FIRSTLY, A BOAT LOAD OF GRATITUDE TO ALL OF YOU who liked my first post on why I decided to become a health coach. I received so many messages and emails from people who read it, resonated and confided in me the struggles they were facing in their own personal lives. This was a really beautiful but unexpected response. I guess what I've learnt in this past week is that honesty and openness is a rewarding by-product of vulnerability. And that some people are just waiting for a permission slip to open up.
I actually wrote most of this post at 1am one morning recently (after a few wines on the town) to a friend I'd had dinner with and was overcoming heartbreak of her own. That's just the kind of wild, helpful, party animal I am these days I guess.
So, this post is for you guys, the ones who were open enough to admit you were struggling with heartbreak of your own. I hope that you manage to find some light in it, or something that at least reinforces the fact that you are not alone. I'm sitting here on the grass in the backyard of my Airbnb in Venice Beach, and I've been shat on by a bird every day for the past three days, so I'm either really lucky and I'm about to inherit a small island, or there's just a lot of birds and there's a greater message for me because three times a charm, right? Whatever you've got for me, I'm all ears, nature.
Where were we?
Breakups are the pits, but I have found some quotes and lessons that have helped me and who knows, they might help you or a friend too.
I feel like I should source reference the quotes but I don't have the slightest clue who said them, but if you do, or they are your quotes - firstly, thanks for reading and I love your work - secondly, send me an email and I'll get that fixed right up. Plagiarism is not in my conscious toolkit.
It's called a breakup cos it's broken
If your relationship is on shaky ground and your guy asks for a break - do yourself (and me) a favour and run for the hills. It's the cowards way of saying "I still want you to want me because it's good for my ego and convenient if I need late night company, but I'm going to want whoever else I meet during this break, and if they end up in my bed it's okay because we were on a break." Absolutely not, Simon*. If you can't work through your problems together, imagine how derailed your relationship will become when there's bigger issues to deal with i.e kids, mortgages, ailing health. 9 times out of 10 a break is not going to result in a rekindle. Fact. *I've never dated a Simon.
Don't take it personally
If you're familiar with the work of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, you'll know his second agreement: 'don't take anything personally'. Let me unpack that. If your relationship ended because of mistreatment - abuse (verbal or physical) and cheating are two such examples - whatever you do, don't make it about you because it is 110% about them. We women are insecure by nature and instinctively blame ourselves for not being good enough/pretty enough/fun enough to keep their man from straying. We can spend days, weeks, months obsessing over what went wrong; what the turning point was; whether we saw the signs when seemingly everything was 'perfect' up until that point. Girlfriend, it is not about you! His genetic makeup was the loaded gun, and his choices and decisions were the trigger. And he's going to live a really sad, worthless life so stop wasting that precious energy feeling sorry for yourself and feel sorry for him instead (for 30 minutes, max, because you're better than that). Better still, read Get The Guy by Matthew Hussey. It breaks it all down for you about why guys behave the way they behave. Women automatically assume guys think and act the way that women do. They don't.
A wound won't heal if you keep scratching the itch.
The wound is your broken heart and the itch is your creeping little fingers scrolling their Facebook for any sign of them having moved on from you too quickly. Or turning up at the bar he frequents because you're so over him and totally fine with seeing him. You're not. Remove him from social media, delete his number, and stop driving by his house on your way to work. This lesson comes courtesy of my life guru, Rosa, and she really deserves credit for it (and perhaps an apology or two). Unfortunately in my experience, I learnt to pull the wool over Rosa's eyes on a few occasions. She was also a really deep sleeper.
You might be the juiciest peach in the world, but sometimes a guy just wants a nectarine.
And if the relationship was healthy, but you broke up under mutual circumstances (i.e. the old 'grew apart' chestnut), just tell yourself - I'm not for him, so he's not for me. And thank the universe that you worked it out early on before you were well and truly bedded in. As my dear aforementioned friend Rosa likes to tell me: "If every single guy in the world who you liked liked you back, it would be really hard work!" She's right, and I already work hard enough trying to get a guy I like to text me back.
Fake it til you make it
You may hate him with the fire of a thousand suns but avoid bad-mouthing your ex. You'll only be perpetuating the negativity and stoking the negative fire within when your attention is better focused on radiating sunbeams from every atom of your soul, particularly when you feel like doing the opposite. The one thing you have complete control over when things don't go your way is your thoughts and how you respond. Choose love and choose happiness like it's a religion. Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it for the rest of your life.
This too shall pass
I can tell you with absolute certainty that the hurt you feel following a heartbreak - it won't last. My Mum was always quick to reassure me that "tomorrow will feel better than today; the day after that a little bit better, and the day after that better still" and although it felt like lip-service at the time and she also encouraged me to take up boating or tramping which I would never in a million years do, she was right. We humans are not wired to stay miserable. Write it on a post-it note, stick it to your mirror and look at it every day until it has passed.
To wrap up, my true gems in a break-up are the quick wins that you can achieve right now:
Exercise like a maniac. Drink water. Avoid alcohol and other stimulants. Eat nourishing food. Eat some un-nourishing food if that's going to put a smile on your dial. Do it consciously, knowing it's a short-term fix. Practice self-care - worry about loving yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you. Meditate. If you don't know how to meditate, breathe in, breathe out and you've done it (or check out 1 Giant Mind because it is ace). Call your Mum. Take a mental health day. Cut your hair. Embrace benevolence; commit a random act of kindness for someone else - you'll be surprised how good selflessness makes you feel when you're in an emotional car crash. Watch cat clips on YouTube. Put Alanis Morissette on. Buy some crystals. See a psychic if that's your jam. Get outside in nature. Be grateful for everything else in your life that is beautiful. Find something you really love doing and do it every single day until you can't remember what your life was like before it. Accept every invite you get to anything and when you show up, for gods sake pretend you're enjoying yourself, because eventually you will and this heartbreak will be but a distant memory. Also, don't be afraid to speak to a professional therapist or psychologist - I have done and they work wonders.
I'll finish with this: New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. Sit with that for a bit and have a think about where your new beginning begins. (Spoiler alert: it's with you.)
Remember that I love you and you're a lot stronger than you think. You haven't failed, you're growing.
P.S - let me know in the comments below or by email if any of this has resonated with you, and/or if you have additional tips to add.