Six weeks and a few days ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost two years. I had been convincing myself for a long time that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this man, so the decision was very painful and difficult — though I followed through quickly and immediately once I was confronted with the inevitability of it.
Even if you know a breakup is coming, they’re never easy. Whether you’re the one doing the breaking up or the one being broken up with, it hurts and it’s hard. Some days are better than others, and some days are so bad that you wonder if the pain will ever subside or if you’ll even make it through the day.
There is something you can do to help ease the pain and get back on track to feeling whole, happy, and ready to move on. It’s not a cure, but it will help.
It’s free, simple, and can be done anywhere. You can meditate your way through a breakup.
Let’s talk about the ways that meditation can help you through the breakup.
It’s a contained space for your feelings
The feelings of a breakup are enormous and powerful and it’s easy for them to bleed over into other areas of your life. It’s easy for them to completely overwhelm your entire life.
Meditation gives you a safe, contained space to feel all those feelings. You can set a timer for 10–20 minutes and allow yourself to feel all the pain, rage, confusion, doubt, and whatever else comes up without judging, fearing, or clinging to those feelings. You can simply feel them, admit they’re there, and work on letting them go.
This can make it easier to avoid letting those feelings influence the rest of your life as you go about trying to work, take care of kids, or go out with friends without feeling guilty for bringing everyone else down.
It can provide insight
Sometimes we have unanswered questions or points of confusion about our breakup, even if we were the one who instigated it. We keep asking our ex to provide clarity or talking things over (and over and over!) with friends hoping to somehow work out those answers for ourselves.
But sometimes those answers aren’t found with our ex or in a bottle of wine and some tearful conversation with our bestie. Sometimes those answers come from deep within ourselves.
For example, over the last six weeks, I’ve come to realize through meditation that my relationship was over for at least a year before I officially ended it. I’ve realized that what I was staying in the relationship for was the hope that it would somehow go back to what it was in the beginning, that my partner would somehow be the man he’d pretended to be in the beginning. But mostly, what I realized was that I was staying for the promises he was making about the kind of relationship we’d have (marriage) that I was no longer even sure I really wanted.
While I may have eventually realized that perhaps I don’t want to get married again through talking with a friend, it probably would have taken me much longer. And I definitely would not have come to that realization through my ex telling me how many other women there were or how sorry he was for what he’d done.
The stillness that you sit with in meditation can allow some very deep, hidden inner truths to come up to the surface that you didn’t even realize were there. Unlike a friend who may, however well-intentioned, press you with questions about what you’ve just realized, meditation doesn’t push for answers or insist you deal with the realization immediately. It gives you space to deal with it in your own time.
It lets you mourn what might have been
There’s often a lot of hurt and anger around a breakup. It might be because of cheating or other lies or feeling that you wasted time when you find out your partner doesn’t want the same thing you do, or something else entirely. But this hurt and anger, along with the prompting of friends who encourage you to be angry, can mask another feeling that needs to be felt: grief.
The end of a relationship is a kind of death. It’s the death of what might have been, what could have been. It’s the death of your fantasies of marrying this person, waking up with them each morning, weekend getaways, having children — whatever it is you fantasized about the future of this relationship.
And just like the death of a loved one, we need to take some time to mourn the death of those fantasies. But when we’re out there in the world with friends, or forced to confront our ex or simply trying to get through the day, mourning can feel wrong or unsafe.
Meditation allows you to do it. It allows you to play out those fantasies in your mind, feeling the pain of what you’ve lost, and learning to let it go. It allows you to accept that what you wanted, what you hoped for, isn’t going to happen.
And that acceptance is what will help you let go of the pain and anger so you can truly heal and be ready to move on into a new relationship when the time is right.
It centers you so you can handle your emotions
While meditation provides a contained space for you to feel everything, that doesn’t always work. Most of us are unable to compartmentalize our lives and keep everything in its perfect place. We’ll find ourselves working on a spreadsheet and suddenly crying because we miss our ex. Or we might be out with friends when we see him walk in and feel like we’ve been punched in the stomach.
Meditation can help center you, put you in a better emotional space to handle these things. It can ground you in who you are. And it can remind you that when the pain comes, when the anger rises, just breathing through it can help.
It can help you remember that just a few minutes can change everything. So when you’re tempted to send that text or email, or make that phone call, or do something else that you know is stupid and you’ll regret later, you’ll be better able to take a breath, wait out the urge, and avoid those embarrassing regrets later.
Meditation won’t magically make it all better
Meditation won’t magically get you over your breakup. Nothing can do that. The only way through a breakup is…through it. Time and a desire and dedication to healing is the only thing that will help you get over your breakup.
But meditation can help. It can put you in touch with your feelings, help you mourn, and make it easier to let go of the pain, anger, doubt, and more. It can help you find peace even before you’re truly over the breakup.
And even if it’s only little pockets of peace here and there, that peace will be a welcome relief until you’re truly past the pain and fully healed.