Today I want to talk about heartbreak. I’ve never been through a bad breakup. However, I’ve lost friendships that were very dear to me. I’ve also had to step away from a church I loved dearly. I wanted to share my thoughts with you because they helped me walk through the pain rather than wallow in it. I hope they will help you as well.
- Allow yourself to be angry. Painful circumstances can elicit strong emotions. This is normal. My mentor often tells me that, “tears are a sign of life!” As a nurse practitioner I’ve noticed that the people who seem to struggle the most with their emotions are those individuals who try to ignore or burying their emotions. Don’t run from your emotions! Feel them! Emotions can change in an instant. It may feel like the pain of this situation will last forever, but I promise you it won’t!
- Allow yourself space. A few years ago Derek and I decided that we needed to leave the church we had been attending since before we got married. We didn’t want to leave, but we found ourselves feeling so hurt and bitter about the situation that we felt that we could no longer stay and be in a healthy place. When hurt is deep, it is so important to allow yourself time and space to heal. If that means removing yourself from a situation for a period of time, then do that!
- Allow yourself to seek clarity. Have you ever wanted to just understand why a relationship ended the way it did? Why did that friend stop talking to you? Why did that individual break up with you? Sometimes we just don’t get to know the answer to that question. I remember a few months after a good friend had stopped talking to me, I allowed myself to text her one more time and ask what had happened? She never responded. I desperately wanted to restore our friendship but was never given the opportunity. After that I decided that I would probably never understand why, and I decided that for my own mental health I needed to move on.
- Make space to forgive. Did you know that you can only forgive someone who has done something wrong? You cannot forgive someone who is incapable of doing better. Often when we are hurting we try to make excuses for people’s behavior. “They don’t know any better.” This thought pattern prevents healing from taking place because in order to forgive someone it’s vital to acknowledge that what they did was wrong, and they should have done better. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we pretend that what they did was ok. No, forgiveness is acknowledging that what happened was not ok and then giving yourself permission to move on. Forgiveness actually has nothing to do with the other person. Forgiveness is giving yourself a key to walk out of the prison of bitterness and hatred.
- Rekindle healthy relationships. This one can be one of the hardest. After you’ve been hurt, it is so instinctual to want to pull back and prevent yourself from getting hurt in the future. I wanted to do this after we left our old church. I think that’s why so I see so many people stop going to church. They are hurt by some situation or circumstance and they stop going. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The church is so much more than a building. It’s God’s people! We can’t quit on the church just because we are hurting! I suppose you could, but you would miss out on so many opportunities for healing and growth! Same thing with friendships and relationships. If I allowed one bad friendship to ruin my ability to connect, I’d be living a very sad and lonely life. Intimacy involves risk. There’s no way around it.
- Learn from the circumstances. Sometimes I get tired of this one. This might sound brutal but sometimes in life terrible things happen and there is no reason for it. People do evil things and make bad choices. We live in a world with tornados, fires, and hurricanes. Often bad things happen and there is not always a reason. However, I believe that there are situations where a lesson can be learned. I’ve learned from my past friendships. I don’t want to have friends who only want to spend time with me when it is convenient. I don’t want to attend a church where you need a special calling from God to serve people. When I do something wrong in a relationship, I cannot half-heartedly apologize out of anger. Those are lessons I’ve learned which leads me to my final point.
- Move on. Heartbreak is very painful. I think giving myself time and space to grieve was vital. It took me 6 months of attending a healthy, growing church to begin to heal. Forming new relationships is vital to allowing the healing process to begin. However, at some point you have to put one foot in front of the other and start walking. After surgery we don’t let patients stay in bed. Physical therapists make them get up and walk almost immediately after surgery. Why? Because staying in bed prevents them from getting better. When we don’t move on, we cannot get better!
Thank you for reading friends! If this was helpful to you, please share with a friend! I post a new blog every Monday! Talk to you soon!
Forgiveness actually has nothing to do with the other person. Forgiveness is giving yourself a key to walk out of the prison of bitterness and hatred. …such wise words. Thanks Shelby! I’m so proud of you and the way you are being used to lift others up.
Thank you Leah!! 😀 😀 😀