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Heartbroken ? Let go of the past and start again

Dernière mise à jour : 27 févr. 2021

3 simple and powerful tools that will help you to let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore

Letting go is very subtle know-how. It is an art.

It is an excellent tool for moving forward and leaving the pain behind. Letting go feels like moving from burdensome to light.

Letting go is not about forgetting. We never forget unprocessed feelings, they rather remain with us.

Letting go is healing; time makes you forget, but letting go makes you heal.

Letting go is a conscious process. No one else is going to initiate this process for you. The complete power of letting go remains with you.

Letting go was something new to me before I experienced loss myself. I didn’t know something like letting go existed. Sometimes I was upset when the things were not like I wanted them to be. Sometimes I cried. Most often, I kept my feelings inside. I was one of four kids and the important thing was to fit in. No time, no space, and no consideration for feelings.


Until THE moment...the unexpected happened and I had to let go. I was accompanied by a professional coach and attended many self-development courses. It has been 8 years now and I managed to transform my skills into the know-how I can teach my clients today.


Letting go starts with grieving.

Grieving


Grieving is sad and sadness is an emotion. Without sadness, life wouldn't be colorful. Without sadness, we wouldn't be able to move on.

What do we grieve then ?

We grieve a loss most of the time. We grieve the loss of a person; a person who passed or a person we broke up with; a friend, a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, ... We grieve that one period of our life has finished.

Together with the loss of the person, we mourn the loss of our DREAMS. Dreams play a crucial role in our relationships. The possibility to project ourselves into a future and to “look forward” is the glue of our relationships.

We grieve equally the impossibility of changing things. We mourn the lack of control we have over things and people. When someone dies, there is nothing but nothing we could do. Still, we probably keep thinking of different scenarios, “what if” …. and “if only”… When we break with a person, there are even more “if”. Replaying different scenarios, taking on ourselves, blaming, feeling guilty. This stage is called BARGAINING and it is normal to experience it. But we cannot change the past.

How do we grieve ?

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages in grieving:

  • denial

  • anger

  • bargaining

  • depression

  • acceptance

They don’t have to follow exactly in this order. And sometimes a denial appears later on as “I still cannot believe it”. Or intense feelings appear at the acceptance stage. The idea is to be aware of those stages so the overall emotional well-being goes up again towards joy and happiness.

Denial

Denial serves as protection and gives us more time to proceed with grief. The denial follows the state of shock; life has changed suddenly. While from an intellectual point of view it is difficult to deny that someone has passed, most people still experience denial during their grieving.

The same applies to other sorts of painful events - a break-up, separation, divorce. Indeed, when it comes to a break-up the emotions are identical to those we experience when someone passes away. Some therapists say the breakup is even more difficult to let go of as the ex-partner is still alive so the pain is.

Grieving consists of processing feelings; not only talking about them. We actually have to feel the pain.

“Stay with the pain, “ I tell my clients.

Anger, rage, intense sadness, depression surface, not necessarily always in the same order and can switch from one minute to another.

If we don’t process our emotions, they will remain with us forever. Instead of suppressing our emotions, we make them space. We feel them without taking any action. We do not necessarily need to express them at this stage. We will release them later.

Sometimes your well-meaning friends will try to cheer you up and thus discourage you from grieving. But do not listen to this unqualified advice.

If you skip this grieving stage, the whole letting go process won't work.

Let’s look more closely at the emotions we need to process. There are 3 types of emotions to process during grieving: anger, fear and sadness.

Anger

I will start with anger as this is usually the first emotion to come up. There are different shades of anger, rage, resentment, bitterness, etc. And all of them are reactions to a certain unfairness and injustice. We ask ourselves:

“Why me?”

We don’t react to this feeling at this moment, we make it space and wait. Once we reach the bottom and decide to start again, the anger will serve as fuel to move forward. There is a lot of energy in the anger, the anger is powerful.

Fear

With anger and depression, we also feel the fears coming up. This feeling serves us protection. Frequently we intellectualize our feelings to protect ourselves from abandonment.

Being abandoned is a basic human fear.

The most common fears are:

- fear of loneliness;

- fear of pain;

- fear of hurting someone else;

- fear of losing our dreams;

- fear of the unknown;

- fear of being judged.

If we don’t feel fear, we will always attract the same experience.

If we act on our fears, we will always settle for less.

Therefore, it is important to explore the fears and see what beliefs are behind them. I will teach you how to do that in my transformational program.

