Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recovering from a Break Up

Men pride themselves on feeling powerful, competent and effective in their world. They receive a sense of fulfillment in feeling successful and doing well. Men take great pride in being independent and self-sufficient.

Then, they fall in love. They allow themselves to be vulnerable to another, they get close and sometimes they end up getting hurt and their hearts get broken.

Surprisingly, men generally are the first to fall in love and the last to fall out of it. Men have more difficulty handling their emotions than women. Simply because men have been trained to be more independent so they have developed fewer skills at handling their emotions. They become emotionally overwhelmed more easily and demonstrate it by shutting off emotionally and withdrawing, going into denial or becoming workaholics. All of this is a bid to cut themselves off from those overwhelming feelings of hurt and pain.

In the process, those feelings lie dormant and are actually never healed. When we don’t heal those feelings, we don’t allow ourselves to fall in love again and we miss out on one of the most rewarding, healing and satisfying experiences in our lives that of falling in love again.

The secret that women use for handling their feelings, that men generally don’t, is that women are able to think and feel at the same time. Men, on the other hand, are either in thinking mode or feeling mode. When men are in pain from a break up, they go right into feeling mode and become overwhelmed by those feelings resulting in shut down, paralysis, withdraw or angry bitterness. Men cannot make good decisions for themselves or anyone else under those conditions.

That we fall in love we will inevitably experience having our hearts broken. However, the pain we experience from the loss of a love can have meaning for us and actually enrich our experience in life. Out of the pain of loss, we can observe the true depth of our ability to love another. Without loss, we may never really know the depth of our ability to love.

Suffering is communication from the depths of our soul. Without it, our soul is dead; for suffering deepens and expands our experience in life and we are changed as we give meaning to the experience.

If you have recently gone through a break up, acknowledge that you are going through a crisis and become more compassionate and gentle with yourself. Remove any blame you may be putting on yourself for anything you may or may not have done or for trusting another or having been vulnerable. It’s important to know that we are able to trust and experience vulnerability. Those are important parts of being in a relationship.

Talk about your hurt with people who are willing to listen. You might even want to seek out a licensed therapist to help you through this time.

It’s important to let yourself know that you can and will make it through this time.

Stick to your daily routines. Continue to eat, sleep and exercise at the same times you always have. Meditation can be an excellent way to relax the mind and heal the heart.  If you don’t exercise, now could be a good time to start. Always consult with your doctor first before starting any exercise routine. Exercise causes our bodies to release endorphins that serve to help us feel better.

Don’t seek revenge. It’s OK to fantasize about it, but it’s not OK to act it out. Angry behavior only leads to amping up the drive to act out more angry behavior. Don’t do it.

Don’t follow, spy on, or call the other person. This can keep you attached in a very unhealthy way and makes it much more difficult to let go of your hurt and angry feelings. Resist the urge to try to make them understand your hurt feelings or try to get them to see your point of view. This will only lead to more frustration and feelings of betrayal. Of course, don’t harm yourself. Doing so never gets them to come back.

Throw yourself into an activity or project that you love doing. As men, we’re doers. While we’re doing the activity we love we’re also processing our painful feelings and this can contribute greatly to our healing of those feelings.

Keep in mind that relationships are about growth, they’re not about happiness.

We, ourselves, are responsible for our own happiness. It’s our thoughts and how we choose to interpret them that affect how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. What we think affects how we feel.

When our heart’s broken by someone, we may feel that we’ll never love again. We may feel we were foolish in having trusted that individual. We may have felt that they were the “right” one for us and there will never be another. None of those thoughts is true. There’s not just one person out there for us; there are many right people out there for us. If someone is ultimately not with us, then they were definitely not the right person.

The only thing true about that relationship experience is that you probably learned something about yourself. Search yourself to find out how you’re different now from having known the other person. Have you changed what you want out of a relationship?

It’s our thoughts that determine our happiness, not the person we are with. When we experience a break up, we have a tendency to let go of the bad times and hold onto the good memories. This doesn’t serve us, especially when our heart’s broken and we’re in pain over the loss of the relationship. It may be a good idea to remember the bad times. Keep in mind the difficulties of this relationship and how your needs weren’t met.

For more information on healing from a break up, and to listen to free samples of Dr. Walton’s latest album, log onto “After Breaking Up: Healing the Heart and Finding Happiness.” For more information on Dr. Walton, log onto Watch the Video on "Healing from A Break Up."

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