Are you feeling like the losses - romantic and otherwise - that you've had to face have left you pretty shaken? Do you fear you might be unable to trust, to love, to open up again?
I had a date with a nice man who very kindly told me how his first wife neglected him, his second wife abandoned him and his last serious girlfriend finally told him she was really married to someone else. Poor guy! That's a lot of assault and battery on someone's emotions! It happens to guys, too.
A lot of healing can take place when we decide to focus on releasing our pain and recapturing our lost pieces. Here are some ideas to get you started on the Road to Recovery. Apply them this weekend and just watch what happens!
1. Directly address your pain/anguish/sorrow or anger. This Saturday, write a letter to the person who hurt you most, living or dead. Pour it all out! Say all the things you wish you'd said before, or wish you were brave enough to say now. This is what the grief counselors teach people to do to say "good-bye" when someone dies. Start with the phrase "I've thought of some things I'd like to tell you..." and end with "I love you, I miss you, good-bye."
It works best if you write it out longhand. What have you got to lose?
2. On Sunday, take a piece of paper and divide it into FOUR sections. Mark the top left "Good" and the top right "Bad" In the top left, write everything that is GOOD about the specific situation you're trying to deal with. If someone left you, for instance, you could write "Now I can eat dinner whenever I like; don't have to stumble over his dirty socks on the floor; don't have to share the covers..." On the top right, write down what's BAD about it. "I miss having someone to laugh with; I'm lonely; I wish he was here to take out the trash on Thursdays..." (Whatever!)
NOW comes the cool part! In the bottom half of the page, where you still have those two empty boxes, write down the OPPOSITE. If you were dealing with what's good or bad about someone leaving you, write down in the lower two all the things that are GOOD about being in a healthy, loving relationship. And all the things that are "bad" about being in a healthy, loving relationship (e.g., you have a set dinner time, for instance.")
Be sure you got everything in every quadrant that you can possibly think of. Done? Good...
Look at all four quandrants. Which is longest? Count how many entries you put into that specific one. 12? 35? Guess what? Now you have to WRACK your brain to make them all even. That's right. Whatever number appears in the longest one, that is how many you have to force yourself to write into all the others squares.
By doing this, we force ourselves to see a broader, more balanced, more cogent perspective.
3. After you've done all this work, your brain will be tuckered out. Here's the important Final Step to do Sunday: Do something really nice for yourself. It has to be something you like but that you don't normally do. Like, buy yourself your favorite flower. Lie in bed an extra hour reading a book. Hire a sitter and go out with friends. While you are doing it, remind yourself that you are loved and loving, competent, capable, desirable and worthy. Heck, that might feel so good you decide to be nicer to yourself on a regular basis!
Apply these strategies this weekend and come back to fill us in on your results. You'll be glad you did!