We’ve all been there.
We meet someone we think is amazing. Fall in love. Lose ourselves in the feeling of being entwined with another person.
Then we break up.
We end up wondering how we got here and how we find our way back to ourselves.
So many times, we sacrifice who we are to satisfy the other person’s needs. We become tangled with the person we love and give them every drop of our soul until there is nothing left.
In “Eat, Pray, Love,” Liz realizes how she has lost herself in her relationship. She loves so deeply, she no longer knows who she is.
“I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have it all .”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
The breakup of a long term relationship can leave us feeling more than heartbroken.
It can leave a person feeling resentful and depleted. All of a sudden, it’s as though the innermost parts of ourselves have been invaded.
It can literally leave us feeling lost. It takes time to find the way back to who we know we are deep inside of ourselves.
Here are seven things to add to a breakup “bucket list” that may be able to help put things back on the right track.
When we lose ourselves in a relationship, chances are, at least in some way, we have become alienated from our closest friends.
Maybe we have cut ourselves off from people we’ve known for years, people who gave caution that this relationship may not be the best for us.
It’s funny. These are the same people who love us unconditionally and who will welcome us back with open arms.
They will never utter an “I told you so.”
They will simply hug us and remind us of how awesome we are.
2. Redesign physical space.
Sharing physical space with someone allows their energy to resonate in some way even after they are gone.
As much as possible, purge that energy by recreating and redesigning the space to make it more personal.
Did that person only like white walls? Paint them yellow or bright pink.
Did all of the dishes have to match? Donate them and start fresh.
Fresh paint and a few pieces that reflect personal style can really help cleanse the negative energy of a person that is no longer in our lives.
3. Make some new goals.
Making a list of goals can help us find our way back to ourselves by helping us focus on what we most want to do and become.
No matter how unrealistic or far-fetched our goals may seem, they can always be attainable by starting with smaller goals and determination.
Whether it’s a photography class, dance lessons, a Master’s degree or a marathon, do it!
Dreams are important, no matter the size. Shifting focus inward can help us manifest who we truly are.
4. Trust insight and hindsight.
Usually, when a relationship ends, we are flooded with hindsight and “red flags” that we should have paid attention to.
All of the little things that we let slide are now glaring us in the face and we feel stupid for not addressing them sooner.
That’s why the saying says,
“Hindsight is always 20/20.” ~ Billy Wilder
It’s always more difficult to see reality when we are trying to live in a dream. What is so clear now is likely what our friends saw all along, but we were too blinded by love to notice.
Learning this lesson and carrying it forward can help us make better decisions in the future.
5. Examine patterns.
This bucket list item is not easy, but it is essential.
This journey will take us to the darkest parts of ourselves. It’s enough to make us cringe and want to run really fast, really far.
But, we need to do it if we are going to find what was lost.
All that wonderful hindsight we just talked about will come in handy. When we look at a relationship that has just ended and ask ourselves how it was similar to past relationships, we learn so much about ourselves.
What behaviors did the other person display that we most likely overlooked? What was our role?
In order to experience something better next time we need to recognize what needs to change in ourselves in order to shift our own pattern of thinking.
This takes courage, but will help build comfort and confidence in who we are.
Not life goals like in #3, but smaller things. Simply going out to dinner or a movie alone can make us feel stronger and help us see what it is that we most enjoy doing.
Doing it alone allows us to be in control of our own recreation.
Dress up. Drink wine. Eat amazing food. Go on a weekend getaway with a friend, just because. Read that stack of books on the nightstand.
When we treat ourselves the way we would want others to treat us, we learn to accept nothing less.
7. Be patient.
Going through a breakup is a ride on an emotional roller coaster and there is no exact time frame for recovery.
There will be days when it feels amazing and like we can conquer the Universe in a single bound.
And then there are the other days.
The days when we wish we could fast forward past all of the pain and hurt, days when getting out of bed and getting dressed seems like a monumental accomplishment.
Being patient with ourselves will not only help us get through the emotional ride, it will help us become greater lovers of ourselves.
We don’t need to buy a plane ticket and travel around the world to find ourselves.
We may have set aside some parts of ourselves as we dissolved into love, but we never really left. We can find ourselves again and learn to give ourselves the things we so willingly gave to others.
When we realize that love isn’t about disappearing and giving ourselves away but about holding on to who we are, we can allow ourselves to be permeable to people who will add to our spirit, not take from it.
We will have connected to our deeper selves and found the beauty in who we are.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Margaret Aguirre
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock