What if you’re not able to trust anymore?

Yes, there are lots of dickheads in this world; I’m not going to argue that.

But still… there are so many people who long for kindness, warmth, and closeness… So why to close yourself off from potential relationships?

The point is, to experience a kind, warm and close relationship, you need to open up again. You need to expose your ‘soft belly’. And then–yes!–you risk being hurt again. Again! But you can’t get emotional intimacy without letting your guard down.

It’s a bit of a vicious circle, a catch-22. To connect, you need to bare your soul. If you do that, someone may hurt you. It’s a risk. Unfortunately, you can’t do that in a perfectly safe way since relationships don’t come with money-back guarantees, or any type of guarantee for that matter.

It's a risk to love

For some time after my breakup I talked to other people a lot, both online and in real life. I was so very curious to know how people felt about divorcing. How did they cope? I was very surprised when I discovered how they longed for tenderness! And even more for someone dear!

Someone told me how he misses the warmth of a body next to him while he’s sleeping. Someone else said how scared she was now, and another person showed me his paintings. I realized how many people are desperate for the same thing I was.

They longed to trust, feel safe and accepted, and be special to someone.

All these soft feelings get hidden behind fear, insecurity, and bitterness after a breakup.

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We all feel it in such similar ways; human beings are so alike in how we miss love, acceptance and warmth. It’s not just you. There are hundred of thousands of people like you. And all of them are afraid.

To open up, you need to be ready. Ready to give some degree of trust, even if it’s just a little bit.

But first, you need to get stronger. Let yourself recover. Search for the support you need within yourself. Then learn to trust yourself and your judgement, and believe that you will know if a person is worth your time and feelings.

And then, even if you get it wrong, it won’t be the end of the world. Just another experience. No drama.

Experience is what you get

P.S. By the way, divorce is often like a trampoline; just one jump can take you to a much higher place–a greater life. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the truth. Paradoxically, hitting rock bottom is quite a good start.

Hitting Rock bottomis quite a good

P.P.S. There are plenty of warm people around us. We might not see them, meet them, or believe them, though. It’s as if we live in parallel worlds, ships passing in the night. Maybe reaching out to them is not something you’d like to deal with today. That’s okay.
‘Clean up’ your heart first. Make some room. Take care of yourself.


So what’s the one thing you may start with now?

Start with switching your mindset for a happier one. Simple, fast and it works. Oh, and it’s free. Check a ‘how to’ here.

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4 steps to heal the wounds after a breakup

When everything is over, you end up as wounded as if you’d been in a war zone. Except that no one can see it and only you know how much it all hurts.

Countless cuts. Unbearable pain.

And yet, a lot of people close their eyes and wait for the pain to vanish. How come?

What do we do with our broken hearts?

There’s a wound in your heart. It’s bleeding and hurts like hell. And what do we usually do? We try to function more or less normally. We cry a bit, put an ‘I’ll be fine’ face on and we go to work the next day.

But the wound is not healing right. It festers. It swells. It fills with pus and blood. It hurts, it hurts every day. Over time, it turns black or green and you can feel the rancid smell.

The smell of bitterness, fear, and cynicism.

Hold on.

What do you do when you cut your finger? You clean the wound, get a first aid kit, disinfect the cut and put a clean dressing on. Isn’t that right? If the cut is really deep, you might want to see a doctor. Pretty much common sense. Why don’t we do the same thing with our broken hearts?

Where’s our common sense when it comes to breakups?

What if we followed first-aid rules for all our post-divorce wounds? Let’s have a look at the ‘procedure’:

  1. Assess the wound
  2. Clean it and disinfect it
  3. Put a clean dressing on
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until it heals nicely

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Stage 1: have a look at your broken heart

At the beginning, pain overwhelms you and it cuts off your ability to think clearly. You’re all about emotions. But still, you need to have a look at your wound.

The cut is deep, all swollen and purple and red. It’s filled with blood and pus. It’s dirty and disgusting. Yikes!

What is your wound when it comes to your breakup? It’s all the emotions that whirl around inside you. Have a look inside. What emotions are there? Rage, misery, grief? Unspoken hurt? Feelings of hopelessness?

It’s not a pleasant view, but do not close your eyes. It’s alright, it’s not going to kill you to look and assess, even if you think it might.

In order to cope with all that, consider writing a diary. For one, the act of writing helps you confront difficult feelings and get them out. When we keep the thoughts only in our heads, they swirl around and mix together in new ways that end up confusing us. Writing allows you to hear yourself and see your point.

Secondly, putting the insufferable feelings on paper will bring you relief. When the pressure goes up, writing lets out some steam.

And the last thing–the paper is patient so you can do it literally everywhere, always. Even if it’s so often no human being, including the best friend ever, would have had the patience to listen to.

Stage 2: clean the wound and disinfect it

Oh yes, It’s gonna hurt like hell!

