A couple of months ago, I was having a conversation w/ my ex-boyfriend and told him that I was motivated to write an article about our breakup. I shared with him that everything I was reading on the web is either a message of 'how to' either get your 'ex' back or move on in variations of a 'teachable systematic approach'. People are actually 'selling' approaches on the web. You have all seen them! 'No Contact for 30 Days' and do x,y,z and that will 'reel him back in' or 'Take these '5' steps and you will be over him for good'. If you haven't seen any of these articles, e-books or 'programs', head over to Google and type in anything referring to breaking up...and you'll see hundreds - if not thousands - of them.
We are a society that is SO deeply uncomfortable with pain, that when we encounter it, we run or mask it in destructive ways which lead to destructive life patterns that many continue into their grave.
I have a whole other philosophy entirely that you haven't heard...at least I know it's not written on the internet until today.
So, first a bit of back story. The name of the 'ex' that I am referring to has been changed to respect his privacy but the story is true. And while this is being shared from my perspective, I am glad that he agreed writing this was a good idea. My hope is that this article helps others weather the stormy seas of heartache with a fresh Godly lens.
David & I connected rather quickly on an emotional level prior to meeting in person. We lived in different cities and met on a dating site. Our conversations grew longer as we grew more intrigued. And we agreed meeting in person was a natural next step.
When we met in person, the physical attraction was as magnetic as the soul connection. This connection deepened and matured into love. Together, we weathered a lot of surprising and unfortunate obstacles with my health amongst other things. And we remained committed to growing together.
Although the relationship did not work out, the key is that we both exposed our heart to the other. We both leaped into love in a very real way rather than a ''storybook' way. I mean, we were scared & initially hesitant while playing tug-of-war with each of our own vulnerabilities. We loved deeply. And we both inevitably got hurt in the process. There is no true love without true risk.
We broke up face to face .....with grace. There were tears (mine) but along w/ the pain was encouragement and a deep mutual caring for the other. For me, it was the most respectful and loving ending to a relationship that I have ever had. I remain proud of both of us for stepping into kindness and not giving in to resentment or bitterness.
With that being said, the days and weeks to follow were extremely difficult. This time - the days right after a breakup - are so difficult for all of us who have experienced love and loss. Let's not kid ourselves, it's the absolute worst. And nothing seems to make it better.
We learn the most through love. Sure, we learn a lot through friendships and a variety of life experiences but it is love where we are stripped bare.
So, what is the magic formula to reaching breakthrough after heartache? There isn't one. Surprise!
It's a slow & painful process of making one wise & healthy decision at a time as you come up for air.
The majority of us fall into this abyss of self loathing that surfaces in eating processed junk for a week or more (guilty) and just being so hard on ourselves. We contemplate 'If I would have not done 'this', would we still be together'? We clothe ourselves with guilt, shame and some even reach a point of self hatred. I never got to that point but I definitely took a dive into guilt for awhile and man, that's an unhealthy place to swim in.
Some turn to alcohol, others jump into rebound relationships, eat themselves into exhaustion, etc. We want to escape the pain but what we don't realize is that through facing the pain head on - walking through it - transformation starts to happen little by little.
What I have learned that is ultimately leading to breakthrough after breakthrough in my wellness journey is that kindness, self love and relying on God is the only way through the mending of ones heart. Anything else, is a path towards self destruction.
What does self love even look like? Do you know? Seriously, do you know how to truly love yourself? Great if you do.... cheers....but are you doing it? How can any of us really expect someone to love us well if we don't know how to love ourselves well? We can't.
Self love is caring for oneself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically all of the time....not 'just once in a while'. Self love is loving yourself as God loves you. Ultimately, you must understand God's love for you first because that is where your true identity is found. And we do this by reading His Word, talking to Him daily, building rapport with Him and allowing Him into every single area of your life. And we do this by believing Him. We trust Him. We listen to Him. We take our fears to Him and delve into who we are - in His eyes.
We need to take control of our thoughts and focus on what God tells us to. 'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things' - Phillippians 4:8.
I think it's safe to say that warm fuzzy thoughts aren't running through our minds after a breakup and we somehow forget that our thoughts are our responsibility. Our thoughts lead to words and actions of our choice. And there in lies our breakthrough or demise.
We need to reach for organic healthy foods from the earth during heartache and otherwise. Distress severely runs your immune system down & when most of us are weary or teary for that matter, we - on autopilot - order pizza and eat sugary comfort foods/desserts. Right? We do this. Why? Explore that. It's not love.
It's wild that it takes us a lifetime to learn how to truly love ourselves and then years to actually do it....to make the healthy choices every single day. Love is a verb. Love must be taken into action. Most understand the 'concept' but don't know how to actually put it into practice. And the saying 'You cannot truly love another until you love yourself', is actually true.
