As a life coach, I absolutely love when clients come to me after a breakup.
Okay, I know that sounds low-key morbid, but just bear with me.
A breakup is a renewal—a rebirth of sorts, an emotional purge, a clean slate. Post-breakup is one of the best opportunities to get clarity on who we are and what we want.
Why? Because no matter how great your relationship was, it caused you to take certain aspects of your future for granted. It caused you to have certain fixed expectations for what life was going to be like.
Every relationship comes along with an image of what a future with that person will look like—and you were living into that particular future for however long you were with that person.
When huge portions of our future are occupied by perceived certainty, it sometimes stops us from creating what we really want our future to look like.
A breakup shatters that illusion of certainty and forces us to get back into creation mode. We are forced to re-imagine what we want our future to look like.
Here are some thoughts on that:
The reason most of us don’t experience a breakup as thrilling and wonderful is because we are too busy resenting and regretting.
We’re so busy imagining a happy future with this particular person, we start believing that the only happy version of our future would be with this person.
So, it’s not actually the loss of this person that is so upsetting to us—it is the loss of our expectations for the future.
What pains us is not the breakup itself—it’s the decisions that we made about our future in response to the breakup. For example: “I’ll be lonely forever,” “I missed my one shot,” “life will never be as fulfilling again,” “I’m going to lose all my friends because they only hung out with us as a couple,” and all that other irrational crap we tell ourselves.
Of course, you’re going to be upset if you’re imagining a future of being lonely, sad, and regretful for the rest of your life—which is why it’s crucial to separate the breakup itself from the decisions that we make about our future in response to the breakup.
It’s true that you broke up. However, it’s not true that life is going to suck now.
And, while you may not have control over factors like the extent to which this person wants to be with you, you have complete control over your perception of your future. So, that’s great news.
I invite you to do two things:
1. Write a list of all of the decisions you made about your future when you broke up with this person—and then, Byron-Katie-style, question the sh*t out of those decisions.
2. Write a “thank you” note to the breakup. Approach it from the perspective that it happened for you, not to you—and that your soul is trying to teach you something through this experience. Write a note thanking the breakup for the teachings that it is giving you and for the opportunity to realize who you are, beyond your attachments to this person.
Warning: if you do these things, you might actually get jazzed about your breakup.
It might cause you to realize that this breakup means nothing about your future, and that you can still have everything you want—although, it might not look the way you thought it would.
Once you have forced yourself out of “breakup victimhood” and into a state of gratitude, you are now equipped to actually deal with the energetic upheaval caused by a breakup.
When we are in a relationship, we are energetically connected to another person—and a breakup is an energetic ripping apart. Our internal state has to completely re-orient. We have to once again find our sense of self. There is some internal flailing that goes on during that process. So, a breakup entails an internal state sh*t storm, sure. It requires healing…and time.
But, it’s not a bad thing. Any value judgements that we give to a breakup are all from our ego minds, not from reality. The sensations we experience after a breakup are just energy moving around inside of our body, in the form of emotions, sensations, and thoughts.
It’s just motion—not bad, not good. Just motion.
When we realize that the breakup actually means nothing about our future, we can learn to watch the storm of our internal state play out without moping too much about it.
We can let the emotions move through us without too much resistance—and meanwhile, we can be envisioning the kind of future we do want for ourselves.
So, ask yourself, “Given this breakup, now what?”
“What do I want for me?”
And, we can be grateful for the opportunity to ask that question newly.
Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Image: Unsplash/Alexsandra Mazur
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Mr. Waylon Lewis, esquire