How To Let Go of the Pain of a Break Up : 6 Liberating Questions
Originally an article on Oprah.com
I fully understand the pain of a challenging (aka: devastating) break up. Unfortunately, I found myself very much duped by a man who convincingly presented himself as loving, committed and loyal – only to later to discover that he was more than a two-timing cheater – he was a three-’n-four-’n-five-timing cheater.
I know just how difficult it can be to pick yourself up after a painful romantic fall. At first, you might find yourself preoccupied with a bubbling stew of emotions: depression, shame, hopelessness, outrage, despair, rage, resentment, negativity, doubt, insecurity, fear and an overall sense of emotional hypochondria. You may become convinced that the best way to protect your breaking heart is to put on the permanent love brakes. It’s very important not to allow yourself to wallow in these negative emotions for too long.
I believe you can never fail in life or love. You just produce results. It’s up to you how you interpret those results. There are no failed relationships, because every person in your life has a life lesson to teach.
I believe much of the pain of a breakup comes from having a life plan that you have fallen in love with. When it does not work out, you become angry that you now have to pursue a new life plan. But if you ever want to tame your inner demons, you must consciously choose not to become too attached to any particular life plan—and remain open to the idea that there might be an even better life plan for you. Embracing detachment as a way of life will always give you a healthier sense of peacefulness when you get plunked into one of life’s potholes!
My personal definition for enlightenment is “the quiet acceptance of what is—and an open mind to embrace that there may be a better, healthier life plan for me.”
After my breakup with my Prince Harming, I consciously chose to psyche myself up about my new life plan by owning the following as my empowering belief system:
“I’m happy to be over this relationship with my now ex-Prince Harming because I know the lessons I’m choosing to learn are going to lead me into the arms of a much better life partner! My new, improved life plan is gonna beat the bupkes out of that old one!”
The good news:
It’s always your choice as to how you interpret and respond to life’s disappointing, heartbreaking ebbs. You can choose to be miserable, or you can choose to motivate yourself to stretch your mind—seeking out the best interpretations and most valuable lessons.
If you’re presently trying to get over a painful breakup with a Prince Harming, I recommend you do some liberating mind stretching. Begin by answering the following questions for yourself:
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned in my next relationship I need to find a man who offers________________________________.
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned in my next relationship I need to—on a daily and nightly basis—feel more________________________________.
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned in my next relationship I need to—on a daily and nightly basis—feel less________________________________.
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned in my next relationship I will insist my man bring with him into the relationship the following deal-makers________________.
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned to keep my eyes open for the following red flashing warning light deal-breakers blaring in my face________________________________.
- Thanks to my Prince Harming Teacher, I learned I need to start to especially value finding a man with the following values:________________________________.
After a challenging breakup, I suggest that every time you find yourself tempted to think negative thoughts, you return to the lessons that you’ve thankfully learned. If you find yourself with a pesky, self-flagellating thought spree rampaging through your mind, you can stop these thoughts by asking yourself the following question:
“Are these thoughts I am now thinking leading me forward to finding more happiness—or backward to feeling more anger, shame and hopelessness?”
Every time a negative belief enters your head, repeat the word “forward” as your mantra! Every time you start feeling negative emotions, swap these out for new and very different emotions—one which doesn’t show up on the “Post-Break Up Emotions to Indulge In” list.
And be proud of yourself. Yes, proud. If you’ve gotten hurt, it means you’ve put yourself out there in the world. You have jumped into the pool of life—swimming, splashing and making waves—instead of hiding beneath the solitary life’s big umbrella, wearing a huge floppy hat and oversize sunglasses with your body smeared in SPF 45.
One of my favorite philosophers, Aristotle, said:
“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.”
I think what he means is that life will have its ebbs and flows. Unfortunately, life can sometimes feel like ebb, ebb, ebb, brief flash of flow, more ebb, ebb, ebb. But every ebb always offers the opportunity to think a new thought flavor and feel a new emotion flavor. The more varied the flavors of life you get to taste, the more interesting, layered, educated, self-developed, worldly, experienced and mightier as a human you will be!
Here’s one last and highly helpful post-breakup healing mantra:
“It is better to have loved and lost—and discover a far more fabulous life plan than originally conceived—than to live with a cheating Prince Harming for the rest of your life.”
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