The skill of ‘doing nothing’ when things go wrong

19 Mar


I was thinking about this – many of my friends are currently going through horrible break-ups
and I wanted to put up an article to help them see that doing absolutely nothing can help
you to re-balance and re-build your life and get it back to the happy way it was before
things went pear-shaped..

I’ve been thinking about this a while, in a way when we are thrown into this situation,
there is always the agony and defeat of battling No Contact. It is necessary first for
us to 1. Break the Compulsive Calling cycle, but it’s more than that.

It’s about finding your center again. Finding that happy, wonderful, sexy, and desirable person you were before all the disappointments, resentment and heartache come into your world. This works whether it’s after a breakup or after an argument with your significant other.

Some people will do whatever they think will take take the pain away, even for a short while. Sometimes that’s going to be a phone call, an email, a card, looking at their website, dating profile, asking friends about the ex, driving by the ex’s house, any number of increasingly desperate actions. It feels good for that one second you saw/heard/talked to/thought about them, it makes you feel ‘connected’ to them again. Here’s the secret, real connection comes *from* the other person, not to the other person. Repeat — real connection comes from the other person. Long story short, if they don’t feel connected to you, you’re not connected. So that fleeting sense of euphoria you get from contacting a person who left you is false because there’s no connection to them again. And then when it’s over, you’re in for a huge letdown. Bigger than even before the ‘contact’.

There’s a few reasons why it’s just better to do nothing for at least a month or so right after a breakup with your ex, or at least for a few days after a fight with your SO; some of them will be common sense, some of them will be surprising.

If you don’t do anything, you can’t screw anything up. — If you don’t call/email/meet and alternate between crying, reasoning, screaming, bargaining, pleading, asking to get back together, promising it’ll ‘be different this time’, etc., you can’t come off like a psycho gf/bf. Everyone goes through some extreme mood swings right after a breakup or fight; sad, depressed, melancholy, happy, angry, euphoric, raging, reminiscent… do NOT unleash them on your SO. It’s enough to make you crazy — it’s enough to make them believe you might be. At the very least flaky, and who wants flaky? If you do anything remotely resembling this, you’re proving them right for breaking up or staying away. So it’s better not to do anything.

If a person has asked for “space” GIVE IT TO THEM. — I cannot stress this enough. Get it in your head that whatever you were doing before, was NOT working. It just wasn’t, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. So if you make that “one last call to end things on a good note,” send that one last email to tell them off or explain your feelings, it’ll just push them away further, make them want to stay away. It will, it will, it will. This is human nature, basic animal instinct, to run away from that which is chasing us. If they felt they needed to get away from you before the breakup, trying to “talk some senseinto them” will only make them feel smothered. When you give them space and you’re not chasing them, you’re giving them room to breathe, all of a sudden they don’t feel smothered anymore and they’ll go where they see a “space.” Weird, but true. If you then want to invite them into your ‘space,’ you can, but if you don’t want to, you’ve started to create the separation. Either way, you’re better off concentrating on your own feelings for now.

Giving them space gives you space. — Space to clear your thoughts about the situation. Space to think about what you want. Space to get rational again instead of floundering around in your self-imposed emotional abyss. Think of it this way, when you’re in quicksand, you sink deeper in the muck the more you flail around. You start to feel the panic rise and you move around even more, start kicking and grabbing and pulling to try to get yourself out, but each thing you DO makes you sink further and further, making you more panicked, you get impatient, and pretty soon, you’re a goner. Easiest and quickest way to get out of quicksand? Do Nothing, remain calm, and let someone come look for you to GET you out.

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. — It’s been true for thousands of years, why should you be any different? You think they’ll forget you? You should HOPE they forget all the bad things that led to the breakup or blowout. The clinginess, the fights, the chronic lateness, the disappointments, the time you were rude to their friends- it’s ok, you’re not taking the all blame, you’re just hoping they forget your faux pas. You can save the apologies and the long talks for after you’ve gotten centered again, if you want. “Letting them miss you” only happens when they forget the bad stuff. This happens only over time, as emotions settle down and rational thought (which leads to positive thoughts) sets in. It’s natural human behavior to eventually forget the bad things and remember only the good. It’s the brain’s self-defense mechanism. But how is that possible if you’re calling to tell them –again– how much they messed up and how much they will regret it? Every time you do that, you send yourself back to square one, both in their mind and in yours. So do nothing, and they can miss you, at the very least, they will think fondly of you. But they can’t do either if you don’t go away!

Doing nothing about the other person leaves you energy to do something about you. — Clear your mind, clear your closets, clear your schedule. Love yourself. Calm yourself. Improve yourself. Believe yourself. Amaze yourself. Learn from this experience what you can improve so that the next time is better than the last. No one says it can’t be with this same person again, most breakups can be reversed. But the relationship CANNOT be the same! If you go through the healing/growing process, it will not be the same. Take time. Detach from the outcome. Once all is said and done you may want it or you may not, but good habits can only truly “stick” the next time around if you go through the process of healing, recovering, improving, forgetting, growing and accepting. It can’t “go back” and why would you want it to? Going back to the exact same relationship would only bring you to the same cycle again.

Leave the past in the past along with all the bad habits, bad behaviors, and Go FORWARD bringing with you all of your newfound glory, your newfound skills, your fresh take on love. Doing nothing can do amazing things for you and your relationships.


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