Summing up to part 1, here are seven steps for restoring and beautifying yourself back to who you are meant to be, dating or not.
1. Letting Go
What would you do if your house was burnt to the ground, and everything you owned was destroyed? I’m sure you’d be frustrated and angry at first, but at the same time, no amount of anger will undo what has been done. It is what it is. Your best bet is to begin moving on, and working towards creating a new home.
Similarly, when a relationship ends, you’ll want to practice letting go and allowing the healing process to begin quickly.
If you were on the receiving end of a breakup, do not dwell on whether the person will come back or not, if they broke up with you at one point, chances are, something is wrong with the fit of your partnership, and you’ll be better appreciated elsewhere, with someone else. Even if you and the ex get back together, it is unlikely to last (from my experience).
Trust that everything in the Universe happens for a reason, and it benefits everyone involved in the long run, even if the benefits are not yet clear. Trust that this is the best possible thing to happen to you right now, and the reasons will become clear in the future.
2. Release Tension + Bundled Up Energy
We all have the need to be understood and heard. Whether we’re on the receiving end or the initiating end of a breakup, we often carry with us the tension and any unexpressed emotions. We can release this extra energy by:
- Talking about it with a friend.
- Voicing our opinions honestly and openly with our ex-partner, which have been bottled up in the past.
- Writing in a journal (more on this later).
- Exercise and body movement.
3. Love Yourself
The practice of loving yourself is the most important aspect on the road to personal happiness and emotional stability. I’ve personally had my most valuable personal growth spurts during the period when I vigorously worked on this aspect of my life.
I did everything from cooking myself fancy dinners, to spending every Sunday on my own doing the things that I loved, to taking myself to Symphonies, to taking overseas trips on my own. Each one had its own challenges and confronted my beliefs about loneliness. Through overcoming the fear of loneliness, I experienced deep joy all by myself. It was so gratifying, refreshing and empowering.
Here are some ideas to cultivate the art of loving yourself:
- Take yourself on romantic dates as if you were on a date with another person. Put on nice clothes, maybe buy yourself flowers, treat yourself to something delicious, and take long walks under the stars. Whatever your idea of a romantic date is.
- Look at yourself in the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes. Smile slightly with your eyes. Practice giving gratitude to what you see. You don’t need words. Just send out the intent of giving an abundance of love to the eyes that you see, and feel the feelings of love within you. As you are looking into your eyes, look for something you admire about your eyes – maybe the color, the shape, the depth, the exoticness, or even the length of your eye lashes. This will be a little weird and uncomfortable at first, but just trust me, and continue with it. Do this for a few minutes every day.
- Sit or stand in front of a mirror, or sit somewhere comfortable (mix it up, and do both on different days), and say to yourself, “I love you, <insert your name>”. Repeat a few times, slowly. Continue with qualities you like about yourself, or things you are good at. Be generous and list many, even if they sound silly. Example, “I love that you always know how to make your salads so colorful and appetizing.”, “I love that you have the discipline to go to the gym regularly, and you really take care of your body.”, “I love that you are so neat, and can keep your desk so organized.”
- Practice doing things on your own to challenge your fear of being alone. For example, if you have a fear of eating alone in a restaurant, go out to a restaurant on your own. Your mission is to find the joy within that experience.
4. Love Your Ex-Partner
Allow the love within you to flow. Try practicing forgiveness and open up your heart.
Over the past few months, my friend Tom Stine and I have been chatting about the topic of overcoming breakups. He had a few snippets of wisdom to convey:
- “I let myself love her. Even when it felt like my heart was going to break. Adyashanti says something amazing – when people say, ‘My heart feels like it is going to break.’ He says, ‘Let it break. If you let it really break – really, really break, it will transform you.'”
- “LET YOUR HEART BREAK WIDE OPEN. Let go of every possible belief or thought that says your ex is anything other than the most incredible, amazing, wonderful person in the Universe. You gotta love them and open your broken heart, WIDE OPEN!!!! That’s how to get over a break-up, really get over it. Anything short of that is not gonna do it.”
- “The key for me was getting utterly clear: we are apart, and the Universe never makes mistakes. We are over. And I can still love her. That was HUGE. I can love her with all my heart and soul and we never have to be together. And when I realized that, I felt amazing. And still do. The freedom was great. I could finally own-up to how much I wanted out of our relationship. All the hurt and anger disappeared. I was free.”
5. Give it Time
It takes time to heal. Be patient. Give it more time. I promise the storm will end, and the sun will peak through the clouds.
6. Journal Your Experience
Spend some quality time in a comfortable chair, at your desk or at a café, and write your thoughts and feelings on paper. No, not typing on a laptop, writing on paper with a pen. Follow your heart and flow freely, but if you’re stuck, here are some writing exercises you can do:
- Drill into the why – Start with a question or statement, and continue to drill into why you feel that way until you have a truthful and satisfying reason. The exercise isn’t to issue blame or blow off steam at someone else. It’s meant to gain clarity and understanding into how you feel, so you can alleviate unnecessary pain. For example, you might start with the statement, “I am in a lot of pain, ouch!”, and your why might be “because he left me”. Now ask yourself, “why does that hurt so much?”, and one possible why might be, “because I feel abandoned”. The following why to “why does feeling abandoned hurt so much?”, “because it makes me feel alone”, etc. More than likely, the real reason has something to do with our own insecurities or fears.
- Finding the Lessons – What did you learn from the relationship? What did you learn from the other person? How is your life better because of it? How will your future relationships be better because of it?
7. Read Something Inspirational
Books that deal with our emotions and ego are incredible tools at a time of healing. They help to enlighten our understanding of ourselves and our experiences.
Here are some recommended books:
- The Power of Now
- You Can Heal Your Life (Illustrative Edition)
- Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Parting Words: Healing from Breakup
Socially, we view the end of a relationship with a negative connotation and give it the label of a ‘failure’. Just because a relationship has ended does not mean that the relationship was a failure. Both parties likely gained something substantial in either learning about themselves or for the benefit of future partnerships.
Capture the beauty of time shared together, and note the valuable life lessons learned. Be thankful for having experienced love, and know that you are a better person because of it.
No challenge is ever presented to us, if we are un-able to handle it.
For those currently in relationships, cherish and honor your partner. Accept the reality that life is full of change, and dance with the changes and challenges as they come. And when they come, view each one as an opportunity for personal growth – when you do that, nothing is lost.