Letting Go Gracefully

This post is for my friend who went from “girlfriend” to “ex-girlfriend” a couple hours ago, and she didn’t see it coming. I see you standing there in the makeup aisle at Target trying to figure out which waterproof mascara you’re going to buy because it’s only been an hour and you’ve already cried off all your non-waterproof stuff. I get how you could go back and forth, hating him and loving him and then hating him again in the space of five minutes.

I’ve been there, and it hurts. Truthfully, when this happened to me about ten years ago I thought I was going to die. Good news–I didn’t. There were some rough months for sure, but I made it. And honestly, I don’t even think about that guy very often anymore (unless I’m writing a blog post like this to help my friends).

You will make it through this. And here’s how I know: you’re strong and smart and beautiful and God didn’t create you to cry on the couch for the rest of your life. Maybe for a season. But the rest of your life isn’t going to be a “mourning-the-relationship-you-lost” season. And today, right now, you can take the first step toward the rest of your life.

Want to know a secret? I know how you’re going to move on. I won’t lie. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it. Are you ready to hear it? What are you going to do hours or days after your breakup? Here it is:

NOTHING.

That’s it. Do nothing. The first step to the rest of your life.

It’s harder than it sounds. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to put together a twelve-step program to win back the love of your life. But hurting hearts often lie. And when your heart’s hurting, one of the worst things you can do is to let it dictate your next steps.

Have you ever been so exhausted everything is hilarious or everything is disastrous? I’m talking a no-sleep-in-four-days, no-caffeine-can-help-you-out-of-this-pit, everything’s-blurring-together sort of mess. Would it be a good idea to go buy a car when you’re feeling like that? No. A good idea would be to take a nap. A good idea would be to find a dark, quiet place and close your eyes. If you bought a car when you’re that exhausted, you’d likely wake up a few days later with a car payment you can’t afford and a sporty little Mini Cooper or something and go, “What was I thinking? I don’t even like Mini Coopers.”

Same thing happens after heartbreak. We look at what we had yesterday, we take inventory of what we have now, and we panic. We think we’re never going to have happiness or love or anything remotely resembling a life ever again because we’re hearing one of those pesky heart lies.

So, let’s go back to the mascara aisle at Target. He just broke up with you. You could call him right then and there and beg for a second chance. You could text him and tell him what a terrible person he is. You could whine and complain about how none of this was supposed to happen. (Um, I was guilty of that one!)

Or you could do nothing. You could stop trying to figure out the future and whether or not you’re ever going to get back together. You could take a few weeks or months to let yourself “be” without trying to fix something that might be better left alone. You could give yourself freedom and lose the pressure to put things back together right away.

Sometimes the best thing we can do, especially when we’re reeling, is to do nothing even if it’s only for a little while.

What do you do when you feel like you’re ready to move past nothing? Check out my post “Grieving the Relationship You Thought Was Forever.” 

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