Are you blaming yourself for your past relationship ending? Do you feel like you are the on that’s solely at fault? Do you feel like you were the one who sabotaged it and led to it ending?
If you’re feeling terrible about the past relationship ending and can’t stop blaming yourself, watch this above video for some guidance and insight on moving forward. You don’t have to carry the heavy burden of blame for your past relationship ending.
“For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love. This is an unalterable law.” Eknath Easwaran
How do you go about finding peace after divorce?
For some time after my marriage, I believed that my ex was intentionally hurting me.
By giving up on our marriage, she was disrupting our lives, the lives of our family members and our close-knit Indian community at large.
I thought the very idea of divorce would hurt all the people we knew – including ourselves.
In your case, your ex could have intentionally hurt you when your relationship ended.
Your ex could have fallen in love with someone else and suggested a divorce so he could move to Portugal to be with the 25-year-old woman of his dreams.
Or, after a 20-year marriage and two kids, your husband could have told you he’s having a baby with his mistress.
Or your ex could have used her support payments – which came from your hard-earned dollars – to create the life of her dreams, travel the world, brainwash your children and make you look like the bad guy.
Your ex could be making your life a living hell, making you question your sanity and filling you with burning anger and resentment.
Your ex may make you want to do what Adnan did to Hae Lee in the Serial podcast (Season 1) and bury the body in Leakin Park.
During this trying time in your life, I believe you have two choices in how your respond to your ex’s behavior.
You can choose to be the victim of your ex’s life and choices or you can go about finding peace after divorce.
Your marriage may have ended and you may have lost your spouse but you don’t have to lose your peace after divorce too.
Here are 7 ways for finding peace after divorce
1. Forgiveness will free and liberate you.
As much as you want to get revenge on your ex and cause them great harm, you are simply creating more problems for yourself. Tormenting your ex will require you to spend more mental and emotional energy fighting with him. Hatred and anger is a losing situation.
Only your forgiveness and the ability to see your ex through a new set of eyes will change your ex. Only your changing your energy will change your ex’s energy. Only letting go of anger and hatred will give you back your life.
If you’re stuck in anger and committed to payback, you’ll spend your time, energy, lawyer’s fees and sanity on a losing battle. Resentment and revenge are losing battles no matter how sweet they may feel at the moment.
The courage to forgive will set you mentally free to live your life and key to finding peace after divorce.
2. Don’t blame yourself for your ex’s actions.
Another way for finding peace is to stop personalizing your ex’s actions.
Whether you believe it or not, your ex isn’t directing everything he or she is doing at you.
Your ex’s decisions may not be wise, productive, or in his best interests, but your ex probably isn’t making these decisions specifically to spite you.
If you are the target of your ex’s anger and vitriol, you must engage in even more understanding and forgiveness.
Remind yourself that you are not responsible for your ex’s behavior. Insecurity, fear, anger and mean-spiritedness may fuel your ex’s actions, but you don’t have to take them personally and you don’t have to believe you caused them.
For finding peace after divorce, you don’t have to blame yourself for what this person is choosing to do.
3. Have an overdose of compassion and gratitude for yourself.
In addition to forgiving your ex, spend some time healing your heart, feeling more compassion for yourself and searching for gratitude.
If you feel compassion for yourself, the fuel of resentment will cool. The fire of hatred will abate a bit. You will hold yourself less responsible for your ex’s actions. You will stop blaming yourself.
Start treating yourself like you would someone you loved – without judgment and with much understanding.
When you meditate on gratitude, you can’t focus on reciprocating pain or being angry at your ex.
4. Take the high road when you face resentment and malice.
Throughout your marriage, you might have enjoyed this tit-for-tat behavior that caused both of your pain.
Yet in your post-marriage life, you may want to create another kind of relationship with yourself and with your ex.
The high road means doing the just and fair thing. It’s letting go of the minor and the petty. It’s ignoring the trivial and not letting insulting words or actions get the best of you.
It’s reminding yourself that you’re the better person and that you can walk the high road even if your ex can’t.
The high road will help you move on while your ex swims in the deep waters of hatred.
5. Take the high road for the benefit of your children.
If you can’t do it for yourself, go about finding peace after divorce for your kids.
How you treat your ex will affect how your children view interpersonal relationships, their parents and their future partners.
If you want to make the greatest contribution to your children’s mental and emotional sanity, show them how to forgive, let go, and treat each other respectfully.
