I definitely don’t consider myself a relationship expert! In fact I would say, if anything, I am the master of how not to be in a relationship, but recently my own journey into heartbreak and a deep desire to move on from it, led me to important answers about how to finally let it go! Thanks to my eternally optimistic views on ending suffering for all, I felt the overwhelming need to pass along these new insights to anyone else who may be desperate for answers to this age old question.
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but I have to wonder if whoever said that originally had ever actually been in love. I’ve been through plenty of difficult experiences in my life and few rival the feelings that comes from love lost. How do you know if you’ve been in love? After being in more relationships than I would dare to try and count, I can say with certainty that if you have to ask that question, you probably haven’t ever been in love. Unlike any other type of relationship or experience, this one consumes you. It takes over. It’s like you’ve been invaded by a stranger! All that you think you know, all that you are, all that you care about – gone, replaced by one subject that drowns out all the rest! Thoughts of “them”! The only other time I have ever felt that same way was the day my daughter was born. In either case everything else seems irrelevant. It’s like someone turned the volume down on your life, and the only thing that you can hear, see, or think about is them.
I will never forget the feeling that first time I realized I was “in love”. We were all together at a house party. I can still see where I was seated in the room. The voice of one of the most iconic R&B singers of my life time Mary J. Blige came over the speakers and like an angel, it was as though she was singing directly to me, “all that I got is you, and I’m so thankful I made it through…”. As her voice continued my heart grew heavier. It felt like a tsunami wave crashing over me! I couldn’t breathe and began to feel tears rolling down my cheeks. I racked my brain trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Flooded with emotion I rushed to the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. It was at that moment I saw what can only be described as a little cupid figure come out of the corner of my eye. It shot little red and pink hearts at me that began to form a halo over my reflection in the mirror. I can remember the involuntary tears rushing down my cheeks falling onto the counter below. Then it hit me. I was really in love. I knew in that moment I was in deep! I knew in that moment I was F****D!
Now maybe your experience wasn’t quite as dramatic as mine, but the point is you know when you’re in love, and you know when it’s gone.
The downside of having loved someone so much, however is the inevitable feelings of drowning alive that comes from that feeling of loss when it’s gone. It’s like someone is sitting on your chest, cutting off your air supply- restricting your ability to breathe. It consumes you. For a long time it’s with you when you wake up in the morning, with you when you go to bed at night. It becomes a part of you – and every time you feel happiness, or joy, just as quickly your mind brings the reminder of the loss back to steal it away.
So whatever do we do? How in God’s name do we let this go? Here are the steps that I took and know that you can too!
Often the toughest part of all is being willing to accept the situation for what it is. Something about the human condition during times like these especially, we feel compelled to play the“what if”, or “if only” game. Ultimately this is adding insult to injury beating the crap out of yourself, or frantically trying to undo what you know can’t be undone. Acceptance means exactly that, acknowledging the situation for what it is without trying to find a way to change it. Sometimes it can even be helpful to say out loud or when looking into a mirror, “I accept this situation exactly the way it is right now. I am leaving the past in the past, and stepping forward into my future!’
2. Allow Change. Make a Commitment
Often when we are feeling this type of loss we find ourselves reveling in our misery. We listen to sad music, watch sad movies, lay in bed and relive old moments. This is part of why the pain won’t lift! In order for the situation to change we have to allow it to change. We have to be willing to let it go! The next step in this process is making the commitment to doing something differently! If you really want to feel better it is going to require you stop reveling in your misery and make the commitment to moving on!
At MYND MVMT we often use the motto, “If I can, I must!” It means no matter how bad you feel right now, no matter how hard something may seem, you can’t give up! You must push through! Change can only happen if you are willing to do exactly that! You must allow it! You must become an active participant in the process of letting it go.
3. Move your Body
Most people don’t know that their body is the fastest way to improve how they feel. Thoughts are considered to be the language of the mind, while emotions are the language of the body! If you use your body differently you can change your emotions quickly! After my 10 year marriage failed I decided to finally walk into the yoga studio by my apartment that I had been eyeballing for 8 years! A decision that wound up changing the course of my life completely! Whether you start by just taking a walk around the block, doing yoga, joining the boxing studio, try dance, MMA, Tai-Chi, Cross Fit, Soul Cycle, basketball, racketball… or any other form of movement you’ve been wanting to check out, get out and move! When the mind and body are working in synch – when your mind is in the present focused and aligned with the body – magic happens! Note I didn’t list going “back to the gym” on the list above. That is with good reason. By aligned action – I do not mean mindlessly running on the treadmill while you obsessively replay the past. If you insist on going back to the gym for the umpteenth time fine, but please try doing it in a new way! Maybe splurge and get yourself sessions with a trainer! If you are lucky enough to have something like MYND MVMT Myndful Fitness as an option, DO IT! There’s nothing better for overcoming heartache like learning to control your thinking, and getting your dream body at the same time!
4) Connect to the Real You
I am talking to the real you right now. Not the person who lives inside your head. Not the person who lives inside your broken heart. The one in your gut! The one who speaks to you through your instincts. The one who knows deep down inside that you will be fine, that you will move on, that you will, dare I say, find love again. Break ups are a great time to learn to live with integrity. Integrity meaning being in alignment with the real you. When your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are all a reflection of who you really are, what you really believe, and what you really want most!
You must be brave! This requires rigorous honesty!
Alignment is more than just good practice. It’s the golden ticket! The formula. The magic key that unlocks the life you really want most. Heartache is a time for learning. There is a profound lesson to be had here if you are open to “hearing it”. So ask the real you, “what aspect of my life do I know is not satisfying to me? Where do I know I really need to make a change?” If you are being 100% honest with yourself, you’ll know what the answer is. If you still don’t know what I am talking about – the situation is critical! You must begin to get to know the real you. Start by learning to quiet your mind. You are unknowingly running interference patterns by overthinking – living chronically in the past and future. Whether you think you can or can’t meditate – start with guided meditations on a free app or go on YouTube. This is a critical time for change & growth. If you take the intense emotion you’re feeling and channel it into the fire for change you can not lose!
If we are not careful here, heartbreak can easily turn into victim mode. “The world has once again stuck it up my a**”, attitude. Do yourself a favor and DROP IT! Once and for all take responsibility for how you feel! It’s only when you take responsibility for your life circumstances that you can finally begin to create the life you really want! There are no answers for you in the endless search for something on the outside, some change in your circumstances, to change how you feel on the inside. That is an impossible set up that will lead you right back here again and again! If you learn nothing else from this experience hopefully you walk away knowing that you do not need someone else to feel the way you want to feel! You can feel however you want right now!
So as one very wise old teacher once said to me, “Just Drop It!” LET IT GO!
I leave you with this, as long as you believe you are a victim, you will only ever be a victim. So instead of whining and making excuses, get out and start living the life you owe it to yourself to live! Once and for all!
About the Author
Samantha Benigno is the CEO of MYND MVMT, a program that offers an alternative approach to mental health & addiction treatment. MYND MVMT uses an integrated, health & wellness model where mindfulness, nutrition, fitness, and long term goal attainment are built into the rehabilitation process. Mind Mvmt specializes in the treatment & recovery of depression, anxiety, substance use & abuse, behavioral addictions, and working with those who struggle to feel fulfilled in their lives. Samantha is a career mental health professional, educator, and consultant.