When you discover your partner has had an affair or otherwise betrayed you, you’re likely to feel a lot of things… anger, shock, devastation, heartbreak and grief amongst them. But gratitude? Not so much!
Yet strangely, gratitude can be your life-jacket as you are being tossed around in the waves of heartbreak.
Here’s what to do:
1. Allow the Sadness
Get yourself to a safe, private place (perhaps your bedroom). Now hold a cushion or a cuddly toy tightly against your heart area. Allow yourself to feel the waves of sadness, and imagine them flowing into the toy or cushion and being easily absorbed into it.
Picture the toy/ cushion being able to hold as much sadness and heartbreak as you could ever have, and more.
2: Make Space for Gratitude
Having released some of your sadness, now begin to slow and deepen your breathing. Letting your out-breaths be longer than your in-breaths, make space for a little pause between each breath.
See if you can now allow the grace of gratitude to gently enter your soft, tender, hurting heart, just for a time.
Feel gratitude for what you still have (maybe it’s your health, or your other loved ones, or fresh air to breathe, or just for warm socks!).
Feel gratitude even though your heart has been broken.
Even though you also feel enormous anger.
(Remind yourself that you can get back to feeling the anger later, for that too is a useful source of strength.)
3. Let Your Feelings Flow and Change
If you can allow yourself to cycle through multiple phases of grief, anger and gratitude, this will help you to process your feelings so that they can have a chance to change over time rather than get stuck.
And instead of becoming bitter and hardened, you’ll blossom and become fuller and more free inside.After heartbreak: how to blossom and become fuller inside. Click To Tweet
4: Get Support – Wisely
It may not be helpful for you to tell everyone you know about what’s going on (at least at this stage, while you are in the early throes of heartbreak).
But it’s very important that you find at least one or two safe people that you can confide in. Choose them wisely, though – confiding in the friend who can’t keep their mouth shut is probably a recipe for trouble!
It might be a very good time to seek out a counsellor or psychotherapist. Whatever you tell them will be confidential, and they can offer a safe space for you to sort out all your agonising and mixed feelings.
Counselling can also help you figure out any patterns that seem to be being played out, and help you move on and do things in new ways.
If your partner is up for it, couples’ counselling can be enormously useful. It can help you both find ways that your relationship can be both repaired and strengthened. And even if you still end up splitting up, the process can help you clarify things and release you emotionally to move into the next phase of your life.
5. Use Creativity
Keeping a Gratitude Journal is such a fantastic way of helping yourself heal from heartbreak over the longer term. Over on Pinterest, I have a board for Self-Care and also one for Reflective Art Journals. You might get some good ideas there to start you off.
And of course the great thing with creativity is that there are no rules (well – if there are, you get to choose whether to break them or use them productively – either can be good!).
Invent your own, totally personalised version of what a Gratitude Journal could be. Have fun with it!
And before long you may look back and realise that your heartbreak has changed into something quite different, and deepened your sense of who you are and who you can become.
Partner had an affair? How you can heal, and grow. Click To Tweet
Important note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are concerned about your mental health, or if you are contemplating (or doing) self-harming or addictive behaviours, please seek medical help immediately.