To clean the wound means to meet your pain and hurt head-on; admit that life feels unfair and sometimes we can’t help it. It makes you want to howl.

So howl. Seriously.

‘Disinfection’ stands for a specific activity. It means to face the difficult emotions and to express them. Sometimes it’s going to be a long cry for hours on end. Other times – a fearful scream over everything that was done to you. On other occasion, you might want to close this stage of your life with a goodbye ritual inspired by old rites of passage.

Everything you do in order to deal with your pain, counts. Don’t put it off for some other day. The sooner you disinfect your wound, the sooner it will start to heal.

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Stage 3: a clean dressing

The dressing you apply to the wound is your own self-care. It’s time for yourself. Slow down right now. Give up things that are not essential for your life. Consider this time a recovery, just as if you were recovering after a car accident, all bruised with both your legs broken.

Inevitably, some things need to wait. It’s about YOU right now.

So take care of yourself. What do you like? What do you like EXCEPT being in a relationship? It’s a good time to ask this question. Let yourself take everything in that you need right now.

Everyone knows time heals wounds. But time also lets the distance grow. And the distance, in turn, lets us approach things without excessive emotions. Sometimes things that seemed to be the worst ever turn into our favor. That’s actually quite common, but in most cases this can only be noticed from a certain perspective.

So embrace time. Accept that the process will last a while, and right now – it’s hard. It will be better one day, but simply not today, not yet. And while you’re recovering, use that time for your benefit.

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Stage 4: Rinse and repeat

So what’s next?

The wound will start to heal, but you’ll need to change the dressing every now and then.

Let the steam out as it builds up.

Express difficult emotions on an ongoing basis.

Blow your anger off, cry out your grief, write misery out.

Do not let it settle in, as it will make you rot inside.

Slowly, the hurt will scab over and eventually a scar will start to form. It’s never going to be as it used to be; you will carry the scar all your life. It’s called experience. But you can live with it, we all have scars. That’s how we grow wiser.

I am strongbecause I've been weakI am fearlessbecause I've been afraidI am wisebecause I've been foolish

Seeking professional help

Perhaps your wound needs to be seen by a specialist. Therapy with a wise, warm therapist is always a good idea. But the process of healing depends on you, always on you. On your willingness to face what’s difficult, painful and hidden deep inside. No matter how good the therapist is, or how much you pay for the service, the job is yours to do. Don’t be afraid, you have the strength to take it all.

Oh yes, you do.

Even if you don’t know it yet.

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What’s the one thing you can do today?

For one – embrace the fact you’re recovering, just as if you had a car accident. This approach helps us accept that sh*t happened to us this time. Car accidents happen, breakups happen.

Broken legs will grow back.

Broken hearts will love again.


Boost your mood NOW

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One Joy a Day

‘Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.’
(Serenity Prayer; Wikipedia)

The are few facts you need to accept when trying to get over your ex:

  • you’re in exceptionally hard moment in your life
  • it’s absolutely normal you feel the worst ever
  • today (and a few tomorrows) will totally suck
  • for a while it’s NOT going to be better. It will in some time. But not now.

One Fun Thing a Day

When I was crawling through my black hole after my divorce, I got a homework assignment from my therapist. She told me to do one nice thing for myself everyday. When I started to practice this simple method, some kind of balance came back into my life.

Sure, I was still miserable. But at the same time, there was time not only for tears, but also FOR ME. I could take a break from the pain. I could divert my thoughts on what was good for me, instead of being focused on despair all the time.

In the middle of misery, it’s hard to remember about taking care of yourself properly. Grief is overwhelming, we kind of sink in all this sadness. And a One Joy a Day let us bring some balance into our lives.

If you’re sinking in the swam of agony, the One Joy a Day lets you take a breath.

One breath, that’s all you need to today.

You’re hurt, so be nice to yourself. If not now, then when?!

One Joy a Day is not about big things. One the contrary, do the smallest treats. The secret to it is to do it regularly. As a rule, doing small and frequent things is more efficient than doing something big, on an infrequent basis.

One Joy a Day is about being KIND to yourself, about doing things you like, it’s about pleasure. And please don’t tell me nothing makes you happy because if you like a bubble bath, you like a bubble bath with a broken heart as well.

if you like a bubble bath, you like a bubble bath with a broken heart as well1

One day I made myself a hot cup of delicious, real cocoa and sipped it loudly with eyes closed; beamed down to a cocoa paradise. Another day I sat on the terrace enjoying the sun on my face and simply doing nothing. As you see, nothing fancy.

But small things make huge difference.

So now it’s your turn. Do one nice thing for yourself a day. Do it just like you would have given a nice surprise to someone you’re in love with.

