There is know one easy way to move on after a breakup. For most people its extremely painful, heartbreaking and rocks you to your core. Its a journey that starts with a conscious decision that you have let go. There are tools that can help you progress, but the process is unique for each one of you. You may need to try some different approaches to find what is right for you. It requires patience and might take months or even years. The process of acceptance of your new reality takes hard work and commitment. You may feel uncomfortable at times during the journey, but to achieve the end result you need to keep going.
Crucial steps to assist you in your healing and moving on:
Step 1: Acknowledge the hurt
- Stop minimising the hurt and pain you are feeling. Stop pretending that it doesn’t affect you. The “I’m okay” and” I don’t care” masks that you may have been wearing do not support you in the long-term.
- Stop avoiding the hurt by using tactics such as being busy, watching television, eating, drinking or overspending.
- Don’t make excuses for the person you are forgiving.
- Stop avoiding the person that you are forgiving if you are doing this in order to escape the buried emotions relating to the hurt.
Step 2: Recognise the cost
Reflect on the following:
- Resentment and anger hurts you and absorbs your energy. Even if you are not consciously thinking about something regularly, you may still be hurting. It is just in the unconscious. Do you think this may be the case for you?
- The presence of resentment and unfinished business that needs attention may be more noticeable at certain times such as around birthdays, Christmas or anniversaries. You may find yourself a little irritated, stressed or short-tempered at these times. What could these emotions be about?
- Sometimes we avoid our emotions and let the patterns of the past impact on the present. Is this happening for you?
Step 3: Let go and make the commitment to accept
Make a conscious decision to let go of the anger and resentment. When you refuse to hold on you are no longer in the victim role. Things don’t happen to you anymore.
Remind yourself that the incident or hurt with which you are dealing with is the reason for going through the acceptance process and its a specific event and not your whole life. Becoming overwhelmed or consumed by it may lead you to avoid doing anything at all and that will only hurt you.
Step 4: Express the emotion
- Allow yourself to feel the emotions that you are experiencing. Acknowledge that they are real and that it is okay to experience them.
- Verbalise what you are feeling directly to the person, if that is possible. Alternatively, imagine the person who has inflicted the pain is sitting in an empty chair opposite you. Tell him or her how you are feeling.
- Write a letter to the person you want to forgive. Describe how you felt when the incident happened and how you have felt since. You do not have to give the letter to the person.
- Express your anger in a way that does not harm you or anyone else. For example, you may find somewhere private to go in your car and scream at the top of your lungs, or bash the ground with a rolled up towel or pool noodle. This process of venting helps to move negative energy caused by the anger.
- Expressing how you are feeling by writing in a journal is also extremely beneficial because it enables you to empty out your hurts and pains.
You cannot know what you do not feel. MARYA MANNES
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. ALICE WALKER
Step 5: Set boundaries
Make a decision not to allow the person involved to hurt you now or in the future. Choose whether you want the person in your life. If you do, it is vital to have strong, clear boundaries. For example, if someone is verbally offensive towards you insist that you will not communicate with that person unless he or she is willing to speak kindly to you.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR
Challenges Relating to Acceptance
You need to make a commitment to yourself to move on fully from the anger and hurt. Acceptance is a choice, not a feeling.
Some of us may feel that we cannot forgive someone who we feel has brought so much pain into our lives. Remember that when you forgive you are not saying that whatever the other person did is acceptable.
Pain and hurts can run very deep and can go back many years. It is understandable that you may struggle to forgive someone and you are not alone if that is your challenge. The process of true forgiveness is an extremely difficult one that takes time, but it is the only one that will bring you peace.
If you are battling with the concept of forgiveness and acceptance also think about why you are determined to hold on to something that hurts you. Questions to ask yourself:
- Do you like to focus your attention on someone who has hurt you so that you can avoid looking at yourself?
- Do you feel that your inner hurts are so much a part of you and that you would feel strange without them?
- Do you feel that you are your story and you like to put it out sometimes so you get attention and can feel sorry for yourself?
- Do you want to keep the lid on your hurts so that they are not disturbed and cannot be brought to the surface?
- Are you scared that if you start to delve into the baggage you won’t ever stop crying?
These are not reasons to not forgive and accept, these are avoidance tactics and are only hurting yourself.
Acceptance and Mindfulness
Acceptance enables you to achieve peace and live in the present moment, which involves a concept called mindfulness. This involves being in a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. It means you no longer think in the past or worry about the future. Your mind, body and soul will be present in the here and now.
When you are mindful you realise that you are not your thoughts and you are not reactive or defensive towards the people closest to you. You become an observer. As a result you don’t attach emotions or feelings to your thoughts. You don’t judge them, grasp at them or push them away.
Mindfulness enables you to develop understanding, compassion and empathy for another person or situation.
Never give up on acceptance, it sets you free. Commit to and persevere with it. It takes courage and persistence, but with perseverance the benefits you will receive are endless.
Room will open up within you and a stirring for participating in life will emerge. You will begin to become excited about your life and you will venture into a new journey called living.
Your self-esteem depends on you letting go of hurts from your past, accepting the reality which you may not like or want, BUT it is what it is. Once you accept you are free to live authentically and peacefully. Think about what you can do, be, think and feel when there is no resentment holding you back. The possibilities are endless.
If you are having difficulty accepting your new reality counselling can be very beneficial.