Your children have already gone through something traumatic. To allow your separation to hurt them, even more, isn’t fair.
Your job as a role model and a person will have a longer-lasting effect on your kids than anything you teach or share. Your behavior and attitude towards their other parent will be what matters most to them later in life.
Do it for your kids because they’re watching.
6. Find your own happiness, meaning and fulfillment.
If you get caught up in your ex’s life and what your ex is doing, you’ll be angry often and bitter even more.
For good or bad, you are both out of this marriage.
No point crying over spilt milk, who won “The Bachelorette” this season or who’s in the White House. No, actually, we do need to cry about that, but you don’t need to cry about your marriage any longer.
You don’t need to look towards your ex’s life, your ex’s words or your ex’s actions to determine your own happiness. You don’t need to compare yourself to your ex’s life determine what is meaningful and fulfilling.
No reason to compare, judge or experience irritation over the life your ex is living.
If your ex is traveling the world and living it up, good for him.
If she moved to Italy and is dating the prime minister, good for her.
If he’s getting married two weeks after the divorce papers are finalized, good riddance!
You need to return to yourself.
This is no longer a partnership.
You are no longer filing jointly.
Your happiness, your life’s meaning, your taxes and even your peace after divorce are your responsibility.
Yes, it’s harder this way but adjusting to this new reality gets easier with time.
7. Take ownership of your life.
This all brings me to the fact that you are the only person responsible for your life.
As my friend and fellow author, Andreea, mentioned to me, the waves may be high and dangerous but you’re still in command of your boat.
You have control only over your own life.
You can’t do anything about what your ex does or who she does it with.
You have little say over whom your ex spends his money on or how much younger she is.
You are both done being a part of each other’s lives.
You can allow the divorce to end the relationship you once had and then learn to create a new relationship. This is the renewed relationship of two new single people or two new single parents.
Moving forward requires that you accept your divorce, make peace after divorce, and choose to move forward under new circumstances.
You’re the captain of this boat; you can choose the direction you want to go and you can pick up new people along the way.
It’s time to say au revoir to your divorce and demanding ex and aloha to the new life and relationships that await.
The oars to peace after divorce are in your hands.
If you want to know how to find peace after divorce, check out my book on finding peace after divorce, The Sacred Art of Letting Go. (affiliate link)
Were the people who were supposed to have loved you the very same people who hurt you and tried to tear down your self-worth?
Did you grow up in an abusive home with absent or abusive parents?
Grow up in a home with a physically abusive father?
An emotionally abusive mother?
Detached parents? Cruel or neglectful?
You may have thought the past is the past and you could move on and live your life. Yet, you’re likely finding that your past doesn’t just disappear. Instead, you find yourself alone to carry the pain of your past.
This could come in the form of low self-esteem. An eating disorder. A generally non-motivated and uninspired life. Combative and unhealthy relationships you find yourself in as an adult.
You didn’t have the tools to resist your parents, stand up for yourself as a child or find shelter against unhealthy parenting but you do have tools now to move past the pain.
The healing is in the light.
Your inner light.
You have the inner light to weather anything life has thrown at you. When you fully immerse yourself in your light, you can no longer suffer abuse. Others can no longer trample you. They can no longer tear you down.
Here are 8 steps towards embracing your light when you feel the darkness of hurt and pain.
1. Sit in the light of pain and loss.
Before you can heal, you must claim and sit in the pain and the loss. It’s perfectly ok to acknowledge the hurt you’ve experienced, cry over the sadness of the past and sit in the sorrow you feel.
You will never know light exists if you first didn’t realize you were in the darkness. The idea is to be aware of this place, not to live there.
2.Remind yourself that darkness and light are part of the same universe.
You’re not in an entirely different universe. You are simply in the darker parts for now. The light is on the other side. You will find your way there. Being aware of the darkness is the first step to seeing the light.
Having known the darkness, you’ll more easily find the light. Having known the darkness, you’ll have a greater appreciation of the light.
3.Allow your light to wash your wounds.
The light can fill whatever loss you’re carrying, whatever holes you have within you and whatever voids are in your life.
You can find the light within you. It’s the ounce of hope within. It’s the flicker of inner knowing. It’s the divine spirit you might have felt while observing the redwoods or watching the majestic skies at night. It’s the moment of inspiration, hope and aliveness you feel within yourself. It’s the belief in a new day and a new dawn.
