I’ve gone through one of the most excruciating and painful events I could have ever imagined: a separation with my ex that ultimately led to my divorce.
For years of my life, I was stuck thinking about her. I didn’t want to move on, let go, or do anything else in my life. I was struck with grief and stayed paralyzed, devastated, and in tears for years.
I went through years of doing the spiritual work and the emotional work to heal and overcome the grief of our relationship ending. I wished that I was one of those people who just woke up and moved on to the next person.
Not I. I thought of myself as the loyal person who was going to stand on the battlefield of love and fight until the deadly end. I was going to keep the memories of this relationship alive and keep her in my life like she was still there and the relationship never ended. I would just reject the notion that this relationship was no more.
So, I stayed and suffered for years; grieving for some of those years, hoping she’d come back some of those years or simply remaining numb for some of those years.
I felt this was the most special and holiest of relationships. I felt like this woman was my soulmate who had been sent to me through the cosmos and I had found through the most divine circumstances.
I never for a second thought this relationship could end. The relationship ending felt like my life should have ended as well.
When it did end, I wanted to know how she could have done this. I wanted to know why she did this. I wanted to know much longer she would remain away from what I knew was a holy relationship.
I was lost and confused without hope or motivation about my own life.
So, year after year, I struggled and stayed stuck in the past. I continued to do the work and went all over the world searching for answers. I looked for answers in the hundreds of books I read. I looked for answers in the many therapist’s visits I had. I looked for answers with the spiritual gurus I visited and the ashrams around the world.
I wanted to find answers about why the relationship ended and how I was to let go of this relationship ending.
What I found in my search instead
As I did the work over the last several years, most of the answers that I discovered were hardly about my ex.
In fact, what I discovered was that my ex was simply a mirror and helped me see very issues that I should work on in my life. She showed me my childhood traumas that I was never exposed to. She showed me my lack of self-love and lack of belief in myself. She showed me my habits of over-thinking, rumination, and living my life in the past.
She showed me my aversion to change and uncertainty in life. Finally, she showed me that I regularly saw myself stuck in my own circumstances and would rather suffer in the things that I couldn’t change than try to make some positive change in my life.
I went on a deep journey to discover how to let go of the relationship and move on from her. I did find the answers to that but this journey also exposed me to hidden pains and emotional wounds that I was never aware of.
What they say is true. Relationships are your greatest spiritual teachers. They will bring up all your crap so you can deal with it.
You may take the journey believing that it’s your ex is the problem and your ex is mean, abusive, or hurtful but what I realized ultimate is that…
Your Ex Is Your Teacher
Through your relationship and later through your breakup, you will examine what happened and what went wrong.
More than likely, if you do the work of healing, you will discover that many of the issues that came up in the relationship have to do with your life-long hurts that have not been healed.
As you progress through your breakup journey, you will continue to discover unresolved pain, childhood traumas and other emotional wounds. You will soon make the discovery that much of the issues from this breakup are internal ones that you have to work on understanding and healing.
You thought you only had to deal with the grief of the breakup but your breakup will open the floodgates to all the other issues that are lurking within.
Your job now is becoming aware, discovering the emotional wounds, and working on healing them. You will soon realize that all the problems and blame that you had put on your ex will turn inward. You will see how various emotional wounds and inner hurts contributed to the relationship deteriorating.
Now is the time to look within, become aware and work on healing life-long wounds. Your ex is your teacher in this classroom on heartbreak.
Your task is to do the homework assigned to you, learn the lessons that are available to you and grow through this experience.
When I tell people that I write about heartbreak all day and coach the heartbroken, I get all kinds of reactions.
Often, I don’t mention the work that I do at all because I can’t explain this phenomenon to other people. I can’t tell them why I’m willing to do work that seems depressing and dark. Why I’m swimming in sadness and grieve.
Yet I don’t see it this way. To me, heartbreak is the first step to a complete life overhaul. When heartbroken, people make the greatest improvements,
It may seem like sad and depressing work but I find it the most empowering work I can imagine. If you have suffered a broken heart, it’s worse than
As far as writing about heartbreak, I started writing about my own breakup in the beginning because I was hurting so much after my divorce.
I wanted to share my path to recovery and my journey to help other people get over their own breakups and divorce.
Heartbreak Can Kill
Most people suffer in heartbreak after their breakups. They feel knocked out but the gravity of the breakup.
The pain is about the worst thing you could humanly experience. Heartbreak can kill our soul, our spirit, our emotional center.
Yet, now I’m realizing that heartbreak can kill people. This doesn’t get talked about much.
The media doesn’t talk much about suicide because of heartbreak because they don’t want more and more people copying others and taking their own lives.
