Love is not a faucet you can turn on and off at will. If you have spent years, or decades, with someone, even if that time was not always so wonderful, even if you came to disrespect or feel contempt for your partner, the simple act of sharing a life bound you on a cellular level. That emotional glue often feels like love. Is it? I don’t know. It can certainly seem as deep as a well and impossible to leave behind. Luckily, a feeling is not a fact. You can get unstuck, though it may be a slow, arduous process. Typically, the longer you were coupled, the more time it takes to grieve, let go, and embrace a new life.
What do you do when your mind says I don’t want to be with this person anymore, but your cells feel drawn to resume the relationship? It’s best to assume you ended things for very good reasons, as people rarely split over superficial, trivial matters. (See Second Guessing Yourself.) At this moment, those reasons, so compelling at the time, may look less important. But that is an illusion brought on by the many challenges of divorce: financial, social, emotional, lifestyle, familial, and spiritual. When you are lower than a snake’s wiggle everything looms scarily above you. It’s temporary. Just as every molecule on earth is moving, your life is changing, whether you see it this minute, or not.
It’s easy to look back and think your greatest joys are behind you. But that’s not true. Your grief will slowly ebb away, your loneliness will turn to peaceful solitude, and you will make new friends. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can cultivate patience by looking around you and noticing all the people who have found their way to the other side of divorce living full, satisfying lives.
You may be feeling sad and lonely, but that doesn’t mean you always will be. Perhaps, you have not yet met someone else. If that is your desire, you certainly can. Transitions take time. Growth happens in spurts, some lightening fast, and others achingly slow. Riding the emotional waves isn’t always easy. Give yourself the gift of time. Time to heal so you can be open to enjoying your own company, being with friends, nature, family, and possibly a new romantic relationship. Taking time to re-establish your sense of yourself as an individual, after being part of a couple, can be daunting, but it is worth it. Remember: You deserve happiness just as much as anyone else, though it may not come knocking at your door. You have to pursue it, when you are ready. Taking as much time to grieve is crucial. Jumping in to a new love relationship because you are lonely is very tempting, but it deprives you of the opportunity to practice loving yourself.
Sometimes, letting go seems impossible; but, day by day, whether you are consciously aware of it, or not, you ground more deeply in the present moment. When you fully understand the past is over you clear an emotional path and open up to new experiences. It requires primal trust in yourself and the universe. Be patient and things will change. You have no idea what great joys are to come. Waiting, allowing, and imagining all ready you for that new phase of life. Endings and beginnings are as natural as each inhale and exhale. Relinquishing the pain and welcoming the new will happen organically when you trust the process. Sometimes, if you are not in that trusting place, the best you can do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life will naturally carry you along to renewal and wonderful experiences you never dreamed possible.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang
Love Is Not a Faucet You Can Turn On And Off August 31, 2010
Emotional First Aid August 17, 2010
Ten ways to handle bad news:
1. Breathe deeply and slowly. Use grounding techniques (see Grounding Techniques).
2. Remember: This will pass.
3. Don’t take it personally, no matter what happened.
4. Allow all your feelings; yes, all of them.
5. Have faith in yourself. You are more competent than you think right this moment. Use prayer or meditation to access your faith in yourself or something greater than yourself.
6. Keep to your routine as much as possible, even if you feel dazed and numb. It will anchor you.
7. Eat, sleep, and get some fresh air.
8. Connect with anyone available: family, friends, a therapist, neighbors, even strangers.
9. Picture yourself as a six year old and lovingly take that little being into your arms. Speak softly, gently, and reassuringly to the frightened child inside.
10. Understand: You are here for everything, the good and the bad. You are a river of experiences, let life flow without judgment. You may not like it, but you can handle it.
While these ten suggestions can be read in under a minute, taking the time to do them will build resiliency and get you from one second to the next. Sometimes, just existing through a traumatic experience is the best you can do. Five minutes from now, tomorrow, or next week, things will look different.
Faith is surrendering to what is, doing what you can, and believing everything is happening for your highest good.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang