding someone to love for life, learn from your past relationships.

Take the list of things you may have written about in step 3 and store them in a safe place. If you haven’t already generated that list, then do it when you get to this stage of the process.

Also I want you to generate a list of things that you did like about your partner. And store that list too.

In one of my courses I call this the perfect partner exercise, and it’s critical to finding you the right partner in the future. But you can see why it’s necessary to have properly moved on from the relationship before you go through this exercise.

Finally, I wish you well. I know coping with a break up is a painful time for you. Knowing how to get over a break up and doing it are two different things, so if you need any further help from me, let me know.


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