Time Heals: 11 Tips for Healing from a Loss

I am back from vacation (again) and am so thankful I was able to draft some posts in advance for these past few weeks because June was a whirlwind for me.  Time is flying by quickly this year, or is it that I am flying quickly by the time this year?

Time heals all wounds.  I’ve learned this to be true, time and time again.

Oh, father time.  He is both a blessing and a curse.  Somethings we may wish would pass by quickly in anticipation of something good.  Somethings we may wish would pass by slowly so we can savor the moments and memories.

I’ve delayed writing this post, despite being continuously encouraged to share my testimony and methods of handling loss.  I’ve delayed writing this post because of heartbreak, humiliation, and healing.  The triple H’s.  I’ve delayed writing this post because I felt inadequate to boast about how to handle heartbreak when I know the hurt I have experienced and how I felt unsuccessful at handling life during the heartbreak.  I’ve delayed writing this post because I wasn’t sure how to express my methods of healing without sharing too much insight into each situation whether it was infidelity & betrayal, a major change in someone’s lifestyle choice(s), or the simple end of something incredibly magical that just wasn’t meant to be.

Losing someone in your life is never easy, even if you’re the one to make the decision that a split is necessary.  There is heartache, grieving, and loss.  You lose someone you’re used to having around and even if* you think you no longer have feelings for the person you more than likely still care about them and have formed a habit of spending time with them or doing certain things with them.  Breaking this habit can be very difficult because even the simplest of things can trigger a memory and without any intentionality at all you can find yourself in action mindlessly repeating those habits or worse yet – thinking of that person.

It’s not easy.  But, it gets better.  In time the pain does subside and the memories become lighter, brighter, and just might even make you smile.  All people enter our lives for a reason determined only by God.  He has interwoven our paths so intricately that we can be certain that each person plays a role in shaping who we are and our future, even though we usually cannot see the full value in that until much later when we can get that rear view mirror to align just right.

Rest assured, the time will come.  But, do not spend time looking into that rear view mirror.  It is only meant to be used for a momentary glance of reflection, not for your future destination. 

We have a tendency to reshape our memories in a manner that removes the negative events and holds on viciously tight to the positive events and thus misconstrue our true pasts and THAT is dangerous.  I am a firm believer in forgiveness.  I am a firm believer in letting go of the hurt someone has caused.  Sometimes forgiveness may seem daunting and impossible, but it’s actually not.  It’s there waiting for your heart to make peace.  I am a firm believer in finding the good in bad situations, but that outlook and forgiveness do not imply that you have to forget the incident nor keep the person in your life.  Some people are not meant to stay in our stories forever, and that’s a good thing.  Perhaps it is actually that WE are not meant to stay in THEIR story either.

I’ve had (more than) my fair share of heartbreaks, each one a little different.  

That isn’t easy to admit.  That isn’t easy to share.  They weren't easy to experience.  I have found myself unable to stand, collapsed on the floor, unable to catch my breath, in a raging puddle of tears numerous times but you know what?  Here I am today, stronger than ever before.   This may sound/feel familiar to you as well.  I have been asked to share my insight on how to best handle a break up.  While I’d say there’s no perfect way to heal a hurting heart, I will say there are ways to protect and encourage a healing heart.

So, after that very long introduction…here are my suggestions:

1)      Pray about the situation, your heart, their heart, and ask for God’s will for your future.

2)      Confide in someone.  Now is the time to enlist your closest confidant(s) to share your sorrow with.  That’s what friends (and family) are for.  I caution you to not share with everyone and to be careful what you disclose or say because should you ever resume a relationship with the person you do not want your family and friends thinking poorly of them.

3)      Let your confidant(s) know what you need at varying points after the breakup.  For example, I was not shy to tell others that I did not want to hear them say any negative remarks about someone.  Another time, I was not shy to let others know when I was ready to hear words of encouragement about my future without someone in it.  Your friends can withhold their opinions until you’re ready to receive them.  Utilize this.

