Well first of all, let me just say that my heart goes out to anyone going through a breakup. My friend, break-ups suck.
As someone who has gone through a break up during a pandemic, I feel especially connected to and empathize with those who are going through this right now. Breakups are some of the hardest things to move through, especially during a Pandemic when most of our normal coping/escaping mechanisms are majorly altered or non-existent.
I just recently moved to Colorado from Washington DC this year. Within a few months of moving, I met someone who I connected with in a really beautiful way. We jumped in headfirst and became serious pretty fast. We even both met one another’s families. So, when things fell apart, it was devastating. At first I felt a sense of relief, but that was soon followed by the reality of that missing thread in my life; that thread of consistency and love.
It was hard and still is hard, as new layers of the grieving, healing, and moving on process are peeled back. I am going to share a few nuggets that have helped and are still helping me on this journey of moving on during a global pandemic.
Be gentle with yourself
Here’s the thing: we can not shame ourselves forward or criticize ourselves to happiness again. For those of us on the ever-evolving healing journey in and outside of relationships, it can be tempting to be really hard on ourselves for the different ways we showed up in that relationship. While it is important to reflect and grow from experiences, it is not the peak time to be focusing on growth when we are our most vulnerable.
Grieve, cry, journal, run, sleep, and then cry some more. As a highly sensitive person, (Hello!), I feel all the things. If I try to rush and be the cool girl (who, by the way, does not exist), then I am miserable. And I love myself too much to be miserable. We feel how we feel, when we feel, it as long as we feel it, rational or not rational. And that.is.okay. The important thing is that you give yourself permission to be where you are on the way to where you are going, without having the pressure of needing to be over it yesterday.
I am a forward-thinking person and would like to skip over this process. But we can be forward moving and feel all our feels at the same time. This is a huge part of being gentle with ourselves. Would it be easier to flip a switch and be over it? For the moment, hell yes. But alas, we are faced with our own humanity. We are very nuanced creatures.
Allowing ourselves to feel and accept exactly how we feel brings us back to equilibrium: that grounded space where we can look objectively and have peace. So before you go in and comb through everything you ‘should’ have/have not done, remind yourself that you did your best and loved the way you knew how. Then take the energy you had been putting into the relationship and turn that toward yourself.
During a pandemic, this requires a bit more creativity, but there are definitely beautiful opportunities to invest loving energy into yourself. Take yourself out on a sweet little date to the park with some hot chocolate you picked up. Read a really juicy book just for fun. Take a longer shower/bath. Sleep. Take inventory of your thoughts, and what meaning you are giving your feelings and the situation. Notice and practice gentleness and patience with yourself in this process.
Remember this is really, really difficult. Your heart is broken in the midst of a global pandemic. This shit is hard, and you are doing it!
You can grieve and not suffer. What makes that possible is to shower yourself in love and gentleness rather than beating yourself up or giving the spotlight to what could have been if…. ( ←-this is where we cause ourselves to suffer.) When we feel the most unlovable is when we need the most love. So freaking shower yourself in it.
Reach out to your innermost loving relationships in your life rather than jumping right back into the dating scene
It is tempting to jump straight back on the dating sights. In fact, I totally did that. However, I was left a bit empty handed. When we are lonely and hurting, we are craving genuine authentic connection. That is really difficult to have with a total stranger. Allowing ourselves to be seen by those closest to us, people we trust, those who love us and see us when we can’t see ourselves, is something we need more than we may realize. When we are open, honest, and vulnerable about where we are, this is where connection and healing lies.
It’s best to jump back into the dating scene when you are feeling more connected and further along in your healing journey. You are not defined by who you are dating or if you are dating, so take your time. It’s important to feel your way through this. You are the only one who will know when you are ready to date.
If accessible- seek professional support.
Therapy + Life Coaching are amazing tools to utilize when in these vulnerable life transitions. Our friends are amazing, but there are people whose main job and area of expertise is helping people through these kinds of heartbreaking transitions.Their job is to sincerely hold a safe container for you to bring your authentic, messy self just as you are.
If you are wanting to process and be heard while really doing deep inner work, this is where a therapist is extremely useful. If you are further in the process and want practical tools in moving forward and getting back on your feet, coaching is another really awesome tool. Coaching is typically more impactful once you have gone through at least some therapy and have cultivated a healthy relationship with self. This is a strong foundation to build on. If these options are accessible to you, it is well worth the investment. There are also a lot of therapists who work on sliding scales and coaches who have scholarship opportunities.
Embrace the cheesy quotes that light up your soul and affirm, affirm, affirm
You are infinitely lovable and sometimes, as cheesy as it may seem, you need to live into that! As author and activist Jean Shinoda Bolen says, “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” Then, take it a step further and make an affirmation out of it. Don’t just think or write it, take these affirmations, look yourself in the mirror, and say them to yourself. Create an affirmation that your heart can latch onto and speak it out loud as you look at yourself in the eyes.
A few examples:
“When you are broken and he has left, you do not question whether you were enough. The problem was you were so enough he was not able to carry it.” – Rupi Kaur
- Affirmation– I AM more than enough.
“You fell in love with my flowers but not my roots, so when autumn came you didn’t know what to do.” – Soft Grung
- Affirmation- My whole self is lovable and I deserve to be with someone who values all of me.
“Trust that an ending is followed by a beginning.” – Unknown
- Affirmation- The best is yet to come.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift”– Mary Oliver.
- Affirmation- This is just a snapshot of my life and beautiful things are ahead for me.
“This Is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Affirmation- I am brave and ready for love.
Some may be skeptical and feel this is awkward or silly. But I tell you what, there is nothing awkward or silly about connecting to yourself and your inherent value and lovability, especially as you are healing. You are meant to live a beautiful life. Sprinkled in the midst of that, is heartbreak and disappointment. Godspeed to you on this journey of moving through the pain and allowing it to continue to help shape you into the person you are becoming.