How do you move on after a failed relationship? The first step is to grieve the end of how you thought life would be.
Did you think you were living the dream and that you had met the perfect person for you!
You had gotten married or moved in together and you imagined it would be forever!
But it didn’t end up working that way.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were (death, divorce, walking away), the death of a relationship and of the dream is devastating.
You will feel like you have failed. It doesn’t matter whether it was your choice or not.
How do you deal with loss and move forward to the possibility of a new relationship?
I am going to answer that question in a series of blogs. Here is the first step.
Grieve the Death of Your Relationship
The end of a significant relationship is a BIG DEAL. Don’t underestimate the impact it has on you. A divorce or breakup leaves emotional scars that go deep into your subconscious. It is important to take the time to heal from the hurt/pain and grieve.
Did you know that a divorce is listed as the second most stressful life event? Divorce changes your whole life. You lose the person who was meant to be your forever, you often lose friends and are faced with children who don’t know how to cope.
People will judge your choice and that is stressful in itself. Whether or not you chose to leave your marriage you will feel a sense of failure. That is why taking time to grieve that loss is the key to moving on.
That is a lot to deal with!
To heal the pain, you need to grieve and you need to allow yourself to feel it.
You don’t have to do this alone either, it is the perfect time to work with a coach who specialises in this area.
Don’t Suppress, Grieve
The temptation will be to suppress what you are feeling. It may seem like a solution but suppressed emotions always come back to the surface and often at the worst possible time!
It is important to mourn the death of your relationship, of your old life and of your dreams. This will take time! The key is to give yourself permission to take the time you need to come to terms with your new life.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t pressure yourself to be ok or to rush yourself with how you chose to grieve.
You will go through the various stages of grief, allow yourself to feel them without judging what you should or shouldn’t be feeling.
There are Five Stages of Grief
1. Denial and Isolation
How you grieve does not happen in a particular order and not everyone goes through every stage. The timeframe with also vary, there is no right or wrong way of grieving.
Give yourself permission to feel awful at times, it is normal and natural part of the process.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be continually positive either.
It’s not about changing how you feel but it is about listening to what you are feeling. Every feeling you have is there for a reason and the ones you suppress the most have the most important lesson to teach you.
Sadness won’t kill you! But ignoring it and trying to escape it rather than dealing with it, possibly will. By ignoring your feelings, you allow them no place to go other than deep into your subconscious mind where they will stay and control you. This will literally rob you of the good in your life. When you numb emotions, you numb the good as well as the bad.
There is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, when you allow yourself to feel your emotions you will allow healing to begin.
When you learn to feel all your feelings and then make rational choices, you grow.
When you feel your feelings, you are then more able to feel love, gratitude, and happiness.
4 Steps For Dealing with your Feelings
1. Sit with the Feeling and Breathe
When an emotion comes up for you instead of resisting it relax, breathe and feel it. What you need to do is to feel the emotion without judging it. This is not about positive thinking or changing how you feel; it is about listening to how you feel. Sit with the feelings and hear what the feelings are telling you.
2. Don’t Judge your Emotions
No emotion is ‘bad’. Feelings are just feelings and they are yours. They offer insight into your past. It can reveal an early coping strategy. What can happen is the feeling may not be a rational response now but it may have come from a coping mechanism from the past. It could be triggered by old suppressed feelings.
3. Be Curious
You can be curious about what you feel without being controlled by your feelings. Remember every feeling has a purpose; you miss so much by trying to change them or by thinking some are right and some are wrong or that some are good and some are bad. Don’t have expectations that you should feel this and you shouldn’t feel that. The feelings you most suppress are the most important.
4. Soothe Yourself
What this means is you need to feel the feeling but don’t indulge in intensifying it. For example, if you are angry you need to feel the anger but not spend time building a case of why you should be angry or exaggerating the situation.
Sit there and feel the emotion it may come in waves and take you from one experience to another. Let it, be curious, stay with it until it passes. Don’t’ be scared that you will be stuck as it will fade, it will lessen and pass. Then let it go. Don’t over identify with it or justify why you are feeling that way. When you allow the feeling, it will pass just like riding a wave.
The key is to feel all of the feeling without letting it distort your rational point of view. Some people worry that they will get stuck in their feelings but if they don’t actually take the time to feel them then they will stay stuck. There is a difference between dwelling on the feelings and simply feeling them.