I Have a Stronger Reason Now
Not only does breakup take people’s lives but it took the life of someone very close to me.
The woman whom I am dating now and I only met because of a tragic breakup. Her younger brother took his own life by suicide. He killed himself when the woman he fell in love with rejected him.
The woman I am dating and I met while she was returning home to Indonesia for her brother’s funeral. She wished that her brother had spoken to her about his relationship problems and his breakup. They handn’t communicated.
Then he passed away.
Her returning to Indonesia for her brother’s funeral was how we had our most unlikely meeting.
We met in the midst of tragedy and ironically on Valentine’s Day.
Love Can Kill
So many of us don’t have the tools to overcome heartbreak and move on with our lives. Our first heartbreak or most passionate heartbreak can be life-crippling and soul-crushing.
It can tear us down and make us plunge into depression, lead us to the midst of darkness and or make us wonder about the meaning of life.
Heartbreak can also lead to death.
Heartbreak kills people who can’t cope with the pain of the breakup when they chose to end their lives through suicide.
Heartbreak can lead to broken heart syndrome, a medically-diagnosed disease, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy. According to the American Heart Association, “In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.”
It’s time to do the work.
Now more than ever, we must process heartbreak and come out on the other side of it.
If you’re going through heartbreak, don’t sit on the pain and sorrow for months and years on end.
The myth about heartbreak is that it will get better on its own and with time. I never found that to be the case. It took a grieving, processing, and rebuilding to heal from heartbreak. It took reframing and self-love.
I want to make sure that everyone going through heartbreak finds their way out. Heartbreak may not just take your peace of mind but your life.
Someone very close to me lost her brother due to heartbreak and suicide. I’m going to work even harder now to help people with broken hearts heal and move on.
If you’re wondering what to do in your part of the world, this is the recipe for changing the circumstances around you.
Look at something you don’t like, let’s say, racism.
Imagine what a better, more equal, and more tolerant society can look like. Realize that you don’t have to accept the status quo.
Get inspiration and hope from people and leaders around you. Get ideas on how to do something about it and then do something.
We need more hope, more people deciding to change the world and more people taking action.
Believe it or not, this is how one person can change the world.
You just have to give a damn and not allow your circumstances to keep you in a paralyzed state. Don’t accept the way things are right now.
Friends, this is the same formula for changing your life too
Let’s say you’ve come out of a bad divorce or breakup. You just feel stuck and paralyzed. You don’t feel like doing anything. You can’t even get out of bed.
Maybe you’ve been stuck for years.
You ended up on this blog, so you know that you have to do something.
I’ve shared the formula with you, but it’s going to require a little work from you.
Not doing anything will not improve the situation.
All those people who say that time will improve your life are lying.
It won’t. All you will do with time is ruminate, get sentimental and start missing the past.
You have to do something to improve your future.
If you’re not doing it for yourself, do it for your kids.
If you’re not doing it for your kids, do something just so your ex won’t get the better of you. Don’t let them steal even more of your life. Don’t let them take your happiness and joy even more than they have.
One of the most powerful exercises I do with clients is getting them to see what their future looks like. I help them visualize what a life of love and happiness looks like.
You never see this future state. You are caught up in the past and remembering all that happened. You think all the good times already passed. You think the best love and the most joy already happened. You don’t think that you can find love, companionship, or happiness again.
I’m here to tell you that’s an incorrect assumption.
I was just where you were a few years ago. I thought my life was over, and there was no hope left after my breakup. I stayed stuck and replayed the past over and over again. I just gave up until I started doing this envisioning work and believing there was a more hopeful day ahead.
I forced myself to imagine the life I wanted even though every day I was living the life I had.
Then, I noticed that to get the life that I wanted, I would have to do some work.
I would have to forgive.
I would have to find closure on my own.
I would have to tell myself a new story about this past relationship.
I would have to rebuild my self-worth.
This took work but it also took a choice.
At what point are you going to make a choice?
Yes, you can grieve and process what happened, but how long are you going to stay stuck?
How long are you going to feel like you experienced the greatest tragedy and injustice?
Your ex walking out on your or cheating on you is pretty screwed up.
They destroyed you.
But how long can you continue to give them power over your life?
It’s time to take your life back.
It’s time to decide you don’t want to stay in bed, in tears and depressed about life.
It’s time to make a choice and then go about making changes.
It had to get to rock bottom point for change to start happening in my life. I left a career, left a job, and followed my dreams. I rebuilt my self-worth, forgave the people who hurt me in my life, and worked on becoming a better partner in relationships. I started meeting new people and found the most amazing love.
Beautiful things can come to you too.
