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As a divorce lawyer for more than 20 years, I have watched client after client rebuild their lives in beautiful and empowering ways. These past few weeks I have been sharing the wisdom of my clients in a 5-part series I call Antidote To Crushing Heartbreak. This series is a strategic plan for rebuilding your life when you’ve gone through a devastating breakup. My goal in sharing this is to give hope to anyone who is dealing with crushing heartbreak, and to remind you that there is a happy and fulfilling life waiting!.
What We’ve Learned So Far – A Quick Recap Of Part 1, 2 & 3
Understanding why the pain of a breakup can be so intense, and knowing that you can control how quickly you start to heal, is the groundwork of the 5-part plan to strategically rebuild your life after a crushing breakup.
In Part 1: Hope & Understanding I explain the theories and the science behind why the pain and loneliness of a crushing breakup are so intense. I also talk about the importance of reforging deep connections with family and close friends as a first step on the path of your healing journey.
In Part 2: Weaving Your Social Fabric I focus on the importance of spending time in the company of others, and about making heart connections with people who share your interests, so that you can weave a rich social fabric and start to build your own family village.
In Part 3: Keeping Track Of What’s Important I share two key tools – a Gratitude Journal and a Connections Journal – two daily practices that will help you shift your focus from a place of loneliness to a place of gratitude and happiness. They are your daily inspiration to weave the rich social fabric that I talk about in Part 2.
The 5-Part Plan: Part Four
When you are hurt and going through heartbreak, it can be easy to become lost in the pain. I’ve talked about one of the reasons for this already: the loss of the primary relationship. Another reason is that we can allow ourselves to be swallowed up mourning what was lost, which can create a feedback loop of negativity that can be hard for some to reverse. Let me explain…
Many of us have been raised with Western culture values and ideals. It can be hard to avoid if you were raised in North America! One major downfall of Western culture, though, is the belief that owning things and going on vacations is what makes for a good life. You may have heard of it – some call it The American Dream, others will call it Keeping Up With The Joneses. While living a privileged life surrounded by the things that make us comfy isn’t necessarily bad, there is one major problem: it encourages an egocentric ‘me first’ view of the world that can instill a sense of entitlement. We tend toward a place of competition instead of cooperation. This competitive ‘me first’ ideal makes it easy to fall into a well of self-pity when you’re going through a breakup. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t acknowledge the pain and loneliness of a breakup, because it is very real. But the only way to heal and move on is to acknowledge your pain and then start to work through it.
So, how do you do that? For some, it may involve working through The Five Stages Of Grief. For others, the answer may lie in being in service to others. There are many articles that support being in service to others as a means to recovering from grief. Being in service allows us to get out of our own headspace and places us face-to-face in a meaningful connection with someone else. Remember my client, Lisa? Lisa is a shining example of how volunteering can help heal a broken heart. She was able to move through the pain of her divorce by volunteering in her local arts community. Not only does she get the joy of helping others, but her volunteer work makes it possible for others to produce their art. It’s a win-win!
If you aren’t quite ready to volunteer, there are other ways you can be in service to others: you can choose to be fully present when you’re in conversation with someone, or it can be as simple as bringing a cup of coffee to a busy friend or co-worker.
Take as much time as you need as you begin this important step of being in service to others. And always remember to be gentle with yourself. These steps are meant to be a guide for healing, and not a lock-step 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 process. The key is to move through them with intention, and think of Antidote To Crushing Heartache as a rebuilding process rather than a checklist.
Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear the story of how you re-built your life after heartbreak. If you are just starting out on your healing journey, let me know what you found helpful, and how the Your Family Village community can help.
Join me next week for part five where I talk about the most important step of all – a forgiveness practice. If you want to know as soon as it’s published you can join my mailing list.
From my home to yours,