Even with a broken heart you can catch little moments of joy

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One Joy a Day in getting over your ex

Prepare a list of 5-10 fun things beforehand. This way, you skip getting stuck due to having zero ideas.
Below are few inspirations. Choose some and adapt them for yourself:

  • Read a book that was special to you when you were a kid
  • Prepare yourself a tasting. What do you like? Fruits, bakery, wine, chocolate, cheese? Get a few different kinds of food. Eat slowly and taste carefully.
  • Make homemade ice cream. Two ingredients, one blender. It can’t be any easier:

By the way, you have another Fun Thing ready for tomorrow, because someone has to eat it!

  • On your day off, sleep as long as you can. And then some more.
  • Go some place nice to see a sunset or sunrise. Quietly watch the show. The sun, indifferent to our worries comes up and goes down every day. Sometimes, we experience our private ‘end of the world’. And the sun always continues its way, unconcerned. Consider how many heartbroken people it shines above right now.
  • Bubble bath in candlelight. Always!
  • Homemade SPA – treat your body to a peeling and some oil. Be mindful when you touch your body. Feel your skin, feel how strong your body is. Touch your arms, feel it’s quite a nice body after all 🙂
  • Get a massage.
  • One of my favorites: scratching your back with a long handle bath brush, prrrr….
  • Sing when you shower or drive. LOUD. Go for it and add some drama:
  • Go out and do something different from your everyday scheme:
    • Go to the theater, opera, any other show
    • Go to a concert that is different from your usual musical choices
    • Go to a church (different the one you belong to) and listen to the sermon. You might be surprised how much refers to your life
    • Attend a lecture about something new
  • Volunteer
  • Say ‘Yes’ to an interesting proposal in your life
  • Popcorn and movie in the best company–yours!
  • Go for a long walk
  • Go for a short walk (fresh air always boosts your mood)
  • Spend some time in nature
  • Take a nap
  • Get a new hairstyle
  • Buy a new outfit
  • Go out and have some fun with friends
  • Get yourself a bunch of flowers
  • Cook dinner for yourself
  • Make yourself a meal like in the best restaurant: tablecloth, white serviette, wine glass even if you only drink water, candlelight, gentle music…
  • Sit down and do nothing for half an hour. Listen to some music, or contemplate the silence. No responsibilities. Just relax.
  • Practice daydreaming
  • Dance by yourself
  • Dance naked by yourself
  • Play with a pet: yours, a friend’s or from a shelter
  • Mail yourself a letter; write supportive, warm and caring words
  • SPOIL YOURSELF as if you were the dearest person in the whole world.
    If not now, when?!

Little joys are like a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.

You were hurt1

So what’s the one thing you can start with now?

Choose one, just ONE small thing you can do to make you smile.

Do it today.
Do it tomorrow.
Do it for a week.
And get a bit happier!

Have fun!


Oh, and one more thing.

Sign up and get a freebie: ‘Make today the best day ever since you broke up’. It’s a hands-on mini-guide. So click here and change your mindset now!

A breakup manual: how to get over a breakup

I created this ‘manual’ to gather into one place the most valid information about the process of recovering after a breakup.

It’s a summary of what is waiting for you on your way to recovery, together with some tips on how to cope during each stage. Understanding the process, and following these simple tips can soothe the pain.

Just as every other instructional manual, this one also begins with some health and safety rules to help keep you sane. They will make your life easier along the way, so take advantage of them!

Let’s start!

PART 1: Health and sanity rules after the breakup

Here are a few tips, that will help you to survive during the recovery period.

1. Accept the mess

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Accept the fact that now is a difficult time and it is not going to be much better for a while.

It WILL get better in a few weeks or months, but it won’t be tomorrow.

How do you accept the mess of this difficult time?

Imagine you’ve had a car accident. It’s awful, but it happens. Your wounds are severe, but not fatal.

You wouldn’t expect yourself to get back to work straight after leaving the ER, would you? Same here. Focus on recovery and you will get well one day.

2. Take care of yourself. Absolutely!

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This is a super weapon against madness. It’s more than certain that you’re going to feel like a bunch of buffaloes ran over you.

Therefore you need to enjoy yourself on a regular basis in order to balance the negative elements in your life right now. Check ‘One Joy a day’ and start today!

3. Quit dating. There’s something more important to get busy with. YOU!

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Unfortunately, dating does not solve the problem of a broken heart; it only draws your attention from the grieving process inside you. So let it go for now and take care of the really important stuff right now, which is you and your recovery.

4. Get a human being for those times when you need to talk

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Perhaps your ex was also your best friend or perhaps your mutual friends divorced you after your breakup. This way or the other–suddenly, there’s only you and the crickets in your life.

You can’t develop good friendships overnight, but start to look for people you can simply talk to about what’s bothering you. Find places where you can blow off steam and get nothing back but acceptance. Check the internet for therapy or support groups or online forums that focus on others going through the same situation.

5. Be like a hunting dog – search for things that can help you. Seek, seek…

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After a breakup, we’re naturally get more focused on ourselves. Use this fact and search for things that will help you grow!