How else can you show yourself love?
Exercise.....we know that movement benefits us emotionally & mentally as much as it does spiritually. Get outdoors daily and move your body - you WILL feel better.
And go to God - cry out to Him - tell Him every single emotion that you are feeling. He will provide comfort and shed clarity on your circumstances. I promise He will.
Seek out wise counsel in whatever form that works for you. Face the hard truths while handling yourself with grace. What was your role in the break-up? Why did you attract this person in the first place? Dive into self exploration and figure out what needs to be dealt with realizing that this all takes time. Do all of this before you jump into another relationship.
I have learned all of these lessons the hard way until I started to explore 'Why is making loving choices -through pain- so hard? It's because I didn't want be in pain at all -who does! I wanted to avoid the struggle, And you can't.
I had to embrace it 'while' making healthy choices.
Once you really start loving yourself through healthy choices, you will literally see all of this from an entirely different lens....one you have not seen through before.
So, I started making healthy decisions each and every day - one meal at a time - one conversation at a time - one decision at a time - one step at a time allowing God to take over & show me how He was going to mend my heart, And He has come through in such unique & creative ways that I am thrilled.
What about all of this advice we are all exposed to on the internet? The ''No Contact for 30 Days', 'Never speak to him or her again', 'Only call after 3 months', on and on.
I see manipulation, passive aggressiveness and unhealthy solutions when I read all of that advice. None of this advice involves healthy self love. It involves strategies and tactics to 'make something happen' and frankly, it's why these 'programs' don't work.
Should you and your ex speak again? If you two feel led to, yes. If not, no. Should you get back together? Should you not? Use wisdom and discernment. God has given you both.
When my ex and I spoke after the break-up (we spoke several times), we were both completely honest about our feelings and where we each were at via healing. And there was not one conversation through the guise of a 'mask'. In other words, there was no pretending we were each 'doing amazing'. We were both at different phases of mending our hearts but we both were in pain. And being 'real' about it further aids in 'authentic healing'. Was it easy to talk? No, not for me. Was it a choice we were both comfortable with? Yes.
In order to really embark on a 'wellness' journey, one needs to fully understand the depths of what 'healthy' means - what 'self love' means - and who God is. And then we need to put all of this into action every single day of our lives. And putting it all into action during heartbreak is really really hard.
In closing, I want to give this really amazing analogy that I just love so much.
Have you ever been caught in an undertow? You know, you are playing in the ocean and all of a sudden, an undertow grabs hold of your ankles and next thing you know, you are flailing underneath the surface of the water - doing somersaults - being dragged in every direction. And what do people do in these circumstances? They panic. They freak out. They fight against the undertow. And many drown.
I was told that if I am ever in an undertow, that I should relax all of my limbs and just loosen my entire body. I should literally embrace the undertow and while it would seem counter-intuitive and scary, the undertow would eventually bring me back to the surface of the ocean.
And I never forgot that advice. So, about a year after being given that advice, I was swimming in Kauai, Hawaii w/ co-workers & low and behold, I was caught in a nasty undertow. And initially, I panicked but I remembered that advice. I relaxed into it even though I was scared and it spit me out back onto the surface of the water. There were a few moments though where I didn't feel like the advice was working because it was dragging me down further. I went w/ it though and it brought me out.
How do we apply this to going through a breakup? We allow all of the waves of emotions to take place while making healthy decisions during the process. We acknowledge our fear & befriend our pain BUT we don't fight it. We go with it. And yeah, it's this super uncomfortable experience.....man, it's so tough. We eat healthy though - we rest - we exercise - we speak kindly to ourselves while facing hard truths - we lean on healthy friends that know God well - and we come out of the experience having grown.
And we learn to choose love every single day no matter how uncomfortable it seems.
If you are going through heartbreak, my heart goes out to you. You can take this breakup though and allow the experience to lead you to your own breakthroughs. And you can do all of this with a heart filled with deep love & strengthened faith in Him. And you can do this by accepting the pain too.
I have come through my own breakup with so much gratitude for David & my experience together. Our relationship has led to pivotal breakthroughs in my life about Godly love. And the process of getting here was so messy. Life is just messy and so is love. And yet every breakthrough has led to healthier and wiser daily choices.
I can finally look over my shoulder. back to that chapter of my story with a really big smile. And then focus on the here and now, relishing what God has taught me and what He has in store right in front of me.
“We are here to heal, not harm. We are here to love, not hate. We are here to create, not destroy.” — Anthony Douglas
Created and curated by Kelly, Snapshots of Wellness encourages all of you to cultivate your 'joie de vivre': Compassion for Animals via food, style & lifestyle.