If you’ve ever seen or felt this light within you, you know it’s there. You know you can cultivate it and allow it to shine into the spaces of hurt and loss.
4.Extend the light to those people who crushed your soul.
You may want to withhold your light from the very people who hurt you, robbed you of your childhood or crushed your soul. You may never want to give them your love, affection or attention.
The very people who are hurtful and abusive need the light the most. No, you don’t have to kiss and make up like nothing happened but you can set the intention within to forgive them for all the ways they hurt you. You can extend to them the light of understanding and empathy. You can acknowledge they, too, were hurting and didn’t know what they were doing.
5.Be in communion with the divine.
Your light may come from a divine experience or a spiritual place.
You walk into your house of worship and feel the light. You see the flickering flames of candles, oil lamps and sunlight coming in through the stained-glassed windows of the church.
Whatever your house of worship is, know you can cultivate the light from a divine and spiritual place. Go within, reflect, take inspiration and inspire.
Have a communication and relationship with the divine light you experience.
Walk out of the temple or church each time with the light burning a little stronger.
6.See the light in all.
The light fills the entire world. All you must do is sit and observe it. Even in the middle of the night or when all feels dark, light is there. It fills the earth.
If light is everywhere, the light must be in you. The light must be in the people who hurt you also. The light must be in places of darkness. Learn to see the light in the dark places. Look hard for the light when it’s especially dark. Look for the light in others.
Once you see the light in others, especially the people who hurt you, you can let go of the hurt and move on. The same fabric of light composes you and the people who hurt you. You will more easily forgive and realize your oneness with all.
7.Fill your soul with light.
Spend time each day filling your soul with light.
The light may come from work that brings you joy or work that serves other people.
The light may come from your spiritual practices, like contemplation or prayer.
You may feel the light while playing with your children, cooking a meal or taking a walk.
You may find the light when you choose kindness over hatred or empathy over anger.
When you see or feel the light within you, allow it to fill you. Sit with the light.
8.Extend compassion and empathy to all those around you.
Spread the light from within to all those around you.
Set an intention that the vibration of the light you’re feeling is spreading to those around you who are in pain and hurting.
Be an example in the light. Live your life in the light every day.
If you spiral into darkness one day, seek the light the next day.
Show others it’s acceptable to live in the light, even when you’re in pain.
You can fill the void and the loss with the light.
You can substitute the hardships and struggles with the light.
You can view the misdeeds of others in the light so your anger melts into compassion.
The light allows you to turn hostility to understanding. It helps you stop judging others and instead try to see their perspective.
The light releases grudges and fosters forgiveness.
The light can remove obstacles, cut through the pain, and heal you and those around you.
How do you survive a divorce if you’re going through one today?
You may be trying to survive the thunderstorms of divorce in your life. You’re likely feeling lost, confused, and heartbroken, among many other feelings.
Yes, you’re angry beyond words and hurt beyond feelings to the point that you’re numb from the suffering.
You’re feeling hopeless about the future. Will you survive this divorce? What happens next? Is there even a future for you? Will you find happiness again?
Having survived a failed marriage, heartbreak, and profound sadness, I feel like I can share my experience with you and remind you that, yes, all those things are possible. You can absolutely survive a divorce.
In fact, I want you to know that my heartbreak and eventual divorce was the best thing that happened in my life and that I am more grateful to my ex than to anyone else I know.
If you’re emotionally drained, mentally strained, and physically tired from the pain and burden of a broken heart after divorce, I want to share these 21 reminders with you to help you survive a divorce.
21 encouraging reminders to help you survive a divorce
1. You’ll survive this like you have before.
You’ve gone through similar painful experiences in your life. You’ve stood strong before and you can survive divorce. You will go through ups and downs, the darkest hour, and your life’s lowest point, but I know that you will come out and still be standing when the pain goes away.
No matter how much you want to disappear from the world and how far away you want to go, know that you will make it through. You’re a survivor – you keep going even when all hope seems gone because you know in your heart that things WILL get better. You know that your day will come.
2. Your life starts over when you forgive.
It seems like you can’t move on and do anything.
You see your ex around, and you’re filled with rage, jealousy, anger, and resentment. What your ex did to you was criminal – how does he get away with such pain and torture while you’re left to suffer?
When you see yourself as the victim of heartbreak and divorce, you can’t move on. The only way out is to forgive your ex – early, often and throughout your grief.
You might think that you have to get to a place of forgiveness to forgive.