It might be yet another book, therapy, self-development workshops, home study, or anything else that helps. Sometimes all you need is a single sentence to open your mind.

So keep trying and fight for your (much better) future!

6. Careful with food and substances

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Drugs, alcohol, food… and perhaps shopping, gaming, watching Netflix, etc., are all things that can take the pain away… for a while.

I hate moral talks, so I’m just gonna say: be careful, don’t overdo it. I know sometimes it gets so hard that nothing else will help than three bars of chocolate, a bottle of wine, or eight hours of gaming or Netflixing. We all do these things to stop thinking.

I get it… but still, don’t overdo it.

7. Have faith!

A photo by Cristian Newman. unsplash.com/photos/zFnk_bTLApo

Believe it will be better one day, even against the odds!

‘There is no joy without hardship.

If not for death, would we appreciate life?

If not for hate, would we know the ultimate goal is love?

At these moments you can either hold onto negativity and look for blame, or you can choose to heal and keep on loving.’
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (The Wheel of Life, 1997)

PART 2: Recovery from the breakup

Here’s a step-by-step instruction to get you through a divorce recovery along with some tips on what to do during every stage in order to soothe your pain.

Shock

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How is it?

Pretty much as if they told you you had cancer. Disbelief gets all tangled up with fear and pain. You know your entire life is about to change and you have no idea what to do.

What to do?

  • Put all important decisions on hold. It’s not a good time for major changes. This time is a restricted survival mode.
  • Accept that you might react… hmm, differently than usual, such as:
    • sit on the kitchen floor and stare at a wall for two hours
    • burst into tears when you find something that brings memories back
    • feel unable to accomplish simple things like making a meal
  • Do one Joy a day to keep your life minimally balanced between bad and good things.
  • Start a diary and pour your emotions out into it. Use it to regularly let off steam. Writing things out will soothe the pain.
  • Keep the routine simple:
    • get up, wash, eat and drink, go to work. That’s it. Minimum version.
    • go to bed as early as you can. There’s no point in staying up late at night and trying to ‘figure it out’
    • eat regularly
    • walk a lot, it really helps
  • Emotionally, you’re in an extremely difficult situation, and for that reason you need to be taken care of–by YOURSELF. You need your own understanding and kindness.

Emotional roller-coaster

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How is it?

Maybe a tiny bit better, but not enough to really notice.

You’ll go through all kinds of emotional states from anger to depression and then suddenly you’ll be tempted to beg for reconciliation so you can get back together. It’s an emotional roller-coaster. Just keep focused on yourself and react to what shows up as it comes.

Check out this article to find out more about the stages of grief: 5 steps through the pain

What to do?

  • Again, writing on a regular basis is the best way to get the whirling emotions out. It’s even better than when you talk to a friend, because you can write about things you wouldn’t like to talk about.
    Besides, let’s be honest, do you know a person who is ready to listen to all that everyday, over and over again, for hours? And that’s what we often need–to talk, and talk, and talk… endlessly…
  • Apart from writing, look for other ways to express yourself:
    • if you feel angry – get angry. Shout it out in your car or hit your pillow or kick your bed, anything but not hold it inside.
    • If you feel stressed, check the TRE exercises
    • if nothing makes sense–create yourself something pleasurable (bath, sleep, massage). Maybe the situation won’t make much more sense, but at least your experience in the moment will be nicer.
    • if you feel miserable, draw a picture of your broken heart. Buy crayons and some large-size paper. Choose colors intuitively, let ‘the art’ create ‘itself’. Let it be a meditation, and connect with things deep inside you.
    • make a sculpture. Add your feelings one by one to your sculpture. Keep going until you feel everything is out. The next day, smash it with a hammer and bury the pieces in the backyard.
  • Take care of yourself all the time; do one fun thing a day. Give yourself as much pleasure as you can.
  • Engage in sports, and don’t be afraid to get sweaty
  • Make non-routine choices, like buying a meal you haven’t eaten for years since your ex hated it. Go back to old things or try new ones; question ‘default’ choices, check what is outside the box!

The pain releases

Man feeling freedom on open sea

How is it?

The pain fades slowly. You’re more about here and now. It’s a good time to re-discover yourself, to know yourself again. It’s easier to spot bright sides of your situation and to start thinking about the future.

More acceptance and piece of mind show up.

What to do?

  • Investigate who you are now.
    • What do you like?
    • What’s number one thing in your life now?
    • What is one thing you will never ever do again?
  • Announce your Life Manifesto. You are and that’s ENOUGH!
  • Think about performing a goodbye ritual for your relationship.
  • Keep exploring new things in life. Revisit the hobbies you enjoyed before you got married. Investigate what else you might add to your life.
  • Start to meet new people. If your friends left along with your Ex, you need to fill this gap with new people. One person is good to start with, or maybe add few to go out to dinner with from time to time. You don’t need a bunch of people, but you need at least one person that genuinely cares about YOU.
  • Discover the lesson of your breakup!

