It was one of those breakups you don't see coming, the kind of heartbreak you never thought could happen to you. But it happened to me, and I lost myself for a while. I was in a lot of pain and I wanted nothing more than to get rid of it.
I'd heard experts say time and time again that the only way to move through pain is to face it head-on, not run away from it. But my natural tendency was to avoid the pain—to get as far away from it as possible by pushing it aside or looking for ways to go numb. The problem with those approaches was that they only created bigger problems in the form of stress, anxiety, and emotional stagnation over time.
Only by staring my pain right in the face could I find the richness, beauty, and joy that came with true freedom. These steps were fundamental in helping me process my pain, release it, and ultimately transform it into love: