If you're experiencing the pain of breaking up with someone you love, I'm with you.
My own relationship recently ended. I'm being called to walk my talk, and draw on all of my resources, the advice I give clients and my experience of previous break ups. If you're going through a break up and wondering how you're going to survive, let alone thrive, this is for you...
1) Feeling is healing
Now is not the time to suppress your feelings. The root word in emotion is MOTION - emotions need to move through. You will survive the pain of heart break (and so will I). Cry, wail, get messy, do what you need to do to feel it. If you try and deny or suppress your pain, it doesn't go away, it just comes out in other ways - usually through your behaviour (e.g. avoidance or addiction) or through the body in aches, pains and illness.
There is a caveat to this - don't dwell in the past, re-playing mind movies of you and your ex (neither the good, the bad or the ugly) as that is just self-torture rather than allowing emotion to be felt and released. Feel it in the body.
2) Mine the Gold
Relationships are gold mines of self-knowledge and learning. So when you are ready, make sure you know what the gold from this one is. It might be negative gold ("I will not compromise my dreams/ goals/ self-worth/ safety/ integrity for a relationship again") or positive gold ("I'm grateful to have loved and been loved so deeply - I now have a greater capacity to both give and receive love"). In truth, it's all positive gold because all the learning creates new steps in your pathway to your relationship and life goals - to which you are now several steps closer.
3) Get Productive
Relationships take time and energy - particularly when they are about to end. Channel the extra time and energy you now have into the projects you were neglecting as a result of the relationship. This is hard and SO worth it! Grief is debilitating - and if you keep stepping forward into your life, you will be rewarded. A couple of years ago, I navigated a particularly painful break up by committing to a 40 day yoga challenge. I had been wanting to develop a yoga practice for the whole relationship and hadn't been to one class. In some ways, that challenge saved my life. Was it hard to get up at 6am every morning? Yes, particularly on the mornings I woke up crying. But the daily practice (many of which I wept my way through) gave me hope and faith in my future.
4) Keep a journal
Friends are great for listening to your hurt, disappointment, anger or whatever else is coming up for you post relationship - but there's a limit. And often receiving another person's input (e.g. anger on your behalf) is not helpful. So write it out - all the rants, wonderings, questions, hurt, disappointment, hope, grief, doubt, love, gratitude - do not edit. Let it all pour out. This can be a great way to start the day (it's like a brain dump creating space for something new) - but do not limit it to the mornings only. Carry it around and write whenever you are freaking out or drowning in pain.
5) Take a Complete Break
Do not see, call, email, text, message or Facebook stalk your ex - for as long as it takes for you to truly let go. You are going through a withdrawal - it's like coming off heroin - it hurts - it's hard - and it's necessary for your well being. You may only need to take a break for a short time, or for some people, forever. However, if you do the all the other steps here, you have a good chance of moving on more quickly. Letting go does not mean no longer loving your ex. It means they are no longer (energetically) filling the intimate partner space in your life and you can genuinely be friends without craving something more.
6) Stay Connected
Make time and space for supportive friends and/ or family. It can be tempting to stay at home at painful times, but getting out, connecting and having fun is essential for moving forward and also staying present, rather than dwelling in the past.
7) Write Out Your Goals
The end of a relationship is also a new beginning - so get clear on what it is that you want in your life and relationships from now on. Write it out as it if has already happened - be very specific (with both date and outcome) and express in the goal how you will feel when it's happened. This is a powerful way to create hope and forward momentum through ritual.
8) Practice Kindness
Practice being kind to others - helping others is a great way to stay present and feel good and move the focus away from your own pain.
Also, be extra kind to yourself - through gentle self talk (avoid re-running conversations or events that you wish had gone differently!), looking after your body with exercise and good food, getting enough sleep, and if possible receiving a massage, or some other kind of body work or healing session to help you through this stage.
Feel it, learn from it, focus, connect, write it, envision the goal, be kind - and get ready to thrive in the next awesome chapter of your life!