How does one regain confidence and optimism about love after a breakup? After her own relationship ended, author and counselor Rebekah Freedom McClaskey developed and practiced a series of small, step-by-step actions that ultimately helped her heal her heart and live in harmony with her destiny. In Breakup Rehab: Creating the Love You Want, Rebekah meets readers in their states of grief or resignation and walks them through twelve steps to forgiveness and self-responsibility, self-compassion and self-awareness, power and purpose. It’s easy to go to the “what was I thinking dating them?!” place and pile on the self-blame instead of going inwards to eventually bigger and better loves. In this excerpt from the book she cues you in on how to trust your authentic self after a breakup.
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Step 2 of Breakup Rehab helps you connect with your authentic self. This is the part of you that will nurse you through being curled up in a fetal position into being able to confidently stand on your own two feet again. There is a big momma bear part of you that knows exactly what to do to take care of you. Trust it. The papa bear part of you is for fighting your battles. Your authentic self can be both.
You see though, Rehab can be super hard, and sometimes it’s best to just get away to somewhere else. Me personally, I’ve been on a Wilderness Retreat before, and enjoyed the outdoor life. It took my mind off the break-up, and let me focus on life, and the natural wonders of the world. Wilderness treatment centres can work, and they do work – simply by removing you from the “Norm”. I’d heavily suggest looking through the Wilderness Treatment Centers Directory if this is something you’re considering.
And, with that said, let’s dive in with a lil’ philosophy lesson, shall we? There is a you that’s observing you. That’s your authentic self. The awareness that you’re observing you is called meta-
awareness. Think of it like this: we breathe automatically, but we can also control our breath. Eh? Pretty cool and also necessary for mindfulness practices, which you’ll need in order to access your authentic self.
Synonyms for the authentic self include the wise mind, the manager, Atman, Christ consciousness, dharma, and many others. In its essence it conveys the idea that we can surrender control to a force larger than our rational mind.
The authentic self is infinite and unchanging. The authentic self is the observer of our mind, ego, body, and being. Duuuuuude. For real. (I’ve clearly lived in California for too long.) Okay, so back to where we were: Breakup. Identity crisis. Confusion.
Don’t you hate the feeling that your ex is doing, like, ten times better than you are? They’re posting on Instagram great pictures of food — at the brunch place you used to eat at together. Secretly, you hope they choke on it — or is that too violent? Whatever it is you’re feeling, you’re going to need to feel it, and to do that you must connect with your authentic self — the observer.
The authentic self communicates through feelings. Our gut sensations and nonverbal communications create an intuitive pattern. Intuition is an inner understanding that the mind, soul, body, and heart are all connected. It links these parts of us together through something that feels like an inner knowing. It takes stillness to connect to this feeling and to listen to the authentic self. In a word, meditation.
The authentic self is like a professor who watches over his university students. Parts of our psyche are like those college kids. Some parts are bullies. Some parts are caregivers. Some parts are lovers. Some parts won’t come out to play. Some party too hard. Some parts are evil. Some parts are good. The authentic self watches over all of them. Let’s get the most out of this metaphor and say that all these parts of us interact in the classroom that’s life — and relationships…and sex.
So here we are in the university of life, learning about ourselves. Then a breakup happens; it’s like being given a test you didn’t realize you had to study for. Each part reacts differently to the “final” of the relationship. Some parts scramble to hide, others fight, others faint, others freeze, and some get aroused and want to release the stress through sex. Breakups have a way of reminding us that we’re not in control of every part.
The second step of BRx assures us that there is a force bigger than the sum of our parts that we can rely on — our authentic self. In other words, being in the director’s seat is different than being the actor. It’s a matter of perspective. Since you’ve mastered letting go by now — ha — then shifting perspectives should be easy, no?
It’s going to take a little more finessing. That mind of yours is going to hammer away at the logistics of the breakup, how moronic your ex is, how bad you feel, or how guilty you feel for not feeling bad. We all need time to wallow and make bad decisions until one day, we just choose something else.
I’ve slept with so many guys in response to rejection. It just sort of happens, and dating apps make it really easy to do. So I’m not suggesting that — poof?! — you get all Zen with your authentic self and then everything will be better. How rad would that be? I just mean that you know better and once you know that you know better you can know how to do better and do it.
Trusting your authentic self helps you do better and be better and feel better. In a small way, solving your problems helps to solve the world’s issues. I guarantee that you won’t get every aspect of life right. I’m clearly still learning that. Keep trying to trust yourself. Don’t attempt to use Google to figure it out. You’re your own Google. Be still and listen to your authentic self.
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Rebekah Freedom McClaskey is the author of Breakup Rehab: Create the Love You Want. A relationship specialist with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, her private practice focuses on helping clients get what they want out of life and love. She lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Excerpted from the book Breakup Rehab: Create the Love You Want. Copyright ©2017 by Rebekah Freedom McClaskey. Printed with permission from New World Library.