Relationship breakups aren’t easy, and we often carry the painful memories and experiences from these relationships to the next. These memories and experiences will subconsciously affect how we act, speak, and feel about others, especially in romantic relationships.
Most people choose to ignore or avoid dealing with their painful memories to function but ignoring them doesn’t make them disappear. The reality is that until you heal from these experiences, it will be difficult to fall in love again or find that joy that is vital to loving relationships.
Unpack Your Pain
After a breakup, it’s essential to unpack the pain from your relationship and get to the root cause. Doing so can help you discover how the pain is connected to something deeper from your past, why you chose your partner, and how to recognize your behavior patterns in relationships.
A natural tendency is to talk or vent to friends, and even though they care for you, they may not have the tools to help you get to the root cause.
Sharing intimate details of a relationship, especially one that may have been toxic, may make it difficult to communicate because you feel embarrassed.
It also creates two potential scenarios. One where your friends unconsciously judge you or the situation, leading you to defend or feel shame. The second one is where friends may not be objective and co-sign your feelings and behaviors and judge your partner, which lends itself to keeping you stuck in victim mentality playing the blame game, and not taking accountability. All of the above delays your healing and growth process.
I’ve found that working with a professional such as a therapist or relationship coach provides the necessary, safe space for you to be open and vulnerable, to dig deep, and do the required work to heal.
Let Go of Blame and Judgment
Releasing blame and judgment starts with taking responsibility for your part in the demise of a relationship. Taking responsibility can be challenging, as it is human nature to defend and protect ourselves, and it can be hard to admit we have toxic traits. But as long as you’re blaming and judging others for the pain they caused you; you’re operating from victim mode. Coming from an empowered state means taking ownership of your life and being a creator. And in the case of relationships, you are a co-creator.
Taking accountability for your choices is critical to your healing and moving forward.
For example, after an excruciating divorce, I had to take responsibility for my decision to get married even though I saw numerous red flags in the relationship.
Working with several coaches post-divorce, I did deeper emotional and spiritual work to understand what drove me to ignore my intuition regarding the red flags and compromise my values. I also gained a more profound awareness of my blind spots and how the men I was attracting and, more importantly, choosing to date were subconsciously tied to childhood wounds.
Although I had addressed these wounds in therapy years before and learned how to release blame and judgment and practice forgiveness and empathy towards my parents, the lesson I missed was how wounds play out in relationships.
Subsequently, the post-divorce work with the coaches allowed me to approach dating and relationships with new and improved self-awareness and a value system rooted in self-love, higher consciousness, and spirituality. I felt empowered, and aware that is vital to loving relationships.
The Power of Forgiveness and Empathy
“The supreme act of forgiveness is when you can forgive yourself for all the wounds you’ve created in your own life. Forgiveness is an act of self-love. When you forgive yourself, self-acceptance begins, and self-love grows.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
The most challenging part of forgiveness is not forgiving the person who wronged you but forgiving yourself.
Forgiveness isn’t to help the other person feel better but to allow you to release the low vibrational emotions attached to those painful memories and experiences such as guilt, shame, anger, resentment, etc.
Practicing empathy helps you understand why the people who hurt you did what they did. It allows us to see that most people who use others in harmful ways are hurting themselves – so much so that they inflict pain onto others to cope with their pain. Remember this, hurt people hurt people.
Break Your Unhealthy Relationship Habits
You may have heard the saying, “if you love someone, let them go.” But I invite you to reframe it to, “if you love YOURSELF, let them go.”
Letting go of people and habits that keep you from your highest version of self requires establishing and maintaining boundaries and mastering self-love and self-respect.
Unlearning unhealthy behaviors and habits is a continuous learning process, so you have to be patient and allow yourself grace. It won’t happen overnight.
Although it’s essential to take a break from relationships while you heal and grow, I’m a big proponent of putting yourself out there on the dating scene once you have some newfound self-awareness, clarity, and confidence.
Dating allows you to put your learnings into practice, and it helps you get sharper on what you want and don’t want. Think of it like you’re going to the gym and strengthening muscles you haven’t worked on before, i.e., establishing boundaries, expressing needs, saying no.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to test the law of attraction and see who you’re choosing on an energetic level.
One of my success and spirituality coaches, Barbara Daoust, taught me that as you elevate to your higher self, your paradigms will show up in very seductive, cunning ways to test you and lure you back to your old ways. So as Terence Lester says, “Always move in love, but make sure you take discernment with you.”
If you want a healthy, loving relationship, you have to do the work to BE an emotionally healthy and loving person. One of my favorite books to help you do this is the Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.
As described by the publisher, Don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy of our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness vital to loving relationships.
• Why “domestication” and the “image of perfection” lead to self-rejection
• The war of control that slowly destroys most relationships
• Why we hunt for love in others, and how to capture the love inside us
• How to accept and forgive ourselves and others. “Happiness can only come from inside of you and is the result of your love. When you are aware that no one else can make you happy and that happiness is the result of your love, this becomes the greatest mastery of the Toltec: the Mastery of Love.”
Some key takeaways to keep in mind, healing your past will help create space for a healthy relationship. Forgiveness of self is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Finally, intuition and discernment are the most honest friends you’ll ever have.