You forgive first even when you don’t feel like forgiving. You then receive the benefits of forgiveness – peace after divorce, compassion, and healing. The act of forgiveness comes first…
You must be willing to let go of the grudge no matter how badly your ex treated you, even if he or she betrayed you and intentionally hurt you. You must be willing to forgive if they ran off with someone else or chose someone else over you.
Only you can choose when you’ve had enough of the pain and suffering.
When you’ve had enough personal turmoil, forgive so that you can move on.
3. You don’t need a reason why this is happening to you.
We strive in our lives to know “why” about everything. When we know why something is happening, we can understand it.
Let go of your desire to know.
Your divorce is happening simply because it is – not because you’re a bad person or because it’s your fate or karma or any such thing.
Life happens in cycles. You’re going through a downturn, but like housing markets, stock markets, and Mother Nature herself, your life’s going to be back on the upswing.
Sun comes after the rain. Dawn breaks after dark.
4. Your suffering will lead to growth.
Don’t ask me how or why, but your most fabulous self awaits you after your divorce.
Once you go through a divorce, you begin an intense process of self-reflection, introspection, and self-awareness.
Once you stop thinking about your ex and what went wrong in the relationship, you’ll begin to reflect on your behavior, habits, and characteristics.
Remember, there’s nothing flawed about you, and you’re not inadequate in any way.
Allow the healing process to give you an opportunity to make adjustments, improve yourself, and become the best version of you.
5. Your ex will be your greatest spiritual teacher.
Do you think you need a spiritual guru to gain insights into yourself and discover who you truly are?
Nope, your ex-lover can help with all that. Your former spouse can be your greatest spiritual teacher.
You won’t believe how much your ex has shaken up your life, penetrated your heart, and awakened your soul. When your relationship rocks your physical and emotional worlds, you are ready to learn the spiritual lessons of life.
Your ex will help you learn forgiveness, gratitude, how to let go, how to live in the present moment and how to embrace life’s changes.
6. Your divorce will open your heart to new love.
Your old relationship may have been dysfunctional and full of fights; it didn’t serve you very well. Isn’t it time to celebrate the fact that it’s over and that you now have the opportunity to find the right person for you?
How could you find Mr. Right if you were with Mr. Absolutely Wrong?
You know yourself better now, so when you are ready to meet people again, you’ll have a much better understanding of yourself and who you’re looking for.
7. You have to grieve before letting go.
Time will not heal your wounds. You can’t deny that your relationship ended. You must acknowledge that it’s over and go through the grieving process.
You’ll have to experience the feelings that come with heartbreak, learn to cope with them and then release the unhealthy emotions to survive a divorce.
Practice self-compassion and take care of yourself emotionally and physically while you’re grieving. Keep people in you your support system close to you.
Build up your forgiveness muscle so that you can forgive your ex and heal your heart.
8. You choose when you’re ready to move on.
Again, time won’t heal your wounds, but you can choose when you’d like to move on. If you’re ready to move on now, start the healing process now.
Begin with forgiveness. Let go of the past now. Start embracing your emotions now.
If you resist the healing process or can’t accept that the relationship is over, you’re simply postponing your ability to move on.
9. You don’t need a relationship right now.
As much as you think you should, don’t start another relationship right now.
While loneliness and sadness will consume your life, do yourself a favor and stay out of a romantic relationship.
You need friends, supporters, family and colleagues who will be there for you – not someone who will help you avoid or resist the grieving process.
Say “no” to a new relationship until you’re truly ready to move on.
10. You’re going to be able to embrace massive changes.
If you were change-resistant before, divorce will change that. Now that the unexpected and the unimaginable have happened, you’re going to be able to deal with anything that comes up in your life.
Once the world as you know it has flipped upside down, you’re going to have the strength and resilience to confront anything else like this in the future. You can embrace any change.
11. Your purpose is waiting for you now.
You might have been waiting your whole life to discover your purpose and your life’s calling.
Well, now in the midst of agony and sorrow, you’re going to find it. Your life’s purpose will call out to you in the midst of tragedy and pain.
You will get clearer than ever on why you are here on earth.
12. Your deepest pain will deliver your greatest insights.
Not only will you discover your life’s purpose, you’ll have all kinds of insights during your grieving period. You’ll get insight about the meaning of your life and who you are as a person.
You’ll have the opportunity to go within and get the answers to many of the questions you’ve had in your life.
