These suggestions for emotional healing will help you know what to do after a breakup. They’re inspired by The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries – one of my favorite stories of acceptance, being in the moment, and victory!
In You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death, Louise Hay and David Kessler describe the emotions that occur when a relationship leaves you brokenhearted, a marriage ends in divorce, or a loved one dies. This book will give you the courage you need to face many other types of losses and challenges, such as saying good-bye to a beloved pet, losing your job, or coming to terms with a life-threatening illness or disease. Emotional healing is the most important thing you can do after a breakup – and it is something you can do.
Maybe you stayed in a relationship too long because you didn’t know what to do after the breakup. Fear of the unknown is why many of us don’t leave relationships when we know we should. Emotional healing is also scary for us, because it involves pain and grief.
These tips will help you know what to do after a breakup. They’re inspired by The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries – a parable that will help you fill the void after a breakup and move forward in faith, confidence, and hope.
The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries
A young princess warrior is being chased by a streak of tigers. They are big. They are mean. They are hungry. The princess warrior has long passed “tired” – she is nearing the point of exhaustion.
She comes to a cliff at the edge of the jungle. Behind her she can hear the tigers crashing through the underbrush. She knows she can’t go back. She sees a thick vine growing over the edge of the rock face cliff.
The princess warrior scampers down the vine, out of reach of the snarling pack of tigers above.
Relieved, she lowers herself down the vine…and then she looks below her. A big gray wolf is sitting at the bottom of the vine, patiently waiting for her to descend. She stops and ponders her situation. Above, a snarling streak of tigers. Below, a hungry wolf.
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A movement above catches her eye. Looking up, she sees a tiny gray mouse busily chewing on the vine that she is clinging to. She has only a few moments before she falls into the jaws of the wolf below.
Just then the princess warrior notices a luscious patch of strawberries growing on the side of the cliff face, right next to her. They are quite possibly the plumpest, reddest and most gorgeous strawberries she has ever seen. She isn’t hungry, but she figures she might as well spend her last few minutes tasting what this world has to offer. She reaches over, picks a strawberry, and bites into it. Juice drips down her chin and onto her shirt. It is the best strawberry she has ever eaten.
Revived by the strawberry, the princess warrior swings over and sits on the ledge. She eats another one. It’s better than the first. She sighs, stretches, and suddenly sees a trail leading down the mountain. She couldn’t see it from whether she was before.
The princess warrior follows the trail, which leads her away from the snarling streak of tigers, the hungry wolf, and the pesky mouse. She is free.
Emotional Healing – What to Do After a Breakup
If you haven’t broken up yet, read How to End a Relationship When You’re Scared to Be Alone. Then, come back to this article and re-read what to do after a breakup! Emotional healing is a process that takes time.
The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries may mean different things to me than it does to you. Here’s why I think it’s the perfect parable for people coping with a breakup. I welcome your thoughts below, especially if you see something I don’t.
Accept that pain is inevitable
No matter who you are, how much money you have, how pretty you are, or how secure in a relationship with God you are – you will experience pain. Princess warriors aren’t the only ones who get exhausted, trapped, scared, confused, and filled with grief. It helps me to know that pain is inevitable. Life is bittersweet. There will always be valleys of the shadows of death to walk in, and streaks of tigers to run away from. Pain and emotional healing are a necessary part of being human. Accepting pain is the first thing to do after a breakup. Why? Because acceptance brings freedom.
Don’t rush through grief after a breakup
Allow yourself time to process the pain and grief of the end of your relationship. In The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries, the princess warrior had the presence of mind to stop in the midst of the frenzy. She took her time, she didn’t rush, and she lived in the moment. Sometimes the best thing to do after a breakup is to give yourself time to grieve the end of your relationship. Knowing what to do after a breakup might involve listening to and sitting in the silence that loss brings, and letting emotional healing happen naturally.
Know that this, too, will pass
Accepting a breakup and getting healthy emotionally is about trusting that you WILL break free from the pain and grief of loss. Do you really want to know what to do after a breakup? Surrender into it. Make a list of three things in your life that are better because you broke up with your partner. If I was the princess warrior in the parable, my list would be: 1) renewed faith and trust in God to work even the worst situations out for my good; 2) improved ability to live in the moment despite pain and pressure from all sides; and 3) more knowledge of my environment and possible escape routes, which will help me in sticky situations in the future.
Let yourself savor something delicious
If you live fully in the moment when you’re savoring something delicious – a strawberry, a sweaty run, a nose-to-nose rub with a baby or a dog, a beautiful flower, a bubble bath – then the pain of the breakup will be gone! In that moment of sweet surrender to your experience you will find nothing but taste, scent, touch, or sound. That’s what to do after a breakup: immerse yourself in a “strawberry moment”, the way the princess warrior immersed herself even while she was being chased by tigers and a hungry wolf.
I welcome your thoughts on what to do after a breakup below – or on The Parable of the Tiger and the Strawberries! I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share what you’re going through. Writing can bring peace and clarity.
For a list of practical tips on what to do after a breakup, read What to Do After Breaking Up With Someone You Care About.
After a breakup, may you flow into the next chapter of your life. May you accept the past, find emotional healing, and move forward in hope, strength, and faith. Amen.