Letting Go of Romantic Relationships in an Empowering Way
If you’re like me, the ending of a romantic relationship can be one of the most challenging areas of life no matter how positive, trusting or spiritual you may think you are prior to facing one. Most of us will go through a breakup in which we are the ones who don’t want the relationship to end at least once in our lifetime. The ability to let go and move forward from a life you once shared with a loved one can be temporarily debilitating for many.
As a health and wellness coach, I have had many situations in which clients have been unable to move on from a marriage or relationship mentally and emotionally even though it has clearly ended. Even though from an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy to see that the ending of a relationship can be a very positive thing and that it is most certain that the individual suffering will find love again, when it’s you that is going through it personally, it can be a bit harder to remain strong and positive.
Even though we know the validity of things that we’re told like "what hurts us makes us stronger", "if it wasn’t meant to be, there is nothing you could have done to make it be", "time heals all wounds", "you will love again", "there is someone better out there for you" and the many other words we give one another when giving and receiving support in this area, it doesn’t always make it any easier to find the peace of mind we desperately seek.
So, why is it that letting go is so difficult and what can we do to make it easier on ourselves? The answer is very personal and one that can’t be answered in any absolute or straightforward way. However, from my own experience and training (and this is a moment when I am going through a breakup myself) there are a few things that one can do to try to relieve the pain and get through the process powerfully however long it may take. Here are a few of my personal tips.
When you want to cry, cry. For me, this is one of the most important aspects of healing. When we hold emotions inside without releasing them, they last much longer then they otherwise would. A great example is to think about a baby. When a baby wants to cry, they cry. They don’t think about it, judge it or worry about what others think. They naturally release the pent up energy within them and minutes later, they are laughing and smiling again. Remember that who we are is not our "emotions". We have them, but it’s unnecessary to identify with them. They are part of the human experience, nothing more.
Contemplate the deeper source of the anxiety and pain. Often times, how we react to pain in relationships has to do with our past - usually the relationships we had/have with our parents. During my own process, I worked with a professional to release some of my fears associated with being left by someone, a result of experiencing the death of my father at a very early age. The willingness to uncover relationship patterns and reactions can be very healing and transformational, allowing you to not only move forward feeling empowered, but to also prevent repeating past experiences instead of evolving to deeper levels of knowing ourselves through relationships.
Engage in a spiritual practice that you connect with. Whether that means going to church, attending a yoga class, doing breathing exercises or meditating daily, find an outlet to calm the mind and recapture your divinity. Although in moments of pain, it’s hard to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, I believe that our circumstances occur to provide valuable lessons for our soul’s journey as opposed to our ego or identity’s journey. I also find it helpful to remember that we have each experienced pain before and gotten through it, which means that it’s inevitable that we will be able to do it again. Remembering that experiences like heart break are unavoidable and have occurred for everyone since the beginning of time tells me that there is a lot of value in leaning how to overcome this challenge regardless of the amount of self-reflection and work it may require to do so. By being with the reality of the situation, you make it possible to get through it faster while also learning the practice of acceptance. This sets you up for a future in which you can detach yourself form your circumstances and know that who you are is separate from what is happening to or around you.
Above all, forgive yourself and your partner. Sometimes we hold on waiting to receive some sort of confirmation that our partner wronged us or that we wronged them or ourselves. There is no way to change the past and it’s best to remember that what was said, done or experienced was the result of where each of you were at that time of your human and spiritual path. In other words, both of you did the best that you could in that moment. When we can forgive, we can let go. For me, no matter how angry or upset I may have been in a relationship, I make it a practice to find that expansion of love within me for that person as well as for myself. Although not always easy, doing so makes it easier for me to forgive, let go and move forward with love as opposed to anger which can make a world of difference in living the happy and fulfilling life that I’m ultimately committed to.
For those of you reading this and going through a break-up now, know that you are loved, not alone and that you will see the light again. Be patient and allow this time to pass.
Health & Wellness Coaching
Kara wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.