Simply Solo Spotlight: You’ve Got The Love I Need to See Me Through
This week’s guest post is written by Alicia Franklin with the Break Up Study. Alicia is currently completing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Australian National University. As part of her program, she’s doing research on break ups and how they affect us psychologically. I hope you enjoy the post and will consider helping Alicia with her research.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Find out how you can be the next writer for Simply Solo here!
You’ve Got The Love I Need to See Me Through
After trying to process the reality that “it’s over,” that old familiar question pops into your mind “WHY?” Why did he leave? Why doesn’t he want me back? Why does this always happen to me? These questions can send us into a tailspin as we survey the landscape of our lives with a faultfinding searchlight. We run the spotlight over the usual suspects: perhaps it was his fault, or bad timing, or his family, or work got in the way…
But all too often the search ends when we turn the harsh light on ourselves. Our inner-critic rises and claims that this could have all ended differently, if only YOU weren’t so “_______” (fill in the blank with hurtful self-judgment). We turn ourselves inside out with such recriminations as “It was my fault – I wasn’t attractive enough, good enough, interesting enough, funny enough, smart enough.” We innocently embark on the search for answers with good intentions, hoping that we will find peace of mind or a sense of closure. In reality, we often end up feeling faulty, broken or inadequate. Not exactly the place from which to launch your “new and improved, single me.”
At a time when we most need comfort and compassion, we seem to turn upon ourselves – picking at all of our real or imagined faults. Unfortunately, this type of thinking can lead to feelings of regret and longing that make it even more difficult to let go and move on.
So how can we make a shift – so that we are our greatest support, rather than our harshest critic? It is worth asking, what would you do for your closest friend at a time of loss? Perhaps you would sensitively tend to her needs, listen with patience and understanding to her story, or be loving and supportive in her darker hours. Perhaps when she sobs, “I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough,” you would remind her that she is enough, exactly as she is.
What if we could offer the hand of friendship inwards? What if we could be an unwavering, loving presence in our own lives? How different would it be to tune into your own needs, listen and tend to yourself with patience and understanding, and even remind yourself once in a while that “You are enough, exactly as you are”?
This may sound a little strange at first, even a little fluffy. But science has started to provide support for these ideas. Recent research from the University of Arizona indicates that self-compassion assists us in our emotional recovery after a relationship breakdown. Further research from the University of Texas has found that practicing self-compassion increases our levels of happiness and optimism, and reduces our chances of developing anxiety and depression.
So perhaps Florence Welch was onto something when she sang, “You’ve got the love I need to see me through.” And perhaps it is worth asking – what is one thing I can do today to be kind to myself?
Whilst this is a good starting point, much more research in this area is needed. One in three of us experience the pain of a break up each year, yet very little is known about how people cope with the end of a relationship.
The Australian National University is currently running ‘THE BREAK-UP STUDY’ to start answering these important questions. We are hoping to gather information about your experiences, reactions and attempts to cope with the end of a relationship. Results of this study will enable us to better understand and assist people who struggle with relationship break ups in the future.
If you have experienced a break up within the last year and would like to help, please take the time to fill out an anonymous online survey before November 2012, by visiting:
Do you have any ideas for how we can be kinder and more loving towards ourselves? What acts of self-compassion have helped to mend your heart?
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.