A friend was in a relationship, and it recently ended. He asked me what I have learned in the course of difficult break ups. I thought about it, and wrote this list. I wanted to share it, in case it is useful to you. And there may come a day when I need to be reminded of this myself.
- Be tender and kind with yourself.
- Allow the waves of feelings — sadness, grieving, anger, helplessness. Let everything move through you.
- Take some time alone, and then reach out gently to those you trust with your heart. Tell them how they can help support you.
- When you’re driving and suddenly the tears come, and it gets bad, pull over.
- It helps to get out of town. Go someplace wondrous. Into nature. Or Manhattan. Anything that inspires, and makes you feel small.
- Maybe instead of “break up” use other words. Like, “we’re not together anymore”. It allows for no blame, no jagged edges. Sometimes relationships end not because of breaking, but because of releasing — letting each other go.
- There’s always love. Every relationship is rich in love, though it does not mean that two people will remain together. Always keep the love.
- All the beautiful moments are still true. No matter what came after.
I think we often do things backwards. We hold back on love, when we ought to lead with it. We make love conditional, when it ought to be given away freely. We measure it out in teaspoons and see what we get in return, when we could be pouring it out and drenching the dry ground between us and beneath our feet, like a river.