New Year’s Eve, with it’s positive celebrations, can feel bitter and painful when you are without the person you thought you would be spending your life with.
The period leading up to a New Year is commonly a time for reflection and looking ahead, and this is never more poignant than when you’ve had an emotionally difficult year.
Here are 5 reminders of how to use this special time to your advantage and take the first steps to make the end of your relationship feel less like the end of your life.
1. Endings are also new beginnings
The New Year is a powerful symbol of a fresh start. Even if nothing has changed in your day to day reality, beginning a new year reminds us that the end of one thing leads to the start of another. It’s no surprise that January is considered by solicitors to be the busiest time for divorce enquires. After my marriage ended, New Year was when I was at my keenest to put the past behind me and I finally began the divorce proceedings that I had been dreading for the previous 10 months. Your relationship is over but your life is not. Let this be a time when you recognise that you do still have a future ahead of you, despite the pain you’ve been through.
2. The new year is a great milestone marker
Having a significant date in the year is a great way to remind us of how things can change in a short space of time. If the relationship ended suddenly (as mine did), you might be wondering “How did my life descend so badly in the space of a year?” but the reverse can be equally true. Although it’s often difficult to see how we will ever be happy, this time next New Year’s Eve, you may be in a completely different place again, both emotionally and situationally.
3. Letting go of the old
Releasing old habits, emotions and destructive behaviours shouldn’t just be limited to New Year’s Eve. However, this is a great time to reflect on what’s not working in your life and make a decision to start the new year differently. At this time we are often very motivated to make change, so really look at what is holding you back. Perhaps there are grief emotions you haven’t faced or worked through. Acknowledge any anger, disappointment or sadness around the end of your relationship to help you move on.
Maybe you are still letting your ex-partner have too much interest or control in your life which is making it hard for you to move forward. Perhaps you are reluctant to let go of physical possessions which tie you to your past relationship. You are allowed to choose what you will and won’t take forward into your new year. What will you do to help you feel differently?
4. Celebrate your achievements
However recently or distantly your relationship ended, you will have something to celebrate. It’s important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge you’ve been through a tough time. Some people have a lot of support, but others may be going through a break-up feeling very alone. If your biggest achievement is simply waking up each day, then honour that. Sometimes just surviving is about as much as we can manage in the beginning. Whether you are taking baby steps or strides, remember to celebrate the fact that, despite your broken heart, you have made it through this year and are still moving forward!
5. Setting Meaningful Goals
New year is traditionally a time for setting resolutions; giving yourself goals can be a wonderful way to increase levels of positivity and happiness after a difficult year. The key is to make the goals challenging enough that they will inspire you, but realistic enough that you don’t set yourself up to fail and feel worse than when you began. Again, this is a time to be kind to yourself; look to do things that make you feel yourself again. Set goals that you would not have believed possible during your relationship. Think of anything you might have held back on for fear of upsetting or being criticised by your former partner.
We can, of course, make the decision to change our lives on whatever day or time we choose. But when the new year is so perfectly apt for starting afresh, why not use the opportunity to make those changes right now?
Wishing you a very Happy New Year and a shining future life!
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