Self-esteem

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How is it?

It is about creating a sane picture of yourself–appreciating your strong points and accepting your weaknesses. It’s strictly related to the step above, but so important, that I made it a separate point.

What to do?

  • Learn how to like yourself equally when you’re sharp and look pretty, but also with greasy hair and smelly breath
  • Believe you’re awesome, even if sometimes you do a silly / stupid / childish thing.
  • Search for an inner foundation. Appreciate your strengths and the things you’ve already accomplished in life.
  • Work on kindness towards yourself.
  • Feel… it’s not so bad to be you!

A new life

hand opening page overcast to bright blue sky. concept hope inspiration

How is it?

DIFFERENT!

Feeling of strength, because you survived. Maybe now you have the courage to live the life you’ve always wanted.

Finally, at some point, you ask yourself this question: ‘Do I want to try again?’ Whatever your answer is, the decision needs to be conscious, true to who you are inside, and never driven by fear.

What to do?

  • When falling in love with someone new–enjoy it like a teenager, but make decisions as a grown up!
  • Trust yourself, listen to your guts, draw on your experience.
  • When dating–check for red flags, but don’t get paranoid. Again, trust your guts. You’re so much wiser now!
  • Expand your life, make it fun to live, no matter if you’re seeing anyone or not.

 

Be strong! Have faith! Cope!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance.jpg


So what’s the one thing you can do right now?

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Appreciate what you’ve got (others would die for you life)

The sun was shining–too hot; it was raining–horrible; a cloudy day–what a pity there was no sun.

He had an unbelievable talent to find something bad about every single situation. And to make himself even more unhappy.

The man had never been married. No kids, not even pets. Always focused on himself.

He avoided people. He used to be close with his brother, but they had a row and he never spoke to him again. The resentment went so far that forty years later when his brother died, he didn’t show up for his funeral.

In fact, the man lead a quiet, easy life. Most people would likely find it happy. The man had a good job and was wealthy. Lived in a small, quiet town. Potentially idyllic life. If only he could appreciate it…

If we could appreciate what we’ve got…

Let’s talk about gratitude:

  1. What is gratitude?
  2. Why is it so hard to appreciate life on a daily basis? And if we do, why is the feeling gone so quickly?
  3. How do you change your point of view and appreciate what you have (even if that’s not much)?

What is gratitude (and how is it different from appreciation)?

Step #1: Appreciation

Appreciation is about noticing that something makes us happy.

And the easiest way to do so is by contrast to the earlier situation that was somehow painful.

Let’s take an example. You’re at work. You’ve just realized you made a mistake that is going to cost your company dearly. You can’t even explain how did it happen.

You’re about to see your boss. Half the trouble would be if he fires you, but what if you have to take on the financial consequences, too?

You’re stressed, tense, there’s chaos in your head. You’re feeling sick, your heart is pounding, palms are wet.

Wake up!

It was just a bad dream.

In reality you’re on a beach. One if those paradise beaches. What a relief, thank God!

You’re getting relaxed. You feel the sun heating up your body. Sooo nice! Noise of waves, smell of sun on your skin, your feet rubbing against the warm sand… So lazy, so good. Everything is just fine…

So appreciation means: to NOTICE that something makes you happy in contrary to a past experience.

That leads us to longer or shorter moments of happiness and appreciation.

Step #2: Gratitude

But there is also more subtle thing–the every day gratitude.

Appreciating things that are seemingly obvious. That you have a fairly healthy body. That your children play in the backyard, carefree. That your computer works fine.

It’s hard to appreciate all these things on a daily basis. After all, how many times can you appreciate that your laptop works fine? That’s how it should be, right?

Yes, but all this, could be gone.

We’re so used to certain standards that we take things for granted. Hot shower every day is a standard, walking on your feet is a standard, your spouse is a standard, paradise beach – yeah, it’s cool, but you paid to come, so it’s supposed to be gorgeous.

And that’s gratitude: to REALIZE that things taken for granted could be gone

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If at your birth there was no fairy who cast a good spell on you to have a nice, easy life, then… I’m sorry. In that case anything can happen. Good things and bad things.

Things you take for granted can be gone in a second. Your relationship is gone and it certainly wasn’t supposed to be this way. Life surprises us cruelly, sometimes.

I’m far from being pessimistic but we need to be aware that life happens to be unpredictable. And the only thing that is certain, is this very moment.

If it is fairly quiet, no pain, no threat, no hunger and on top of that you do what you like with someone you like… well, I call it happiness.

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Why is it so hard to feel gratitude on a daily basis?

Gratitude is like butterflies. They come and go, never staying too long.

Last year I planted a butterfly bush in my garden. All summer dozens of butterflies crowded over the bush like crazy! They come and go in their own chaotic way and it’s impossible to focus on a single one for longer than a little while. Before you know it, they are lost from your sight.

