Saturday, August 4, 2012

After a Breakup: 7 Things to Help Heal Your Heart (Part 3)

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.

How can you get unstuck?

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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. In time you will get unstuck and move from the darkness of loss and pain into the sunlight of restoration and wholeness.

4. Let yourself be sad.

In his book, Broken, Tim Baker says, “Sorrow is entirely underrated.” I have to agree.  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. “It is as if we have to cry so the pain has somewhere to go, and that somewhere is out of us,” said Baker.  

Crying alone can be healing. If you have someone to be with you when you cry, you are indeed blessed. What do you need to release today? Will you release the pain, release control, release your need to be right, release the other person from what he or she did to you—or didn’t?

5. Recognize what you’ve lost and what remains.

It can be helpful to make a list of your losses. Losing a significant love relationship is a loss, but you may have also incurred other losses during this time.

For instance, the loss of companionship and friendship, time spent with that person, and the loss of affection and physical touch.  You no longer have a person who knows you well, understands you, and makes you feel special.  Breaking up could mean the loss of a dream of a life together with that person. There is also loss of trust, loss of control, and the loss of self respect or self esteem.

Think about what remains and make a list of those things too. Whatever your list includes know that when all else is gone, God’s love goes on. He cares, He comforts and He is near to those who hurt. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

6. Remember, God redeems loss and pain and heals the heart to love again.

The word “redeem” means “to trade in, exchange, or transfer.” Think about discarded scraps of cloth, remnants. In the hands of a skilled seamstress they can be redeemed into a beautiful quilt that provides beauty, warmth and comfort.  God excels at converting heartache to healing, and redeeming things that have been tossed away into something worthy and wonderful.

7. Pray.

No matter what your circumstances, prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. And it changes us. Whether you pray alone, with friends, or a prayer partner, talking and listening with God in a holy dialog is the most important thing you can do to heal your broken heart. It doesn’t have to include elaborate words; it can be simple and heartfelt—as if you were talking to a friend, because indeed you are.

Grieving, like night time, will not last forever. Remember, you’re just passing through on your way to better days. Much better days.

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.

Want more info on getting over a breakup? Read other posts in this blog to find more help and hope.  -- Jackie M. Johnson

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