Healing and Finding Growth in Heartbreak: 3 Step process to grow through the pain of heartbreak

June 21, 2020 5 min read

Does this sound familiar? You just hung up the phone and you are staring off into the distance unable to process what just happened. The person who was supposed to love you unconditionally and protect your heart, just broke it. The person who you thought was your forever turned out to be just another life lesson. The person who you saw sitting next to you on the front porch in the matching rocking chair 20 years from now, just said you were no longer their person.

 

Reactions to this scenario vary. You might cry uncontrollably, scream, get angry, plot revenge, or resort to denial. At some level we have all experienced some form of heartbreak and can vividly remember that moment your life changed and you had a new normal. Be it a breakup or the loss of a loved one, we have some sense of this intense feeling of loss. This post focuses on the loss associated with a breakup.

 

Depending on your situation and how you handle stress and sadness, you may wallow not knowing how to move forward. Though I don’t know everything, I can share my process that has helped me with my recent breakup of a seven year relationship. I don’t know about you but I am all too aware of how short life is. So to cry and stay in bed for one more day, when I have already invested 7 of my 39 years in something that was ultimately not for me, doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment of time.

 

To begin to heal I realize I need tough love… from me. I have to be willing to stop feeling sorry for myself and begin to do the work necessary to grow past the heartbreak. So I pull up my big panties and start to go through my process. I start by asking myself a question that I must answer honestly. There is no right or wrong answer. There is no judgment. What am I feeling? This is where I allow myself to put it all out on the table. I am allowed to feel sorry for myself, or be angry with him or myself, miss him, plot to beat him up, etc. Nothing is off limits when answering this question. At this point in the process, I allow myself to feel… completely.

 

When things go wrong in my life, I tend to blame myself first for everything. (We will unpack “the why” of this behavior in another post.) Maybe I wasn’t enough. Maybe I didn’t love him the way he needed. Maybe I didn’t spend enough time with him. Maybe I wasn’t smart, pretty, skinny, funny, _______, enough. Knowing how dangerous it can be to stay there too long and the fact that I consciously live without regrets, I get it out then move to the next stage of my process. What did I learn from the relationship? How did I grow because of it/him?

 

Though I don’t necessarily write the answers from the first part down, I do write these answers down because this is where the lessons are identified. I ensure that during this reflection I only include lessons that reflect the changes I made, the work I put in, rather than something that he did, said, or made me feel. Last part of the process is that I acknowledge that healing from heartbreak is a process without a timer. Meaning it is a process that isn’t always linear. I may have days where I experience sadness, anger, and happiness when I think about him and the relationship. AND THAT IS OK!!! Without a timer is equally important to focus on because it simply means that full healing and growth may take weeks, months, or years but I WILL BE OK. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

PROCESS

  1. Acknowledge your feelings – What am I feeling?
  2. Identify the lessons learned from the experience – What did I learn from the relationship? How did I grow because of it?
  3. Acknowledge that healing from heartbreak is a process without a timer.

 

Below I have shared my actual process from the recent breakup. I hope this helps someone.

 Acknowledge your feelings – What am I feeling?

A sense of loss and betrayal. I am fighting feelings of feeling unworthy and unlovable.

 

Identify the lessons learned from the experience – What did I learn from the relationship? How did I grow because of it?

Because I strive to live my life without regrets, I have chosen to find the positive that came out of our relationship regardless of how he may have felt about me. As you read my lessons, you will notice that the tenses change. This is because some lessons were learned during the relationship and others are being learned because it ended and are being learned at the time this post is being written.

  • I learned to love and trust again.
  • I loved the best way I knew how to at the time.
  • I completely let down my walls and let go of my insecurity so that I knew what it meant to truly be with another person.
  • I saw my beauty, strength, and intelligence.
  • I put another’s person’s feelings above my own, meaning I thought as “we” not “I”. I consciously worked to limit selfish behaviors.
  • I made mistakes, acknowledged them, apologized, and showed contrition through changed behavior.
  • I learned that all you have is a person’s words and actions. If it turns out they lied to you, it is a reflection of them, not you.
  • I am learning to stand in my own truth.
  • I am learning that my self-worth and confidence come from within and not from another person’s acceptance of me.
  • I am learning that it is okay to say I “deserve” to be loved and treated with respect.
  • I am learning that starting with a foundation of self-love is the beginning of any successful relationship. 

 

Acknowledge that healing from heartbreak is a process without a timer

I promise to be gentle with myself and give myself enough time and leeway to grow through the breakup. Expect setbacks but have a plan to get right back on track.

 

Bottom-line, positive growth requires that you use experiences to better yourself. Though it is easy to fall into the trap of self-pity when a relationship fails, you must make a conscious decision to see the opportunities for growth inherent in the end of any chapter. You must not blame yourself for the other person’s words and actions because they are not within your control. Once you are able to step back and identify and learn from the mistakes you made and assess how you have grown as a result of the relationship, you are just one ugly cry away from the road to healing.

 

Living a Bold Authentic Meaningful Life doesn’t mean you will never experience failure. It does mean that when you do, you will be able to bounce back faster and stronger each time. Even if you don’t believe me right now, I know one thing… You are _______ enough! For each of us the blank will be filled with a different word. But at the end of the day, YOU. ARE. ENOUGH!

I hope my process helps someone. Share your process for healing in the comments.

Final Word... You are enough!


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