This first step – and it’s a biggie in the Conscious Uncoupling process, is to find emotional freedom learning how to harness the energies of the dark and difficult emotions you may be experiencing such as rage, hatred, fear and despair, and transform them from destructive impulses to hurt yourself or others into the constructive drivers of positive change. In this step we create the conditions for liberation beyond your old painful patterns in love and awaken to the power you hold to use this shattering to radically evolve how you live and how you love.
How can you remain present to your own inner experience in a way that begins to reduce the intensity of your pain? Breaking up is traumatic. In the beginning friends and family are supportive and do what they think is best to help you move on. Yet, after a month or so they can become frustrated and start to feel you should just get over it already. If this is part of your experience, I am here to acknowledge that the pain you are stuck in makes sense — it is an old pain.
You might be feeling unsafe, even with your own emotions. Perhaps the one person who could make you feel better — the person who has left or whom you left — is also the person who is the least safe to be around. This makes since because when our relational bond is broken we are not emotionally regulated. When we are in the middle of this breakup, which is a rupture in attachment, sometimes we feel like we are going crazy.
Increased self-awareness, and learning to self-sooth, become paramount to self-regulating what you are experiencing, which in turn will lead to emotional freedom. When emotions are swirling throughout your mind, body and soul it’s a good practice to become still and be with your experience. Below is an audio recording of me leading you in the practice of creating an Inner Sanctuary of Safety with Tonglen (music in this recording by Rest Use Sleeping Giants, license found here). This practice is a simple tool you can use throughout your day to help regulate your emotions. Check–in with yourself and ask: “What am I feeling right now?”
It is important to give a name to the specific feelings you are having. Separate out your emotions one feeling at a time. Then say back to yourself what you are feeling. What emotions do you feel in this moment?
The act of labeling feelings aids in regulating and not allowing the feelings to control or paralyze us. Once you have identified a few feelings and begin to feel less overwhelmed, go one step further and ask yourself, “Ok given that I am feeling all of this, what do I need right now?” Listen and be there for yourself in a way you might if your friend or child were feeling hopeless and terrified or any other negative emotions.
Creating Emotional Safety
This practice supports you in creating emotional safety for yourself by learning to contain your experience. After practicing this you might still feel a little blue, but you will feel less crazy.
Once you have labeled what you are feeling take the extra step of breathing the feeling into your heart and breathing out a blessing to all beings, including yourself, who are suffering with this feeling in this very moment. This helps us to connect with the truth that we are not alone, and this is part of what it is to be human.
The moment we open ourselves up to turning toward our pain and extending blessings to all the others who are suffering at this moment, we may experience a moment of grace when we realize even with this pain, how good we have it in this life in relation to the experience of others around the world. This context can contain us and connect us to the whole of humanity. Our pain, then becomes bearable as we learn to hold it from this deeper more centered place.
Channeling these big feelings into a commitment to your own life will aid you in making something beautiful of this shattering experience. Even if you are feeling angry, or there is a part of you waking up to take a stand for the reclamation of your rights! No feeling should be repressed, no feeling is diminished. Instead welcome and explore all that you feel so you can resolve those emotions and make a new commitment to self that this kind of relational breakdown will never happen again, or commit to becoming a wiser more loving human being.
A break up is a rupture of attachment similar to that of coming off of an addictive drug. It physically feels like drug withdrawal symptoms. Stress hormones can put us into fight or flight mode where sleep, hunger, energy and focus are impacted. If you are feeling shattered by this loss there is tremendous pain, no doubt. Yet, at the same time there is an opportunity to break open and break free of old stories and old patterns in relationships. This kind of breakup only needs to happen once. This is your turning point!
This blog is written by , a certified love and relationship coach. The second in a 7-part series, this blog is based off the New York Times bestselling book Conscious Uncoupling by author Katherine Woodward Thomas. Each blog provides a brief overview to the larger work you will experience in my groups and one-on-one sessions. Please visit to read the full blog series and learn more about Conscious Uncoupling.