The Most Important Question To Ask Yourself After A Breakup
Last night I sat in my kitchen nook and cried. It’s been almost 11 months since my breakup and as part of my healing I’m writing a book about my journey through that pain. I cried because writing about my grief again is bringing up some ancient pain that still needs to be cradled with love.
So I do that.
I pause what I’m writing as tears burst through. I lean forward into the sadness and give myself love.
There was a time when I would have been frustrated with myself for feeling sadness. I would have judged myself for not being done. Instead I allow for all of the parts of me to feel everything that needs to be felt.
When I’m done I continue writing.
I am far beyond the stage of questioning what was right or wrong or what could have been different. The relationship could have continued differently, and it could have ended differently. There are ways in which it would have hurt my heart much, much less.
But, it happened exactly as it did, and that’s ok with me now.
This is something that takes big work to come to after a breakup.
Now, I am actually happy with the outcome. It was a long road to get here, but I put in the work. So now I can honestly say that I am happy with everything exactly as it is.
I’m happy because I took the great opportunity after this breakup to discover so much more deeply who it is I am. In that relationship I was stifling myself because I was afraid that becoming more me would mean he would leave me.
So I’ve spent this past year grieving and growing. In my growth I have found a deep peace that has been yearning to be more fully embodied. I have also accumulated pieces of myself I have left behind long, long ago. Some pieces were only glimmers into deep resonance that I never felt safe to explore until now.
I’m happy because now that I know myself so intimately I know the kind of man I want to share my life with. I know that when I meet him I will know if he is right for me. There won't be anymore uncertainty because I'm not uncertain about me.
One of the most important questions I’ve asked myself after any breakup has been this: What didn’t I get in this relationship that I needed?
Breakups often leave us questioning what we did wrong, what could have made things better (a.k.a. less painful), and why this keeps happening. They aren’t necessarily the wrong questions. Those questions can lead to some interesting and information answers. But we often miss this one.
Many of us feel like we don’t have the right to ask for what we need or to call in a partner who serves our highest self. Whether conscious or unconscious our wounded selves keep us acting out old patterns.
This simple question of What didn’t I get that I needed? is powerful for two important reasons:
- It gives us permission to value our needs. Many people have a very difficult time asking for what they need in life and relationships. This is usually because we don’t have a clue what we need. We’re not checking in enough. We’re not doing the hard work of discovering who we are so we know what we need.
We also don’t feel worthy of asking for what we need. We feel like we couldn’t possibly ask the Universe to bring someone in who can give us what we need in relationship.
Acknowledging that we need something is a powerful step in validating our worth.
- It points to where we’re not showing up for ourselves. This is the big one. Wherever you are not being met in relationship is a mirror for where you are not showing up for yourself.
For example, in several of my relationships I acknowledged my partners abandoned me in one way or another. It was also true that I had abandoned myself.
In my last relationship I really needed to be seen on a soul level. I needed unconditional love and commitment. The truth is that I was denying my own light. I was hiding parts of my soul because I was afraid. How could I expect him to see, love, and commit to me when I couldn’t do that for myself?
This question applies to you whether you’re single or in a relationship. If you’re in a relationship, and you think there’s room for growth there’s probably some healing to be done around former relationships.
A Healing Heartbreak Exercise
Set aside 30 minutes to an hour. Create a sacred space. Do whatever that means for you. Light some candles. Dim the lights. Burn some Palo Santo. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
- Call to mind your former partner. Breathe into your heart as you feel into your relationship.
- Once you feel tapped in ask yourself, “What didn’t I get that I needed in this relationship?”
- Keep breathing into your heart until you get the full answer.
- Open your eyes and write it down.
- Then reflect that very answer back onto yourself. Write down how you weren’t giving yourself what you need.
- Finally write down one way you can commit to giving yourself what you need.
You can do this for each former partner you’ve had. Sometimes this can be really heavy so you might want to spread it out, but often times the same themes show up.
Getting clear on where you’re not showing up for yourself allows you to make the choice to begin to now. When you commit to loving yourself in this way you will begin to know deeply who the right person is for you. You will transform, and the relationships in your life will transform along with you.
As an act of showing up for yourself feel free to declare your commitments to yourself in the comments below!