How long are we able to feel appreciation and gratitude? Minutes? Seconds? Euphoria vanishes quickly. How long can you enjoy the feeling that your life is fine? How long can you enjoy having two arms and two legs?

Everyday problems call for our attention. Nice to appreciate life, but hey, what’s for dinner?

So let’s face it, unless we sit on top of a mountain to contemplate life, the appreciation moments will always be as short as the blink of an eye.

But even though they are short, spotting them can boost our lives dramatically.

Short moments of gratitude

The more appreciation and gratitude we have in our lives, the more satisfying our life feels.

When you ignore these little ‘butterflies of happiness’ or take things for granted, you set the bar very high. Something really extraordinary needs to happen to make you happy.

I am not sure we need a lot to feel happy, but I know for certain we need a skill to appreciate the things we have. To notice moments of happiness is a learn-able skill, luckily. Working on this skill is like growing a butterfly bush–it needs watering, fertilizing, pruning.

So how to start?

Change your point of view and see how much you already have

Do you know what it is like to be paralyzed? I used to know a guy who was paralyzed from his neck down. He was a young guy, around 40. He broke his neck at the age of twenty-something.

He can’t scratch his back, take a bubble bath or run out somewhere in a rush. He can only reach shelves as high as if he was an average ten-year-old because he’s in a wheelchair. His morning wash is done with help of strangers. So is brushing his teeth. Forget having privacy. He’s physically dependent on others.

Can you even imagine experiencing all that? Would you have enough strength to deal with the situation?

And most importantly–if you were paralyzed and had to live like this man, what would you think about the situation you are currently going through?

Would it seem any different to you?

It’s a breakup, sure. But hey, it could be worse, right…?

So appreciate what you’ve got!

If there is anything that

P.S. I know, sometimes there’s really nothing to be happy about.

And yet, there’s always something.

So start noticing the happiness butterflies and realize they could be gone in an instant. If there is anything that makes you smile, appreciate it.

Because this thing could be gone and it’s here now; hurrrah!

What’s the one thing you can do right now?

Boost your appreciation skill and finish the sentence:

‘Perhaps my situation sucks, but at least in my life….’


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How to stop feeling guilty (even if you screwed up)

And what if it isn’t about fault? Even if you really screwed up.

There’re a few words you need to read. Maybe you’ve heard them before:

God, give me Grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things
which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
(Serenity Prayer, Wikipedia)

These words bring some sanity back. And you need some sanity to sort yourself out.

Some things cannot be changed. You can’t go back in time.

Instead, you can make the best from what you have.

You can_t go back in time (1)

In order to do that, you need to be sane, not overwhelmed by excessive emotions. Only then, can you see things as they are.

Only sane you can act on your life as an adult.

Adult, means to take responsibility for the consequences.
Adult, means to take your mistakes on the chin.
But it also means not to blame yourself for everything.

So let’s establish a few facts:

  1. There’s no chance you could bear all responsibility for the divorce.
  2. It is very hard to admit mistakes. But if you screwed up, you screwed up. And you need to take it as a man (even if you’re a woman).

You don’t bear all the responsibility for the divorce

The truth is, it’s not possible that your relationship depended entirely on you, even if you blame yourself (or someone else does).

Your part can only extend to fifty percent. Relationship is teamwork.

Like in tennis, you can’t play with yourself. You need another person to hit the ball back. So a relationship is always the responsibility of two adults. Both ‘players’.

Sometimes, indeed, people get into this viscous circle of regrets and resentments. The initial trust is replaced by bitterness. No one knows how it started, or whose ‘fault’ it was. It does not really matter though, because if it didn’t work out, both of you had a part.

Fifty-fifty.

Relationship is fifty-fifty. You and Ex.

Okay, let’s have a look at your fifty percent. No chance that all of your fifty percent totally sucked. No way!

Your relationship went on for… how many years? You two loved each other, had really good moments. Connection. You contributed the best way you we able to. It does count! Do not ignore it!

I bet those good moments were major part of your fifty percent. Otherwise, your relationship wouldn’t last too long. So what are we talking about here? How much of all relationship was really your fault?

How much did you really screw up2

Right, but there was something you could have done differently? What if you really messed up?

Okay, so you made mistakes.

Before you start blaming yourself, notice that many of our mistakes come from simply not knowing. If we knew we were making mistakes, who would?!

What counts now is to recognize them and admit you were wrong. And that is the hardest part, because it is not easy to admit you messed up. But you need to recognize and admit. No self-flagellation involved, but also no pretending nothing happened. Sane, remember?

What you need to do now is to get responsible for the part you really screw up and take it like a man.

In my first marriage, we played our toxic game for years. Neither of us was aware of what were we doing back then.

It usually began with a simple conversation. After all those years we were both so tense not much was needed. Distrust everywhere.

Neither of us ever accepted any responsibility for what we said or did. Guilty was the other one, always.

