What you need to know:
According to mental health experts, grief has five stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You will need to go through each stage without forcing the process. Do not assume you are okay. It is fine not to be fine. It is valid to hurt.
You are in love with this person and suddenly, you or they bring the relationship to an abrupt end. Whatever the reason (if they are honest with you or you are honest with yourself), you are going to hurt.
Your life has revolved around this person that you cannot imagine life without them. Some people plunge into depression, others even commit suicide. Love is as strong as death, they say.
Some relationships are better broken than sustained because they foretell the worst in future. This was the case with Norah and James. After relating for a few years, she realised they were a mismatch.
She had had a spiritual rebirth, he had not. He had cheated on her a couple of times, got her pregnant and abandoned her in hospital to face life alone.
They had drifted emotionally apart for some time and she saw no future with him . He had no intentions of taking her to the altar. She knew it, by head at least. She had tolerated him like a bad tooth. That was the easy part.
The harder part…she loved him. She met a counsellor and after a couple of counselling sessions, she made up her mind and ended it. She was overjoyed but the emotional healing process was far from over. It took her months to recover fully.
Unless you are married to your high school sweetheart or the first person who came along or your heart has been seared with a hot iron you feel nothing, we all go through heartbreaks. So how does one handle a heartbreak?
Allow grief to go full cycle
According to mental health experts, grief has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You will need to go through each stage at its own time. Do not force the process. Do not assume you are okay. It is fine not to be fine.
And just because someone else’s grief was harder than yours, does not invalidate yours. Give yourself permission to grieve your own way. According to research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes three months to recover after a relationship ends.
Talk to someone
Avoid closing yourself in. Depression kills. Do not self-isolate. A heartbreak is not Covid-19. Find a trusted friend, counsellor, parent, workmate, or neighbour and talk to them. Other people find relief in journaling their experiences daily. Either way, they are expressing themselves and getting rid of the negative emotions.
Distract your mind and occupy yourself with something worthwhile in order to cover the time you spent your ex. It may be a sport, you can join a community or volunteer at an orphanage, church or prison. Meet people and have fun. Take a walk, do some gardening, ride a bike, go on a safari. Life does not begin and end with your ex. Take in the sights and sounds of other places and people.
Do not fall in love too soon
Some people want to prove a point to their ex by showing that they have replaced them and do not miss them. They quickly jump into another relationship and carry wounds into the new relationship. You will not function until you completely heal. Hurting people hurt other people. Avoid rebounding into another relationship immediately.
Forgive your folly
You are so hard on yourself. You condemn yourself, talk trash about yourself and allow guilt to control you. Well, you can never change the past, but you can learn from the experience and move on. What habits do you want to avoid carrying into the next relationship? How better a lover can you be to your future partner? These are questions that should preoccupy you rather than beating up on yourself with negative talk.
You are awesome
Are you feeling worthless, a loser, a terrible person, an ugly beast? Tell yourself: “They just didn’t appreciate me, but I am awesome.” “Another person of significant value will find me some day and they will be glad they did.” Talk positivity into your life. Research shows that people who believe in positivity, enjoy health benefits such as reduced pain, better cardiovascular health and increased physical performance.
Forgive your ex
You are hurt and perhaps, you are planning to revenge, but that won’t help. Choose to forgive them for your own healing and let them go. I like this quote I read somewhere; “Unforgiveness is choosing to stay trapped in a jail cell of bitterness, serving time for someone else’s crime.”
Many have found emotional healing in prayer. When no one seems to understand what you are going through, Proverbs 14:10 says--“Each heart knows its own bitterness and no one else can share its joy.” Take your frustrations and brokenness to God. He is the mender of broken hearts.
The longer the relationship was, the harder it becomes to recover from it. But after you have emotionally healed-when your feelings about your ex no longer hurt you, you can consider dating again. “There’s someone for everyone…” the late Kenny Rogers sang. Go find your personal person.