I was separated this year.
It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through in my entire life. The grief and emotions that I went through have been unlike anything else that I have ever experienced. I’ve been told that the loss of a relationship can feel just as terrible as actually having a loved one pass away. The sadness that I felt some days were immensely heavy and debilitating.
There have been thoughts and feelings of insignificance, replaceable-ness, unworthiness, and being un-lovable. They have been some of the hardest feelings that I’ve ever had to overcome. This is part of the grief; this is grieving. If you’ve ever been in a situation of loss of a significant relationship, you will probably understand the swirling questions of inadequacy, the intense feelings of failure, and the incredible sadness that sucks you into a darkness that you don’t know if you’ll ever get out of.
As I dealt with the grief, I was told numerous things on this list below. My hope is that you can utilize some of these suggestions on the days where you are feeling that life is a little too heavy to bear.
- Get out of bed. Even if it’s the last thing in the world that you want to do. My cousin would tell me that I would go into, “hibernation”. But suffering in silence and all by yourself is hard. The longer you retreat, the deeper the hole you dig, the harder it is to get out. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a period that you allow yourself to grieve and stay in bed, but if you’ve reached a point where your body has imprinted itself in the mattress, you haven’t showered in days, and you can’t remember the last time you’ve had a meal…it might be time.
- Cry. I cried a LOT (hah, it’s almost comical to me now). I cried while I was at work, while driving, at yoga, at home, by myself, with others, listening to music, watching TV commercials… you get the idea. Yes, at some point I stopped this uncontrollable urge to breakdown, but it still comes and goes. However, I’d rather be true to my emotions and how I feel rather than shove my feelings down inside of me.
- Forgive. We are all human beings, trying to navigate this emotionally charged experience. When the heart is hurting, we may say or do things that we would not otherwise do, and you know what? That’s okay. Forgive yourself. My sister recently sent me a quote from Oprah that said, “forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past can be any different”.
The next two tips come from one of my colleagues, friends and mentors, Stacey. She told me:
- “Keep your eyes on your own life”. This was important for me, because I tried to normalize my grief by comparing it to my ex’s. His way of processing was veeerrryyyyy different than mine, which makes sense, we are two very different people. I tried to replicate what he was doing to heal, but it didn’t resonate with what I was going through. You can’t compare your experience to someone else’s.
- “Brick by Brick”. When Stacey said this to me, it was like a huge epiphany. I said it to myself every day. Little steps. Or, as my professor says, “Go slow, to go fast.”
- Give yourself time. Time by yourself; time with others; time to grieve; time to heal; and the time to move on.
My last tip, and maybe the most important (and most definitely the hardest), is:
Love yourself. Which I’m sure you’re thinking, “UGH”, that’s your last tip!? What a joke!” Trust me, it’s pretty easy to be all lovey-dovey when you’re lying on a beach drinking margaritas, but when your entire life is falling apart, it isn’t easy. My take-away and friendly reminder for you, is just because you do not feel loved, it doesn’t mean you aren’t loveable, loved, or worthy of love.
I’m in a place where the tears have stopped, but the conversations and lessons learned still continue, and that’s okay. I need to remind myself that I am a human….being. As well as the importance of being patient, kind, forgiving, and open to new possibilities.
From my grief to yours, wishing you compassion, understanding, and life-long learning opportunities.