When I started to work on myself and when I realized I was responsible for my part in my relationship… oh God, I felt so ashamed! I was also surprised there was my part at all! And the worst thing was that I couldn’t put the blame on my ex anymore! It’s hard to recognize your mistakes but even harder to accept the truth!

Taking responsibility and accepting the consequences

Taking responsibility is not pleasant, to say the least. It might be shameful, it takes courage and determination.

It’s so embarrassing that people avoid it. It is understandable after all, I assume most of us don’t enjoy humiliation. So why would anyone face responsibility at all?

Actually, there’s just one reason. Whenever we avoid responsibility, we give away the control over our lives. The control for the situation we’re in goes to whoever/whatever we’re blaming: him, her, in-laws, economical situation, politics, fate, genes and so on:
Maybe your ex changes and you could be happy again. Or maybe not.
Maybe the economy grows and you get better-off. Or maybe not.
Maybe they find pills for being smarter, wrinkle-free and bigger boobs. Or not.

Taking no responsibility for this situation in your life means having no impact on your life!

responsibility = accepting not everything depends on us + doing the best we can with all the rest + accepting sometimes we make mistakes, because we’re humans

accepting not everything depends on us1

Really, what a math post today!

Sure some things don’t depend on us. But here we are again:
‘let me accept the things I cannot change
(…) and distinguish one from the other’

Meanwhile, when you take responsibility, you get the control back

And again:
responsibility = accepting not everything depends on us + doing the best we can with all the rest + accepting sometimes we make mistakes, because we’re humans (and improving here!)

Let me give you an example.

We fought a lot, my Ex and I. I was so tired of this, that when my marriage broke up, I decided not to do it again. I don’t mean not having different opinions, but big rows, screaming and fights. Enough is enough.

Easier said than done, though.

The first thing I had to do was to admit my part in these fights. That sucked, ’cause it meant I had to admit I really didn’t need to say all these things I did. And it meant I might have not been always right.

Shitty feeling.

Admitting you might be wrong is shitty, is shitty, is shitty. The ego-monster hurts.

But hey, Ex did not argue with himself, right? (although sometimes… really…) So liked it or not, I faced the inconvenient truth. I had done things wrong, and I decided to change.

Boy, how hard it was!

It took me aeons, but long story short, you know what? With my current partner, not only do we hardly ever argue, but my worst argument with him was like a gentle caress compared to the ‘regular’ fights with my Ex.

Making mistakes is okay. What is not okay, is NOT learning from them1

And that’s basically it.

Not everything is you fault because
not everything in life depends on you but
some things do and
when you try to do the best you can with them
you make mistakes because
it is a human thing so
then you learn from them and
change and
grow and
become such a beautiful person and
enjoy a fulfilling (not perfect) life!

A breakup is a very expensive lesson.
Learn it well!

What comes from your suffering if you do not use it to become a wiser person_

 


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5 steps to recovery

So it’s obvious such a great loss leaves a huge rift, a hole in your life the size of the world.
You lost something incredibly important to you.

Divorce or a breakup are like death. Death of a love, an important friendship or a certain stage in life.

Going through the process, we all experience similar emotions to someone grieving the death of a loved one.
By the book, grief consists of five stages that smoothly run from one into another:

BY THE BOOK

But life’s a bit more complicated. We go back to stages we already went through; one stage lasts hours, while we might get stuck in another for days or even weeks. And the reality looks like this:

stages of grief

So the bad news is that this process is ahead of you anyway. Here’s what you can do to feel a bit better during each stage:

1. Shock and Denial

What you may think:

  • ‘I’m in shock, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do’
  • ‘It can’t be true’
  • ‘A few weeks ago everything was fine, and now my life is upside down’
  • ‘I am just in a daze. I have no idea what to do’.

What you may be doing:

  • acting as if in a trance,
  • pretending nothing’s happened,
  • over-optimism,
  • numbness,
  • over-indulging (binge eating, alcohol, Netflix, etc.)

What can you do in order to feel better:

First, you must know that denial is the healthiest reaction in the world. It keeps your fuses from blowing out. The brain regulates itself on how much truth you can bear and stay sane. Sometimes it ‘cuts out’ our emotions to the point that it seems we feel nothing.

  • Put off important decisions until later, unless they are absolutely essential for your life. All the rest can wait.
  • It’s going to be tough, so here’s your new routine: get up, wash, eat and drink, go to work. That’s it. Minimum version.
  • You know what you feel. I think a breakup can be a traumatic experience. If you call it traumatic, it means that’s how it is. Check the TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises) for coping with stress and anxiety.
  • Meditation, praying, relaxation helps to soothe your mind (but it’s a cliche).
  • Sleep helps to ‘digest’ new ideas, so sleep as much as you can. If you can.

