Finding Love after Loss
Loss is, unfortunately, one of the givens in life. It is something everyone as a human being will experience at one time or another. One of the challenges of loss, especially when it involves a lover, spouse or partner, is wondering if you’ll ever be able to find love again, or if you’ll want to.
It’s human nature to love, and it’s natural to find yourself wanting to spend time with someone whose company you enjoy and who lights your heart on fire. You’ll know when you’re ready to start looking again, because you will feel the ache of missing your lost love less profoundly. You will find yourself moved by different things, and wanting to experience new places, people and experiences. You’ll begin to feel a deepening sense of connection, and the desire to share your heart and space with another again.
There is no formula for recovery, no time frame that defines how long it takes to grieve or heal. All you can do is be true to you, and follow your inner knowing. The following are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the experience of losing a loved one and reawakening to the possibility of finding love again.
1) Take time to grieve
This means take as much time and space as you need. Don’t let anyone set the agenda for you, or tell you ‘you should be over it by now.’ Grief is a complicated and multi-layered thing, and your body is the best guide for you. Let yourself feel all the layers as they arise, and each time you’ll find it feels slightly less painful, less visceral.
As time passes, you’ll notice yourself reawakening old dreams and reconnecting with parts of yourself you tucked away to keep safe. You’ll feel more able to address some of the external stuff, like getting rid of your loved ones clothes, memorabilia, etc. Day by day, step by step, you’ll feel yourself healing and moving on from the pain of the ending. You’ll feel yourself returning to a feeling of wholeness and peace, ready to reengage with the world and others.
2) Take time to get to know yourself again
During the time while you’re healing, take the time to remember who you are. It’s not that you’ve necessarily forgotten, but within relationships people make compromises. Is there anything you put aside that you’d like to reawaken now? Are there parts of you you’d forgotten about, or old hobbies you haven’t done in a while?
Spend time by yourself, remembering all the beauty you bring to the world and to a partnership. Remember the reasons you love and adore yourself, the ways you contribute to a healthy, happy home, and the things you find attractive about you. Indulge in extreme self-care and honour your needs. Remind yourself of who you were before you met the person you’ve lost, and that you still exist as that, now with a few more experiences and lessons under your belt.
3) Take time to look at your patterns of relating
Losing someone through divorce or the ending of a relationship (other than through death), can result in self-blame or over-analysis of how things went wrong. Take this time to look at your patterns and how they may have played out in that particular relationship. Take responsibility for your role in the situation, without needing to take responsibility for the whole. There are always energetic dynamics at play, and it’s healthy to examine your fears and insecurities and how they contributed to your perceptions of the situation.
Give yourself credit for trying, and for being courageous enough to open yourself to love. If you feel that you could have done things differently, commit instead to doing them differently next time. Allow yourself to grow, and to learn from the experience of the loss. Allow yourself to examine what your partner taught you, even if the lessons were delivered in ways that felt less than loving.
4) Look ahead, not back
One of the challenges of losing a loved one is that you may feel like they were the best thing that ever happened to you. You might get caught in the thinking that you will never be able to ‘replace’ them or find someone who is as perfect for you as they were.
Try not to project characteristics or traits of your past love onto potential futures, because you’re limiting the capacity for the Universe to deliver to you something even better. It may feel impossible in your state of grief or loneliness, but just remember that each opportunity has something new for you. Life’s experiences are designed to help us shift into more expansive versions of ourselves, growing and stretching to allow in more joy, love and beauty.
Let yourself dream, let yourself imagine the incredible loveliness that awaits in the aftermath of your loss. Free yourself from the idea that you could ‘never be so lucky again.’ Be open to people you meet and what they have to teach you. Don’t take life and love too seriously, and allow yourself to enjoy different connections and what they offer. You never know what magic awaits when you release the restrictions.
5) Let vulnerability open you
Don’t let the experience of loss shut down your heart. It is natural to feel like you want to shut out the pain, but in doing so, you also shut out love, joy and beauty. Use the experience of pain to open your heart to possibility, to feel into the expansiveness of this human experience.
Vulnerability is one of the things that unites us, and you’ll find if you stay open that you will create and nurture deeper connections with others. You’ll feel a deep compassion for yourself and others that underlies your every choice and action. Feeling a full range of emotions is part of being alive; you may even notice that joy and happiness feel more intense after allowing yourself to feel grief.
Let your vulnerability be what heals you and what guides you to deeper self-intimacy. You will be amazed by how your relationships continue to grow and improve as you allow yourself the freedom to express the truth of your heart.