The New Year is old news. February has arrived, and Cupid has flown into town. If you’re fortunate enough to be perfectly paired with a person, the holiday of roses, wine, and chocolate covered strawberries is the latest reason to eat, shop and celebrate. If, on the other hand, you’ve recently experienced a break-up, heartbreak or divorce, the daily reminders of Valentine’s Day and all things romantic are likely to make your tender heart feel like it’s being squeezed by a hundred-pound barbell lying atop your chest. It hurts.
Over the last 20+ years as a divorce attorney who has also endured more than her fair share of break-ups in the past, I’ve come to realize there are certain core practices that will help you emerge through the pain of heartbreak to an eventual place where you feel happier and optimistic more often than you don’t. Here are some of my biggest and best tips for feeling a sense of hope in the midst of a painful breakup – and despite it being the season of hearts.
Look for and Feel the Goodness Around You
Goodness exists all around you. Go into each day with the intention of actively looking for and feeling those little pieces of “good” that you normally take for granted. Use your senses. Get into your body. Use your five senses to savor a few of the undeniably good things in life:
For many people, there’s something really good about sipping that first taste of coffee or tea on a cold February morning. Instead of gulping down your cuppa-whatever without even thinking, be entirely present with that cup of coffee (or tea). Inhale the aroma before taking your first sip. Taste it on your tongue. Enjoy how it warms you on the inside and out. Be thankful for the small bit of happiness that your coffee or tea brings you each day.
If you don’t like coffee, tea (or chocolate), you can actually feel a small bit of peace your heart by actually focusing in on one “beautiful” thing and simply watching it. There’s something mesmerizing and meditative about watching your fish swish and swim around the tank, watching one of your kids sleep, watching the changing colors in the sky as the sun rises and sets or the wind moving the branches, trees and leaves. Focus, watch, and breathe as you do so and you’ll come away with a sense of peace after only five minutes of doing this.
Finally, consider creating a tiny piece of goodness – just one – for another person each day. What about buying coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop? Or bringing donuts to the office for your co-workers to enjoy? You don’t have to wait for “goodness” to happen to you. Make it happen for someone else.
Know Your Possibilities are Unlimited
When you’re used to having your partner nearby and he or she is suddenly gone, the days and hours spent alone feel interminable. One of the keys to surviving this experience is discovering (or remembering) the things that will help you rebuild your shattered heart. Some ideas: Go to the bookstore and buy a beautiful journal for you to write about your feelings, your challenges and your dreams. Find out if any of your favorite authors (or bands) are coming to town and invite a friend to join you. Better yet – go alone and meet new people! Treat yourself to “high tea” at a local tea house. Spend a day antique shopping and while doing so, notice the beauty in the old, weathered and “used”. Go to a local art fair, wine tasting, or join in a charity run, walk or golf tournament. If you don’t golf or run… maybe now is the time to give it a try.
By opening yourself to these new (or old) experiences, you will find things resonating with you on your soul’s level. Your heart will begin to heal.
Tune In and Set the Tone
Obstacles will come your way in life. You cannot change that. You can control, however, whether you start each day feeling grounded.
What rituals can you incorporate into your routine – first thing in the morning – to help you feel centered? Examples of rituals: praying, meditating, reading, exercising, getting up before everyone else and having your coffee and tea in the silence.
When something unexpected comes your way, is there something you can do to gently remind yourself to return to your center? Do you have a token you can carry with you, or is there a special piece of jewelry you can wear, or do you have a favorite essential oil you can apply “in case of emergency?” Spend some time picking out a few things you can turn to when you need to calm down and re-calibrate.
Speaking to Your Children About Being Loved During Your Breakup with the Other Parent
If you have children and are going through a breakup, keep in mind they are likely experiencing difficult and confusing emotions, too. Although they may not be showing it, your children could be struggling with feelings of guilt, unworthiness and questions about whether they will still be loved.
Help your children unpack their fears and emotions. If you aren’t in a position to do it with the assistance of a child therapist, you can talk to your children with tenderness and authenticity about your break-up with the other parent. Do not, under any circumstance, disparage the other parent nor involve your children in legal aspects of a divorce or custody case (if you are in litigation) – ever.
Reassure your children that they are not to blame for the break up. Talk to them about how you and they are going to redefine and create a beautiful, different life. Dream with them. Make plans for the future. Create new traditions with and for them. Hug, cuddle and love on them as much as they will allow.
Above all – remember that your break up or divorce will not ruin your children. So long as you handle your break-up with dignity, grace, and honesty, both you and your children will emerge as new and better versions of yourselves.
Above all, remind yourself often of the following:
I am lovable.
I am capable.
I deserve the best life has to offer.
Excerpts of this article were taken from Wendy Hernandez’s “Power in the Truth” deck of affirmation cards and the forthcoming “Power in the Truth” Companion Journal.
Author: Wendy Hernandez is an award-winning Phoenix family law attorney, founder of the Hernandez Family Law Firm, divorce coach and creator of Command the Courtroom. For more information, visit https://hernandezfirm.com.