We often think that our lack of happiness is because of the partner we are with, and that our happiness will be restored when we are with someone else.
Often, people jump relationships only to find that once the honeymoon phase of the new relationship wears out, they have actually recreated the same old relationship—with the same challenges—only this time with a different face.
True healing depends on so many factors, like your personal history, the length of the relationship, the intensity of the relationship, circumstances of the breakup, etc.
How long should this healing process be? Some rules of thumb are half the length of the relationship or two months for every year of the relationship.
One rule of thumb that I highly recommend is to wait at least a year after a divorce before seriously dating.
Divorce has a lot of associated emotional baggage that takes a lot of time to sort through.
But more important than starting a new relationship is to finally have a relationship with yourself.
True happiness comes from a sense of inner peace that we find within ourselves, when we truly get to know and love ourselves.
We often run to relationships to hide from feelings of loneliness.
Addressing the seemingly scary and darker places within us actually represents our invitation to see and know our light.
Part of this acknowledgment is to allow ourselves to feel all of the uncomfortable feelings that may be surfacing.
A sense of inner peace is only possible when we can stop looking externally for our sense of worth and validation.
The end of a relationship actually represents an awesome opportunity for you to look deeper within yourself. ‘
You can learn to dig past the pain of the relationship and truly find yourself, perhaps for the very first time in your life.
Even when we end a relationship that is unhealthy, it can feel akin to withdrawal from an addictive drug.
But it is actually through the pain that you feel after the break-up that will lead you to profound personal growth within.
In the book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, author Susan Anderson borrows from the Japanese language, calling this process this personal and spiritual growth “akeru.”
“This word has many meanings, among them, to pierce, to end, to open. It helps to describe the hidden opportunity in feelings of abandonment. You can use your feelings of separation and isolation as fuel for internal growth,” she writes in her book.
“As you strengthen your adult self and address the needs of your inner child, you will learn how to become emotionally self reliant.”
So, if you find yourself in a position of avoidance or distraction from those deeper uncomfortable feelings that may be bubbling up within you, know that you can get through it.
Try to resist the urge to immediately jump into another relationship and spend some time with yourself.
Those uncomfortable feelings that are surfacing within do not magically go away.
They are being presented to you to work through to gain a better understanding of you, of your gifts and ultimately of the love and light that lies within you—all waiting to be discovered.
You deserve to be in a healthy, loving, compassionate, respectful relationship.
The image in the mirror is worthy of this time and is the most rewarding relationship you will ever have.
Annie Hopper is a core belief counsellor and brain retraining specialist.