Ten important steps for conscious healing
I am going to guess you have heard many people tell you that it takes time to get over heartbreak, as conveyed in the ever-popular expression “Time heals all wounds.” This common belief has been around for what seems like forever and, in my opinion, is the reason so many of us get stuck in our grief and pain for longer than is necessary. We wait for time to perform its magic, wondering when the day will come when we finally feel better and can return to our regularly scheduled life. Days turn into months, and rather quickly those months turn into years. The passage of time isn’t working and, in some ways, seems to have made things worse. Yes, we do need time to heal, but how we choose to use that time is much more important than time itself.
After any trauma—and, yes, heartbreak is trauma—a natural grieving and mourning period must occur. This is that period when anything goes, and you may even “lose it” for a little while. Perhaps you feel numb or like you are sleepwalking through life, or maybe you can’t stop crying for days on end. Whatever this period looks like for you, it is a natural part of the process for emotions to come flooding to the surface. We need to allow them to move through us as freely as possible. We all go through the grieving and mourning phases at different speeds, but the moment comes when letting time pass is no longer an effective method of healing.
What you will notice after a while is that time serves only to make it harder for you to move forward. The more time we spend in any emotional state, the more comfortable we feel being there. Spending years on end in a state of grief can result in sadness and pain becoming your new normal. Even if the emotions don’t feel good, we get comfortable with them, and the thought of moving beyond that space becomes scary and impossible.
So, what does time actually do?
Time creates separation and distance between events and can dull the intensity of emotions surrounding the experience. Time can provide perspective, allowing us to see things in ways we hadn’t before. Time also creates a container of space in which we have the opportunity to engage in a process of active healing, or what I like to call “conscious healing.” When time is used with intention, it can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation. What follows are the 10 steps for conscious healing.
1. Allow yourself the space to grieve. It can be common to want to skip over the pain or become numb to it. We tend to wish this part of the process away, counting the days until it is over. The thing is, the beauty and growth are in the pain itself, and there is no other way to the other side but through. Allow yourself the space you need to feel your feelings in their fullest form. It is through this process that you will eventually be able to let go and move on.
2. Connect with friends who will encourage you to be generative. Perhaps you have noticed that we seem to be a society that tends to connect over pain. We like to talk about our misfortunes and disappointments just as much as we like to hear the same from others. When going through a challenging time, the tendency can be to seek out those who not only allow you to focus on how terrible your situation is but also encourage you to keep your focus there. This will not help you to heal. Create connections with friends who continually remind you of your accomplishments and growth, those who help you focus on where you are going instead of where you have been.
3. Find a mentor. Let’s face it, you don’t know what you don’t know, and the only way to learn what you don’t know is to have someone who does know teach you. Being guided through a process of grieving, learning skills and tools along the way, and having the support of someone who is not emotionally invested in your decisions will help you make the most out of the painful experience of heartbreak. Pain provides the biggest opportunity for growth and transformation, and with guidance, this can be the reason you become all that you desire to be.
4. Learn about yourself. You may want to isolate yourself and most likely are finding comfort in the daily routine; however, there is no better time than now to discover your passions and what makes your heart happy. Trying new things will provide you with insight into undiscovered parts of yourself and will open doors for the future.
5. Seek out laughter. Crying may come more easily than laughter when you are grieving, and it may even feel odd when you find something to be funny, but laughter is the magical solvent that will allow your heart to open.
6. Engage in activities that build your confidence. No matter the circumstances surrounding one’s heartbreak, many people experience a blow to their self-confidence. You may begin questioning your worth, the way you look, your capacity to love. You may feel afraid of an uncertain future and your ability to make it through. The more you can build up your self-confidence, the better you will be able to overcome obstacles and take the future as it comes.
7. Learn how to be selfish. Many of us are very good at taking care of and putting others before ourselves. Although doing so may make you feel like a saint, over time, the result is a feeling of emptiness and a depletion of energy. It is impossible to live our best life when we are not nurturing ourselves and filling our souls. Healing from heartbreak takes energy, and it is essential that you focus on self-care that replenishes you with the energy you need to heal.
8. Take a deep dive into your crap. Reflecting on yourself and the areas where you can improve may be the last thing you want to do right now, but accountability is the road to healing. It is only when we are able to acknowledge our role in our circumstances and take actions that allow us to show up in a different way that we are able to forgive ourselves and therefore forgive others. Pain teaches us invaluable lessons about our patterns and our beliefs, and it provides us with a unique opportunity to heal our past in order to create a new future.
9. Get inspired. Getting through heartbreak can be hard work, and much of the time you will probably want to pull the covers over your head and shut out the world. Doing so will certainly have its moments, but if that is all you do, you’ll be stuck for a long time. Keeping yourself moving forward requires motivation, and motivation requires inspiration. Now is the time to connect with people you admire, read books that make you feel like you could conquer the world, and tune in to whatever it is that makes you want to move.
10. Create rituals. It’s easy to lose sight of your goals when you are in pain. You can get swept up and lost in the emotions of heartbreak. As you begin to heal and move on, staying grounded and connected to your goals becomes essential. Rituals are daily non-negotiable activities that you do with the intention of grounding yourself so that you remain connected to your desired outcome. Creating the future you desire consists of committing to the above steps on a daily basis over time.
Grieving after heartbreak is hard and, unfortunately, there is no way around that. The thing is, though, so much growth and an unexpected transformation can result if you are willing to engage in the process of conscious healing. You may even look back one day at this time of your life with a heart full of gratitude and love.
Jennifer Butler is a writer and transformation coach, currently working as a community leader for DivorceForce. Beyond an extensive education, Jennifer also went through a life transformation as a result of her own divorce and has dedicated her work to supporting others. You can connect with Jennifer at JennJoy Coaching and on Instagram.