The way to get these insights is to ask the questions and listen to the answers. The answers will come to you through your wise inner voice; be more observant of it.
13. You’ll learn what’s important to you.
Maybe you were having trouble figuring out what you care about and what’s important.No more.
When your world feels upside down, what matters will matter. You can cut out everything else from your life.
If an activity or person is bringing you down, let it go. Now is the time to protect yourself. Keep what matters and let go of what doesn’t – friends, activities, hobbies and even your job.
14. You can get through one day at a time.
When you think about the entirety of your relationship from beginning to end, or about the gravity of the breakup, you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. If you think about how devastating this is, or how gloomy your future looks, you’ll feel paralyzed.
You can get through the days if you take them one day at a time.
Think only about what you’re going to do today and how you’re going to make it through the day.
Write up a short to-do list, prioritize your day the night before and keep your commitments to a minimum. One day at a time is the only way to survive this rocky period.
15. Your compassion and empathy meters will skyrocket.
Once you survive a divorce, you’re going to be more compassionate about and empathetic to others’ pain. This is one of the gifts of divorce that will change you as a person.
Before, you might not have been as perceptive or considerate of other people and their feelings as you are now.
You will see and feel more pain in others around you – the same pain you’ve suffered yourself. When you see others’ pain and suffering, ask yourself what you can do to serve.
16. You’re going to care a lot about what people think, then never give a damn again.
When you are going through a divorce, not only will the pain be too much to bear, the embarrassment and shame of having to explain your status to others can be difficult to face.
Initially, you’ll care a lot about what others think. Others in your life will pry and try to get at the personal details of your life. They’ll judge, spread rumors and gossip.
Now is the time to realize that these opinions don’t matter. Let these people feel and say what they want. Know that their actions and behaviors don’t have any bearing in your life.
Living your life to the tune of others’ expectations will only lead to misery and sadness. You now have the opportunity to stop caring about what other people think.
17. You need friends and supporters on your side.
No matter how embarrassed or ashamed you might feel, it’s too much to bear the pain on your own. Seek out your friends, family and supporters and spend time with them. I didn’t do this for some time, and it was probably my biggest regret.
You don’t have to unload your relationship issues to them – just spend time with them and enjoy their company. Allow them to be there for you.
18. Caring for yourself isn’t selfish.
During all the other times in your life, you would have felt guilty getting a massage, taking a vacation or buying yourself something nice.
As you’re feeling the pain of heartbreak and the grief of loneliness, you have permission to take care of yourself.
It’s not selfish to take care of yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Get a massage, take a yoga class, get more sleep or take some time to exercise every day.
Visit a church, temple or flower garden to take in the scenery.
Paint, visit museums – do whatever it is that you used to enjoy doing. Now is the time to indulge.
19. Others love and want you.
Just because your partner walked out or ended the relationship doesn’t mean that you’re unworthy or unwanted.
Think about all the people in your life who love you and deeply care about you – your parents, kids, uncles, aunts, family and friends.
Your colleagues at work and the people you’ve helped in the past.You’re a gift in this world. The fact that one person can’t appreciate you doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
You are here for a purpose; you are here to give and share and love.
The fact that one person doesn’t want you frees up your energy so that you can be there for the people who love and value you.
You’re going to see your true worth now, minus the person who has held you back.
20. You can choose to stop replaying the past in your mind.
Yes, you can.
The reason you’re likely replaying the past is the same reason I was replaying my relationship over and over in my mind.
See, when our relationships end or when we confront major changes that we don’t want to experience, we can hold onto the past by replaying it in our minds.
Even when the world is falling apart, we can go back to this happy place and replay the good days and times with our ex.
The problem here is that you’re resisting what’s happening in your life now and keeping yourself stuck in a past that no longer exists.
Catch yourself slipping away to the past and bring yourself back to the present. Look at the past with gratitude, but wish it farewell.
21. You can rewrite your life’s story.
There are two distinct stories you can tell yourself about what you’re experiencing.
Your heart’s broken, you’ve wasted your life and you’ll never find love again.
Or you can rewrite another story with the same set of facts.
You found yourself in a relationship that didn’t work, but in the process, you learned a lot about yourself and relationships in general. You’re now much more insightful and know exactly what type of partner you’re looking for. You’re ready for a more compatible relationship and ready to meet your soul mate.
I know how devastating the end of a relationship can be, and how much turmoil it can cause.
I want to remind you that you are going to survive this and come back stronger than before.