2. Anger

What you may think:

  • ‘I’m pissed and offended’
  • ‘Some days I’m fine. Other days I am mad as hell’
  • ‘Now I HATE HIM. I am furious that he has stolen my dreams from me’
  • ‘How could she do that to me!’
  • ‘Why am I so pissed off that she’s out having fun?’

What you may be doing:

You get mad as soon as you see him or her. They remain calm. As a result, you look like a nutcase, which drives you even more mad.

What you can do in order to feel better:

  • Anger releases great amounts of energy, so you can use it for fuel at the gym or to start something new in life. Get sweaty at the gym, boxing, jogging etc. Sports are a great way to blow some steam off.
  • Scream in your car like bloody hell with the music turned up full blast (but please, do not drive at the same time! Go to some empty place like a parking lot).
  • Get your hurt OUT!
    • Turn it into a sculpture and bury it in your backyard,
    • or write about it and burn it,
    • or draw it and tear into million pieces,
    • or go to to the countryside and throw stones as if they represent your resentments,
    • or do anything else to express your anger.

Just DO something. Good luck and… have fun!

Holding onto angeris like drinking poison

3. Bargaining

What you may think:

  • ‘I can’t stop begging her to change her mind!!’
  • ‘All I want to do is get on my knees and beg him to give it a real chance’
  • ‘God, please, I’ll do everything if you make her stay’
  • ‘I find myself bargaining still. Not with him anymore, or with myself, but with… fate? Life?’

What you may be doing:

  • negotiating
  • begging
  • blackmailing

What can you do in order to feel better:

  • Make a list ‘What was really screwed up in my relationship?’ Be fair about it, but not too sentimental.
    • how did your Ex hurt you,
    • what did s/he do that made you feel really bad,
    • what did you agree on, even though you felt it wasn’t right,
    • what didn’t you receive in bed,
    • and so on…
      Keep it and read it every time when you want to get down on your knees.
  • Remember, when God closes doors, he opens a window. Not all possibilities show up immediately. Often, something that starts as a tragedy turns around in your favor. You know that, but you don’t quite believe it, right? Well, this time you need to take it on faith. This experience has some deeper meaning. If you believe in God, trust his wisdom.
  • But if God’s wisdom is not enough, look around. Most of the people you see had a broken heart at some point. I know it feels like you’re suffering like no one ever has before. Don’t get me wrong, but you’re not the only one. You’ll get through, like most of us did.
  • Talk with friends, blow some steam off on forums. Any form of contact with other human has a salutary effect. You’re not alone.

4. Depression

What you may think:

  • ‘I’m never going to find someone else’
  • ‘I’m not worth loving’
  • ‘Everything feels wrong’
  • ‘I feel like I want to be alone with no human contact’
  • ‘I am not suicidal but I just want to curl up into a ball and die’
  • ‘Yeah, it gets better for YOU. Not me’.

What you may be doing:

  • over-indulging (binge eating, alcohol, Netflix etc.)
  • re-playing mistakes
  • fatigue
  • grumpiness
  • no interest in anything
  • going to work is a burden

What can you do in order to feel better:

In a perfect world, you’d have full acceptance of the fact that these moments will come and go. So you’d take tender care of your vulnerable self. But if it’s easier said than done, try this one:

  • This too shall pass! Remember these words–write notes and stick them around your house.
  • Exist in minimum version. Your biggest goal: survive today. Your main job: to breathe. Approach it as if you had an accident and broke both legs – everything needs to wait!
  • Get some balance in your life and do something nice for yourself. No excuses, it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes per day and sooner you start, better for you. Read about One Joy a Day and get a break from the slump sometimes.
  • Relax your mind with meditation, yoga, tai-chi, etc. Try body scan meditation:
  • But if you’re in a hurry, here’s a super short 1-minute meditation:
  • Again, talking to other people – live, online, friends, family, strangers. Talk as much as you need (and they able to listen).

5. Acceptance

What you may think:

  • ‘I spent a few days straight just crying. And then I accepted that it was happening’
  • ‘Now I am getting closer to accepting the idea that our marriage is truly over. Okay, this is my new norm. It’s not so bad’
  • ‘I’m excited for the future’
  • ‘We were just not the right match for each other. I wish my Ex happiness, I wish the same for me, too.’

What you may be doing:

  • re-discovering yourself (who are you now?)
  • doing something only for yourself,
  • self-development,
  • trying new things in life,
  • going back to hobbies you were engaged in before your marriage

What can you do in order to feel better:

  • Everything that works for you! Search, read, try! Re-discover yourself, re-create your world!
  • Face the feelings you still have for your Ex. Make a goodbye ritual.
  • Skip dating for now. Instead, meet some new people. What you do doesn’t matter as much as just being with other people.
  • Make your life fun to live!

So what’s the next thing you can do today?

No matter where you are now, do one nice thing for yourself.
Just ONE.
Just for yourself.
Read about ‘One Joy a Day’ and get started.

there's a place for tough emotions in our lives as well


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