Of my little life here on earth, my many adventures as a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a single woman, and the ups and downs that usher in each new day, there is nothing I have found more wonder-full and more humbling than the pain of loss.
I am still learning, but in an effort to be honest, I wanted to share my process with you as I go through it. Maybe you need to know, as you read this from your little corner of the world, that you're not alone. We can process this nity-gritty, heartbreaky stuff together.
Although I don't believe life can be fully lived through a manual, I thought it might help to list some guidelines that is helping me process my breakup...
When we experience hurt, our minds resort to a state of defense. Common defense mechanisms can look like Denial, Projection, Regression, Rationalisation, Compartmentalisation and a few other interesting reactions. Learn more on Defense Mechanisms here.
Although I feel a deep desire to regress, project, and rationalise, my saving grace is tears.
I am leaning into the ache as long and as intentionally as I can until I feel everything, both heartbreaking and hopeful. It seems to be taking forever (do you also feel like you just don't have time for this level of emotion? Cause SAME) and feel like a juggling act as I try to balance work, friends, and family commitments as well as make time for just myself and Jesus.
Another aspect of feeling the loss of a significant other is feeling the loss of self worth.
It seems more frequently now, I need to acknowledge my pity party, realign with God's heart for me, and step away from the victim mindset, which very slowly but surely is reigniting my sense of self worth.
This is where my upbringing makes the most sense to me. I used to think I had the most ridiculously strict parents in the world, but it's now, as a young adult, navigating life on my own terms that I can value the safety and security that boundaries bring.
For me, my boundaries are changing depending on the day, the week, sometimes even the moment. One great example is not keeping up to date with my ex-boyfriend's life - that means no social media, online communication, or even meet ups. Which, let's be honest, is SO HARD!
How to fully let go is proving to be an interesting, difficult, and unpredictable process.
A very important boundary I have learned is prioritising my day.
The first thing I do when I wake up is talk with God. I then, make a cuppa and journal out what is on my mind for the morning and ALWAYS end with a hopeful note, even if I don't feel it.
A very practical and healing form of writing is something called DETOXING THE BRAIN by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Learn more here.
I couldn't for the life of me understand break-up songs until I went through my own.
It's remarkable how addressing the grief of my break-up through music has made me feel so much more connected to who I am as a single woman.
I created a playlist called EMOTION and it is getting me through some real rough days.
*For optimum effect, find a private space, plug in your earphones, and listen from start to finish.
I absolutely love my own space. I thrive in the quiet and comfort of solitude.
However, in the last few days, I have felt a deep wave of sadness wash through me - this time, I have felt far too weak to stand on my own two feet. I knew I needed the strength of my community. It's hard to cry like a basket case in front of someone else, it's hard to vent in an honest manner and lay all the cards out on the table.
But, my goodness, it is HEALING.
Save yourself from self-sabotage, depression, or anxiety and let your people know how you're really doing.
There is nothing more poignant, more precious, and more powerful than prayer.
I have fallen to my knees many times crying out for answers, for some little glimpse of freedom from this deep lonely ache - and every single time, God meets me.
The greatest misconception of God is that He is distant. The truth is He is closer than our skin.
I talk to Him like I would a friend. And then I wait for Him to reply - sometimes He instantly whispers something into my heart, sometimes He answers me through a friend, and sometimes I find all the answers in my Bible.
Pain has a way of stripping us of the things that were never meant to last and
for that I am deeply grateful.
There is beauty in pain. There is purpose in suffering. There is always something profound to be discovered if we give ourselves the time, complete honesty, and space to process.
Even now, some nights feel like the darkest one yet, and I walk myself through this process.
I am still processing, still learning, still growing.
I know it's so hard making time to deal with it all.
A break-up is a huge loss and comes with it's own unpredictable bag of emotions.
Just the other day a friend of mine held me tight and said, "This is healthy. Give yourself time to experience this kind of grief. This is so normal and this is healthy."
Whoever you are and whatever loss you're currently experiencing, I pray these simple steps can help you process the pain in a healing way. Your journey may even require you to create your own step-by-step process. I genuinely hope you take the time to honor that - to honor your process.
You are worth it. You are worth the healing.
I love you.