How To Pick Up The Pieces After A Breakup

paperheartpiecesHow in the world do you get motivated to move on with your life after losing the person you thought you were going to share forever with? Even going to the grocery can seem like a chore.  Our culture barely gives us time to grieve after a death, much less a breakup, but both are intense losses.  The familiar expectation is that you suck it up and get on with life, but this can be difficult when you’re stuck in the neutral zone—a place of uncertainty and raw emotion.

Matters of the heart know no time constraints.  It is important to acknowledge your breakup blues before you start beating yourself up about not getting on with life.

You are not in charge of how long this takes.  The most important task you CAN do is to reflect each day on what emotions are stirring within you.  Sit still and let them move through you without attaching any stories, extra emotions, or thoughts onto them.  It sounds simple, but it isn’t.  You will be more successful in processing your grief with guidance and practice.


Let’s practice.  Say once you sit still for a few minutes, you notice that your chest area feels dense and heavy.  Take a breath into that heaviness, and become aware of all the sensation.  Let go of judgment and feel the sensation as it changes.  How does it move, or does it just stay right there, heavier than a bowling ball?

Now ask yourself what the emotion surrounding the sensation is.  Do you feel sad?  Mad?  Angry?  Glad?  All those emotions can be going on at once.  The trick is to stay with them and not let your thoughts ask you why.  It doesn’t matter why.  What matters in this practice is that you be with the raw emotion, distilling it down without story, without blame, without judgment.

To sit quietly like this and reflect on your emotions is the first step to pick up the pieces after your breakup.  This is the most important step, and the most overlooked step in picking up the pieces.  It is overlooked because we are taught to ignore our emotions.  When you ignore your emotions, moving on with your life after your breakup takes a lot longer, and hurts a lot more.  Motivation will arise only after this first step is brought into the light.

Give it 6 weeks to start.  Mark it on your calendar.  Allow yourself the space in which to grieve.  This loss you are grieving is bigger than just your ex.  There are a lot of other losses involved – your expectations, the relationship with your parents, past trauma, the past boyfriends/husbands you loved, the relationship you have with yourself.  All of these factors make this loss a big deal.  Remember this and allow yourself the space in which to grieve.  You are strong, yet human.  Let yourself empty of the past so you can grow anew.