Seven Steps To Heal A Broken Heart
It happens to most of us at least once during our lives: What was so wonderful at the start of the relationship, that amazing feeling of being in love, suddenly comes to an end. Our loved one leaves us, one way or another, and we are left with the pieces, feeling broken hearted. Humans bond deeply to one another and when these deep attachments are broken we suffer. We feel bereft, betrayed, depressed, hopeless, furious, deeply saddened, anxious for the future and in pain. Although the following steps are not a miracle cure, letting them guide you may help you to recover quicker from a broken heart. If you need more help then this article can offer seek us out at Sex and Relationships (see resource box) for more advice on sex, sexuality and relationships.
Step 1: Acknowledge that it's over. However things ended between you and your lover, you need to acknowledge that for now at least, things are over between you. You may not want to give up hope yet and hold on to the thought that your lover will return one day, but you need to accept that for now, right now, you will need to be facing life without him or her, day by day. Acceptance of loss is one of the first steps to grieving, any grieving. Allow your feelings to be whatever they are - loss, rage, hurt, sadness, or nothingness - but keep your thinking clear.
He or she has gone and you need to live your life, one day at a time, without them. If you still have hopes that you can win them back this still applies to you. Accept how things are for now and get back on your feet. Being a clingy emotional mess won't bring your lover back. Step 2: Acknowledge your emotions. A broken heart is painful. We often experience a whole range of unpleasant emotions from grief, betrayal, hurt, disappointment, anger, disbelief, guilt, yearning, anxiety, jealousy, rage, sadness, hopelessness and despair. Some people go numb and listless rather than very emotional and feel deadened and lifeless. Whatever you are feeling, let yourself feel it. See whether you can name what you are feeling at different points in time and explain to yourself why you are feeling that way.
Psychologists call this skill 'mentalising' and it's about creating meaning out of the storm inside. Ultimately that will help you process the feelings and move on. You could also write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal or find some other means of expressing what is going on for you. Talk to people how you are doing, such as your friends and amily, and if there isn't anybody in your life with whom you can do this you could find a self-help group on the internet to engage with. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time. Look after yourself to the best of your ability by eating well, exercising and being around other people. If you feel loads of emotion, make sure you release the emotional energy by crying, sobbing, shouting and movement (even just going on a long walk can help here). If you tend to feel nothing, make some time and space to grieve and don't feel scared about the feelings. In the end they are just feelings, just electrochemical energy in your brain. Step 3: Reflect on who you are now.
Losing a loved one doesn't just mean the most important person in your life is gone, but also that you are not the same person yourself anymore. Losing a loved one affects our dreams, our identity and our hopes for the future. We become the person who has been left behind, or who had to leave, who was betrayed, abandoned or who felt he or she couldn't stay. The impact of the ending deeply affects our self-image, our identity, how we see others and what we think is possible in life for us. Make sure you are honest and clear in your thinking. Yes, this relationship has ended, but that doesn't mean all relationships will end or that you will never find someone else. That's catastrophising. Listen to your friends, even if you don't believe yet what they are saying, e. that you are an attractive person and that your lover has made a big mistake.
In the end you need to make sure you can integrate what has happened into your self-image. Keep your options open for the future by keeping your own image of yourself as a good, attractive and worthwhile person, other people as mostly trustworthy and good to be with, and the world as an exciting and fairly predictable place in which stuff on occasion can go wrong. This puts you in a position where you see yourself, other people and the world as generally OK, rather than one or more of them as intrinsically bad. You might also find that as you adjust your self-image and your expectations for the future, losing the dream of what you thought you had with your lover is just as painful, if not moreso, than losing him or her. And while you reflect, forgive yourself. Some time we don't let go of relationships, because we keep thinking it was our fault that it ended. If we had only done more, or talked more, or not done this thing or that thing, then maybe we'd still be together with the loved one and all would be bliss. No. Guilt is a horrible emotion which keeps people locked into negative thinking.
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