Because I’m the kind of person who feels she needs to be doing something, I told Sara I wanted a game plan. I wanted to KNOW that I was doing something to work toward healing, not sitting around waiting for the clock to run down on my dating moratorium.
Besides the six-month hiatus, she asked me to write a letter to C., not to send, but just to express my feelings and thoughts about the night we broke up. I found that so cathartic that I’ve written several since — every time I badly wish I could talk to him, I sit down instead and write out what I wish I could say. I also came across this suggested in the first episode of the excellent “Baggage Reclaim” podcast. (I’m proud that I’ve only contacted him once since my email, when I was in his area and dealing with a broken crossbar and two kayaks I couldn’t load back up. He wasn’t able to help me, as he was a couple hours away, but he was very kind and concerned. I’ve been tempted many, many more times, but remind myself that the most loving thing I can do for him is give him space.)
Sara also suggested I read “Healing the Child Within.” (I also bought the companion workbook.) I’ve been working through a chapter or week a two (mostly because of the workbook and accompanying journaling — the book itself is a pretty fast read.)
I added a couple other steps of my own:
- First, meditating every morning. I’m not much of a new agey-type, but meditation was suggested to me years ago as a way to help me deal with anxiety. I find that taking some time very morning has helped me become more aware when I start to feel that knot in my stomach as I get more tense and anxious. When I recognize it, I can take some deep breaths and re-compose myself. I use the Headspace app.
- Second, I try to write down every night five things I am grateful for. Sometimes it’s a dear friend, a wonderful night with my kids, or a fantastic meal. Sometimes I can’t come up with more more than “we have enough to eat and clean water to drink.” And that’s OK.