Healing after a breakup takes time. It isn’t easy. BUT, there is one thing that will prolong your sadness, and might even keep you sad forever. Let me explain…
HAVE YOU EVER LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE?
Someone who touched you at the core of your being and who in your wildest dreams, you never thought about living without?
Have you experienced a loss so painful that you couldn’t imagine how you would put one foot in front of the other without that person by your side?
Suddenly, they are out of your life and you are faced with a reality that never seemed possible, a reality you refused to even entertain in your darkest moments.
HOW DO YOU CONTINUE ON AND HOW DO YOU SURVIVE?
Many of us have experienced a loss like this. Whether it is through death, divorce, or simply someone walking out of your life. The aftermath of losing someone can be painful and traumatizing.
It can rattle you to the core and knock you down with the threat of never being able to get back up again. The process of grief is messy, challenging and extremely frightening, and you find yourself thinking you will do anything just to make the pain go away.
I have been in this place a few times–healing from a breakup. I have experienced losses that caused me to feel pain that was unimaginable, inescapable and unrelenting. Pain that shows up everywhere I turn. There was pain in the smile from a stranger, a hug from a friend, certain songs played on the radio, a random word uttered in the midst of a thousand others in a sentence.
It was everywhere and I couldn’t seem to find my way out!
AND THEN ONE DAY, I DISCOVERED THE POWER OF avoidance.
It was like healing from a breakup was now easy. If I was just able to remove the things in my life that caused me pain, then I would be okay. And not only removing things in my outer world, if I could push aside and avoid the thoughts in my head and pain in my heart, then I would be able to finally get on with my life and stop feeling so destroyed.
Makes absolute sense right? I mean, why should I continue to make myself suffer more than I already had?
Let me tell you, I have never been so wrong in my whole life.
What I discovered is that it is impossible to avoid forever and avoidance will only cause further delay of healing from a breakup.
Inevitably, things start to seep in through the little cracks in your armor, reminding you of your pain and stirring your emotions.
When this starts to happen, you can continue to try and outsmart the inevitable. You can make your world smaller and smaller, avoiding everything and anything that serves as a reminder to your source of pain.
I PROMISE YOU THOUGH, IT WILL EVENTUALLY CATCH UP WITH YOU.
You will open your eyes one day and realize that your world has become a small and dark hole.
You will look around that hole and see that your magical solvent of avoidance did nothing more than deepen, prolong, and solidify your pain–and prolong your healing from a breakup.
Many of us make the choice to do use avoidance, and many others do it without even realizing it.
You make yourselves smaller with the intention of protecting yourself from pain. You put little parts of yourself to sleep to avoid dealing with events of the past. You fear that going through the pain will hurt too much, so you choose to close the door instead. You tell yourself time will make it all better and eventually you will be able to live your life again.
Fear takes over and becomes the driver of your life and before you know it, you are missing out on the fullness of being alive and showing up in the world as only a fraction of your potential.
Life becomes dull, a chore, an exhausting experience that you climb your way uphill through each and every day.
IS THIS THE LIFE YOU WANT? IS THIS HOW YOU WANT TO WASTE YOUR DAYS?
I’m not going to tell you that the journey will be easy, but I will tell you that the road toward freedom and joy does exist.
You can make the CHOICE to have courage and walk straight into your pain. Well, maybe at first you crawl. That’s okay!
I promise you that the pain of avoidance is much worse than the pain of diving in and allowing your feelings and experiences to flow through you.
There will be tears, uncontrollable sobbing, anger, kicking and screaming, and who knows what else.
But when you make the choice to go through it, THERE IS AN END.
Once you acknowledge the pain and allow it to flow through you, you expand and create space for new energy to exist within you.
You give yourself the room necessary to finally let go and move on.
Give yourself permission to actively grieve and to mourn your loss.
Be kind and gentle with yourself and be courageous in your pursuit of your freedom and your joy.
Jennifer Joy Butler is a love and relationship coach, a certified health coach, writer, and podcast host dedicated to helping people fall deeply in love with themselves and awaken to their internal power to create joy, love, and freedom in their lives. A graduate of New York University with a Masters Degree in Social Work, Jennifer is also a divorced single mom who has transformed her own life. Jennifer truly understands her clients and the journey they are on. She can be found hosting the Worthy podcast “Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle” and her writing can be found on JennJoyCoaching. This article was originally published on Jenn’s blog.
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