Has something happened to you in your life and with all the will in the world, you just can’t move past it? It can be extremely hard to get over something when you’ve not had closure and an ‘ending’ – or put simply, it hasn’t been seen through to the end. We spoke to Sam Burgess, Life Coach & Business Mentor and Founder of Small and Mighty Co to give us some tips on how best to move on when an event hasn’t had a satisfactory ‘rounding off’. She encourages entrepreneurs and career changers to discover their purpose, achieve their goals and live the life they want – not the life path or version of success set out for them by their parents, their partners or their peers.
Let’s start with friendship. What do you do when someone you trusted and thought you were friends with completely ghosts you? Likely, you’ll have no idea what you’ve done and won’t be able to get it out of your head – so what can you do?
Sam says that a friendship break-up is never pleasant, and the emotional distress is “akin to a romantic break-up”.
Here are her top tips for getting over a friendship breakup:
- “I can empathise with your pain. The first thing to do is allow yourself to mourn your friendship and accept that grief is a part of the letting-go process.
- Spend time with other friends
- Try not to isolate yourself
- Don’t numb how you feel with food, alcohol etc – feeling all the feels helps you to mourn effectively.
She finished: “Often, relationships end because of something to do with the other person, not us. Naturally, our mind generates many reasons to make it our fault, and not knowing makes it all the harder to accept, especially when the other person won’t tell us. Since it’s unlikely you’ll ever really know what happened and why she ghosted you, you can either torture yourself or accept it’s her loss and move on.”
Having Open Conversations
Here’s a query from one of our readers:
“My boyfriend’s friend accused me of something without knowing the facts, and while it doesn’t affect mine and my partner’s relationship, his friend doesn’t like me and makes me feel really uncomfortable and anxious. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t want to manage the situation, so I can’t move on. I feel so unindicated and angry all the time. Can I make him listen?”
Sam says that being falsely accused “causes much anguish and it’s not uncommon to feel angry, powerless and confused – especially when you don’t feel your partner, the person you trust most doesn’t appear to have your back.”
She says that in this case, it sounds like the reader is angry with their boyfriend because they don’t feel supported by him, rather than the accusation by the friend.
If this sounds like a similar situation to one you’ve been in, she suggests thinking about what ’emotional support’ means to you, generally and concerning this particular situation; have an open conversation with your boyfriend about your happiness and wellbeing.
“You can’t make him (or anyone) listen. You say this falling out doesn’t affect you and your partner’s relationship, but if he won’t have a conversation with you about how you’re feeling, then it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the relationship and decide how this will affect your ability to remain close to your partner,” she says. “If important conversations with our partners continually fall on deaf ears, we must decide if this is a relationship we want to stay in.”
Moving on from friends and relationships, next up to think about is when you haven’t had the proper closure you seek professionally. Imagine leaving a job role on a bad note and not being able to assess and work through the issues you had with your work and team – how can you move on and have confidence in your next role?
Sam’s question to you is: “Why do you want to tell your boss the problems and issues you had when you’ve now left? What benefit to you would there be to share these feelings?”
She advises to look at this situation as if it’s a romantic break up!
“Let’s say the relationship ended on a sour note, but you’re now in a new relationship. You find yourself thinking about your ex and all the things you didn’t get to say. Would it truly benefit you to call them up and tell them? Would it help them when you have both moved on? Would it not be better to focus your energy and attention into your new relationship, allow the feelings toward your ex fade and learn from the experience by not allowing history to repeat itself?”
In these situations, Sam recommends to clients to write an unsent letter: “Get down on paper all your feelings but don’t send it. Your mind is satisfied that it has said it’s piece, but there is no comeback. This could work for you to resolve those issues in your head and allow you the closure you need to focus on your new job.”
Letting Go of The Past
And finally, what if you simply can’t let go of your past? Sam says that “A habit of rumination is detrimental to your mental health. As with any patterns identifying that you’re doing it, is the first step to stopping – so well done.”
Sam’s top three tips to overcome negative thought patterns and focus on the future rather than the past are as follows…
#1 Identify your triggers
The majority of us have specific scenarios that trigger memories and start the dwelling and negative spiral. Try to figure out what sets off your ruminations and bear in mind different ruminations may have different triggers. Question the roots of each of these triggers too – the better we understand ourselves, the quicker we can develop.
#2. Practice mindfulness
Getting into a meditation practice can help clear the mind. There is evidence to support that a daily routine changes the brain over time and allow us to self-coach when it comes to cycles of rumination as we can tap into this resource to quieten the mind and calm the sympathetic nervous system. Meditation doesn’t need to be sitting cross-legged for hours; it can be as simple and closing your eyes and breathing in and out of your nose for ten minutes – which can be done at your desk, in bed or even on the bus. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back to your breath and focus on the feeling of cool air on the inhale and warm air on the exhale.
#3 Set goals and redirect your life
When we ruminate, it can be because we’re unhappy with where we are in our life right now. Do you have unfulfilled life ambitions that you could focus on? Always wanted to travel – get on Google and plan where to go and when! Unhappy at work and wanting a change of career, research where your skill set could be well suited. Making changes like this stops rumination and negative thinking in its tracks by busying the mind.
When stuck in a cycle like this, it can be helpful to engage with a life coach who can help you focus on the here and now and set you on the path to the future.
Contact Sam via her website for more excellent support.