There’s a country song that has a lyric that’s always stuck with me. It goes a little something like, “you miss the man you wish he was.” The lyric is about feeling hurt, lonely and nostalgic following a breakup but being able to acknowledge that what you’re feeling is more about whom you wish you had been with as opposed to the person you really were with. What I find many of my clients find, however, that it’s moving on from a break up that is truly the hardest. The other day, I was speaking to a woman who had recently gone through a break up and was feeling really down about it. I asked her what exactly it was she thought she’d be missing out on in her life without him in it. She paused for a moment, then another moment, and then she realized she was stumped. She discovered she was far more attached to the physical attraction she had for him then the actual unfulfilling relationship. If you can accept that breaking up with someone certainly doesn't mean you are automatically not attracted to them, it can make things easier. Think of all the people you have been attracted to but have not necessarily been in a relationship with, now your ex is one of them. Aside from her attraction, she also re-discovered there was nothing in life she couldn’t experience without him they just now looked different. In fact, her new experiences could turn out to be better than she had imagined.
Transitioning from always having someone around and being “one half of a whole” to being single and entirely self-reliant can be difficult. That, I can’t deny. However, I believe that often times people get so caught up in the strangeness of that feeling that they start to grow falsely nostalgic; sometimes even considering trying to get their ex-partner back. Anyone feeling this way needs to remember that it’s natural and OK to feel these feelings. What’s so important, though, is that the feelings are acknowledged and recognized for what they are – romanticized nostalgia.
As time goes on, particularly when we’re feeling blue, we tend to romanticize past events and relationships. Memories make way for nostalgia and we easily begin to confuse moments of upset and disappointment for feelings of normalcy, routine and even comfort. When moving forward in life without someone we used to interact with constantly, we can feel off kilter or unlike ourselves – even when nothing about ourselves has changed.
If you’re considering a break up or have recently gone through one, I encourage you to give it time. If you want to spend an entire weekend in bed crying, I say go for it. Don't judge yourself, just let the tears flow. The sad, crappy feelings will fade and stick around for shorter periods of time. You will find excitement, confidence and love again. What’s most important right now is that you allow your heart to feel what it’s feeling, but to remind yourself that you are just as capable, spectacular and worthy of love as you’ve ever been – if not more so.
There are many ways to mellow a hurting heart and speed your path to emotional recovery following a break up. One of the most rewarding activities I can recommend is yoga. While yoga is an incredible work out for your body, it’s also an exercise for your mind and inner self. Surrounding yourself with calmness and other people seeking fulfillment and serenity will help you achieve those goals as well. Try doing one thing a day that you love, big or small. Everyone is different so for some it might be time with loved ones and others it might be going for a long bike ride or eating your lunch away from your desk and out in the park. This will help you on your journey to achieving your “new” normal.
To your authenticity,