It’s a funny thing… At business and marketing conferences I’ve attended recently, the topic that always rises to the surface is relationships. So and so is going through a divorce and it’s now affecting their work; someone else is still looking for love and it’s affecting their worth.
All of us are affected by the force of love or the longing for it, most especially when the heart has been broken. The following is my advice on attending to your heart and healing.
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1. Pour Yourself into Your Self
This is all about YOU time. When a relationship ends, it can feel like the world has ended too. But guess what, life is going on all around you. It waits for no one.
Begin a self-care routine, read a great book, spend time with friends, get a journal and use it, do what makes you happy. It’s your time to indulge in all things healing and harmonious.
2. Create Mandatory Space
My rule of thumb is to put the boundaries up between you and your ex for at least six months. That means no meeting, no calling, no stalking on Facebook. ;-)
I know what you might be thinking… “But I work with her.” Or, “I have to drop off the kids with him.” Even in a situation where you are the only one that can interact with your ex on a specific task (have someone help you out during this time if possible), do what needs to be done and get on with it. Don’t linger in conversation. Be friendly, but not friends at this point.
3. Clean Up Your Messes
This is the time to focus on what else needs to be cleaned up in your life. Take a few moments to list what other areas of life are still messy.
How’s your health? You business? Your relationships with family and friends? Go through each of these categories with a fine-toothed comb. What needs improvement?
In the art of Feng Shui, everything has its proper place. So too, in our lives we need to sort out and clean up the things that are out of place.
4. Get It in Writing
No, I don’t mean a prenup or anything like that. I’m talking about making a written list of what worked, and most especially, what didn’t work. It’s easy to focus on how amazing that special someone was when you’re missing him or her and feeling lonely. But let’s be real, no one and no relationship is perfect.
Once you get a clear look at the good and the not so good, focus on what you want next.
5. Consider Each Relationship a Course
When you signed up for Freshman year English, you didn’t expect it to go on forever did you? I hope not. We have been conditioned through movies and media that “true love” means the relationship is infinite. Not so.
Relationships are more like courses you may have taken in school. There is a beginning and an end point. There is a teacher (your partner). And there are specific things you are meant to learn.
6. Don’t Generalize the Gender
Extract the person from the gender and the age from the equation. This can be said for all labels: nationality, career, personality, etc…
In short, not all men and women are the same. Do not make the mistake of thinking they are.
7. Look For the Patterns
Our hearts constantly nudge us forward toward the best path although we often get stuck in our heads and miss the message completely.
Look for patterns in your relationships, both positive and negative. If you keep experiencing a similar effect, there’s something you need to learn (see #5). When a client comes to me after a breakup, we spend a lot of time looking at the whispers from their heart, the nudges from the universe that something was wrong or needed change.
8. Forgive Yourself
Take yourself and your ex off the pedestal. You weren’t perfect. He/she wasn’t perfect. As in #4, when you’re solo again, it can seem like your ex was the best thing going… But that’s only in contrast to the aloneness you feel right now. There’s probably a much better match out there for you.
Forgiveness is like the parting of traffic in rush hour. It clears the path to move forward. It’s not helpful to play the part of victim, martyr, or righteous one. Forgive yourself.
Oh yeah, and forgive them too. ;-)
9. Be Willing to Be Hurt Again
That’s a tough one, but the thing is, you have to be willing to put your heart back out there.
Ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not why they were made. Your heart is a vessel of love and joy; it wasn’t made to sit at home depressed.
My friend Annie Lalla puts it simply: “To say yes to love, is to say yes to pain.” Ouch! But so true. It is only in the contrast that we are able to feel so deeply, experience different realms of ourselves, and to learn the lessons we came here to learn. Love is a primal force that shapes us into who we are to become.
10. Seek Help
There’s no shame in reaching out for support. You know you need to get into the rhythm of life again, the rhythm of progress. Call a friend, call a therapist, or call me for some tough love. :)