What to do when you go through a divorce or break-up

I recently went through divorce, after some very happy 8 years of relationship. It was the most excruciating, painful, debilitating and dark year of my life. I faced all my fears, insecurities, I sat with the part of me that didn’t want to live anymore. I got to see myself in ways I thought I wasn’t: desperate, clingy, needy, fearful, revengeful, feeling guilty, ashamed, doomed, and like my life was over.

After six months of back and forth between me and him, between yes and no, after three more months of intense healing processes, assisted by four life coaches, and supported by many more friends, I finally feel like I’m on the other side now.

If you’re going through divorce, break-up, or separation, and you feel like it’s the hardest thing that ever happened to you, here’s what truly helped me, and I believe it will help you as well:

  1. Keep in mind the light at the end of the tunnel. There will come a time when you’ll truly feel that this was the best thing that happened to you. I know right now it might feel like the opposite is true, like this is the end of all of it. But keep in the background of your mind, this possibility, that there can be ways, which you’re not seeing right now, that this can be a really good thing. Don’t try to shove this thought on top of your pain though, don’t try to make yourself believe it; just keep it there with a ‘what if…’, along with your pain.
  2. It’s a chance to reinvent yourself. You’re no longer bound by any expectations that you have to meet, there isn’t any way that you have to be or things that you need to do. Complete blank sheet of paper. You get to decide who you want to be, you dictate what you want to do. Who would you be, what would you do, at this time of being reborn?
  3. Reach out for support. Selectively. Do take time for yourself only, but know that you’re not alone, and don’t isolate yourself. Be selective about the people you’re sharing your journey with. If you feel like you’re deep in rage, fear, shame, revenge, find a friend who knows how to just listen. If you need some ranting, do some of that too; but don’t linger there, you’ll just go deeper in the murkiness. Find someone who can hold space, who doesn’t pity you, or hate on the other person, and truly knows that things will get better.
  4. Feel your emotions fiercely. Let your body take you on a cathartic journey. Weep, punch, curl into a ball, stomp your feet, cry your eyes and your heart out. Stay present with the sensations in your body, rather than go with the story in your head.
  5. Do things out of your comfort zone, things that challenge you. I jumped out of an airplane, bungee jumped, went on long hard bike rides, traveled alone, went to improv classes, took cold showers, and learned some rock climbing. The things you choose to do might look different, but do something that you’ve never done before. It will give you confidence that you’re rocking it, and the adrenaline and dopamine your body will be producing will reset your system and you’ll feel better.
  6. Sweat it out. It was one of those evenings when I was allowing myself to feel the intensity of my feelings. And my body, in all its intelligence and wisdom, took me out for a run. I wasn’t even thinking about it, it was like I was controlled by something outside of me. I put on my running gear, and went full throttle on. From then on, every time I went for a run, my mind would switch gears and became more positive. Later on, I learned that physical exercise is one of the best ways to complete a stress cycle. It might sound trite, but really, exercise is so good for you.
  7. Write it out. Put pen to paper, get your thoughts out of your head. Write letters which you don’t send. Make lists: what you loved in the relationship, what you hated. The good, the bad, things that you did, said, things that they did, said, things that you’d like to keep, things that you’d like to change, things that you’ve learned. Write anything and everything. If you keep it in your head, your thoughts will recycle over and over again, and it feels like it will never end. If you put it on paper, you’ll come to a point where you’ll feel the emptiness, there will be nothing left to be said. It will feel complete. And you’ll be more ready to move on.
  8. Evolve your self-pleasuring practice, take your orgasm to new heights. Now that you’re single, sex can become so much simpler, you can go back to basics, without the complexities that come with partner sex. Just like a skilled musician still practices scales, just like a pro dancer still practices their basic step, spending time to cultivate your sex life with yourself, is an art, and fine-tunes your body for greater pleasure capacity. Orgasm, pleasure, and all the good hormones that run through your body with it, are a deeply healing medicine. Give yourself this gift. I certainly did and amazed myself how much more pleasure and healing my body is capable of.
  9. Cultivate beauty, quality, comfort. Clean out your house, throw away things that don’t serve you anymore, buy new, beautiful things. They don’t have to be expensive. A simple scented candle can bring so much comfort when you immerse yourself in gratitude for the small things in life.

If you’re going through hard times, my heart truly goes out to you. Things will get better, and you can do it! Know that it’s a process, and that it’s not linear. There will be times when it feels like you’ve regressed your progress. It’s ok, it’s normal, and there’s hope. I went through it, and if I could do it, so can you.

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