Have you ever found yourself having a hard time moving on from a relationship that not only no longer serves you, but that is likely hurting you? You know intellectually that you need to move on to the next chapter in your life, but you are scared to turn the page. Why can’t you move on?
Because you are scared and it is likely, our fear runs so deep, you may not be aware of its source as it is related to patterns that you developed in childhood, ones that are connected to your relationship with your parents or siblings.
No matter the cause of your fear, it leads you to hang on to someone who doesn’t love you in a way that supports you to be at your best. You give to them when they are in need and you feel good. They push you away when you are in need. It hurts. Your sense of self worth takes a beating. You go back for more and give again, and it feels good. The cycle happens again.
It is a cycle of addiction.
Why is it an addiction? In some shape or form, the person helped you feel valued. If you do not feel valued to begin with, you will continue to go back to what you know does give you value, even though it is not good for you in the end, just like a drug.
When you do not feel good about your self; when you have a low sense of self or self worth; when you feel you are not enough or do not have enough for one reason or another, biochemically, your dopamine levels are low. If you discover something or someone who helps you feel better or at least numbs out the pain — compliments, a pat on the back, male attention or intimacy with someone you are attracted to, food, alcohol, drugs, work, even exercise — you may seek it obsessively.
The hard part about being addicted to another person is that when they do not give you that attention or love you need, it triggers the initial feelings of low self worth or sense of self, so it makes things even worse.
So how do you finally let go and move on?
You cry, let your tears wash away your fears and get strong enough to walk away. This is how:
1. Surround yourself with love: Keep people around you who do love you and appreciate you — no one can be everything for you. Your friends can fill in a lot of those gaps and truly appreciate you. They will help start understanding what it is you truly deserve — true love.
2. Change the story. Catch yourself when you put yourself down, feel blame or shame — choose to congratulate yourself instead for catching yourself and love yourself anyway by redirecting your thoughts to a memory that involved you feeling proud of yourself, strong, or happy (one that doesn’t involve the certain someone). Consider writing it out like:
“I refuse to be an afterthought. I am too valuable. I embody the feeling of being adored, appreciated, honor, respected and valued on a 24/7 basis, that means ALL OF THE TIME. I will not let my thoughts bring me to feel otherwise. I am done with that story.”
3. Be useful instead of used — Giving repeatedly and not getting back in return can leave you feeling used. Tap into your innate compassion and giving nature by becoming useful, volunteering for a charity, gardening and nurturing the earth, joining an organization like Big Brother Big Sister, taking up a creative project or cleansing your home or office by getting rid of clutter.
4. Challenge yourself physically — Many forms of exercise, especially ones you really enjoy, can help release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that stimulate those reward circuits and help you feel good. Physically getting stronger will also help you feel mentally stronger.
5. Find your calm and surrender to the unknown — Move beyond your fears but quieting the mind and filling the heart with love with some kind of meditation practice that enables you to stay in the present moment, appreciate what is right in front of you. This will allow you to let go of your fears and be open to the unknown. You can practice this meditation:
Take five deep breaths.
On the fifth breath out, breathe out the old story, the old pain, and the attachment to the relationship. See it as an object or symbol in your heart that disintegrates into dust as you blow out, like a dandelion that disperses into the wind when you blow on it.
As you release it, say “Thank you for bringing me to find my true self. I release you now.”
As you breathe in, imagine you are breathing in all the infinite love, adoration, abundance and wander of the universe. Breathe into your heart and let your heart fill up and open. Say “thank you, I accept this love.”
Do this for as many cycles of breath as you wish.