What do we do when we hit these points in our lives? Life has to be lived anyway. Sometimes we see it coming, sometimes it ambushes us out of nowhere. We have to keep living life, but how? How do we healthfully deal with the pain, and not let it interfere with all jobs, other relationships, and day to day interactions and frustrations.
I have gone through a fair amount of break-ups, and though I am no expert, I will share with you a bit that I have learned from going through them.
I know this can be easier said than done, but always choose to be graceful in the breakup. I am not saying you should not fight for a relationship if you feel it necessary: write letters, try to reconcile, try to mend and fix and find whatever issues you can. Show that you care. I am simply saying once we let hurtful words and actions out, there is no taking them back. If you truly love someone and they truly want to go, let them go without causing more pain.
If you love someone, you should act selflessly towards them. This would be out of our selfishness; wanting them to feel the pain they are inflicting upon us. If you don’t love them, why would you not want to let them go? That gives you a chance to move on as well.
Letting them go with grace will allow you to look back at the end of that relationship with satisfaction one day, not regrets. Speak only what is important to say, not what you feel like in the moment.
This is THE key to healing. Without this, I have seen people go on for years and still hang on to pain from past relationships. That is what bitterness does to a person: keeps them bound in pain deep within their hearts because somehow, someday, we are still hoping that our pain will be avenged.
Our society tells us that we should remain angry. It tells us that we have every right to be. Yes, it is possible that we have things to be angry about, so why forgive? Maybe we should forgive for the simple fact that Christ forgave us, and we are called to be his disciples and walk as he walked. Maybe we should because it promotes our health and emotional well-being to stay bitterness free. God knows what he is doing.
Sometimes it is difficult to forgive. How do we forgive when our hearts still hold on to the pain? I have found, as difficult as it may be, the simplest way to accomplish this is to pray for them… yup, pray for their well being. I’m not talking about “Lord God, I want to bring so and so before you today because they are a messed up person and….” no. I am talking about “Lord, God: I give my pain to you. Heal my heart in Jesus’ name, cover me with the blood of Jesus, bless so and so in life. allow them to find your way for them and to prosper in it…” etc.
“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:43-45
I agree, not easy, but pray for your own heart to release its bitterness, and pray for the person until the pain and bitterness has no roots left. You will be able to think about them without anger and overwhelming pain.
Also, very importantly, if there is anything you are holding against yourself, forgive yourself as well.
3-Steady your Course
While you were in your relationship, especially if it was any kind of long term, you adjusted your life to fit with the life of your partner. You may have stopped going out with friends as much, changed your diet to suit theirs to an extent, taken up a hobby that the two of you could agree on, or given up certain entertainment for the most part that they didn’t enjoy.
Find your new normal. Do what you want to. Write, skydive, go to plays, cook an all out feast and have your friends over: just live your life. Color outside of the lines and find out what makes you thrive again. Learn to be happy on your own. This is so important! A person that does not know how to be happy on their own will never be fully happy in a healthy relationship.
While you are letting your dreams soar and reach for the sky, don’t forget to stay grounded. Don’t ignore your responsibilities.
-Keep your house and car clean, even if you don’t feel like it.
-Don’t start dressing like a slob. Keep your appearance put together even if you don’t feel put together quite yet.
-Keep getting together with the people who give you roots: church and family are both very important. Don’t ignore them. They may be frustrating at times, but they are an incredible comfort at other times.
-Remember, the world is not against you, even though it may feel like it some days. You are finding a new normal. This may take some time.
5-Don’t do stupid things
Some of the best advice I was ever given was exactly that. When I was a senior in high school, I was gathering up quotes: advice from the senior class for their successors. This was one, as simple as it seems, that stuck with me. “Don’t do stupid things.” Most of us don’t make a habit of seeking out stupid things to try. However, when we are in times of anguish our judgement can be off.
We need to make sure that decisions we make are under the proper motivation. We should never get in to a relationship to “get back at” the person who we feel used us. (wouldn’t we, in effect just be using the person we are then rebounding with? Don’t play with people’s emotions.) We should not get involved in activities that we wouldn’t in other situations: consuming substances that we wouldn’t have otherwise, or lashing out at people in our lives who truly do love us. Try to keep a level head and “Don’t do stupid things.”
6-Give Yourself Time
There are many reasons we move on too quickly.
Sometimes we want so badly to be healed that we impose healing upon ourselves. “You’re stronger than this. you can handle life,” we tell ourselves. Often, we move on expecting the next relationship that comes along to bring about some kind of healing for us. We also like to be distracted from our problems. We are used to having someone there, so someone to fill the void would be nice. Sometimes we don’t really know how to not be in a relationship.
There are so many reasons that I cannot even think of all the scenarios in which this can happen. the only advice I have in this case is: you need to let yourself be you again. You need to learn to be happy on your own. Give yourself time to flourish. Go back and focus on step number four until you feel your heart open up again. You will feel it open again, and you will be able to love again, but care enough about yourself to give your heart the time that it needs to rest and recuperate.
“23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23