Most of us have been through a tough break-up at some point in our lives. The feelings of despair, hopelessness, sadness, and loneliness we experience are often overwhelming and often seem endless. Usually though, with the help of friends, family, and our undeniable human spirit - we eventually get over our heartbreak. We slowly pick up the pieces, put ourselves back together, and move on, hopefully, stronger and wiser in the end. Sometimes, however, we can't seem to "get over it". We can't seem to understand how the other person could have left us. We had so much invested in them emotionally, that we can't even imagine life without them.
People often think closure is something we get from an external source: "If only I could talk to him/her again so I could understand..." Closure, however, is about the feelings of peace and completion within ourselves. It's not always possible to get the answers from someone else, at least not the answers that will make us feel better about the situation. Relationship closure is an important part of emotional and mental health. Without it, we are unable to fully move on, commit to, and trust, someone new. So how do we achieve closure so that we can move forward and enjoy dating again?
Getting your thoughts out of your head and on paper is a great way of putting things in perspective. Answer the following questions to help you get closure on a past relationship:
1. What things will you NOT miss about the relationship and the person you were with?
2. What things WILL you miss and why? Oftentimes, the things we miss are how we feel within the relationship, not the actual person.
3. What negative things did you contribute to the relationship? Which of your actions made things worse? It's extremely important to acknowledge your responsibility here - blaming one person for the downfall of the relationship is an impossibility.
4. What would you do differently if you had it to do again?
5. What relationship skills do you need to strengthen for the next time you're in a relationship?
6. Write down the following emotions and how they pertain and relate to your ex and yourself:
Guilt, Anger, Happiness, Blame, Fear, Love, Denial, Hatred, Pain, Joy, Depression
7. Are there things you want to be forgiven for? Are you willing to forgive yourself?
8. Are you willing to forgive your ex for the things they were responsible for?
8. What did your ex and your relationship teach you that you're grateful for?
9. How are you stronger and wiser through this experience?
Every experience we go through is meant to teach us something, but it's up to us to figure out what that is. We often create a fantasy world around our relationships, and when the relationship ends, the pain tends to be more about the dissolution of the dream than the actual loss of the person. When things are real, honest, and truthful between two people, there are fewer surprises involved, and our needs are met. We must learn to clean up our backyard before venturing into someone else's, and being honest with ourselves first is that all-important first step.