Even though our mind tried to tell us it will all be fine and it's for the best, our heart aches and struggles with breakup pain every single time. When going through a breakup, it’s important not to rush things along – this is your time to reset, recharge and to grow from the experience. But what if I told you that the new science out there show that healing could be fast, strong, and complete?
The neweset research has found that broken-hearted ones who reflected more on their relationships over a nine week period had a stronger overall recovery from their breakup and were able to get past it quicker than they imagined. An important part of the healing is a process called ‘self-concept reorganisation’, which involves rediscovering and rebuilding the sense of who you are, independent from the relationship. It's those who set aside the time to do the actual healing work and are committed that are the ones who can move on faster and in a more productive way.
Relationships have a deep impact on the the way we see ourselves, whether we realise it or not. During the course of a relationship, it’s very normal to ‘intertwine’ with a partner. Goals and directions change, as well as wants and needs for now and the future. We often don't realise but we end up forgetting who we actually are and we compromise sometimes a little too much.
This isn’t because you really lose yourself, though certainly that can happen, but because intimacy involves opening up to your partner – opening up to their love, their wants, their needs, their feelings, their opinions, goals, and dreams. When that happens, you can’t help but be influenced and eventually move in the same direction. Sometimes that involves adjusting your own goals and vision for life. It’s all a healthy part of fully integrating with your parnter, and part of the unpredictable magic of relationships.
A breakup means the undoing of this bond and merging of mutual future, which is painful to go through. However strong and independent a person may be, breaking up a relationship can also mean the breaking the self-concept. One of the most painful parts of a breakup is losing the familiartiyand the companionship. What was familiar is now gone, plans are changed and the future all of a sudden has too many question marks.
Part of the healing is re-establishing who you are without your partner. Anything that can re-build and re-strengthen the self-concept, will accelerate healing so let me get onto the proven ways science is telling us can help.
Talk about it!
There are a couple of ways that talking about a breakup might help to facilitate healing. The first is that talking about the relationship will help to bring a different way to seeing things. It’s not called a ‘breakup’ because things have been going well. Being in love can blur things and make things seem way prettier than they are and often diverge us from the actual reality. You will be surprised about the level of insight that you will be presented with when you talk about the relationship from a more distant perspective.
Find your story.
Talking helps to tell a story of the relationship that gives meaning to the experience – including the actual relationship experiene, the breakup, and perhaps most importantly for healing, the recovery journey. But how do we do this?
If you tell the story of your breakup as one of big failure or rejection, your recovery will be slow, painful, and victimising. It’s really easy to get stuck in this narrative when the thoughts are locked in your head and you are feeling sorry for yourself the middle of the night. On the other hand, talking to people in your trust circle will help you find a way to understand your story from a position of strength. This might involve finding the lessons, focusing on the growth that took place, and reframing the experience as, an ending, rather than a rejection.
Journalling as a way of emotional release
Having an emotional release is an important part of any healing journey. Journalling is one way to do this as it allows you to capture and give definition to the thoughts and feelings that are aching inside. Journalling doesn’t have to be done every day or in a particular way to have an effect. Even a few times a week will help the healing process.
Write – as though you’re talking to a stranger.
Writing repeatedly about the process of the breakup as though speaking with a stranger about it, is another way to move towards healing. As well as being an emotional release, it also encourages a fresh perspective and new insights. Write a letter to a stranger, or to your future self and talk about how much you have learned.
Reclaiming a strong self-concept – establishing who you are outside of the relationship. This is so crucial and will be enormously helpful during your recovery. Think about the parts of yourself that might have been pushed aside during the relationship. When you’ve found these, are and reminded of who you were or who you want to be, you will find ways to build that and nurture it.
Expland on it
Find new ways to expand your self concept. When you feel ready, take up new hobbies, establish new life goals or re-establish your direction. Given that your need to connect has been a little on the fragile side, anything that will give you the opportunity to connect with others who will also see you as your own, unique person will really help the healing process.
A breakup is an ending, not a rejection or a reflection of you. It never feels like that initially, but it’s an important thing to keep reminding ourselves. When our heart has been broken, it can take a while to find your way back to whole but we will get there. Healing from a broken heart is a process. It’s very similar to recovering from an addiction, which is why it feels so impossible at the start.
Above all else, remember that there were things about you that were beautiful, strong, vibrant and unique before the relationship and none of that has changed or gone away.