I think some people don’t understand just how painful a breakup can be. Often times, friends and family of the afflicted will provide advice like: “you can do better”, “your ex ain’t shit”, “there are plenty of fish in the sea” and a slew of other things meant to help you out. Don’t get me wrong, the shoulders to cry on are much appreciated and needed, but sometimes these people haven’t experienced a break up before, so like… how can they relate?
The problem is, I think some people do not understand emotional pain doesn’t just go away after one week of bed rest, chicken noodle soup and vitamins. No. It lingers. And as the realization that relationship is not coming back sinks in further, you may re-experience the feelings of sadness and grief you felt in the first place weeks and months later.
Why? Triggers. Triggers exist all around us. When the radio plays a certain song, when you drive into a certain neighbourhood, when you see a meme he or she would have appreciated…
We can’t just remove the memories. The emotional wound stays fresh for awhile.
With physical pain, i.e. you sprain your ankle at the gym doing vigorous step-ups (true story!). Yeah, it’s gonna suck. Yeah, there are gonna be tears, yeah, maybe this even happens in front of your elementary school crush and you may have to hobble out of the gym on one foot to reach your car…
The pain will be the worst for the first few days, having to wrap, ice, compress and elevate (aka the RICE method), but will subside with time and eventually go away all together.
The biggest difference between emotional and physical pain is that the pain you felt when you stepped down incorrectly onto your foot and twisted it won’t be re-triggered the next time you drive by the gym. It may take weeks, months, years for your foot to feel normal again, but it will heal and that pain will be gone forever.
Emotional pain though, emotional pain gets tricky. Further to the examples above, you can be out having a much needed girl’s night after a break up, doing your best to stay present, then boom! The Uber driver drives by the late-night diner you and your ex lover went to on your second date. You see, any little thing can bring back the memories from something that hurt you emotionally.
But with time these memories will fade, and maybe you’ll be able to find the reason why this person was brought into your life in the first place.
- Maybe it’s simply knowing that love is out there and you can feel it again with someone else
- Maybe it’s some sense of knowing how a woman is to be treated
- Maybe it was a chance to exercise your boundaries
Something that dawned on me when writing this…. maybe a version of the RICE method can help heal emotional wounds:
Rest – take a time out for your soul
Ice – find relief by talking to friends and family
Compress – do the things for yourself that support you
Elevate – walk in nature, run, dance – anything to lift your mood
And whisper your little mantra to find peace and grounding….
I am enough
I am enough
I am enough.
Actually, scream it into the mirror!