“You fell in love with a storm. Did you really think you would get out unscathed?” – Nikita Gill

It seems to be breakup season, around here.

Five of my close students, friends, and family members are going through relationship transitions right now, and I’m sure there are many others I don’t know about.

So I pulled together some of my hardest-won lessons on breaking up and moving on that have helped me brave many storms over the years.

This is a long one, so feel free to read it on the blog if you prefer.

You can also send that link to anyone who is going through their own relationship transition. 

I hope this can be a resource and a source of strength for anyone who needs it.

Let’s begin…

The breakup:

– When it’s no longer right, it’s no longer right, and it’s nobody’s fault. When your heart knows it’s over, “working through it” won’t bring it back. It’s time to begin letting go.

– If you’re the one ending the relationship, be honest, clear, and simple in your message. Instead of listing everything the other person did wrong, rely on the truth; the relationship just isn’t right for you, anymore.

– You’re not in charge of the other person’s feelings. Trying to make it easier on them usually only makes it harder. Just be honest, and give them the freedom to feel however they feel.

– If they’re ending the relationship — let them. Don’t fight it, don’t argue, don’t ask them to stay. Let them leave so you can be with someone who wants to be with you.

– Make a clean break. Don’t keep talking, don’t keep hanging out, don’t keep sleeping together. One, maybe two follow-up conversations is fine — then, end all communication until you’ve both fully healed.

(this doesn’t mean you never speak to them again, it means you don’t speak to them until the process is complete — think in months or years, not weeks)

– You don’t need to be friends right now. That can happen later, if you still want a friendship after you’ve moved on. “Being friends” after a breakup is usually an emotional band-aid, not a long-term solution.

The healing process:

– The good news is, you will heal. No matter how badly broken you feel, the heart can always put itself back together.

– In the meantime, it’s going to hurt, and trying to avoid the pain just makes it worse. So face the pain directly, welcome it, and allow yourself to feel it fully. The pain is a sign of healing.

– The trick to emotional pain is to feel it without thinking about it. Feel your emotions as sensations within your body, and treat each sensation like a wave that is washing the wound clean.

– When painful emotions arise, notice how your mind wants to spin off into thoughts and stories about the relationship. Then, come down out of your mind and back into the sensations of the emotions within your body. Repeat as many times as necessary.

– Allow yourself to feel how you really feel, not how you think you should feel. It’s easy to make ourselves feel worse because we think we should be grieving — or, to pretend we feel better than we really do. The healing process depends on you being honest with yourself about how you really feel.

– An open wound needs space to heal. Don’t continue re-opening the wound by looking at old photos, reaching out to the other person, or listening to Marvin’s Room. Picking at a scab makes it bleed, and scar — it will heal faster and more completely if you leave it alone.

– Let go of your stories about the relationship; the way you met, the inside jokes, the places you went, the moments you shared — it was beautiful and special in the moment, but it’s in the past now. Letting the old stories go is the first step to creating new stories.

– No matter the circumstances, avoid at all costs the trap of making the other person “wrong” or “bad” or “evil” in your mind. This is a crutch that leaves us weaker for having used it.

– Allow the other person to process the breakup in their own way. How they handle it is up to them, and has nothing to do with you. You don’t need to like it, you don’t need to agree with it, you just need to let them live their life in their own way.

– You will both move on and find new people. Expect it to happen, expect it to hurt, and know that you will get over it. Jealousy is natural, lashing out in jealousy (or running to try to get the other person back) is childish.

– Set up your social media so that you cannot see their accounts. Even better, use this time to take a break from social media altogether.

– Show a strong, stable version of yourself to those around you. Don’t dump on friends, or continually talk about the breakup. Carry yourself in a way that you are proud of — be honest about how you’re feeling, without needing others carry the pain for you.

– If you need to talk to someone about what you’re going through, reach out and ask for help. Give others the opportunity to help you in good will, rather than launching into your emotional process without warning.

(people love being asked for help, but nobody likes being forced to help without being asked)

– Meditate, exercise, take cold showers, eat well, spend time with friends, and sleep more than you usually do. The healthier your lifestyle, the faster and more complete the healing process will be.

The transformation:

– Pain forces adaptation, and few things are more painful than a breakup — which makes breakups one of the most powerful opportunities for transformation.

– So treat this experience like a transformative crucible — a liminal space between the old version of you an a new, upgraded version of you.

– The upgraded version of you will naturally attract an upgraded quality of partner. When that person comes along, you will understand why it didn’t work out with your old partner, and you will be overwhelmed with gratitude for having gone through the pain of letting your old relationship go.

(hat tip to my old relationship coach Annie Lalla for this next point)

– Every relationship is either “the one”, or practice for the one. No relationship is a failure just because it ended. People come into our lives to teach us, and leave when the lesson is complete. Learning the lesson makes the relationship a success.

Last, and most importantly: 

You got this.

There’s no way around it, breakups suck.

They’re also beautiful, transformative, and life-changing.

Sometimes our heart needs to break before it can fully open, and an open heart is the greatest gift a partner can leave us with.

It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

You got this. 

– T

P.S. One of my favorite meditation teachers, Will Johnson, wrote a beautiful chapter on heartbreak in his book “The Spiritual Practices of Rumi”.

I highly recommend reading both that chapter, and the book in full.

(non-affiliate Amazon link here)


For those not currently going through a breakup, here are a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned about love and relationships.

By admin

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