Thursday, June 14, 2012

After a Breakup: Getting Unstuck and Dealing With Losses

A loss of significance—a big loss—can get stuck in your heart if it is not processed. When your self-esteem falters, and you feel like it’s always midnight, and you hold it all in, the pain can pile up like emotional garbage. It clogs the drain, blocking your emotions as well as your movement forward into healing and wholeness.

Stuck pain can also lead to unwanted behavior. You’re constantly sad or bitter and it keeps you at arm’s length from other people, so you feel alone. You don’t feel like yourself, so you end up saying or doing things you don’t really mean—like blaming others or lashing out in unwarranted anger—and hurt others.

It’s been said that if you don’t grieve well you grieve all the time. While you may put on a good front for friends and coworkers, inside the lingering sadness remains. That’s why it’s so important to grieve losses—to unblock your frozen heart so you can feel better, find joy, and live a life of emotional freedom, serenity and love.

How to express your grief

Grieving a loss is not a linear process.  There is no right or wrong order in which it must be done.  Processing loss can circle around a few times or wash over you like an ocean wave. When the waves of sorrow come, ride them out; they will not destroy you. Eventually the waves that once pounded you so hard will have less and less impact, and finally recede.

For some people, getting over a breakup takes a few weeks or months. For others it can take a year or more depending upon the level of relationship, the depth of love, the person’s emotional past, and how they handle emotions in general. Some attachments have more emotional glue than others which makes it harder to separate and to let go.

Everyone heals in their own way and their own timing because love and loss is unique for each person. Here are some ideas on how to process your pain and release your sadness through grieving.

1. Acknowledge your loss. Getting through this season of grief and sadness begins by acknowledging that a loss has happened. Whether you left, he left, or it was a mutual agreement, something that was there is now gone.

2. Ask for help. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you do what you cannot do on your own. With His power, emotions expressed will begin the flow, unclogging your blocked heart.

3. Let yourself be sad. Tears are a cleansing emotional release from a wellspring deep inside of us that need to get out. Tears are part of unblocking our inner stuckness and pain.

4. Recognize what you’ve lost and what remains. It can be helpful to make a list of your losses—and what you still have. God redeems loss and pain and heals the heart to love again. He excels at converting heartache to healing, and redeeming things that have been tossed away into something worthy and wonderful.

5. Dig in to God’s word. In Psalm 13:2, for instance, David laments, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”  Then later says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”(Psalm 13:5, 6)

6. Pray. No matter what your circumstances, prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. And it changes us.

Prayer by prayer and moment by moment healing comes. With the light of Christ to illuminate the way, things begin to change or you change, or both. You start to reorient your life around other events, places, or people and in time you return to a happier version of yourself with less sadness and more joy.

Healing Prayer

Dear Lord, I feel miserable. My heart is broken and I want to get beyond this pain. Will you help me to get unstuck and move forward into joy?  I need Your healing power and love to get me through. Lord, I choose to give you my pain, sadness and losses. I leave all of them at the foot of Your throne and release them. I cast my cares. Be near me Lord, in this dark season. Through this loss, I am thankful for what remains—my health, my friends and family, and mostly You. Thank you for your care, comfort and close presence. I know that You are with me every step of the way.  Lead me, moment by moment, from sadness to joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.