You can rewrite the story of your life’s heartbreak and welcome new love into your life.
You can survive a divorce. You got this.
* To pick up my book, 10 Sacred Laws of Healing a Broken Heart, click here. Or pick up The Sacred Art of Letting Gohere. (affiliate links)
“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Sonia Ricotti
It’s not easy to love again after heartbreak.
I know because heartbreak has been my divine teacher.
And it’s taken me a very long time to come to terms with my breakup, accept my divorce and let go (mentally) of the person who occupied so much of my life.
It’s close to four years now and I FINALLY feel ready to move on.
Ready to let love into my life again.
Ready to open myself up again.
How I got here
When my marriage ended abruptly, my life began unraveling for a couple reasons. One, I loved my ex-wife, and despite our many challenges together, I was hopeful as ever of a love that would heal, transform and reignite. I felt it was only a matter of time before our differences would darken and our hearts would shine.
Two, my life unraveled because I couldn’t accept such a drastic change in it. Maybe I took love and marriage for granted. Or maybe I had the old-school version of relationships stuck in my mind – that relationships lasted no matter how challenging or tumultuous they were. The only solution, I believed, was to stay together and keep trying. And in the meantime, we had to keep working through the kinks.
Although divorce was what I ultimately came to accept, it was after much kicking and screaming on my part.
I didn’t want to let go of someone who I had come to see as part of me. Despite our differences, I had always felt soulfully connected to her.
Naturally, when she left, my soul felt empty and my life felt broken.
I went from a state of shock and pain to sadness and loss.
Much of this is chronicled in this blog, and much of what I’ve written describes how to come back from such dark and tragic places in our lives.
For me, the process of healing and letting go has taken place at a snail’s pace.
Over the past few years, my mind continued to replay the ups and downs of our relationship. Of course, during periods of grieving, your mind can hardly remember the downs.
You mostly remember the good times, the happy times and the joyful times.
I remembered the laughs, dreams and hopes we shared.
And every city or restaurant we had visited together triggered a reaction in me.
Every current conversation or movie triggered conversations and chatter of the past.
I saw her name everywhere and heard her name everywhere, including in magazines, books and movies.
I was clinging and holding on for dear life to this lost love. I felt that losing her was losing myself. This dying relationship felt like my own mortality.
It was not easy, as you know, to pick up the pieces, get through each day and move on.
The path back to myself has been long and treacherous. The path back to love has been fraught with tears, sorrow and sadness.
The path to moving on has required that I find the courage to let go of the past, accept the present and step into who I am today. The path to myself required that I put myself together after being completely broken.
It’s required that I stand up and step into my soul + my life.
If you have gotten out of a soul-crushing, life-crushing relationship and find yourself on the bathroom floor crying out to a God that doesn’t appear to exist, I bow to you and welcome you to join me on this journey to healing.
Your heart may be fractured, but your soul is about to emerge – stronger, more vibrant and more courageous than ever.
You may feel as though your breakup has shattered your life, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for living today.
To the contrary, if you go through this journey of healing you can find peace today, gratitude for what happened and joy in future possibilities.
Cracking open a fragile heart can unleash a timid soul.
You can become courageous again and be ready to open your soul to something new.
If you’re ready to let go and move on, let me take you through my own healing process.
9 ways to let go of your past relationship so that you can heal and open your heart to love again
1) Acceptance of what is.
For the longest time, I couldn’t accept heartbreak or divorce.
I had always believed our separation was temporary and that we would get back together one day.
Same with divorce. Even months and, I would say, years after the divorce, I thought there was hope for our relationship.
You might see this as positive thinking, delusion or denial.
See, heartbreak had caused so much personal pain that I just did not want to accept it as true. The divorce had caused so much emotional and family turmoil, I wished it would simply go away.
I was really fighting change and uncertainty – it was the first time in my life I felt like I had no control over a situation. So I tried to remain positive, visualizing and dreaming our relationship back together.
Of course, what I was really doing was denying this reality.
When you’re in denial about something in your life, you can’t move on.
When you refuse to accept uncertainty or events that are out of your control, you’re going to remain stuck.
If you’d like to move on from heartbreak, or anything really, surrender to the situation – let your life feel out of control for a bit. Trust that it will get better and that you’ll see light down the road, even if you’re in darkness now.
You may not know how to get out of the torture you’re feeling, but now there is a way out. It will come together as you go through the healing process.
Allow your intuition to shine the light and lead the way while healing.
