Here’s a fundamental truth about relationships: Heartbreak happens! For many of us, it’s not just a one time occurrence either. Sadly, most of us experience a broken heart at multiple points in our lives.
The major difficulty with heartbreak is that we often don’t know what to do with the pain or how we can stop feeling it. We usually end up clinging to our hurt, anger and disappointment despite not wanting to experience those negative emotions. If you can relate to this, please know that you’re not alone. In fact, the most common question I receive from my readers is how to get over a broken heart.
So how do we do it? How do we get rid of that agony we’re sure is going to be a constant part of our lives? It boils down to the three step process of “letting go.” So if you’re ready (and I mean really ready) to get rid of the pain, here’s how it works:
Step #1: Decide it’s time. You’ve eaten so much ice cream you’re about to turn into a cow (both literally and figuratively). You’ve talked your girlfriends‘ ears off about your relationship misery to the point they are now dodging your calls. You’ve wasted a year’s worth of mascara from crying. If this sounds like your situation, congratulations! You are ready to start letting go!
I absolutely believe that the demise of a relationship deserves a grieving period - approximately two weeks of sheer misery. It’s perfectly okay to take some time to be sad, angry and upset. But shortly after that, it’s important to make up your mind that you are going to get over it. And how do you make up your mind? You just do…
Many people are afraid to “let go.” Why? Because by “letting go” they accept that their relationship is over. It’s like we want to hang on to the negative stuff - the hurt, the pain - in order to hang on to a piece of the person. Losing those emotions means the person will be lost to us. And that can be very, very scary.
However, one of the keys to getting over a broken heart to is to affirmatively decide to let go. It can be as simple as telling yourself that you are now ready to release your pain and, as a result, the person who hurt you and that you want to move forward. What’s really important here is that you decide it’s not worth your emotional well-being to continue dwelling on the past and you firm up your resolve to start the healing process.
Step #2: Replace the negatives with positives. When a relationship ends, it usually leaves a large void in our lives. The time you usually spent with him now becomes empty time, which is just more opportunity for you to dwell on the hurt. Every Saturday night is a night you’re not having a date with him. Every hour you don’t receive a text from him is another reminder of how much you miss him.
To truly let go, you have to do things that make your life seem less dreary. You have to bring back the fun and the good times, girlfriend! Whenever I have a reader or a relationship coaching client who is going through heartbreak, I always encourage her to start doing things she enjoys. It doesn’t so matter what you do, as long as you do something that puts a smile on your face. So get out of the house. Hang with your friends, take a jewelry making class, learn a new language, start doing yoga, volunteer with animals…whatever it is that will bring some sunshine into your world.
A word of warning: Sometimes the things we think are “fun,” end up depressing us even more. When you’re trying to let go, it’s probably not the best time to drink, party or shop to excess. (You’ll feel even more terrible if you add a hangover or a credit card bill you can’t pay into the mix!) Instead, the activities you engage in should bring health and well-being back into your life. The goal is to take your mind off of your troubles, not to add to them.
Step #3: Actually move on. So you’ve made up your mind you’re willing to let go. You’ve started to engage in and enjoy your life again. And you’re already feeling much, much better. Now what? Now it’s time to give love another shot and start dating again!
Although you might worry that you’ll never meet anyone who is as amazing as your ex, keep reminding yourself that this just isn’t true. (If it were, you would still be together, right?) Focus instead on how exciting the future possibilities will be and how you will eventually find an even greater love. It’s a universal fact that much of what happens to us is determined by our attitude. Good things usually come to those who have a positive outlook.
Part of letting go is also not projecting your past onto your future. Maybe your ex hurt you in unimaginable ways and did things to make you skeptical of all men. Even after we meet a new guy, it can be tempting to worry that he’ll cause more damage. I totally get it. But as easy as it is to keep those thoughts and feelings around, it isn’t in your best interest to do so. Putting a wall around your heart won’t prevent it from getting broken again. The only thing that it’s sure to prevent is finding love.
Letting go isn’t so much about getting rid of an ex mentally and emotionally. And it certainly isn’t about losing something since we should never be afraid to lose what holds us back. Instead, it’s about gaining a happier, better life. As we let go of the past, we begin to open ourselves up to a whole new future.