Six months after my very sudden and painful break-up with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, I was still not over him. The break-up was sudden, surprising, and pretty spectacular. The worst part involved deception and lies. The saddest part was the loss of a friend and confidant.
As I went through the stages of grief (denial, anger, sadness…you know the drill), I had plenty of support in the form of books, articles, blogs, and personal advice from family, girlfriends, coaches, and therapists. By the six-month mark, back was my desire to meet someone new (intellectually at least), to enjoy intimacy, to bond, to care and take care of.
But emotionally, it was still very hard for me to imagine myself sharing intimate moments with a new man. And forget about falling in love!
“No more stinkin’ love for me” I’d say to anyone and everyone who wanted to hear it.
I didn’t even have the energy to follow through with emails and phone calls when new prospects approached me with obvious interest or when well-intentioned girlfriends set me up with amazing men.
As time went by, so did the advice from friends, the books, the need to regurgitate the story and recreate the drama in front of an audience.
“Now what?” I would say to myself. How do I (finally) heal my heart and allow it to open when the guidance may not be as obvious or present as it once was.
These seven steps worked wonders for me (they still do), and I’m sharing them here in hopes that they can help you, too.
1. Be Open Without Worry
Be open without putting too much value on or trying to define what that would mean for you at this moment. Embrace your singlehood and trust that when the right person shows up, you will be stronger, wiser, and better prepared to accept him into your life.
2. Have No Particular Expectations
Don’t worry too much about the what, how, where, or when will things get better or will you meet someone. Chances are you have experienced pain before, and you know that time helps heal. Trust that it will be so this time around.
While on the topic of expectations, don’t expect the new guy/gal to come solve all your problems or to take the space of your previous love. A new relationship is like a blank canvas, full of potential. Give it all that it deserves.
3. Write, Talk, or Work It Out
Don’t be afraid to talk it out, write it down, or work it out. If there are no more trusted friends willing to listen, write your thoughts and feelings in a journal or put your favorite song on and shake your feelings away. Tears may roll, and that would be okay.
4. Tears Are Releasing and Cleansing
Speaking of tears, please note: tears are extremely cleansing and releasing. Stop judging yourself harshly because you feel like crying for your loss six, or nine, months after the fact. Cry, scream, punch, embrace that frustration and let it out as many times as you have to until it is all out of your system.
5. Embrace the Drama
Yeah, something sh*ty happened to you. It’s drama, and it’s yours. So what if it’s been six months and you should be over it? Who says there is a written timeline? True, at this stage, the drama may only be within you, and you may have to handle it alone, and if that is what needs to happen, who is anyone else out there to judge?
6. Anger Is Holding onto the Bad
Holding onto anger or resentment is like giving others permission to live in your head for free. It serves you no purpose. It is normal at first, but six months down the line, it is most definitely not helpful in your healing process. Find a new feeling that you can replace this with, and consciously make an effort to replace it every day until you see anger dissipate.
7. Let Go and Give In
One of the most powerful moments of clarity I had during the healing process was accepting the situation as it is and knowing it to be true and unchangeable. That clarity comes in rare moments, but when it does, recognize it and remember that you are capable of handling this process, looking for help where and when needed, and eventually letting go and giving in to a new, better you.
My story’s happy ending does not involve meeting a new, amazing guy that swept me off my feet. Instead, it involves believing in the power of change, being confident about the possibilities, and recognizing that, in life, what you focus on multiplies. And that is a happy ending, indeed!
Jovanka Ciares is a tri-lingual wellness expert and nutrition coach based in New York City and Los Angeles. Jovanka’s approach to mind-body wellness has earned her thousands of fans the world over and regular slots on Fox News, NPR, CBS Radio, Telemundo, The Huffington Post, and MindBodyGreen. In addition, she is the author of three books.