Taking the time to heal after my breakup was so important to me, and I'm extremely glad I did it. Granted, the way I'm emotionally built, I don't think I could have dated again without healing first, but intentionally setting out to heal likely helped with the process.
Today, I'd like to share with you the steps I took (and continue to take) in my healing process:
Feel your feelings. I tend to bury my emotions, but I knew that (especially) in this situation, that was going to work out very poorly for me. Because I'm a natural bury-er I knew I would have to intentionally feel, and sometimes seek out those emotions. Some days I was fine. Other days I was a sad lump on the couch. But it was all part of the process.
Journal. The primary way I sought out to feel my emotions was through journaling. It was a place just for me, so I could be honest and ugly and wrong. It was the only place I really let myself be angry, because anger is always a secondary emotion. What I really was, was hurt, heartbroken, and shocked. Journaling helped me explore why I was angry and acknowledge the heart of the issue, instead of merely pushing blame on my ex. I also allowed myself to read the journals I had written while we were dating. This allowed me to mourn the dreams I had and the picture I had thought my life was going to look like. I needed to acknowledge that the future I had hoped for was no longer, instead of ignoring the fact that there was ever a future I wanted with him.
Create. After journaling and reading through my old journals, I found parallels that were, artistically speaking, quite beautiful to put together. I ended up creating a short poetry book, (you can get it here) which allowed me to process both the emotional and rational/intellectual sides of the breakup. It was at this point that I began to say "maybe the breakup was for the better."
Find Support. I talked quite a bit about the breakup to my friends--and unapologetically so. While it may have been tiring to hear that I was still sad and confused, my world had been shaken and my friends were there to support me no matter how I was feeling. They wanted to see me heal as well and knew that talking about it was going to help me process the breakup. I also signed up for Katie Bulmer's online course "From Heartbreak to Happily Ever After." (Note: This is a not an affiliate link.) A Christian and relationship guru, Katie is one of the few people I found who recognizes the importance of properly working through a breakup and the serious emotional impact that breakups really have on us. I definitely recommend checking out her content no matter what stage of a relationship you are (or aren't) in.
Have patience. Healing takes time and the grieving process looks slightly different for everyone. But keep in mind that what may feel like a step backwards is likely a step forward, uncovering the next level that needs to be processed (as you've seen on this blog). Give yourself some grace and have patience.
At this point, I'm confident that the breakup was for the better. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, a lot came out of the relationship and the breakup that couldn't have otherwise. Not only that, but I am now able to see the ways in which we may not have been a good pairing. I found contentment in my singleness and even started dating again!
If you are currently healing from heartbreak, I want to encourage you that your efforts are not in vain. With time and patience you will see change and find healing. And it will be so worth it!