“If you feel stuck in your present life…I guarantee you are living in a dungeon made of stories – and none of those limiting stories are true.” Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight
When I’m speaking with prospective life coaching clients who are enduring a breakup or considering a divorce, I ask them to give me 3 adjectives that best describe how they feel. The one word that is used more often than any other is “stuck.”
(This is also a word that gets used a lot when women talk to me about their careers, but that’s another blog post!)
I have spoken to literally hundreds of women about their breakups and by now, I can tell pretty quickly who will find their way to the light and who may stay stuck for years. This is because there are some behaviors that will keep us unknowingly stuck in a place of pain and heartbreak.
When it comes to a breakup, there is a time to talk about it, grieve the loss of the relationship and make sense of it. This doesn’t mean you will understand why everything happened as it did or that you will receive the closure or apology you crave. I’m a big fan of asking the productive questions that lead to healing by looking at the relationship through the lens of compassionate understanding:
• “What were the gifts I received from the relationship?”
• “Where and when did I abandon myself?”
• “What did I learn?”
But if you never move beyond talking and into taking small steps toward your healing, you will remain stuck in the pain. Staying in the talking phase keeps you stuck on the merry-go-round of reliving the experience over and over again until it becomes highly unproductive. Some women get so comfortable with talking about the relationship and the tragic breakup that it simultaneously becomes their best friend and worst enemy.
Believing Our Stories
The more we tell the stories about our relationship that was and the breakup that occurred, we start to believe that the stories we create in our minds are actually true. We actually believe the broken record telling us that:
• “If only I could have found a way to be the person he needed,”
• “How could he do that to me? I thought he loved me,” or
• “What if I never find love again?”
Our minds don’t like not having the answer, so when things just don’t make sense, our minds are more than happy to create some story to explain it and that story, is typically one that causes more, not less, suffering.
When we believe those painful thoughts and live our lives as if they’re true, it will keep us from moving forward, it will sabotage our next relationship and we will settle for less than we deserve in almost every aspect of our lives.
Positive self-talk won’t be enough here; you didn’t intentionally talk yourself into believing those stories so you can’t just simply talk yourself out of believing them. You actually have to go through dissolving those stories and disbelieving each of them one by one until there’s nothing left standing but the truth; The messy, complicated, beautiful truth.
Powerless or Powerful?
When we believe that we are powerless over our situation or our pain, then we remain stranded.
When we believe that the demise of the relationship happened to us, rather than for us, we become the unintentional victim.
When we shut down our hearts to love, we never find the kind of deep, nurturing, soulful love we crave.
When we just wait for the pain to subside (which can take many months or even years, if left unattended), we might survive, but we don’t thrive. We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to emerge stronger, healthier and more powerful – not despite the experience, but because of the experience.
Sometimes, people look to me as their life coach for the one magic answer to make all the pain go away. Of course, everyone’s path is as unique as they are and there is no magic pill I can provide that solves this for the hundreds of thousands of women today struggling with heartbreak.
Remember in the Wizard of Oz when Glenda the Good Witch told Dorothy,
“You’ve had the power all along, my dear.”
You have all the answers, all the power, and all the support you need to heal from a broken relationship.
As a life coach, I help guide people to their own answers for their own messy, complicated and beautiful lives. I cannot “save” anyone; but each day I am able to guide women through the darkness and help them ultimately save themselves.
Tell the Truth. Show up in Love. Live in Freedom.