As I was updating my blog I found this post from a while back that for whatever reason, I never published.
I’m releasing it now.. I hope its helpful to you if you’re currently going through any kind of breakup!

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The pain. Invisible, yet you carve so deep.
My heart aches in waves. I weep to relieve the tension.
This pain, felt millions of times before.
But this time, in my life, I know you.
You are not just a concept, you are real.
The pain opens my heart.. the love I feel has nowhere to go but out.
Outward, my heart opens.
I see sadness in strangers. I feel others pain.
A sensitivity I have not felt as strongly before, a compassion for others who suffer.
You of all things, PAIN, unite us.

A few days ago I split from my girlfriend of one year. Although one year seems like a really short time compared to many long term relationships – it was a very intense period and we got to know each other inside and out on a very deep level.

The period right after a break up with someone you love is one of the most emotionally challenging times of my life. It puts every strategy I know about directing focus and managing emotion to the test. Sometimes I can adapt to circumstances on the fly – and keep my emotions from taking over. But this is a real emotional battle.

I have been very aware over the last few days on what I’m doing physically, mentally and spiritual to create equilibrium and become as resourceful as possible emotionally during this trying time. I hope some of these strategies can be of help to you. It can feel really terrible when you are emotionally distraught AND you don’t know how to get over it. By having strategies you have options. Options empower.

Strategy #1: Cry

When the memories become too intense I cry. I always feel better after a good cry. That is until the pressure builds up again and I need another cry. The pain seems to build in waves and then the crying is like a biological release valve. I think crying is absolutely necessary to release pressure.

Strategy #2: Manage Focus Through Questions

A second strategy I use for minimizing the pain is to manage focus. I manage focus through asking questions – like

a) What greater experiences are coming that makes this necessary?
Sometimes when we don’t have the whole picture we tend to focus on only a part of it (like what just happened) .. have you ever lost something that you cared about? Did new things come into your life that you cared about? Would it have been possible for those things to come into your life if you never lost the thing you thought was so precious? You got over the previous loss right? And you’re probably glad you lost it if you found something better. Loss creates opportunities and when you can focus on the opportunities (imagine them, visualize them) you’ll get over the loss faster. (That is if you want to.) If its been awhile since you lost something or the loss was a death – the same rule applies – you must be future oriented in your thinking and get out of the memory dwelling as quickly as possible.

Sometimes when you want to feel close to someone, the next best thing to being with them physically is being with the memories. And so you torture yourself for a while – actually wanting the pain so you can still be close to them in some twisted way. But ultimately memories should be explored for their release – and unless you notice pressure subsidizing every time you think about the same memory (that used to make you cry) then you probably need to employ other strategies of release.

b) What can I learn from this?

There’s always lessons that make you a better person, or cause you to learn more about yourself than would have otherwise been possible. Focus on the value that was generated through the relationship and its loss and you’ll put the loss in proper perspective. Instead of being the worst thing imaginable it becomes a necessary pain with lots of gifts waiting to be discovered.

Strategy #3: A High Value Routine to Occupy Your Time

When you’ve suffered a loss you’ve got to immediately spring back into action. But not just any action as some actions can make you feel worse. You want to have a high value routine that will aid you physically, mentally and spiritually.

Physically you can exercise – a great form of pressure release.
Mentally you can read and take in good positive information that will interrupt your thought patterns and change your focus for awhile.
Spiritually you can meditate. Meditation is a wonderful way to actually get outside of your box. To stop the thinking for a while. Meditation when you are truly present to it can be like an oasis of relief during your Ego’s time of great need.

Strategy #4: A Philosophy That Reminds You of the Temporariness of All Life
When I remember that all things are temporary and that this too shall pass I immediately get a sense of “Duh – did I think that this would last forever?”. Followed by a feeling of desperation that all things I love are temporary. Followed by a relief that all things are temporary. It’s a funny thing but it helps you get out of your head. Focusing on the impermanence of all life can not only help relieve your pain but lead to greater intellectual and spiritually stimulating thoughts as well.

Strategy #5: Accept the Loss
To help my brain quickly move on is to first ACCEPT the new reality and then start talking in terms of future orientation / possibilities / opportunities… still its f’ing tough. But without the acceptance you’re in a hellish emotional limbo (as your brain goes to work trying to figure out how to make an impossible situation work) and that’s not good at all.

I keep reminding my brain of its new task now – time to start focusing on future possibilities and making the best use of my time now. My brain wants to help during this time of pain. Its survival instincts are on high alert asking “What can I do to help?” And if you still believe that your relationship has hope – you’ll give your brain the task of coming up with strategies to fix things rather than get over things. Is that what you want? You must get very clear on this one. You are in command of your brain. If your brain is busy coming up with ways to make things work it won’t be able to focus on letting go and coming up with strategies to improve your immediate situation. Don’t underestimate the power of accepting reality and giving your brain a very clear command of using your time wisely now to immediately improve your circumstances without the need of a partner. Only you control you and your happiness and what you do with your time and your own brain – thank goodness for that!

Strategy #6: Remember that Happiness is Always There
Happiness is always inside us. It does not require other people or things (because they are all temporary) happiness is found through the subtraction of disturbing thoughts about people and things. Disturbing thoughts come in the form of attachment (to outside things), cravings (for outside things) and fear (of outside things). I have found meditation as the best way for subtracting disturbing thoughts and dwell in happiness – even if its only for a small period of time, it’s like an oasis during this time. And since I know I can get there for a time, I make it a goal to expand upon that time. This is huge. I can be happy any time I decide to let go of the thoughts that are causing disturbance in my mental space. Yes disturbing thoughts resurface when I’m not meditating, but at least I had a mini-vacation away from my brain’s thinking!

Strategy #7: Upgrade Who You Are
Remember that whoever you were that attracted the person you were in a relationship with – you can be even better. This means that even greater opportunities are out there immediately if you upgrade who you are and what you do with your life. So whatever you do don’t get down in the dumps! Getting down in the dumps is a strategy for downgrading your possibilities. You cannot escape the consequences of your actions – you must immediately use the other six strategies to get your head straight and heart balanced so you can immediately start adding value to other people and other potential relationships. Nobody wants to hear your sob stories. Nobody wants to be dragged down by a negative Nancy. In the early stages its okay to seek support from friends and family but the faster you can get your body, mind and Soul in a resourceful state, the faster opportunities will start presenting themselves again (or you’ll go find them). And if you’ve upgraded – they will be even better opportunities!

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IN SUMMARY:
Strategy #1: Cry
Strategy #2: Manage Focus Through Questions
Strategy #3: A High Value Routine to Occupy Your Time

Strategy #4: A Philosophy That Reminds You of the Temporariness of All Life
Strategy #5: Accept the Loss
Strategy #6: Remember that Happiness is Always There
Strategy #7: Upgrade Who You Are

I know emotionally this is a tough time. It’s sometimes hard to focus on what you should do because you’re too busy doing the things you probably shouldn’t be doing (dwelling the past, etc.) I’m right there with you. But when the plane feels like its going down, all you can do is pull up on the stick. And its a good thing you have a stick (control over yourself and strategies for being empowered) because without a stick you crash and burn. So if you’re suffering a relationship loss, stop making excuses, dwelling the past, going through what-if scenarios and start pulling up through the storm into the clear skies always waiting for you just above the clouds.