[No. 2] Getting Past the Past: requires healthy outlets for your emotions.
In last week’s post, I talked about how getting past the past requires wanting to heal your broken heart. I also talked about how prayer is integral in the healing process.
This week, I’m sharing healthy outlets for your emotions in everyday life. No matter how many times you say, “I’m okay!” everybody knows, yourself included, that you’re really not. So let’s just skip over the denial and go straight to channeling those up and down, sideways and around, incredibly eclectic emotions.
Every day will be a battle to get out of bed. It will be a struggle to get to work or school. You won’t be as focused on eating right. Spending time with friends will feel minimally important. Those emotions will weigh on you with every social interaction and even in your alone time. It’s a hard, long path to healing, so it’s crucial you find an outlet for those heavy feelings. I thought I’d save you guys some trouble and just share with you my not-so-great, and then so-much-better decisions I made.
I’m not sure why the tendency is for to us be alone when we are sad. Maybe because we can ugly cry in peace? But we are all made to be in a community. People cannot live a fulfilled life on their own. I’m not talking about singleness, I’m talking about loneliness. Find yourself those friends who you can talk to with no walls raised. After my breakup, I moved into an apartment with three other women. We didn’t all know each other super well, but interestingly enough, we all went through breakups that year. You could say there was a lot of ugly crying in our little apartment.
Thankfully, we had an abundance of hugs, comforting, wise words (like “HE SUCKS”), and countless frozen yogurt runs. I am so thankful for those three women. But I also had some pretty not-so-great listeners as friends. You know the ones I’m talking about? The ones who only want to be around you when good things are happening? One said to me once, “Are you still hung up on this guy?” I’ll never forget that…but it did push me to find friends who wanted to be there for me in the good and the bad times.
Besides using friends to heal, I also used food. Seriously, I gained 15 pounds. I loved the feeling of instant gratification. I could buy whatever I wanted from the grocery store and NOBODY was going to stop me. Bad idea, man. I felt my body decrease in energy and increase in stress. The sugar levels were doing all sorts of things to my body. I went on like this for more than a year. One day, on a sudden whim to get my life together (shout out to Jesus for answering this brokenhearted girl’s prayers), I went to…a gym.
I never wanted to eat an entire box of cereal in one day again, and I had the difficult realization that I needed to be healthy for me! It didn’t matter if I wasn’t with someone anymore! Duh, Shruthi! I didn’t become a gym rat or anything, but I do understand now that there is a connection between working out your body and finding peace in your mind.
Before this breakup, I had drunk alcohol maybe twice. After this breakup, I thought I’d be like the girls in those songs where they drink and party and “blame it on the alcohol.” That rebellion lasted three weeks. If I’m being honest, alcohol did nothing for me, and I saw how it helped people around me make very stupid decisions. Needless to say, I quickly put aside those extra calories and emotions I so did not need.
And probably my biggest form of rebellion was when I dated a guy who was atheist because I was mad at my God. Ugh this is so cringey ha! But it makes for an interesting story, which I will share with you all later. Long story short, it lasted only two weeks.
After what seemed like the worst year of my life, I surrounded myself with healthy relationships, a good diet, and healthy exercise. But none of those things could be with me at my weakest. Of course, I’m talking about the late hours of the night when emotions are most alive and unguarded. The vulnerable hours of the night are when you’re tempted to send a text or cry yourself to sleep. And that, my friends, is when I bought my first journal. If you haven’t done this already, DO IT!
I couldn’t overwhelm my friends 24/7, and I couldn’t go to the gym 24/7, but I could talk to my God 24/7, and writing helped me do that. Depending on my level of desperation, I started each page with “Dear God” or “JESUS.” Slowly as the pages filled, I stopped talking as much about my sadness. I filled that first journal up in no time with tears, memories, prayers, bad jokes, and questions. I still have that journal today, and it’s funny because on one of the last pages, you see me write about a new guy who entered my life. Little did I know that years and journals down the road, that guy would be my husband.
Join me next week as I talk about how getting past the past requires stepping out in faith, not fear.