Breakups are devastating. There’s no other way to describe it. It hurts to let go of someone who you love dearly. The pain that comes from it can often feel overwhelming and pointless at times. Which is why I want to share some useful advice on how to give meaning to a breakup.
I’ve been through my fair share of heartbreak, and it has shaped the way I think and feel many times.
Sometimes, for the better, other times, for the worse.
I’ve been thinking about the difference between the times that heartbreak made me a better person and the times it made me a shittier person.
And it all boils down to meaning.
When I viewed heartbreak or a breakup as something to be explored, learnt from, and used for growth, it had a good effect on me long term.
It all begins by looking for the lessons in a breakup and in your broken heart.
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What Are The Lessons That Come From This Suffering?
Pain without direction will swirl within you chaotically until it damages you in ways that it shouldn’t.
I learnt this the hard way.
Never in my life was I truly taught how to process painful emotions healthily.
But, emotions alone aren’t the issue.
It’s the accompanying thoughts and memories of heartbreaking experiences that really complicate this issue.
A lot of breakups are messy and some aren’t.
But, 99% of them hurt.
As long as you cared about your ex, you will feel pain over the end of that relationship.
That pain is compounded if you also have to deal with betrayal, abandonment, manipulation, and/or deceit.
Painful memories will continue to bother you for as long as they are unaddressed.
But, how do you address memories?
After my last relationship ended, I would spiral in pain over certain painful memories. I’d lash out or fall deeply into a pit of sorrow.
And this cycle was endless.
I had no idea how to process the breakup and the cause of it.
Then I learnt about the purpose of breakups and memories.
Recurring memories have lessons that must be extracted, or else they will persist indefinitely.
If you want to find meaning in suffering, you must look for the lessons in them. Often, these lessons will make us feel uncomfortable and unnerved.
Those lessons will force us to admit ugly truths and to face change.
All of which are incredibly uncomfortable.
And as you know, most of us seek out the dullness of comfort because it doesn’t require us to be challenged.
Can you sit down with yourself and think of the lessons that you should learn from this experience?
Whenever a memory pops into your mind incessantly that causes you immense pain, what is the underlying lesson behind that memory?
What could you and should you do differently in the future?
If you can attach lessons to painful memories, you will find meaning in suffering.
That’s when hopelessness is overwritten with the desire for future growth. That’s when hope warms you up after the bitter cold bite of emotional pain.
Then, what follows, is the commitment to mastering those lessons and growing.
That’s how I process the pain from a breakup nowadays.
Now let’s take a look at some overlooked ways you can grow through a breakup.
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How To Grow Through A Breakup
1. Through self reflection
Interestingly enough, there are two voices in our head.
The one that is trying to help us grow. It’s optimistic, positive, kind, hopeful, and nurturing.
The other one tries to diminish us by being negative, critical, unkind, pessimistic, and fearful.
In suffering, particularly emotional suffering following a breakup, that negative voice will shout at you.
It doesn’t want you to grow. It wants comfort and unnecessary safety. It wants you to numb the pain and escape discomfort as quickly as possible.
But, you’ll never figure out the lessons to your breakup nor will you put those lessons to use in this state.
You have to pay attention to that voice in your head that wants to guide you through suffering towards growth.
The voice that tells you how to be better, how to deal with loss healthily, who to be in the future and what type of relationships to allow into your life.
Reflect on what that voice is saying to you during moments of clarity. Let it guide you. Nobody knows you better than you do. Nobody can help you grow as much as you can. Lean into self reflection and go down that path of growth.
2. By sitting in stillness with yourself
Most of us make silly mistakes after a breakup.
Those overwhelming emotions hit and all we want to do is feel good.
Leaning into those emotions and acting on them repeatedly creates a pattern in our brains.
We start to form habits to feel “good” but at the cost of our happiness. Those very same feelings we want to avoid get hard wired into our habits and then we’re stuck in an endless cycle of self indulgence.
This is why it is absolutely crucial that you do not indulge in any kind of vice after a breakup.
I’m not just talking about the big three (sex, drugs, and alcohol).
Anything that has an unhealthy effect on your life that has the potential to leave long lasting damage should be avoided.
Instead, train yourself to sit still when you are inflamed with emotions.
Challenge yourself to face it head on and don’t create any habits or patterns that are toxic.
You could even meditate which has been shown to have wonderful effects on the brain and body.
You’d be surprised by how much you learn about yourself when you sit still without any distractions or disturbances.
Master yourself and the world is your oyster!
3. By experiencing your feelings honestly
If you’re reflective and you make time to sit in stillness, by extension, you’ll experience your feelings.
What we know is that you have to feel the pain to heal the pain.
The more you run from it, suppress it, or act on it, the worst it will be. Unless, ofcourse, you take positive action with those feelings.
For the most part, you must be willing to feel all emotions.
Don’t label them as good or bad. It’s all a part of you.
Don’t deny sadness or longing when you are going through a breakup. They’re valuable and they are a part of you. Rejecting parts of yourself doesn’t induce healing, it prolongs suffering.
Sit with your feelings, as painful and uncomfortable as they are.
Get over that fear of pain and suffering.
You’ll heal much faster and you’ll grow into someone who is infinitely more stronger than you can even imagine.
Also, you won’t take your wounds or baggage into the future with you. What you’ll have are those lessons from your suffering which will help you to be a better person and partner.
That’s how you win in life after a breakup.
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How To Use Pain As Fuel To Be Good
Pain is powerful. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be so averse to it.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the times that I had felt immense pain.
I wanted to figure out how that pain affected my life and those around me.
Never did it create indifference. Either good or bad came from it. I observe people all around me who use pain negatively and then I view some people who use it positively.
It’s so true that hurt people hurt people.
I don’t want to perpetuate that idea in my own life which has inspired me to use pain as a source of energy to do good. Ironically, healing occurs when we give ourselves reasons to be happy by doing good in the world.
Here’s the list that I’ve made for myself and my coaching clients.
- Be more loving to others around you.
- Offer help and support to those in need.
- Do something you’ve always wanted to do.
- Improve yourself physically
- Be repetitious with your good intentions.
I want to talk about the last item on this list.
What separates those who grow from those who worsen is intentions. You have to repeatedly remind yourself of all the good intentions you have. Like a mantra, repeat them throughout the day.
Believe me when I tell you that it is far too easy to fall into old ways.
We are creatures of habit and if you react poorly to heartbreak and suffering throughout your life, that behavior is hardwired and you’ll default to it whenever you experience those feelings again.
Be repetitious about your good intentions until it plays in your head like a repetitive thought. Your good intentions should become a part of who you are. It should reflect in your mentality and attitude towards yourself, others, and life at large.
Start by reminding yourself of these good intentions every single day without fail.
Even if you make mistakes along the way, keep reminding yourself of those good intentions.
We are what we repeatedly think. So, it naturally follows that you should repeatedly think about who you want to be, how you want to behave and what you want to share with the world.
I wish that it were possible for us to deal with breakups and heartbreak perfectly but that’s unrealistic.
We aren’t perfect beings and we never will be.
At some point or another, we will make mistakes and fall over. It’s almost guaranteed that we will.
But, if your intentions are good, you have valuable lessons to practice, you understand how to feel your emotions, and you strive to serve others in a good and loving manner, you’ll fall in the right direction.
You’ll make the kind of mistakes that will get you closer and closer towards the person you want to be and the type of relationships you want to have.
With that being said, I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to give meaning to a breakup. If you would like to work with me through this difficult stage in your life, check out my services page for more information on how to get in contact with me.