(This post, 5 Ways to Jumpstart your Healing and Move on After a Break Up’ is written by our dear friend and resident photographer Katie Jameson. After walking through this break up with her, and experiencing how gracefully and intentionally she handled such a painful experience, I knew she had to share it. If you know anyone going through this right now, maybe just pop it in their inbox– a gift from you to them.)
Surely, this is just a really bad dream, right?
Was our relationship not worth fighting for?
Was I not worth fighting for?
What is wrong with me?
These questions swirled around in my head both immediately and for several weeks after my break-up. (If I’m being honest, they still do sometimes.) Break-ups and the feelings of insecurities that accompany them, are an unparalleled experience of feeling the floor pulled out beneath you. The pain of losing someone you love coupled with the loss of a future you had envisioned is world shaking and yet exactly what I experienced five months ago as I watched the future weeks, months, and years of what I thought would be my life disintegrate in a mere blink of an eye. Perhaps the worst part was that the decision was completely out of my control– something very hard to deal with for this borderline control freak. While every passing moment and hour and day seemed endless, I quickly realized that the first week of this break-up was going to determine the trajectory of the rest of my healing process. Getting out of bed was hard during the first weeks, unanswerable questions were frequently bouncing around in my head (making me feel a bit crazy). I lost my appetite and tears seemed to be constantly streaming down my face in a way I had never before experienced. There are several ways I could have dealt with the break-up and in all honesty, going crazy might have been justified. BUT going crazy, would have only hurt me, right? In the midst of this deep sadness, one word kept popping up in my head – grace. I had to show grace to him and I had to show grace to myself.
This is where my faith came into play. If the God of the entire universe can show me grace on a daily basis, why could I not do the same? With the mantra of grace running through my head, there were other actions I knew I needed to take in order to maintain my sanity. I knew that I had to continue to work, I had to continue to get out of the house (even when I had to force it), and I had to take it an hour (sometimes a minute) at a time.
While there are several things that are helping me move through this new season, the most important part has been bring open and honest with my friends, family and with myself. I have been determined to grow in self-awareness and learn more about myself and my friends have been there right alongside me the whole way. They have seen me at my worst, but continue to remind me that the best is yet to come. They have helped me to process things with logical, less teary eyes and were incessant reminders that, even at the lowest points, I had so much to be thankful for. They were reminders that there is no timeline for moving on and made me feel okay taking the time and space I needed to mourn, feel, process, and grow.
All of this is well and good, but how do you start moving on and continue to be the wonderful person you are meant to be? Below are also some very tangible things that I did that helped me to start pushing through the hurt. While everyone’s healing process is different, these are five things that really helped jumpstart my healing:
1. Getting out of the house: work, dinner with friends, coffee shop visits, going to the park with my dog, etc. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for your mental well being.
2. Working out: It seems it’s true what they say about all of those endorphins. I started doing a boot camp a few days a week as a way to focus on my health. (Plus, it’s another excuse to get out of the house!)
3. Reading: Insight can come from so many places. So far, I have read the following books in just the last five months:
- Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
- Uninvited by Lisa Terkeurst
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- It’s Called a Breakup Because it’s Broken by Greg Behrendt + Amiira Ruotola Behrendt
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown
- The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
- Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
- How to Fix a Broken Record by Amena Brown
- Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
- It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman
- Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating by Marshall Segal
- Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
4. Counseling: Talking through things with an unbiased third party has been great for my sanity and for dealing with those lies I tell myself. Consider asking around for trusted recommendations.
5. Journaling + Praying: The first couple of months, I journaled every day which was a wonderful way to get all of the thoughts out of my head. I have also, spent one on one time with a loving God who has helped me to center my focus and find peace.
When your routine is changed in an instant, feeling lost and confused is natural. A huge part of healing is acknowledging how you are feeling and processing through it. The worst thing you could do is run away from it all. I urge you to feel all of the feelings that come your way and continue to process them with people you love. Focusing on your mental health and how you can improve/ grow is a wonderful use of your time and helps to remove some of those insecurities that can creep into your head.
In a moment of anger and disappointment, I stated to my counselor that I was worried that this had all been wasted time, to which she responded “it’s only wasted time if you don’t learn anything from it.” Learning about myself and my needs has been the best part of this whole process. So, what exactly am I learning?
I am learning that extending grace is better than extending crazy (even if the crazy may be justified).
I am learning that honesty + vulnerability are necessary for “wholeheartedness”, much thanks to Brene Brown.
I am learning that discussing your needs and the future is necessary in a growing relationship.
I am learning that a strong community of friends is worth more than I will ever be able to express.
I am learning that I enjoy living with an open and willing heart because life is so much richer that way.
I am learning to trust (most days) that the plans I have laid out for myself may not be the best plans for me.
I am learning that contentment is a choice.
Finally, I’m learning to trust that God is for my good in everything and that this is the only way to experience true peace.
I am not writing this post as a person with a completely healed heart, there are still moments of sadness and confusion and I’m not sure I will ever be without the scars, but I think that is just a representation of how deeply I have loved. There are still some conversations that are filled with tears, but God, time, and the positive steps I have taken (even the small ones) have equipped me to fight the lies and to stay strong in the moments when I don’t feel like I am enough. So in all of this, I am writing this post as a person who is healing, processing, and being honest with herself. I am here to tell you, YOU are worthy. Don’t let the little devil on your shoulder fill your head with lies. Remember to show yourself some grace. And remember this break-up does not define you – you have too much to offer this world to let it be the entirety of your story. The best is yet to come for both of us.
Written by Katie Jameson