Trennung überwinden

Separations are always hard

They require both physical and mental strength. They are accompanied by many changes and decisions, the results of which we cannot foresee. It often means moving on, even if you really want to give up. Confidence in your own abilities dwindles because it is not so easy to find a good way out or because you are constantly questioning yourself. This is often compounded by feelings of guilt: Could the break-up have been prevented? Why did you get involved in this relationship in the first place, etc.? In such situations, you can very quickly become mentally entangled, which increases the stress of the break-up even more.

Self-compassion can help

Kristin Neff, Ph.D., researcher and specialist in self-compassion, has proven through numerous studies how mindfulness and self-compassion can accompany us well in crisis situations and prevent stress, anxiety and depression. Kristin Neff's approach to mindfulness and self-compassion is based on three principles:

  1. Mindfulness: Recognizing and naming the situation in the here and now.
  2. Common humanity: Our challenges are human challenges; they connect us with others.
  3. Kindness: You can be nice to yourself.

Here I would like to describe how this can work after a separation.

Step 1: Recognize the situation in the here and now

Regardless of how a separation came about, feelings arise. These can be recognized and named. They are often very unpleasant feelings: fear, sadness, guilt or shame. We often think that analyzing and understanding is the most important part of coming to terms with a break-up, but this tends to lead to constant brooding. We twist and turn the situation and may have already understood a lot, but somehow the thinking doesn't stop. It leads to restlessness and keeps us stuck in the situation.

What does it mean to be mindful in a situation like this?

In a situation like this, mindfulness means catching yourself both mentally and emotionally without judgment. It could sound something like this:

- "Oh, I can't stop thinking about this situation. It leaves me no peace."

- "It's a difficult situation, it's not easy for me to deal with."

- "That makes me sad." "That scares me." "I feel guilty." "I feel ashamed."

In any case, it is about naming without judging. The fact that you recognize fear or shame does not automatically mean that you have to label it as good or bad. It may feel bad, but there's nothing wrong with you for feeling that way. It's also not about fixing the situation. Even if they are unpleasant feelings, they are part of the situation in the first place.

Step 2: Recognize your humanity

Separation often leads to a great sense of shame and shame leads to separation. Brené Brown defines shame as the feeling of not being good enough to belong or to be loved and accepted."Shame arises when we feel that something we have experienced, done or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection with others."(Brené Brown).

When we break up, we often see the couples who are still together and manage to maintain their relationship while we have "failed". However, according to the principle of common humanity, there is no situation in life that someone else has not experienced before you. Break-ups are part of life. Almost everyone in the world has been through a breakup and struggled with it in some way because it's just not an easy situation.

So, it is helpful to realize that you are in a human situation that many others are struggling with, even right now.

Step 3: What do you need right now?

During a break-up phase, we think a lot about what we did wrong or could have done better. We rarely think about what would help us right now, i.e. what words or gestures could give us relief.

What would you say to a good friend if they were in your situation? Would you scrutinize them as harshly as you do yourself? You can be kind to yourself and compassionate even if you made a mistake. You can also say something like: What would you say to a good friend if they were in your situation? Would you scrutinize them as harshly as you do yourself? You can be kind to yourself and compassionate even if you made a mistake. You can also say something like: "You're doing all right. It's not an easy situation, but you're on the right track."

Step 4: What CAN you do differently?

Self-compassion is not self-pity or self-indulgent. It is about being a good companion, but as such we are on a journey. After you have recognized feelings and thoughts and can accept that your situation is part of life: What would you wish for? How should things continue? If so, what is important right now? What would be the next important steps (even if they are very small steps) that would make you feel like you are going in the right direction?

Have you become curious or do you still have doubts?

Self-compassion is a very controversial topic that can also lead to misunderstandings. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic in more detail, please feel free to contact me.

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