It was 9.12am, when the phone rang.
“Hello, I’m…. I’m sorry for calling… I just… I just saw your website and needed to talk to someone and it sounded like you could help.”
“I’ll try. I’m Rob, what’s your name?”
“I’m Emma” a quiet voice whispered.
“So what could I help you with” I asked.
“I’ve been having a hard time… I’ve… I” she stammered sounding close to tears.
“It’s ok” I said softly, “It’s ok to be upset and to cry. We all have ups and downs and we worry if we’ll ever get over them. You can cry all you like and I’ll wait here as long as it takes”
After that she seemed more together. Emma had been with her Husband for 12 years. By all accounts the last three hadn’t been satisfying for either of them though. They’d been school sweethearts. Paul was Emma’s first and only lover.
The domesticity of children and everyday life had changed the dynamics of their relationship from one of passion and close friendship to one of bickering and animosity.
Her Partner had felt pushed aside by the arrival of two babies and found attention at work. Emma had begun to suspect Paul was cheating two years previously. There was the faint hint of perfume, long blonde hairs in the car… Emma was a brunette, the late night messages and just that sixth sense a wife has about a cheating Husband.
At first Emma began spying on Paul. Checking his emails, trying to read his messages, visiting him unexpectedly at work, but this just made things worse. Emma found herself unable to sleep, constantly wrecked with fear and anxiety about what Paul was up to and with who. She began suspecting her friends if they laughed or chatted with him.
Eventually she realised, it was better for her to be alone than live with this constant stress and worry. So she confronted Paul and told him of her suspicions. They rowed for hours. They called each other horrible names and brought up every shortcoming the other had.
At 3 am Paul stormed out of the house, gone for good.
Emma cried for three days straight with the curtains closed and without seeing another living adult, before coming to the realisation that her children needed her to be strong and that life could go on.
How though, she didn’t have any idea…
It was as I spoke to Emma over the next few months that I realised what a struggle it was for people to get over their relationships and I decided to put together this tool sheet that can help people get started on the road to recovery.
Whatever your situation… and I’ve spoken to many, many people in exactly the same situation as Emma… you will get over heart break. Time is a great healer, but it is not time so much as putting distance between you and the pain. And it is possible to create that distance quicker and more effectively.
Here in the rest of this tip sheet I would like to show you one element of how to speed up that recovery and create a future that excites you, so that you can move forward quicker and live a happier life.
Here’s One Of The Real Issues We Have To Address To Overcome A Broken Heart
There are a few key challenges in life that we all have to face. There’s the mid-life crises and coming to terms with ageing. Another is the fear of dying. But we are here to talk about dealing with a broken heart.
And really this runs on the same dynamics as the death of a loved one and a life changing disaster, like losing your leg or something similar. So whatever your situation the problem and the solution are really the same thing.
We grow up as teenagers and as hormones take over our body we become drawn to people we find sexually attractive. The thrill of finding someone that our body and mind magnetise us to, who is as attracted to us as we to them creates a sensational bond that overrides all our usual reasoning.
As a relationship develops that thrill of excitement creates plans and dreams of a bright future. So when we are really emotionally invested into a relationship our whole future is wrapped up. When we think of us being old, we think of our Partner stooping over and shuffling to bring us a cup of coffee.
Now sometimes we become disgruntled with the relationship and so gradually we lose that vision. When we think of growing old with them we feel a sense of dread. As we feel this more and more our investment in the relationship becomes less and less. Who wants to feel their future is going to be miserable?
So, in this scenario we are happy to be out of the relationship and there isn’t the same feeling of devastation, But when we have this dream of a blissful future and suddenly the person we love tells us they don’t want to be with us anymore… or something like the Emma’s story happens, it feels like our chance for happiness in the future has gone.
You see, whenever there is any room for doubt or anxiety in your mind, fear will always take control. So then the little nagging voice in your head tells you…
“this is it… you’re going to end up old and alone. That was your best chance, you’ll never find anyone as pretty/kind/fun or whatever you liked about the person”.
