Breakups are hard. That’s probably the understatement of the century. A breakup can leave you reeling – feeling unbalanced, emotionally raw and unstable, unmotivated and generally very lacking in the self esteem department. As someone who has gone through a major breakup of a long term relationship, there are a few lessons I’ve learned that have comforted, motivated and inspired me. Thought I would share.
When we’re in relationships, we often use other people as crutches to make up for the weaknesses that we see in ourselves. What we need to realize is that we need to learn to love ourselves first in order to properly love others. After all, it’s impossible to love another in a way beyond the way in which you love yourself. Self-love represents the highest form of love you have to offer – so if you don’t love yourself, you aren’t going to be able to fully love someone else. Focus on building yourself up again and giving yourself the love and validation you’re craving. Take yourself out on dates and spoil yourself a little!
2. You attract what you are.
“My primary relationship is with myself- all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. As I learn to love myself, I receive the love I desire from others.” – Shakti Gawain
It’s funny how life works sometimes. After a major breakup, I completely threw myself into the things that I loved. I wrote feverishly, played the piano into the wee small hours of the night and began to really nurture my love of the outdoors. When I began dating again, I met another writer, another musician and another lover of nature. None of this was planned – these were all coincidences and things I learned after getting to know each person. When you know who you are, you begin to attract what you are. It’s important to find who you are, to nurture that and to love yourself for it. When you are doing what you love, you will naturally attract and find similar minds who will love you for exactly who you are.
3. You can only forgive others if you learn to forgive yourself first.
Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, and recognize that you’re human. Humans make mistakes, and that’s perfectly alright. When you cannot forgive yourself, you’ll find that it’s even harder to find it in yourself to forgive others. Once you learn to forgive yourself, you’ll be able to see the humanity in others as well and let go of things with ease and grace. Holding onto resentment only hurts you more in the long run. Life is short. Forgive quickly, love deeply and focus on happiness.
4. Positive energy attracts positive energy. Negative energy attracts and perpetuates negative energy.
Have you ever noticed the fact that when you’re having a bad day, your day just seems to get worse and worse? In the same vein, when you wake up in a great mood, almost everything seems to go your way. They say that when it rains, it pours, and there’s a reason for that. The energy you put out into the world will be returned to you. Make sure that the energy you’re putting out there is positive, and you’ll see that the positive things in your life will begin to multiply.
5. When your problems seem too big, expand your world.
This is something I learned from my dad. Your problems will seem a whole lot bigger when the world in which you operate is small. When you’ve got a lot going on in your life and when you have many things to focus on, your problems will automatically become smaller in proportion to your universe. This is something we experience when we stargaze, venture out in nature, travel, or learn more about the world around us. When you realize that there is a great big world out there that is living, breathing and humming with energy, you’ll begin to appreciate the miracle that is life and this beautiful world around us. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, step outside and expand your boundaries. Go somewhere you’ve never been, do something you’ve never done, and try something that scares you. Anything that makes you feel small (in a good way) will make your problems seem smaller as well. Don’t forget to laugh. Life doesn’t always have to be serious, and it’s definitely not a test. Remember – none of us make it out alive anyway.😉
6. Trust the process. Trust the universe.
A lot of us are so focused on control. We try to control the outcomes of our relationships, the outcomes of our days, the outcomes of our careers and ultimately the outcomes of our lives. What we don’t realize is that everything – literally everything – is outside of our control. Bad things happen to good people sometimes, no matter how hard we try to prevent it. Sometimes it is our very resistance to what is actually happening that prevents us from moving in the right direction. Learn to be fluid and flexible, moving with life as it changes shape and brings us to new places. Trying to force things that aren’t meant to be is discordant in nature, and will create discord in your life as well. Move with life and know that if something is yours to keep, it will be yours in the end. Focus on fluidity, loving yourself, and being a positive ray of light in your own and in other peoples’ lives.
7. Nothing is good or bad. Just alive.
As humans, we tend to place a value and judgement on everything. This is good – this is bad, this is right and this is wrong. The world we live in is not perfect. Unfortunately, we don’t have a users manual – and no one can tell you the right way to live your life. Sometimes you’ll do the “right” things, and sometimes you’ll do the “wrong” things. Try to take the value and judgement out of your life experiences, and recognize that you’re just a human being – being alive.
