How to Heal After a Breakup
If someone told me that my breakup would be the most precious gift, I would’ve laughed in their face and told them, “Thanks for the positivity talk!”
Yet, here I am today. I can honestly tell you, my breakup and lowest point in love is the most precious gift that the universe has given me up to now.
This is possible because breakups can lead to breakthrough.
What if I told you that you could take the mud of your breakup, and bloom a stronger, more confident, and beautiful you?
What if you can cultivate a new you, rooted in a deep knowing of who you are at your core and living with your whole heart, wide-open?
This is possible for you.
In fact, it’s why I started Mae Yan Coaching. I’m here to be with you step-by-step on your journey to discover your loving and authentic self and create the relationship you want.
Imagine in your mind’s eye, what it’d be like to have done the inner work, healed your heartbreak, and feel ready for love. What does it look like and feel like? Doing this simple visioning exercise is a way to program your mind and body for all the possibilities to unfold on your sacred path. The mind is very powerful and you can rewire it to manifest the life you desire.
Now, let’s come back to the present moment. Here I’ll share with you the practical steps you can take after your breakup
1. Tend to your heartache with self-compassion
After a breakup, you may feel like your life has come crashing down. You may be experiencing a great deal of pain and suffering – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. This is completely normal. Take the time and space YOU need to recover.
You may be wrestling with a spectrum of emotions. This may include sadness, depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, panic, despair, loneliness, devastation, heartbreak, numbness, and doubt. The feelings you have may come in waves, as the process of grieving the loss of your ex is not linear. No matter what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to feel your feelings and sit with them. It may be difficult to be with them. This is where self-compassion comes in. Self-compassion is the act of giving yourself the understanding, kindness, and care you would to a good friend.
Offering yourself self-compassion is a way to see and be with your pain and suffering with unconditional love and support. This provides you the nourishing conditions to heal, grow, and transform your difficulties. Dr. Kristen Neff, pioneer researcher on self-compassion, offers simple and powerful exercises to practice self-compassion. With practice, you’ll nurture your capacity to be with your feelings, even the most difficult ones. In my work with clients, I emphasize mindfulness as a fundamental skill, habit, and way of life. With mindfulness, clients are able to radically transform the relationship they have with their thoughts and feelings and therefore create the reality they want.
After a breakup, you may have critical thoughts in the process of analyzing what happened. Some examples may be,
“How was I so stupid to have gotten myself here?”
“I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming.”
“This is my fault. I could’ve…”
You are your worst critic. I remind you to stay non-judgmental towards yourself so you can avoid “double suffering.” This is the equivalent of shooting another arrow at yourself when you already have plenty of hurt from going through the breakup. When you spend an excess of time and energy on blame, shame, and regret, you can end up adding more suffering to the suffering you’re already experiencing. This leads me to step #2, how to practice forgiveness.
2. Forgive yourself, forgive your ex
Forgiving yourself begins with remembering that you’re beautifully human and on your unique sacred journey. This includes going down roads that lead to places we might not have planned to go. A question to guide you in a new direction is, “What did you learn?” A breakup is an opportunity to learn how to love and care for yourself, perhaps in a way you never knew you needed.
I consider my breakup to be my greatest teacher in teaching me the lesson that I could no longer ignore – how to love myself. My breakup helped me to realize I was unconsciously telling myself a story about love that wasn’t true. I learned to correct that narrative. Now, I understand love from a new perspective that wouldn’t be possible had it not been for my breakup.
The process of forgiving your ex is not an easy one, but a necessary part of healing. Forgiving your ex will allow you to clear your mind and soul and create the space and healthy conditions for a new relationship to blossom. When you practice intentionally forgiving your ex, you are exercising love and compassion towards your ex and yourself. Then, it’s possible to begin anew in your next relationship, without the burden and baggage from your past.
One way to work on forgiveness is called ho’ponopono, an ancient Hawaiian
forgiveness practice. You take responsibility for yourself and create a new relationship with someone by letting go of past hurts. It doesn’t mean you excuse them for what they did. But rather, you’re forgiving yourself for the critical and judgmental ways you think about that person.
The prayer translates to “making right again” and is repeated over and over as follows:
Please forgive me
I love you
You say “I love you” as an apology to yourself for holding onto negative thoughts and feelings related to you ex. That’s how you can use this mantra to forgive yourself and thereby to forgive your ex. You’re declaring to the universe that you’re no longer allowing dark and heavy energies to remain in your body and spirit.
For those that have endured a great deal of suffering in a relationship, especially trauma and abuse, it may be helpful to work with a mental health professional such as a therapist to process and recover.
3. Do things that bring you joy
After a breakup, it may be difficult for you to feel positive emotions or pleasure. You can help your brain chemistry move towards balance by doing things that make you feel happy and joyful. It’s important to keep practicing even if it may not feel as enjoyable as it used to. It may take some time for you to perceive positive feelings the same way as you used to. Make a list of things you enjoy and commit to including one or two things in your daily routine. Research has shown that physical activity and exercise improves mood. Even if you’re not keen on exercising, including a 30 minute walk can give your brain the boost it needs. Notice how your mood changes over time; you can keep track of it in a journal.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression for a period of two weeks or more, it may be helpful to work with a mental health professional to help you improve your mood and manage your negative thoughts and emotions.
4. Lean on your social support system
Recovering from a breakup can require a great deal of energy on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Surround yourself with your people – family and friends that you can count on to hold space for you and everything you’re going through. Think about the people in your life that can be there for you unconditionally by listening deeply and providing non-judgmental support. You can cross off two things on this list by spending time with people that care about you while engaging in activities that bring you joy!
It’s important to recognize that not everyone can show up for you in this manner. They may not have the capacity or resources to do so, and that’s okay. Those who are there for you are the gems in your life that you can be grateful for. Remember to let them know how much you appreciate them. You may find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal and write down what you’re grateful for each day. You can include these people on your list.
Your journey through a breakup is a sacred one and it can reveal the life lessons you’ve been needing to see. I encourage you to take the time to give yourself everything you need during this period. Honor and love yourself as you are and know you are on your path of uncovering your true, authentic self.
Do you want to transform the pain and frustration from your breakup to become empowered, ready, and renewed to find your soulmate? Consider coaching with me. Schedule a free self-discovery call at www.maeyancoaching.com.
About the Author:
Love and Relationship Community Lead
Mae is a breakup & relationship coach, occupational therapist, and the founder of Wake Up Abu Dhabi, a women’s meditation community. She is Chinese American, born and raised in the Washington DC metro area. She enjoys spending time with her loved one, being in nature, hiking, yoga, and cooking.