4)      Eliminate any and all contact, immediately.  Allowing contact delays healing and confuses the heart and mind.  Block numbers if you have to.  Block emails if you have to.  Block them on social media if you have to.  Allowing a person the opportunity to reach out to you only hurts you more.  If you can both respectfully not contact each other, then blocking isn’t necessary.  *Note, I recommend this only if you want or need the relationship to be fully over.  Some people selfishly contact after a breakup only to help themselves with the separation while never actually having the intent to apologize or reconcile the relationship. 

5)      Do not look at their social media accounts.  DO NOT.  This is one thing I have never had an issue with, thankfully.  The desire just isn’t there for me to hurt myself so I have managed just fine.  If you feel temptation to look or are afraid that you’ll see something from a mutual friend’s posts or likes – remove yourself from social media for a while or block the person.  For example, I stayed off of social media for 2 months one time, another time I temporarily blocked any person mutually associated with someone, and another time I unfollowed/unfriended any direct contacts to a person that might cause me emotional harm.  In each and every circumstance I didn’t have the desire to look at the person’s social media for any reason AND I wasn’t willing to risk seeing anything I didn’t want to see.  Believe me when I say that it is never worth seeing.   You only hurt yourself. 

6)      Listen to music appropriately.  You all know this.  Sad music makes you sadder.  Happy music makes you happier.  Be cautious in what you choose.  I admit that in the throes of pain I may turn on sad music to help force the sadness out of me quicker, making me cry worse which is cathartic.  But, I also utilize tactics of listening to happy & upbeat music when I need a pick me up OR listening to empowering break up music that will make your heart feel strength to get through that moment and look forward to better days ahead. 

7)      Throw away all mementos.  Not only is it painful to look through them over and over and wonder when and where did things go wrong, but it’s also damaging to your future relationships to hold on to soul ties that remind you of former relationships.  There’s truly no benefit to you or your future relationship in keeping gifts, cards, notes, etc. that will remind you of your past.

8)      Seek forgiveness within your heart for the other person.  Holding on to hurt and grudges only holds your healing process back.  People make mistakes.  People hurt others.  Hurting people hurt people.  It’s not fair and most of the time it’s not even about you.  It’s issues they have within themselves that cause them to cheat, create drama in their lives, hurt others, disallowing themselves from ever truly being content and happy.  Once you can reflect on this and the mere fact that we are required by God to forgive others because Christ forgave us for our sins, you will begin to unravel the pent up hurt and anger towards the person.

9)      Move on.  Keep moving.  Life does not stop.  It doesn’t feel good or natural for a while, but you have to get up every day and keep moving.  See your friends and family, go to work, take a walk, go to dinners and parties, or take a vacation.   I think we all battle the overwhelming feeling to hide during a hurtful breakup but there is so much happening around us in life!  It’s helpful to remember that there is always someone hurting worse than us, whose circumstances are beyond our imagination for suffering.  But, they’re doing it somehow.  That’s when we lean on God.  We put our trust and faith in Him to carry us forward.  When we lack strength, He is carrying us.  When we’re uncertain how we’ll manage, He will provide.  The next thing you know a week, a month, six months, a year, etc. has passed and yet you’ve moved forward each day by the grace of God.

10)      Write.  Keep a journal, write out your prayers, write poetry, draft emails that will never be sent.  Let the words and thoughts out of your heart and mind.  You can write as if you're writing to the person you're grieving, letting them know everything you're feeling as your healing journey proceeds.  You never have to show them or anyone these letters or emails, but it will help you to feel like you're sharing it with them.  One day you can look back and see how each daily entry gets easier and easier and your life has progressed further without them.

11)      Create a hidden/secret Pinterest board for loss. You can pin anything and everything there that resonates with your pain as well as empowers your healing so that when you need to look through the board you can privately do so.

My list is not all inclusive of ideas.  There are plenty of methods and suggestions out there that may help you grieve a loss in your life.  Do you have any suggestions that might help someone else?  I know this is a heavy topic to write about, but after having been asked to share my methods multiple times I felt it was time to.  I hope it helps someone, anyone, everyone who has experienced loss or that you save this post to share it with someone you know who is currently working through the pain of loss now.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Wednesday!  I'll hopefully be sharing my Friday Favorites with you in a couple of days to cover my Napa and Knoxville trips, God willing.