8. You must love and accept yourself unconditionally – just the way you are, right now in this moment.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Being focused on self-awareness and self-improvement is a good thing, but you also need to learn to accept that you will always be a work in progress. There isn’t a destination that needs to be reached – you are perfect just as you are, right now, in this very moment. Being a work in progress is a very positive thing. You will always be changing – so love and accept yourself exactly as you are and embrace yourself in your perfect imperfection. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes.
9. Nothing is yours to keep. Enjoy what you are given.
Nothing is permanent – not even life. Our expectation that certain things in life must have permanence causes us pain. We are just here, passing through and enjoying the beauty that is given to us. So let go of attachment, let go gracefully of what is not yours to keep, and give love freely and unconditionally. Enjoy what you are given and embrace simply what is – and not what is past, what is in the future, or what could be. And when you enjoy what is, you will start to realize that what is becomes all you’ve ever needed. There is something so beautiful about that.
10. Never let your happiness depend on something you may lose.
Everything in life that is given to you can be lost. The only thing that you’ll always have is yourself. Focus on letting your happiness come from within. Find ways to make yourself happy, and do things that make you feel good about yourself. Make sure that you are providing yourself the happiness you need – because in the end, you really are all you’ve got.
11. Live with intent and practice radical self-love.
It’s easy to go on autopilot and to let life pass you by. Focus on becoming alive and staying close to things that make you excited to be alive. What are the things you’ve always wanted to do? What are the things you’ve always wanted to try? Life is so, so short. Collect experiences and memories – focus on that – and love both yourself and others as best as you can along the way.
12. Let yourself be weak.
“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.” – Mooji
Realize that it’s okay to cry, that it’s okay to feel lonely, and that it’s okay to not feel strong all the time. Being strong all the time can be exhausting. Part of being strong is also allowing yourself to be weak and to feel everything that you’re feeling. Relax knowing that it’s perfectly alright and that you’re doing the best that you can. One day at a time. 🙂
I’ve come to realize that in the realm of love, we are all going through battles. You are going through yours, I am going through mine, and everyone around us is going through theirs. Each battle is unique and each person is affected deeply by their own personal experience. For many of us, these experiences and situations (especially when negative) permeate all aspects of our lives. When love goes wrong, it can be paralyzing. When our hearts are breaking, everything else threatens to fall apart.
When you love someone and you let them in, you give them the power to break you. You give them the power to render your world apart. But the truth is, there is no way to experience the amazing level of joy that you can experience in love without giving someone access to that part of you. If we are not vulnerable to feeling pain, we cannot feel that joy in equal measure. Taking that risk, to quote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” is the only chance anyone has at real happiness. But in taking that chance, we also risk the breakdown. The pain that we feel can be immense. It can threaten to take down everything around us. That’s why love can be so scary.
The truth is, love is a gamble. Love can sometimes feel like two imperfect people trying to create perfection in an imperfect world. We cannot expect perfection. When we seek perfection, that very expectation becomes the cause of the eventual breakdown of the relationship. The truth is when you take that risk and you love someone, trying to be perfect will not change the outcome. The most we can do is be the best we can be, and hope for the best. Life and love won’t always be fair. Sometimes it will hurt. You will fall in love, and the person you fall in love with will be far from perfect. Sometimes you will fall in love with someone who will do all the wrong things, and who will hurt you in ways you never knew existed. And you will love them with every fiber of your being – without rhyme or reason. That is the nature of love.
But life is an adventure. Adventures can be dangerous. Life is meant to be lived. Here’s to loving the hell out of everything and getting up – over and over again, no matter how many times we’ve been burned. Here’s to loving until our hearts leak and until we’re pouring so much love out of our veins we’re gasping for breath but in the end, by God, by God, did we love.
“Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all…Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and [fastly], but it is much better to be killed by a lover.” – Charles Bukowski
Let everything you do come from a place of love for both yourself and others, and you can do no wrong.
And even though this will never be possible, I wish I could have been the first and last one to love you.
I’m so scared
and it’s already too late
I’ve already fallen
I’m already yours
my heart belongs to you and
I want so desperately
I want so desperately not
to take me back
to belong to me again
and I do
but my heart already knows the touch of your hands
and my heart already knows the sound of your voice when you tell me goodnight
and I already know that when the rain comes down as it always does
All I’ll ever be able to think of is you.