“Self-love is a sincere acceptance of the past, an agreement to make the most of the present, and a willingness to allow the best to occur in the future.”
(We often associate feelings of grief, sadness, and loss with discomfort and wanting to escape or numb them out.)
I was speaking to a friend about the end of my last relationship and sharing with her my process of “letting go”. It made me realize that when something ends, in my experience, you can’t just “flip a switch” and suddenly it’s over, done, and now we’re onto the next thing. As much as we wish that to be true, there is a process of fully letting something go that needs to happen. It’s a journey of digesting and processing the experience, going through the feelings of anger, grief, sadness, loss, while having gratitude for the joy, the love, the lessons, and the growth that it brought. This is the process of healing, of change, of transforming into the newest and most up to date version of you! It happens slowly. Over time, what used to be slowly fades away and we emerge who we are now. Accepting this as a part of the deal and allowing yourself to fully be in this process is part of the development of your relationship with yourself.
It’s actually science, believe it or not, that we are most attracted to people who we experience as being their true, authentic selves. We admire and seek out people who have personality and exhibit an unrelenting commitment to who they are! We are attracted to those who have depth and range, who we experience as displaying a wide range of emotions. We’re bored by people who are “superficial”, who placate us and tell us what they think we want to hear. We crave honesty, truth, humanness, and vulnerability. The best part of heartbreak is that by getting to know these parts of yourself, the parts that grieve, that hurt, that loved and lost, you are becoming a more attractive partner and person to be around in the presence of others.
Do you need to go through loss, experience pain or challenges, to cultivate this sense of self that makes you a good partner? No, you don’t. But the truth is life is always a process of changing and evolving, beginnings and endings. It’s always happening whether we’re tuned into it or not. We’re always experiencing all sorts of emotions and sensations in every moment and at MYND MVMT we advocate for being fully present to learn who are you in the face of these moments.
That said, here are some ways to make the most out of a transition, loss, heartbreak, major change, or a moving on type of experience.
(1) Get Out and Get Moving
Getting out into the community may be the last thing you want to do but it’s a game changer! Although your instinct may be to shut the world out, withdraw, spend way too much time in your head replaying old stuff, give yourself the space to just be in the presence of others. Even if you don’t want to interact much with anyone, getting into a group workout class, gym, night class, anything to get out and about, is beneficial. Getting your body moving in the world again sends the message to the brain that you are back “on line”. We all know that when we have a feeling our body responds in kind. When you’re sad, you look sad. Your lips pout, shoulders may be hunched over. You may seem to be moving more slowly. It doesn’t take much for those around you to see how you are feeling. You are wearing it! What most don’t know is that the inverse is also true. The body communicates back to the mind, reinforcing the emotional state you are in. Think about it. As miserable as you might be if, right now, you jump up and down, pretending as though you just won the lottery, the body sends the message to the brain that you just won the lottery and, in an instant, your mood changes. The body is the most powerful tool you have during this time. It’s not uncommon during times like these to want to revel in our misery. We may find ourselves listening to sad music, watching bad movies about love gone array, and although there certainly is a time and place for grief, let’s be honest, haven’t you suffered long enough?
(2) Build New Habits of Mind and Body
While it can be really compelling to ruminate on everything that went wrong, what you could have done differently, how he or she has failed you or is to blame for your pain and suffering (we call that “past thinking”), the truth is you have absolutely no power or control to make what happened any different. Where you do have power, however, is in your focus in the present moment! By learning to look at what’s right in front of you, in the here and now and within you! Practice focusing on right now! When we’re in the present and in touch with our mind and body, we can hear our own instinct, intuition, and pulse more clearly. Do you feel irritated or moody? It may be a sign you’re hungry or need more sleep. Feeling lonely? Call a friend or reach out to someone. Unsure? Grab a guided meditation and sit for a few minutes, the answer or more clarity may come when you finish. Rather than replaying old stories about how it used to be, or how it’s always been, get in touch with the most current version of who you are now. The past is over, old news, and the decisions you make today will ultimately determine what happens next! Now is the perfect time to start new routines that support the future version of you. The you that you’ve always wanted to be. Seek out the support from the right people, classes, training, or team of people that will help you get off the ground and will naturally help you to stay accountable. A trusted coach, mentor, or trainer can be really helpful at times like this because they help to keep you focused and move towards the things that you want!. You want this to be a time of forward progression! Dig in, honor the wants and needs of the part of you that you’ve been ignoring. Just remember the most crucial part of all is always whatever is happening in your thoughts!
(3) Learn How to Feel Happy & Fulfilled
So often couples fail because we look to make the other responsible for meeting all of our needs. Putting pressure on your partner, or anyone else, to always say and do exactly what you want them to, is not a recipe for a happy, healthy, partnership. In fact it puts unrealistic expectations on your partner, and places you in the role of being a perpetual victim. Always needing them to say and do things the way you need or want them to in order for you to be happy. This only leads to resentment, hurt, and setting the relationship up to fail. The same is true with relying on a job, or family, friends…anything where you hand over happiness to something outside of you! The greatest gift you can give yourself is learning how to be happy regardless of the circumstances around you. ake steps to manage your mood your main focus! That means being kind and patient with yourself. Being honest about what you need and want, and learning to use your focus to tell it the way you want it to be, rather then the way it is. Developing this muscle will only make you stronger overall and in your next relationship, project, or series of interactions. This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself! The truth is, if you don’t you will likely find yourself right back in this position again at some time later. The names and dates may be different but it the situation will feel all too familiar.