This is a guest post by LaDonna Green, a communication and relationship coach. Please welcome LaDonna to the HBW Community!
I’ve always been that person everyone bounces ideas off of. The advisor, the editor and often the shoulder to cry on. At times, my shoulders have been drenched from the tears of the burdens of others. Other times, I have been there to share in their moments of elation and success. I have accepted my intuitive, empathetic nature, as well as the phone calls and conversations that go along with being a trusted confidant. Most of the conversations deal with love and relationships so I have had my fair share of pep-talks and advice sessions with friends and family experiencing difficulties with love.
Yet, a few years ago when I separated from my husband (now ex-husband), I found myself in a quagmire of being the advice-giver needing advice. My head was spinning! I had so many doubts and questions. My emotions ran the gamut, from sadness to anger to despair and back to anger again! Out of all the questions I had, the one that resonated most was:
“Now, what am I supposed to do?”
If you have ever experienced a breakup, I’m sure you can relate. Breakups are never easy, but there IS life and love afterwards. I won’t profess that I have found the “holy grail” of how to deal with breakups. But what I can say is that a breakup is an opportunity for you to experience breakthroughs! You can do this through what I call the the “Triple A” process: Acknowledge, Accept, Advance.
Acknowledgement of the end of a relationship sound like a no brainer, right? If your partner came to you (or you to them) and said it’s over, then it’s over! How could someone not acknowledge that? In some cases though, it’s not that simple. As individuals, our perspectives change when we couple up; during that time our individual experiences and desires continue to evolve. In some instances, the evolution draws us away from our partner. At the end of the relationship, you may not have a clear understanding of the how, when, why, and where the shift happened. That’s OK! The important thing is to acknowledge the end. You can’t move forward without acknowledging that the relationship is officially over.
It’s over. You could now be living in separate parts of the house or one of you may have moved out. Whether you’ve unfriended and blocked them on Facebook or vowed to maintain civil communication with your ex; it’s over. Acceptance is a conduit for change. Playing the shoulda, woulda, coulda game with your relationship is counterproductive to acceptance and can breed doubt. Doubt can quench motivation and in turn, interrupt constructive thought processes. But when you accept that you are now no longer a part of a couple, you must focus on self. For some, this is the hardest aspect of the “Triple A” process. Once your partner is gone, there are no more distractions, no more pointing out the wrongs of the other person. During this stage, it’s important to minimize distractions (like going to get a new puppy, another car, or a new relationship). Instead, consider seeking a local support group, counseling session or therapy to navigate through dealing with your loss. Although I had already had a therapist prior to my breakup, my therapist was a tremendous help through my divorce. She assisted me in finding the tools that I needed for the next step in the process.
Advance means to move forward. Identifying and evolving self is important in advancing your life. Here are some ideas for how to do this:
- Take this time after your breakup to advance through education, networking and building relationships within your community. Go back to school to finish that degree or get a certification that you have been putting off. Join a local community group or volunteer organization. I started volunteering at a domestic violence shelter and it changed my life! After that experience, I changed my college major and hope to one day open my own nonprofit rehabilitation center for survivors of domestic violence. Volunteering is what opened eyes to a devastating social issue and birthed my talent to help others in need.
- Explore your spirituality. Take that mission trip that you have always wanted to take. Practice daily meditation and prayer. Heck, I don’t care if you sit on the beach to watch the sunset rise and marvel at the wonders of the universe. Just make sure you find the connection between spirit, being and self to continue your journey to self-actualization.
- Practice holistic living. Exercise, eat well, remove stress and get adequate rest. Eliminate everything in excess: food, wine, negativity, social media, and anything else that you can think of that has the ability to stop you from reaching your maximum potential.
The key is to get in the habit of finding value in yourself and the activities that you participate in. Loving self is the door to reciprocated love from others, when that time comes. But right now, your job is to focus on you!
I have experienced love four times in my life. Each of my partners offered me something special that forged the bonds of love between us. During these relationships, I experienced memorable moments that will last a lifetime. Some moments were filled with tears and some with laughter. The gaining and then subsequent loss of their love, helped me reach a level of self-love that I will forever be thankful to them for. Their gifts of introspection at different stages in my life have helped me acknowledge, accept and advance to the place where I am now. And today, I am happier, healthier and more determined than ever to continue on the journey of becoming the best me that I can be!
What strategies have you used to bounce back from a painful breakup? Which aspect of the “Triple A” process resonates with you the most?
LaDonna Green is a communication and relationship coach based in Orlando, Florida. After working for years in a corporate setting as an analyst, facilitator and coach, LaDonna has balanced her passion of helping others with her talent to teach others to maximize their full potential. Learn more about LaDonna’s work on her website, Communication for Life.