Depression

Depression is almost a quiet phase, we tend to isolate and not to talk a lot. It feels heavy, empty, and overwhelming.


Most therapists agree though that it is important to touch the bottom to lift again. Sometimes it is helpful to seek medical or psychological support, especially when “mood, food, and sleep” are affected.

The intense sadness plays an important role in moving forward.

Being sad allows us to get in touch with our inner selves. Getting in touch with our inner selves helps us to realize who we are and what we need. That’s why it is important to go through all that: to move forward but in a different way.

1st tool - getting in touch with our emotions:

Weather in your body

First, breathe into your belly, like a balloon. Relax your body. Focus. Then observe the internal weather. What does it look like ? Calm, stormy, windy, sunshine, clouds. What colors ? Vivid, dark, …. ? Is it a day or a night ? What season of the year ? Are there any other elements ? Water, sand, rock, grass, …


You can finish your exercise by drawing what you have seen.

If you cannot work with visualization, you can make cards for yourself with different representations of weather - sunshine, rain, cloudy, windy, heavy, calm, clear,... While grieving, you pick up a card in the morning according to the way you feel.

For those who are more experienced with visualization, you can explore the internal space further by visualizing your internal landscape, creating a healing place, creating a heart space, etc. You can also work with the concept of an inner child to connect to your instinct. I teach these techniques to my clients during our coaching sessions.

Accepting

Once we are finished with the feeling part of the grieving we move forward to accept the reality; accepting we cannot change or control the things and people; accepting the pain, and making it a part of myself; part of my story.

We accept and honor the loss.

When I see people around me and I know their story I see that their most beautiful part of themselves comes from the pain. The scars make our person even more attractive and loveable if accepted.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Rumi


There are still many feelings going on in the acceptance stage, but we feel already differently.


2nd tool - practicing acceptance:

Storytelling

Storytelling is an excellent tool for practicing acceptance. It allows you to take a healthy distance from the pain and put your story into a bigger story.

Write your life events on a sheet of paper, make a story of them, read it aloud for yourself first. How does it sound to you ? If this story wouldn’t be yours, how would you feel about it ?

You would definitely feel more compassion towards yourself and most probably your story would give a sense to you. Storytelling is also a good tool for giving meaning to your life. Once you put the past events into a framework, you find meaning to them, you can more easily wrap up and move forward.


Releasing

When we are done with the grieving when we are tired with ourselves by grieving when we cried all the tears...When we made the loss part of our story, when we realize that this painful part will always be part of us, when we are ready to move forward, we release the “negative emotions.”

I don’t like the expression of negative emotions, but sometimes I use it. I will explain to you why.

All emotions are good and deserve a space in your heart and body. All emotions have a message for you, the fear serves as protection; anger pushes us to action. The sadness helps us mourn.

The emotions become unhealthy when we keep staying with them, though they don’t longer serve us.

The following emotions are particularly unhealthy: jealousy, hate, resentment, worrying. When I say unhealthy I mean they can harm our health in the long-term from a psychosomatic point of view (skin problems, migraines, back problems, inflammations).


3d tool - releasing negative emotions:

Balloon

Imagine you put EVERYTHING linked to the past relationship into a package, a big box, a big bag if you prefer. All hurtful events, objects that represent this pain, words we remember, videos, and pictures we have in our head, we stuff it in, wrap and seal it. We attach a big balloon to it and let it fly; fly far until we cannot see it anymore. It is gone. Out of our head, out of our heart to make space for something nurturing for us.


Compassion and self-esteem

To finish the part on releasing, I would like to emphasize the importance of our attitude in letting go. We only let go with COMPASSION; with compassion towards ourselves. We cannot let go by blaming and criticising ourselves. We do not look for our faults now. We release other people's judgment. It doesn’t belong to us.


If we cannot find that sympathy and love for ourselves, it is important to start working on self-esteem. Self-esteem has a lot to do with our deeply rooted beliefs; though, these beliefs do not necessarily belong to us.


I have built up a complete recovery program for those who have been through a break-up, separation, or divorce recently and are committed to letting go of the past and open to love again.

I will help you to let go of the pain and release negative feelings. I will teach you how to challenge your beliefs and raise your self-esteem.


I also included an individual coaching session so we can spend time focusing on your own story and see how far in the letting go process you are.

Time makes you forget, but letting go makes you heal.

Don't waste your time and energy and start your healing today.


“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.”

Serenity Prayer







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