When we are coping with emotional pain, past or present, or body is forced to endure a tidal wave of experiences. We lose our appetite, behave strangely, and definitely are not our usual cheery selves. It's too bad, but it's ok because it's all par for the course and we all have to go through it. Sometimes when we see our tough friends soldier through something tragic we envy their strength and perseverance, but we do not see what is happening behind closed doors. We cannot pretend to be strong forever, and it is in the privacy of our homes where most people unwind and succumb to stresses.
Pain is something we cannot rush, it is something we have to deal with individually and personally. One coping mechanism to overcome emotional defeat is to try and use the critical part of our brain. Especially after it's been a while, we start thinking quickly, over analyzing and trying to reason our way through things. We can't do this though because our heart has no room for critical analysis!
1. Take your time
After we've been dealing with stress for a long time, we get tired of it and wonder is this still happening? The truth is, yes. Some people take an extra long time to get over something, and it could be you and there is nothing wrong with that. People deal with break-ups and losses differently, but we are strong and are all survivors. After such a long time though, we try to rationalize our way through it, but it just makes us more stressed out because we cannot reason our way out.
That's because we're not supposed to. As my grandfather used to say, "take your time," and I stand by that advice. When we are stressed out every day feels like a year, but luckily we have thousands of days to go through. Our brain needs to keep up with life while our heart lingers on. Let it linger on – it will heal itself when it's the right time, but forcing it to happen by using your brain will only compound things.
2. There is no schedule for healing
Just like there is no rulebook for life, there also is no schedule allotment for times of healing and recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous has been a great resource to help people overcome drinking problems using a scheduled system, but we do not have the same luxury for emotional pain. We are all on our own schedule here, and we should respect that. If someone says, "oh, are you still on about that?" you have every right to be. We need our own time to heal, and are allowed to use it.
3. Do not try to rationalize your feelings
Feelings are not like the weather. They cannot be measured, treated or examined, really. They are personal and volatile. The feelings that you have are the same ones everyone else feels, but at different degrees. Some days we wake up tired, others energized. Sometimes we feel like we need to cry for no reason, or we cannot fall asleep because we are thinking so much. The point is, do not ask yourself why it is happening, you just have to go with it. If you start trying to rationalize it, you will just perpetrate a downward spiral of self loathing and over-analyzing. Save yourself the stress by just relaxing and let the feelings go when they're ready to. You cannot control the unexplainable.
4. The heart needs time to heal
Strong losses sometimes take years to overcome, and if it has to be that way, then that's the way it has to be. It's just important not to feel like you have to rush it. Some of my friends still talk about their girlfriends or boyfriends from years ago. It's not because they still have crazy feelings about those old relationships, but those relationships continued to shape their lives and the course of their history for all the consecutive years after.
It's not about hanging on to baggage, but about recognizing the lasting impact of decisions and consequences in life. No one lives through a perfect life without a few mishaps, and to some degree these experiences should be taken in stride. They should be expected in life, and perhaps the ramifications are worth considering. They allow us to reflect on our feelings in personal confidence, and help us to not do the same things again. Some heartbreaks are worth hanging on to – we can learn so much about ourselves.