Sometimes we don’t know how capable we are of doing something, until we are forced to.
Covid has probably taught us this better than any other recent example I can think of. How differently do we interact with others, do business and generally live our lives today compared to pre 2020. For some of us the changes have been insignificant but for others, life pre Covid is a distant and foreign memory.
We don’t appreciate how much we love someone until they leave. We don’t realise how mortal we are until we are faced with the death of someone we love. And we don’t experience how much of an impact we can have on others until we start being deliberate about making a difference in the world.
I heard a brilliant podcast this week from one of my favourite spiritual teachers Jay Shetty. His talk was around breakups and heartbreak.
Whilst the focus was on couples splitting, so much of it also related to any other heartbreak or loss we experience in our lives. (Click here for the full podcast).
As a fun fact (not), did you know the % breakdown of why relationships fail can be roughly split into the following categories:
- 28% lose interest
- 22% cheat
- 20% succumb to challenges of distance
- 30% other
So, what happens when a romantic relationship breaks down? Or we lose someone through death, or we are faced with irreconcilable differences with people we feel close to?
As humans we look for clarification and reassurance as well as validation. We want to know why and often we will never get the answers. It is a slippery slope that often results in feelings of a lack of self worth and an increase in self analysation. Why me? What did I do wrong? Why aren’t I enough? Why aren’t they here any more?
I have strong beliefs around taking responsibility for our part played in any circumstance (or breakup) but I have also learnt that someone leaving you does not define your self worth.
‘Our value does NOT decrease because someone else lacks the ability to see our self worth. Only WE define our worth.’
This prompts me to reinforce the importance of setting personal boundaries. What are you prepared to put up with? What are you prepared to accept?
How do we deal with the emotions left behind when someone leaves us? In a romantic relationship some use the strategy of thinking negatively about the person that has left, sometimes called ‘Negative Reappraisal’.
I had to look up the definition and found Cognitive Reappraisal is defined as,
‘a form of cognitive change that involves a reinterpretation of an emotion-eliciting situation in order to modify its emotional impact.‘
So to use the example of negative reappraisal, where we think badly about the person we see as having betrayed us, or mentally list the things they did wrong or the number of times they hurt us, this can probably decrease our feelings of love towards them, BUT can also increase our feelings of negativity overall.
When we are consumed with negative thoughts, words or images, we are more likely to embody them and become negative ourselves.
One of the biggest points I took from this podcast was the importance of feeling before you can begin healing.
We are truly creatures of comfort and innately avoid difficult or uncomfortable circumstances and conversations at all costs. Sometimes this is a good thing, like if were are being chased by a lion or sabre toothed tiger. But in regular situations maybe this is why we admire, (or scoff at), those who share their experiences of ‘going through’ life’s greatest challenges and coming out the other side.
We call these people inspiring, (or crazy), but the value of their experiences and the power of their learnings are both priceless and lifechanging.
You cannot heal until you feel.
When we don’t sit with our emotions they amplify. When we try and walk away from our emotions, they come with us anyway. When we move or relocate to start a better life, the emotions we run from inevitably get unpacked down the road.
Like you, I have also experienced long relationships breakdown. I have lost friends and acquaintances I never thought I would and when life as I knew it disintegrated completely and my world collapsed when Ben passed, I can absolutely promise you one thing.
Sitting with your mess of emotions, feeling, acknowledging AND accepting the unbearable and the painful, is the most uncomfortable but also the most powerful and life affirming exercises you can do.
The next steps are too much to include in this post but perhaps you could consider the following:
- FEEL every emotion – Feel | Articulate | Accept
- MANAGE expectations – What are your beliefs and expectations? Where do they come from? Are they real?
- LEARN from what IS – Are you mourning or fabricating what ‘could have been’ or what ‘is not’?
- BECOME Independent – You alone are responsible for your self-worth. You ARE enough! You don’t need another person to make you whole!
- GROW moving forward – Don’t let the hurts of your past bleed all over your future.
Most of this is uncomfortable but I promise you it IS worth it 😊
Dalya xx 💙