Sometimes acceptance and surrender require simply standing back and not doing anything – not resisting or denying what you’re experiencing.
It’s acknowledging your situation as it is. It’s sitting with it and accepting it without an answer or action plan.
2) Showing up to grieve.
You don’t have to hide, deny, suppress or run from your emotions.
Allow them to unfold and wash over you.
Show up to grieve – face grief boldly and courageously.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of – you’re entitled to feel hurt, sad, angry, devastated or any other feelings you’re experiencing.
In my case, I felt an avalanche of emotions and feelings for a couple of years after the divorce. I didn’t make them go away or hide them.
Lots of tears, sleepless nights and therapy numbed the pain and helped me come to terms with loss.
Sharing the pain with others, although I didn’t do this much at first, definitely helped me carry the burden of the breakup’s pain.
Show up and face your grief.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in feeling everything you’re feeling. It’s normal. It’s human. And again, if it’s overwhelming, reach out to your inner circle or professionals to help you deal with the emotional weight you’re carrying.
3) Taking responsibility
You can take on a bitter attitude your entire life and curse your no-good &$^&@#@ ex for the pain and heartache she caused or….
You can take responsibility for your part in the relationship.
For much of the earlier stages of my grief, I blamed my ex. She did this…or didn’t do this…Most thoughts concluded with the feeling that it was her fault and I was the innocent victim.
Of course, it’s never this way. Both sides in a relationship gone sour are at fault.
You don’t have to blame yourself for it, but instead accept responsibility for it.
And if you think there’s nothing at all wrong with you and it was all your ex’s fault, try to take a more objective view. If you still can’t, you may not be ready to move on.
I now realize that I was living unconsciously in my relationship. I’m not sure what I was thinking or who I was back then, but it wasn’t the person today who came out of that relationship.
I was living a life of ego, anger, unrealistic expectations, control and non-communication.
I can justify all these things in my life and blame these many character flaws on others (hi parents!), or I can choose not to and take responsibility for them.
Only when I began to realize what I had done wrong could I continue the healing process.
When I was dead-certain it was all my ex’s fault, I was stuck in my ego and my healing. I couldn’t move on until I took responsibility.
Once I started taking responsibility I could also stop playing the role of “victim.”
When you play the role of the “victim,” your view of the relationship and your steps forward are skewed.
When it’s all the other person’s fault and you feel like you did nothing wrong, you’re likely not being honest with yourself. And more importantly, you’re stopping yourself from moving on.
If you can’t admit that you had a part in how this relationship ended, you can’t go through the other steps of healing I describe below. You’re likely stuck on being “right” rather than choosing to move on.
The longer you choose the state of denial and blame, the longer it will take for you to heal.
4) Forgiving yourself.
Once you take responsibility for your part, be willing to forgive yourself.
The goal here isn’t to hold yourself up to some gold standard, criticize yourself or remind yourself how much you screwed up.
It’s to forgive yourself for acting and behaving in ways that were not healthy. You most likely didn’t know what you were doing and you’ve grown because of your unconscious behavior.
Once you realize it wasn’t healthy and you see your mistakes, you’ve given yourself the gifts of awareness, insight and growth.
When you forgive yourself and bathe yourself in compassion, you can let go of the hot coals of anger and resentment you’re carrying.
In order to forgive, you have to ignore what others have said to you about yourself and the internal story you’re telling about yourself.
If you feel blame and guilt, you have even more reason to forgive yourself.
You’re not perfect, you’re human.
Even if you broke up with the perfect person and it was all your fault, forgive yourself. You have learned, grown and become the person who can do better the next time.
5) Forgiveness and saying thank you.
Harder than forgiving yourself is forgiving your ex.
Actually, you not only need to forgive your ex, but everyone else you blame in the relationship – his friends, her family, your parents, her parents and anyone else you believe bears responsibility for the parting of ways.
Forgiving isn’t easy and you’re never going to reach the ideal place of forgiveness. Forgiving when it feels right won’t work because it will never feel right.
Forgiveness is a process – one that, if you’re to reap the benefits, requires your participation.
You forgive even if you don’t want to. It’s true what they say about forgiveness – ultimately, forgiving others is a way to let go of the resentment and anger within. You’re really forgiving for yourself.
Set an intention to forgive.
Then write a letter (which you don’t send) to your ex, forgiving him or her for all the person’s wrongs and hurtful actions toward you. Forgiving your ex for breaking your trust, breaking your heart, taking advantage of you.
