I'm in the wake of a nasty breakup. Was dumped actually, for the second time in my life ... so the ego impact was shatteringly profound--in a much-needed way!
But let me not act too jolly about it. In fact, I was thinking quite black thoughts for long stretches (with much, much easier to die than live kind of themes) and, literally, forcing myself to chew food after two weeks of not eating solids. Slept a whole night through by a month on.
A couple tricks have helped me get back on my feet to the point where thoughts of him are pretty 'meh' and my life is now a rediscovered gem. And don't fool yourself people, when we go through these shit storms, we need tricks! We are going through them because something in our life needs to change, yes. And in order for us to level up from them (like Super Mario does, right?) we need to learn from them; otherwise, when the next shit storm hits, it will be just like this one, and that's not cool. It should be different! Here are some clues to where those magical red 'points and extra lives' mushrooms are along the way, so you can save the Prince/Princess!
•Cut it off, clean. Don't mess around in 'did they really mean it?' 'is it really over?' 'maybe this is a phase' land ... if you have dumped or been dumped, cut it off. Quit messing around with yourself or the other person. Block them on facebook, set a filter on your e-mail so their messages go to trash and delete their number from your cell phone. Do it, trust me. Give yourself a chance to relocate your self, your own life, your values, your rhythms, your goals and what you will and won't put up with. You'll be shocked at the diamonds you find, the long lost best friend who is YOU, just waiting for the chance to reconnect. Do it for at least three months, depending on the length of the relationship. Sounds like cold turkey? It is, but just DO IT so it isn't more messy than the moment already was.
• Friends, talk to all of them, all the time, but make sure to vigilantly cut down the drama as the weeks pass AND filter what is coming back to you so it feeds your highest self. You have to talk this bitch of a situation out with people. Talk to anyone who will listen but be sensitive and don't overtax them. Once you have told the story, listen like a surgeon. Here's what I mean: If you have been cultivating good friendships until the breakup, you should be in the clear and the people around you will reflect information to you that truly helps you see the big picture. But if you find that even your wisest friends want to help you go to the black-and-white zone about what happened, filter those thoughts carefully. Don't protest what they are saying. Listen to all of it. But in your mind, start filing that stuff out right instead of eating it whole hog! Most importantly, don't go into a cave. Get out with friends, straight away and all the time at first. Make sure to talk this out, to as many people as you can. Even people you don't know well, trust all that much. There are hidden gems in what anyone can say to you, listen up. Filter the crappy ideas from the gemstones though, okay? Filter based on what resonates with the highest version of yourself, the person you want to be next. Because right now, you are broken, and this is a delicate time as version You 2.0 comes together.
•Listen to music that helps you purge the feelings, not deny them. The longer you deny, the longer it will take to come clean from all of this. People think drinking is the only thing toxic in these situations. Well, no. Anything that fosters a sense of denial is toxic because it prevents you from going through the situation. You become like Super Mario but when he is against a wall, jumping up and down, up and down, raising his hand, jumping nowhere. Listen, think, reflect, look at yourself because you are alone and you are all you've got at the end of the day. (Yes, talk to friends but you know you are in your bed alone, it's a fertile time, time to get in good with yourself, come clean, be honest, rebuild.) Seems like it's taking forever? It will take less time if you go through and not around it!
Here's a playlist (some super-talented musicians and) I put together, just for you!
•Watch cathartic and funny movies, in rotation. As with all media, moderation is key. This stuff is like drugs, people! Would you sit and watch Kramer vs. Kramer 10 times with your fiance? Okay! Don't sit and watch confusion and sadness over and over. If you're going to watch sad ones, make sure there's a message and some kind of resolution. And then mix funny ones in there, too. This is important--don't go so high-octane with the media! Here are a few suggestions:
Swingers: Seems like a big-budget, superficial nightmare, right? It's not. It's funny and amazingly poignant!
High Fidelity: Ditto.
Talk to Her: Makes you cry and yet takes you into a bigger picture about life and is an extremely beautiful movie that is far enough removed to help you have an emotional release without worry or new thoughts of doubt.
Puffy Chair: Funny and meaningful.
Bridesmaids: Big budget, but redeemingly so! Hilarious and meaningful.
Painted Veil: Gorgeous, impeccable soundtrack and more meaning with every watch--inspires integrity.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Complicated, dark and very 60s ... read between the lines on it, it's a fast-track to getting over your preconceived notion of what a partner should be and returning to what's important, being true and standards.
•Read your living ass off while you are still single! Get into the program so you get a PhD in relationships before a rebound strikes and turns into something ugly and longer than it needs to be! Here are a few gems:
Anything on Tricycle.com: The link is to the search results for relationships; however, any Buddhist thinking helps.
Anything on Elephant Journal: If you are not subscribed, it's cheap and worth it. If you can write, contribute a piece about how you survived, with their help, linking to all the gold nuggets you found!
The Four Agreements: This one is a given. It's a practical guide to what you've been doing so far and how to make straightforward changes in life.
Tao Te Ching: Stephen Mitchell translation is the only one I will ever recommend.
He's Just Not That Into You: Read the 'look inside this book' excerpts and you'll get a good start. These two are geniuses.
It's Just a Date!: Ditto. This one is a test of your sobriety and kind of like the magic whistle in Mario Brothers 3, the one that takes you from level 2 to level 8. You didn't know about that one? Ups ... well, now you do!
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: Ideal for ladies, good for either sex; filter this one though, use your judgement ... it's a bit of a rough roadmap but there are gems in it.
•Fall in Love with Yourself! This is your chance. You are broken in a million pieces and this is the chance to reconstruct. Some days you'll need to take a break from it and just slump around but see this situation for what it is, the zero point. It does suck, yes, every minute at first. But trust me, you will live. You will get through it. Try as soon as you can, though, to commit to the process. Try not to rush the healing after the scab has formed. Instead, take pleasure putting the vitamin E and creams on it, in caring for it and watching it heal and fade with each passing day. Every day, feed yourself good stuff. Read those books. Listen to those songs. Watch those movies. Not necessarily the ones I've recommended, but make sure that they are ones that help you build the latest, greatest and leveled-up version of yourself!
• Participate in Karma. In the end, part of this process is a karmic one. When you go through this, the most rewarding part is sharing what you have learned. This turbo-charges the healing process and knits you firmly into the fabric of people who are living full lives, lives dotted by shit storms! Make sure to be there for friends when they are going through this. If you read this and are not going through this, send it to someone who is!
Love lives. It is always yours, even if you think your ex invented it or that you will never feel it again. It's up to you to reclaim that love, reinvest in yourself. Be patient--deal with it now and get sober so you can level up!