Monday, August 24, 2015

Breaking Up? You Did the Right Thing

If you have lived and loved, you have also suffered.

And often the most painful experience is that of enduring the end of the relationship.

Since this is a perennial concern, I'll give you a couple of things to keep in mind.

You will miss them when they are gone. Even if you initiated the break-up. Even if the relationship went badly. You will miss them.

This is the time when most of us have called and apologized. At least once. And perhaps found ourselves back together again.

And we have done this knowing that nothing has changed to fix the relationship. We are still the same people that could not keep it going the first time.

But time to reconsider and hope for better, has lead us to believe it will work the second time.

And when it doesn't, we regret going back.

So what are we left to ponder?

If the relationship did not work well enough the first time, why do you think it will work this time?

And here I mean, what has changed to improve the chances that it will give you what you want?

Hope and promises and even some exceptional making-up, are not proof of meaningful change.

And our feelings of sadness for the loss of our relationship can lead us to make irrational decisions.

So, even though you are sad and missing your former companion, think with your head and not your heart.

Yes, you shared some good experiences.

And you can have strong feelings about them following a break-up.

But your feelings don't mean you were meant to be together.

As always, don't take your feelings too seriously. Think with your head.

Write the reasons down as a reminder of why it didn't work. Refer to them when the urge to call them arises.

Talk to trusted friends about your feelings. They often see things more clearly.

Stay actively engaged in your own life. Especially with those people and activities that give you your strongest sense of meaning and purpose.

Expect some feelings of loneliness. And sadness. But don't panic.

Your suffering will end, eventually.

And you will be able to recognize a better partner from what you have learned.

And hopefully, you will be a better partner too.

Stick to good decisions that you make for yourself. Trust your best judgment.

Go live and love well.

And let me know how it goes.

-- Rich

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Personal Guidelines for Enduring a Crisis

I recently sent these guidelines for self-care out to a friend who was suffering the loss of an old friend. I felt like I had to give some ideas for what she might do to help care for herself in a very difficult time.

These painful events can leave us feeling like we just want someone to give us concrete answers about what we should do next. 

We might often wish for someone to take us by the hand and show us the way to feeling better.

Yet I'm always aware that much of what I say to help folks in pain can sound trite or grossly inadequate out of context. So know that I take these guidelines seriously for using them myself and recommend them to others dealing with feeling that life is at a low point due to grief. 

I hope you find them helpful when you need reminders of how to find your way.

  • Stick as closely as possible to your normal routine. It helps us feel normal.
  • Recognize that you are working on a plan of taking good care of yourself. You are not adrift.
  • Look for things to feel good about. Count at least three every week starting today. List them in a journal regularly to help sort things out.
  • Recognize that feeling bad right now is normal and it will not last forever. You will feel better but first you will feel bad until you are finished with those feelings.
  • Remind yourself not to take your feelings too seriously. This was good to understand that we need to avoid thinking that we are our feelings, since we are not. Like dreams, they will come and they will go.
  • And get physically active to a modest degree. Don't join a gym necessarily, but get a short walk in for yourself. Not a forced march just a casual walk around a park or arboretum etc. Move regularly and for the fun of moving, not just as part of a  goal.
  • Tell yourself you are doing these things for your own good health and taking care of our physical self reminds us that we are working to care for our whole self.
  • Sitting and brooding always makes us feel worse. If you notice that is what you have been doing for a while, recognize that is time to move even for a short time. No big commitment needed. Just move and intermingle feeling painful emotions with breaks to move and rest your worried mind by looking at some thing pretty and hopeful. Maybe watch a favorite movie as a break.
  • And of course visit a friend or have them visit you. Enjoy a fun activity for a short time if that's all you feel like. Or meet someone for a short lunch. Better to do something positive and uplifting even briefly, than not at all.

I hope these are reminders of what you already know would be helpful for you. And remember, despite how you feel right now, you will feel better.

Email me if you need help getting through.

Go live well. Today.

-- Rich