5 No-nonsense ways, to send your ex packing for good.
Ok, so you just got dumped. It was awful. You looked down at your phone and there it was, a text from your now ex saying something like “it's over baby, xoxo Gossip Girl.”
Or it was even worse and your partner said they “loved you, but they weren’t in love with you." Yeah right.
Or get ready for this: they died. Yep, that happens.
It really doesn’t matter if your break-up was with your love of 50 years or with that dude from OKCupid who looks just like Anderson Cooper and decided to stop emailing you. Or even if it was with the cutie who works at Gap, who you’re not exactly dating, but you could be...
Getting over a broken heart is hard. Maybe one of the hardest things in the world.
Researcher Helen Fisher, links romantic love to addiction. "The evidence is clear that the passion of romantic love is a goal-oriented motivation state, not a specific emotion," says Fisher, also noting that “You crave the person who dumped you...You go through withdrawal, you can relapse, and cravings can be sparked months after you think you've gotten over it."
General symptoms of heartbreak include an unfillable void in your gut, the inability to listen to Adele, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and an over reliance on certain parts of your wardrobe such as sweat pants and soft shoes. Please look to your left, for items from my very own break-up closet.
As a marriage and family therapist, I pretty much specialize in broken hearts. What I’ve found is that there are things that definitely do not work when we are wanting to heal. Things like avoiding our feelings, ignoring our feelings, wallowing in our feelings, bloody mary-ing our feelings and Tweeting too much about our feelings.
But I’ve also found several tools that pretty much work every time. I can’t tell you when you’ll move on, find new love, or stop tearing up every time you pull out your Gap card, but what I can tell you is that by doing the following 5 things on a daily basis, you will be happier, more satisfied and begin to heal your broken heart now.
Every time you wonder what your ex is doing or who your ex is doing, try this visualization: Imagine yourself neatly packing them into a Fed-ex box. That’s right, ask them to step into the box on their own, or fold them into an origami swan, or wrap them in bubble tape - whatever it takes to get them into that box. Next, mark the box with a big sticker that reads “fragile” or “asshole” or “future good friend.” Load them into a freight plane, and watch them fly away. Sending them off to a remote island populated solely by cannibals will help you stop obsessing.
Just kidding, leave out the cannibal part, but do make the conscious choice to stop yourself from perseverating. Release them to their own journey so you can get on with yours. Visualization works. It's a well-known fact that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action as when we perform that same action. Fed-ex your ex, throughout the day, as many times as it takes.
To get over someone else, get into yourself. If you really want to plant seeds of change in your life, you must become really interested and disgustingly curious about who you are today, exactly as you are right now. A foundational notion in Gestalt therapy is the Paradoxical Theory of Change, which briefly states that "change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not."
That is, accept where you are today and learn everything you can about yourself in the here and now. Throw out any "shoulds" or advice that tells you to fake it till you make it. Hunker down into yourself. Grab some snacks and your Snuggie and wait out the impasse with curiosity and courage.
This one is really simple: Be of service. Krishnamurti says this: “When I don’t know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you.” Connecting to others through service, helps up feel less like losers who just got dumped and more like awesome people who rescue feral cats from the jaws of death. Ever heard of "helper's high?"
It’s like runners high but without all the sweating.
Psychologists have found that after doing something that is genuinely kind, we get a blissful feeling attributed to dopamine and oxytocin, released after the good deed is done. So call your girlfriend and ask how her day is going, or volunteer to bottle feed kittens, or teach kids to read if you must. Who knows, you might just be a few beach clean-ups away from getting over your ex.
Everyone is always blabbing about gratitude. Those of us who keep gratitude journals are found to be healthier, more optimistic and more likely to reach personal goals. It's a good thing. We get it. What I'm about to suggest goes one step further. It's gratitude for the fearless. For the cage wrestlers, special ops and dragon slayers of gratitude. Here's what you do:
Make a list titled "Gratiterd List," and write down everything you think is totally shitty about your life today. It could look like this: 1. I just got dumped 2. I can't stop crying 3. The weather sucks4. I hate my job. 5. I just realized I look like a horse.
Now, look closely for what these horrible things have to offer you in terms of personal growth. What could you learn, explore, or inquire into?
Use this silver lining as a silver bullet to destroy your pity party.
Know that these things are well-timed gifts, bringing you into contact with your deeper truth. Item #1 invites you to see what it's like to sit with your broken heart, or what it could be to become your own true love. #4 asks you consider how you're stopping yourself from finding your true passion #5 offers up a ton of self-acceptance work.
I'm not suggesting you lie to yourself or dress your feelings up in faux optimism, but to simply look for the missing puzzle pieces, and to know you have the choice to do so at any time. Stop focusing on the facts of your story (that you got dumped), and shift your attention to the meaning of your life (that you are a resilient, fearless lover.)
Throw your ex a good bye party and yourself a coming out party and make them the same party. Gather your friends, or do this by yourself, but create a ritual that will mark your official decision to re-enter the world of the living, and release whatever is keeping you stuck (in fear, obsession, self-pity, etc). Rituals stretch our intentions all the way into eternity and orchestrate a meeting of our physical reality with our cosmic consciousness. They create a vacuum that the universe can then fill with something that can better serve us.
Here are some ideas: toss symbolic items into a bonfire, pick flowers to represent what you stand to gain by letting go, or light a candle and let it burn all the way down.
My personal favorite is filling a piñata with old gifts, love letters, or mix tapes from an ex and beating the living sh*t out of it. Don't worry! Beat that piñata as hard as you like, because bonds of love are indestructible. While the structure of your relationship may have changed, the love that connected you to your ex will never disappear on the spiritual plane.
Bonds of love are made out of titanium, cockroaches and Twinkies. True fact.
Lonely Forever? No way.