Now I know that I write about his in such a cold way, like romance is some disease of the brain, but the message I want to get across is that this is the dynamic that’s going on. In any moment you can lose yourself in the drama and the emotions, but equally you can zoom out and see the bigger picture.
I think it’s wonderful to go with your feelings, to ride that emotional rollercoaster and be lost in love, but when it all goes wrong and you’re in the depths of despair, that’s no fun is it?
So you need to be able to pull yourself up from the depths of misery at will.
My belief is that when you can understand the dynamics going on, you can ride the emotional rollercoaster, but equally you can get off the ride when it stops being fun.
Ok it’s all very well for me to talk about here’s what the problem is, but that isn’t a lot of comfort to someone who feels their life has been crushed. So I want to talk about what needs to happen for the pain to ease. I’m a big believer in Joseph Campbell’s idea that you have to burn the pain out by filling it with something better.
So in this case, my presumption is that your pain is caused by the belief
- a) that your future is less attractive without the other person (and/or possibly your children’s)
- b) that you’ll never find anyone as perfect for you as ____ that will be attracted to you.
The process of getting over a devastating break up is much like that of grieving a departed loved one because it is about the same thing. They won’t be in your life any more. The real pain from grief is the loss of your future. Not having this person there anymore.
The real issue is that you feel you’ve lost control over making the choices in your life. It feels like the rug has been pulled from under you and your future has been taken away from you.
Therefore, the route beyond the pain and the grief is in creating a vision of a future that burns even brighter than the vision you had before. You have to create a bright future that fills you with excitement and joy and pulls you towards it.
In fact, I don’t care if you’re blissfully happy with a Partner who you adore and who adores you, you should do this. Because no one ever knows what the future will bring. Your relationship may stay strong forever, I hope it does. However it’s always possible that a tragedy in one form or another can happen so I believe your future should be based on how you want to feel.
Of course, you’re future is going to involve other people, but make them faceless. None of us know who will be in our future.
I would even avoid making it so specific about what you are going to do because another devastating form of grief is when someone might have their heart set on some specific dream, say all they’ve ever wanted to be was a sports star or movie star and something makes that impossible, well that’s another form of grief isn’t it?
So you need to keep your dreams for your future as flexible as you can. Then whatever happens you have another route to being and feeling happy and excited.
Your Lover leaves you for another. You can and will find someone equally and probably a better match for you.
Your loved one dies, you remember them and love their memory and move on with the other people in your life.
You lose the ability to do the thing you loved. You move your attention into another passion that you find fills you with as much enthusiasm as before.
The big problem is that when a relationship breaks up suddenly and all the positive thoughts of your future are tied up with that person, then literally the roof has fallen in on your dreams. In any instance where you don’t have something positive to hold onto, to hope for, your brain will default to fear.
See, the whole fight or flight fear response is set up so that your body overrides your tiny rational mind. Think of a time when you panicked or you saw others panicking… were the actions one of a rational and logical mind?
Or the actions of someone controlled by their emotions?
When you suddenly realise that someone has gone or you fear they are slipping from your life, that feels threatening. And when we are under threat… our body takes control of things, because a threat is a life or death matter. And so our body deals with it with action and physical sensations rather than the calm, rational and logical thinking part of our mind.
What this means is our mind is flooded with thoughts of fear. What will become of me? I’ll be left all alone. No one as good will ever be interested in me again. That was my chance for happiness and now my life is ever going to have as bright a future again.
Ok so what do we do then?
The solution has to be to build a new bright future without the other person in it. In fact you want to make the people in it faceless as much as you can. This is the same reason I believe that everyone needs a purpose or mission in life that doesn’t depend on someone else.
See, lots of people will say their life is their kids or their pet or something. Now that’s a lovely sentiment, but I don’t like it for two reasons.
The first is that what happens if something happens to the person who they see at the centre of their life?
Suddenly their whole meaning and purpose for living has gone.
Secondly, it’s a hell of a lot of pressure to put on someone. My happiness depends on you. I give everything for you. That basis for a relationship can’t help, but get into a lot of emotional manipulation.
