Breaking up is hard. It’s frustrating, lonely, and, more often than not, makes you feel lost. Like a piece of you and your identity has been taken away and now you’ve been left incomplete. I feel empty after a break-up. Drained and exhausted, all I want is to eat gallons of ice cream and cry in front of the television while watching some stupid, sappy love story. Yes, I feel empty and alone, but the truth of the matter is that it’s far from the truth!
What Happens in our Brains When We No Longer Feel the “Love”?
When we are in love, chemicals released in the brain bring feelings of euphoria – pain and loneliness are words that don’t exist anymore for us, in that moment. When a relationship ends, rejection and abandonment fill its place. Our brains are hard-wired for flight or fight from uncomfortable, scary or life-changing events. Every person will have these knee-jerk reactions to discomfort. Because we have this built-in response, we tend to exaggerate the damage rejection actually causes us. While the end of a substantial relationship is important, it only affects a portion of our life.
Breaking up is messy, just like our thoughts, sense of self-worth and self-esteem, and overall well-being after the initial shock. It’s easy to wallow in the misery…and you would be right to do just that! “At first glance, it might seem like repeatedly reminding participants that they had just broken up — and asking them to describe the breakup over and over — might delay recovery,” Grace Larson, study researcher of Northwestern University reported in the journal of Social Psychology and Personality Science in 2015. Lingering for a while in a self-reflection state seems to help people leave behind and move on with their lives.
What We Can Do Now to Help us Later
Self-reflection at any time is beneficial, but more so after an assault on your sense of self. So, take the time to crawl into your PJ’s, cry, reminisce over photos…and then pick yourself back up, wipe yourself off and go back out into the world. No one can solve your problems but yourself, and lingering too long in the past has reverse effects on the psyche. No denying how hard letting go of familiarity is, but impossible it is not!
Ways to Help Emptiness/Loneliness
Talk about it with friends and family – these people have been with you since the moment of your birth or the people you have chosen to have in your life. They love you and are here for you!
Reflect on the break up. Feel your emotions – sit in silence and alone (not to be confused with lonely). Sit with nature and listen to your breath. This will help you find a peace and calm within yourself…one that may have not been there before the break up.
Go on a trip! Get away from the things and places that remind you of the person you are no longer with. It is amazing how walking (or driving or flying) away from the things that no longer suit you opens up so many new doors and opportunities.
Remember that this feeling, of emptiness and loneliness, is NOT permanent. This too shall pass. Remind yourself of this everyday if you must. One day, you will wake up and they will no longer be the first or last thing you think of.
Talk to a professional! Some people associate therapy with having a problem. This isn’t the truth! Sometimes, an unbiased and removed opinion will allow you to grow insight of the relationship and yourself that was previously unrecognized.