Forgiveness is a miracle-inducing action that will allow the vibrancy of the pain you’re feeling to subside.
One of the first things I did in my journey to healing was to forgive my ex. I didn’t want to at the time, but I forgave anyway. And I continued forgiving her throughout the healing process.
After you begin your mission of forgiveness, you can truly heal by becoming grateful to this former person in your life.
Once you see how he or she transformed your life and improved your being, you can’t help but be grateful. Express that gratitude by writing or sending a silent wish to the person.
I am more grateful to my former wife today for our relationship.
Although our relationship was a struggle, it broke open the floodgates to conscious living, finding my truth and myself (even my purpose). It has led to my greatest personal development, character development and spiritual awareness.
This relationship broke my heart wide open so that I could see my soul and, today, live from this place.
I am thankful.
6) Bringing yourself back to the present.
When you have suffered a breakup and are trying to get over it, something that sabotages your recovery is living in the past – which I did a lot of.
As I’ve talked about, my resistance to change and my inability to accept life events made me want to go back and relive the glory days of our relationship.
I thought constantly about all the good times, the shared laughs, the highlights and the happy times. I longed for a time and day that no longer existed.
When you get in the habit of living in the past, though, the negative and painful times also pop into your mind.
Imagine living a life that has nothing to do with today. I was doing that for a couple of years; continually reliving the past because I felt safe there and took comfort in knowing that my future life could be like my past life.
I was being nostalgic and sentimental; I had a better sense of myself in the past.
Who was I, after all, without my ex and my past?
Letting go of past living is scary, but so essential to moving on.
Life is beautiful, rich and filled with so many lovely experiences. You can’t really experience the beauty of life if you’re not here at this moment.
Catch yourself going back to the past and become aware of your tendency to daydream about the good days.
Pay attention and create present moment awareness in your life.
Think of your past as a movie, with scenes flashing into your mind, but try to avoid jumping back into those scenes and reliving them.
You’ve already suffered enough. By not living in the present moment, you’re allowing your past relationship and your ex to repeatedly harm you.
Choose yourself. Choose today. Choose the present moment.
7) Soul lessons.Life lessons.
As you move forward, don’t forget the lessons of this relationship. And the lessons from life’s lowest point.
If you haven’t learned any lessons, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to grow and gain more insight.
As you take responsibility for your part, what have you learned about yourself?
What do you need to change? What do you need to let go of? How do you live more in alignment with your true nature? How do you live a more authentic life? How do you connect and relate to other people? How can you communicate better?
Ask yourself these questions and get curious about how to make improvements in your life and future relationships.
Life has taught you a heavy but invaluable lesson. Do life and your former relationship justice by walking away from it with wisdom.
Ask yourself what the relationship was here to teach you and glean the answers from this question.
8) Cultivate compassion and love.
As you come back to the world of new relationships and new possibilities, cultivate more compassion and love in your life. First, for yourself.
Learn to have a passionate affair with yourself (I wrote this manifesto about how to do so) so that you’re embracing your darkest parts and your wounds.
Don’t beat yourself up over what happened. Treat yourself as you would your gentlest and kindest friend.
Allow love to infuse the thoughts, emotions and feelings in your life.
Establish a spiritual practice to help you generate love from your internal being.
From your inner core, imagine love spreading outward toward others. Imagine love from within expanding from you to the entire world.
Breathe in compassion. Breathe out anger. Breathe in compassion. Breathe out judgment.
Breathe in love. Breathe out the past. Breathe in love. Breathe out the pain.
9) Step into your life with courage.
Once you accept what happened, go through the healing process and are ready for a comeback, be ready to step out of your broken heart and into your life.
What I mean by this is to embrace everything that has happened to you and then find the courage to move forward.
Find the courage within for each step of the journey toward healing and then the courage to come out of healing.
Take small steps toward living a new life. Small steps in saying “yes” to coffee and “yes” to meeting new people.
Small steps in reacting differently to people, in changing your past behavior and in improving who you are as a person.
Yes, your past happened – own it – but the future is happening now and you can write how that goes.
You’ve come out of heartache and failure – you know what it’s like to be at life’s low point, but this has certainly prepared you for life’s glory days.
You’ve experienced crisis. Now you’re ready for brilliance.
Coming out of your shell to meet your best life takes courage. Take those small steps of courage to live an inspired, love-filled and soul-rich life.
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