“Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know.”
Christmas is a time for joy, festive celebrations, spending quality time with friends and family, going for romantic walks under the Christmas lights and cuddling by the fire – right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case for some people. According to digital statisticians whom looked at the data on Facebook, analysed thousands of messages, relationship status changes and status updates looking for signs of a break up showed that, 2 weeks before Christmas is the date couples are most likely to breakup.
A while back I had my fair share on this and while I was going through my personal challenges, on that particular year and year after that I had call after call, e-mail after e-mail from people who were having similar experiences to mine asking for help. It turns out Christmas is not just the season of celebrations but also season of breakups and divorces too. It totally sucks I know and I’m guessing if you are having an uncomfortable sensation on your stomach or in your chest while reading this, you know it is coming for you too or maybe it already had happened…
Let’s face it majority of breakups and divorces are hard but those that happen during the holidays can be some of the worst imaginable, particularly for the partners that didn’t want the breakup. And for the partners who did not see it coming it hits them like a wall when it happens. It can bring up negative emotions and a deep sense of loneliness that usually are manageable or distracted with the daily routines of daily life. Unfortunately during the holidays it gets harder to distract yourself because you already have parties to attend, dinners to go which was planned to be attended with your now ex-partner. In addition to that, so many photos of couples looking so happy and festive across social media, or walking hand in hand as they do their Christmas shopping and of course all the Christmas eve/day proposals, engagement announcements.
One of the main reasons why Christmas time, especially 2 weeks before is the peak time for breakups is the sense of inadequacy of trying to choose a gift. Choosing a gift is such an intimate act and it forces people to accept the reality of the situation.
For some people Christmas forces them to realise that their partner is not someone they want to introduce to their friends or families or they don’t want to meet with theirs so they break up before the holiday comes. If they have met already, this period gives them the chance to break the news to their friends and family that they are no longer together.
For others Christmas is the time to reflect the year and planning what they want from the new year. If they don’t see their partner to fit in within their new year vision they choose to have a clear start without them.
If you are the one who didn’t want the break up, it might upset you even more to read these reasons but the best thing you can do at this point is to do your best to not to take it personally. One of the first feelings we experience after a break up is the sense of rejection and if it is not dealt carefully will bring up the feelings of ‘I’m not enough. If I was enough s/he would not leave me.’
The things is, not every relationship suppose to work, not every couple suppose to end up together forever. Sometimes an end of a relationship could be the biggest blessing of your life even if it might not feel like it right now.
But the good news is, there are lots of things you can do to help you cope better over Christmas after a break up.
Here are my top 6 steps:
1- Allow yourself to feel : Researches show that breaking up from a serious relationship is known as the 2nd most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. So, it is very important to know, it’s OK for you to feel sad and it is OK for you to cry in fact it is a normal and healthy part of the grieving process after a breakup. Many people feel like crying and feeling sad after a break up is a sign of weakness especially if breaking up wasn’t their decision. The problem is if you chose to avoid your feelings by stuffing down and refuse to face them they will come back to haunt you and show up in other ways and in different areas of your life.
2- Surround yourself with loving and supportive people: It is very important to choose who you surround yourself with very carefully in this period. It is painful for our friends and family to see us in pain and some of them will be emotionally attached to the situation which will not help at all. Be aware of who you share with especially the details as some well-meaning people can add fuel to the fire without meaning to. Reach out to people who are fun and make you laugh and make plans to spend time with them.
3- Find a way to express your feelings in a healthy way: Be aware of not to throw yourself into unhealthy habits or take distractive actions such as calling your exes for attention or jumping straight onto another relationship , drinking or partying too much, over or under eating. One of the best ways to express your thoughts and feelings is to write them down. Keeping a diary to write your feelings is a very therapeutic way of releasing them especially if you are struggling to express them to other people. I suggest my clients to write letters to their ex if they feel like ranting or didn’t get a chance to tell them how they really feel. Journaling especially good for closure if in person closure is not possible or desired.
4- Get out of the house: It is normal to want to stay in the house or in bed all day, watch Bridget Jones’s Diary or The Notebook and self-pity. It is perfectly normal to have days like these but it is very important to carry on with our lives in order to move on. Changing perspective would be very helpful in this period and perhaps see it as an opportunity to do the things you always wanted to do. Maybe start a new hobby, attend a brand new gym class, search for an alternative fun night out in your city or even just a walk in the park or meet with a friend for a coffee. Aim for going out everyday minimum for an hour. It is going to distract you from the heavy feelings and fresh air will help you to think clearer.
5- Be mindful of your internal dialog : When I have a new client who is going through a heart break or trying to let go of an ex, the first thing I work with them is their internal dialog. When our hearts broken majority of us say things like ‘I’m never going to fall in love again’ , ‘I’m never going to open my heart again’ , ‘Love doesn’t exist’, ‘Love means pain and I don’t want to feel pain again’ or ‘I’m never going to meet with someone like him/her again’ , ‘ This pain will never go away’, ’I will never love anyone like that again’, ’I lost my chance on love’ so on so forth.
If you have to pick just one of my suggestions please choose this one because this one itself will be the key to your complete healing from your heartbreak.
The truth is our words create our reality and this is not just something has been thrown around for the sake of it because it sounds cool! If you take a moment to step back and take an honest look at your current life, your job, your friends and your relationships you will realise that everything you have or don’t have in your life right now are either the things you really wanted or feared at some point in your life. If you are keep making such negative statements with so much passion and conviction, you are going to create your reality.
If you say ‘ I will never love anyone like that again’, at some point in the future you are going to reject a wonderful and loving partner who will love you the way you want to be loved and someone who will never leave you. Your strong limiting belief will not give them a chance to get close to you and you will indeed never love anyone like that again. If that is what you are looking for then that is what you are going to find.
In order to avoid this, be very mindful of your words. Rather than saying ‘I will never love anyone like that again’ try to say
‘ If I could feel this much love to someone who doesn’t love me, can you imagine the love I will experience with someone who loves me back the same way? I’m excited, grateful and open to receive his/her love. Until then I’m going to focus on taking care of my self, my life, my heart, and clearing all the negative attachments left from this relationship.’
6- Work with a professional : Some relationships take much longer to heal than others if they were abusive kind (emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially and/or spiritually). If nobody around you have experienced these types of relationships you might feel ashamed talking about them with people close to you. Just like you’ve stayed in that relationship because of shame, you will suffer afterwards because of shame. If you are in that situation please reach out to a coach or a therapist who has experience on this areas, who can make you feel safe, can support you with confidentiality and non judgemental approach.
If you are suffering on your own, need an experienced professional to help you and support you with a plan for your future,
If your relationship or marriage is going through a difficult time feel free to reach out.
Remember strong relationships don’t build overnight. It takes time, it takes patience, it takes commitment, it takes forgiveness and it takes hard work.
Relationships are build by two people but it takes one person to break it so if it is over know that, it is not your fault but it is your responsibility to learn the lessons and decide how your life is going to be from now on.
Just like Carrie Fisher wonderfully said “Take your broken heart make it into art.”
“Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know.”