Whether you are breaking up with your lover, a friend, an employer, or with an overbearing relative, breakups one of the most painful experiences, and of course, the severity of your experience will be defined by the way you handle the situation. The post will reveal three common mistakes we all make during breakups and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Fear of being alone and never meeting anybody
Most of us have solid reasons for leaving personal or professional relationships that range from not being a good fit for our needs to being abusive. At the same time, many of you may experience the “what if I never…” fear. What I never find a new job, what he was “the one”, what I never meet anybody, and I will be alone forever? Yes, you may experience all the thoughts, and here is what you do next.
- Review the history of relationships, focus on the positives and the “gifts” that relationships brought to bear. For example, maybe you had a very strict boss who was a stickler for holding and enforcing deadlines? While it was annoying at times, today you are more punctual than before.
- Admit that your fear of never meeting anybody, connecting with new friends, or getting a great offer is 100% correlated to your attitude, your self-esteem, the effort you put into it, and the job-seeking/partner-seeking skills you have. You can change most of the things listed.
Mistake #2: Getting stuck and back and forth
I see this a lot. He treats her poorly, but she is too scared to break up, so she threatens him, packs his bags, but never executes on her treats. After a while, he does not take her seriously any longer. The same applies with employers, do not talk about “leaving” company or try to manipulate a higher pay with the offer until you hold an actual submission in your hands.
We all get stuck; we hate the idea “ of failing” another job, another relationship, or departing engagement that “might be” still viable. Whatever you do, avoid getting stuck and keep going back and forth; it sends the wrong message and makes matters significantly worse.
- Instead, have an open discussion. If you can ask for feedback, ask how the other party feels about the current state. I bet you were not the only one upset, tense, and considering breaking up.
- This is really, really hard. Listen. No, really, listen. Do not comment, explain, justify, or blame the other person. If you can not listen now, ask to connect later, in a day, in a week, and try to listen again. This is one of the hardest things in any conflict, but this one will give you your return on investment of patience. You will learn so much!
Mistake #3: Self-blaming
Women are amazing at it. As soon as any conflict occurs, we start self-loathing critical self-talk in our heads. We sometimes call ourselves names, we shame our actions, and we orphan our behaviors, we blame ourselves for both sides of the story. I am, just like you, guilty of this one. I have to admit, some of the things I say to myself, I would never, in a million years, ever-never say to another human!
- Notice when you “shaming” gremlin wakes up and starts whispering in your years. Notice when you start having a full script dialogue with your consciousness. When this happens, pause, ask yourself, what am I saying to myself? Watch your thoughts unraveling in your head. Do not get stuck, let them pass through.
- Physically move to reduce your stress load. One of the things I practice today is “shame” and “stress” running. Every time I get to the point, I am about to give myself a panic attack, thinking compulsively about something or someone I am about to part with, I stop. I put my running shoes on and go for a quick 20 min quick run around a block. First, it feels strange, but as my sneakers pound the road, my heart calms, and my thoughts slow down. It is magic.
- Practice catching yourself being good. Learn to mentally “pet” yourself, like you pet a cat or a dog you love. Say encouraging, great things that lift your mood. Say it out loud, say it often. When the self-blaming wave is coming at you, stop and recall one thing you are grateful for and say it out loud. For example: wow, what an awesome job on that plank this morning!
Breakups are hard. The experience can be devastating and very stressful. Breakups also can be transformative, pivotal, and life-changing. This breakup, as hard you made it up to be, might be just the best thing that could happen to you!! Looking back, whenever I left people, jobs, circumstances, it is because I was growing and learning less, and I felt stagnant. Each new job, the new connection would bring new opportunities and would in many times, illuminate a new opportunity in my life. Life is FOR you and is here to bring you something that will benefit you in the long run. Trust your gut and move forward, let go, and surrender to the change.