Out of heartbreak, you can discover your purpose, your meaning in life, and why you were put here.
You can let go of a life that wasn’t suiting you and start living a life you love.
Once you get excited about the life that’s possible and not regretting the life you lost, things start to change.
You begin to do things you never did before.
You decide and choose to better yourself and your life.
You start meeting people and finding people who are a much better fit for you.
The recipe for changing the world is the same recipe for changing your life.
In fact, changing your life will help change the world. When you let go of anger, attachment to your ex, and your past, you will have more self-acceptance, compassion, and love in your life.
You will do more to change your life and the world around you.
I was stuck for so long in the past because of guilt at what I had done in my marriage.
I thought about every single thing that I had done and felt guilty about it. How I had taken the relationship for granted. How I criticized and nagged my ex. How I didn’t let her be completely free and her own person.
I thought about all the things that she pointed out about me in my life after divorce. I reflected on all the things she had found problematic in our relationship. All the things she said to me about what I had done to screw it up.
I’m a terrible person and I deserve to be in my own prison for some time, maybe for the rest of my life. I thought that since the person who had known me most decided to break up with me that I was a bad person, had done terrible and deserved to be punished. I deserved to suffer.
You may have come out of breakup or divorce and feeling the same way too. You may feel the heaviness of the guilt in your life after divorce. You may feel like a failure and like you were solely at fault for the relationship.
You may feel like you’re the bad or evil person.
As you’re thinking all this, your ex may have moved on with their life after divorce. They may have switched careers, found new love and started a family.
They seemed to have improved their life in every way and you’re still sticking around in the past, holding onto the heavy baggage of guilt and self-blame.
If you’re feeling the heavy pangs of guilt after divorce, think about what you’re giving up when you’re stuck with guilt.
Your guilt is stealing these 7 things from your life after divorce
A new life.
You have the ability to move on and start a new life after divorce. You can live a new life, travel, pursue a new career and live your dreams. You can let go of everything that once was and wasn’t working and start brand new. Your guilt is taking away the life that’s possible for you today. Instead of allowing your new life to unfold, guilt is keeping you paralyzed and stuck in your life after divorce.
A new you.
Like me, you want to brew in the past. You want to be stuck as the old you thinking about all the ways you were hurtful and self-sabotaged the marriage. You don’t believe that you can change or become a different version of yourself. You are going to reminisce on the past and hold onto your old self. You are going to allow guilt to steal a new and improved version of yourself. You are going to hold off on learning and growing from your past mistakes.
Your guilt is making you feel worthless. You feel that you are unworthy of your ex. When the person you love most rejects you, your self-worth and confidence is going to take a hit. The fact that you couldn’t make this relationship work and you couldn’t hold onto your spouse is going to make you think that you’re a terrible person that no one loves. As you’re holding drowning in guilt, you don’t feel whole, complete, or enough.
Peace of mind.
You’re going to be constantly feeling pangs of resentment, anger and regret. You’re going to feel like a criminal for having done the things that you did. It was your terrible deeds and bad actions that led to this divorce. Instead of calmness and peace, you are going to be living in discomfort and regret. You’ll be constantly feeling like you were the one who did something wrong and you deserve to be punished.
Hope is a belief that life will get better and things will improve. Hope is a welcoming of a new day. Stewing in guilt will steal your hope away. You will be thinking that all the best in your life has already happened so there’s nothing to look forward to anymore. All you can do now is celebrate what you had and regret what you did to end the relationship. You can ruminate on what no longer is, thinking that there is no hope for the future.
The present moment
Guilt will steal your life after divorce. Instead of being present and living in the moment, guilt will make you go back to the past and replay all the things that you did in the past. It will make you question yourself, doubt yourself and generally torture yourself for the things that you did and didn’t do in this past relationship. Guilt will ensure that you are reliving a time that no longer exists and will continually take you back in time.
I know you believe that love is impossible. It is only because you are cooped up in guilt after divorce. Feeling guilty, you’re thinking and feeling like you’re a terrible person. You think you ruined your ex’s life. You think you were the reason that the relationship ended. When stuck in the regret and guilt of the past, you are going to close your heart and life to new love. When you don’t feel worthy or deserving, you’re going to close your heart to new relationships.
Guilt is a thief that will continue to steal from your life, even your life after divorce.
What else has guilt stolen from your life after divorce? Send me a message or reply to my email. If you need some guidance or support, please get in touch.
Hi, I’m Vishnu
I help people overcome their devastating breakups and divorces and find love again. Instead of visiting the Himalayas, sign up below and join me. I am taking a writing break but will be back soon.
This guide is free. A ticket to the Himalayas is $2000. Your move.