Grief isn’t the same for everyone and neither is healing from it.
Living through heartbreak is one of the uniting experiences of humanity. Nearly everyone suffers through losing a love. Many suffer through more than one and discover that each loss feels differently. The difference is due to each relationship being unique and the fact that people change over time.
So despite the commonality of grieving over a heartbreak, everyone grieves differently and any one individual may grieve differently over each heartbreak she has.
If that’s true, how can anyone hope to find help for not only surviving, but healing a heartbreak? Easily – if they remember that grief is not a one-size-fits-all experience.
In fact, The Atlantic reports that there are 3 different ways people grieve. About 10% of people who lose a loved one experience chronic grief. Between 30 and 40% plunge into grief and gradually recover. And that leaves 50 – 60% who quickly appear to be fine despite day-to-day fluctuations.
This means that what may be terrific advice for healing heartbreak for someone else may not make any sense at all to you. Keeping in mind that your experience is unique, consider these 5 ways to survive your post-heartbreak grief with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to experiment.
- Laughter is the best medicine. For many people shifting their thoughts from sadness to happiness is as simple as remembering to laugh. This article by Arkowitz and Lilienfeld tells a story of how one family has dealt with healing from all types of grief with laughter. If you’d like to try laughter as your solace, these jokes and quotes are a great place to start.
- Develop your own ritual. Breaking all the molds may be more your style of grieving. So do something unusual that makes sense to you. Throw yourself a party celebrating the beginning of a new phase of your life. Marry yourself to acknowledge that you’re perfectly happy being on your own. Take a divorce (or breakup) selfie and announce to the world (or at least all of your friends on Facebook or Instagram) that you’re happily single again. Or do something for yourself that’s completely different simply because it brings you a sense of peace and comfort.
- View your breakup as a chance to be resilient. Your breakup could be exactly the opportunity you’ve been looking for to learn how to not wallow in pain any longer. This could be your chance to really understand what it means to be resilient in the face of heartbreak so you can be more resilient the next time you face any set back.
- Talk about it until you don’t need to talk about it anymore. You know your friends will only listen to your story of heartbreak for so long before they’re ready to start talking about something else. So be willing to invest in talking with a helping professional. These people know how to listen and provide unbiased insights that frankly most of your friends don’t know how to do.
- Live your life. You know that life will go on regardless of how much pain you may be in right now. Every second you have a choice between being in your own private world of pain or participating in your larger world. Regardless of how you process grief, you’ll eventually emerge into your larger world again. Why not allow yourself at least a little experience of your larger life every day even if all that means to you is remembering to take a few deep breaths?
Allowing yourself to experiment with these tips will give you tremendous insight into how you process grief. And once you know that, you’ll know what else you can do to make sure you make it through your post-heartbreak grief as quickly as you can – regardless of what others might tell you or expect from you, you’ll know you’re doing what’s right for you.
Looking for more support and ideas for feeling better after your divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Dealing With Grief.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are struggling with divorce and don’t know how to stop the pain so they can move forward with their lives. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with me directly in my Time Trade calendar.
This article originally appeared at YourTango.