Ok… so now onto the nuts and bolts of what to do…
The Top 5 Tools To Stay Strong And Happy Even When Your Heart Is Broken
And How To Use Them To Give You Strength and Resilience In The Most Trying of Circumstances
Disclaimer: I have tried to find the easiest tools to use for most people, but there are many alternatives, I couldn’t care less which you use. I make no commission from any tools and have only provided them as an easy option to get started.
You may find better ones available and I cannot promise using them will be free of problems, so please use your own guidance.
Online, IPhone and Android Apps
The difference between happiness and stress and misery is about your perspective.
Feeling stressed and harassed happens when we are zoomed into the details and projects in our life. When we zoom out and detach ourselves from the everyday world we are able to look at life in a calmer way and literally laugh at our problems. From a zoomed out perspective the details don’t matter, you can have a calm relaxed knowledge that it will be ok. All will work out.
Meditation is a great technique to take time every day and develop the ability to zoom in and out. This ability is the secret to having a happy and successful life.
Calm.com provide apps for IPhone and Androids or you can use their website. There are lots of others like Headspace try them out and see what works for you.
Create a Movie of Your Future
The biggest problem in getting over a breakup is that all your happiest and most exciting visions of the future involved your Ex. So the best thing you can do to change that is to start building a brighter and more exciting future without them in it.
Here’s what I recommend you do.
Create a new folder on your computer and find all the quotes that speak to you. Search the ones you can remember, start collecting the ones that you come across on Facebook, Pinterest and as you’re browsing generally.
Copy in all the photos that make you smile and feel good. Gather images of things you’d like to do in the future. You could put in pictures of the kind of house, car or other things you want.
Then spend an hour or so remembering all the nice things people have said about you and your achievements.
Then you can either type these onto a slide or an image or if you have something that symbolises it, you can use that. For example a screenshot or copy and paste a message.
Next you will want to find some music that you find uplifting and excites you and you want to arrange these into a slideshow that you can watch in moments when you feel down or doubt yourself.
You could even just watch it every morning or night as a ritual to make you feel positive and confident anyway.
What you want is first to envisage a positive future without your Ex, so it’s probably best that it doesn’t include images or songs that remind you of them.
Secondly you want a lifeline that makes you feel good about yourself for those dark nights of the soul. Those times when you doubt yourself and wonder if life will ever work out for you.
Below you’ll find apps and instructions on how to make a slideshow.
PowerPoint Slides Tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0IWHN1nxzE
Get In Shape
Probably you have a little extra time now you’re single. I always think you should make the best you can of yourself in all ways, mentally, physically and spiritually. So it makes sense to get yourself in a strong and healthy physical condition. Also I recommend taking a little alone time first, but sooner or later you’re going to be back on the dating market and so it’s not going to do you any harm in being in the best shape you can.
You may want to do something new or more social like a martial arts or Zumba class, but if you’re going to hit the gym or workout at home, why not try a 30 day challenge like these?
It gives you a focus and pushes you to get better at something specific, which in turns develops a sense of confidence and accomplishment.
If you didn’t want to make it into a challenge then The Body Coach is a good place to start following workouts
Get Out And Mix With People
Ok, so the other tools have focused on helping you feel better about yourself and finding a more peaceful state. This one is about getting out there and meeting new people.
Not with the intention of finding ‘The One’, but so that you get involved in new groups, do new things, meet new people and make new friends
If you have the time, I would recommend volunteering. There is nothing better for you, than in helping others.
Misery comes when our focus is limited to ourselves. When we realise an expanded world and especially when we contribute a part of us in improving the world or the lot of other people we gain.
There are always organisations near you that need your support, time and energy.
If volunteering isn’t for you, at the moment, how about doing a course in something fun or developing your skills. Maybe a cookery class, meditation group or some other activity.
Meetup.com is one place you can do this, pretty much wherever you live, but your local area may have many different sites and organisations. There’s a whole world of fun out there, that we are unaware of waiting for us to get involved and join in with it..