Don’t say to yourself:
- Get over it!
- This is not that awful.
- Be strong. Strong people don’t feel pain.
- I shouldn’t be upset.
- First task: Get information from yourself. You’re upset. You can tell you’re upset by your emotions. Sadness, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, whatever the emotion, it is valuable information to you. Figure out what emotions you are experiencing. Loneliness might be an emotion you would experience if your best friend distanced. Also sadness, anxiety, confusion and anger.
- Dump first: You may need to acknowldege some of the nasty things you are thinking and feeling first. Some people like to say them out loud, others like to write them down. Don't worry about logic or fairness or being nice at this point. This part is just for yourself, not for anyone else. You need to get this out of the way first, before you can move on. I'm mad at my friend for distancing himself from me. What an asshole to do that to me! We were close friends. We had something valuable. He threw it away. What a waste!
- Acknowledge the emotion. What has my emotional dump expressed? I am afraid of something. It hurts to be afraid of something. I hate it. I am afraid I am not valuable (to him). I am afraid of being lonely. I am afraid I will have to work hard to find another friend. What if I never find another best friend? Am I a bad person? Is that why he distanced himself? Is he a bad person?
- Name the abstract need that is not getting met. I need safety, or security, or honesty, or importance, dignity, respect, connection, freedom, organization, participation, reciprocity, whatever need is not getting met. These are important needs. When we don’t get our needs met, we feel pain, often intense emotional pain. I need friendship. I need connection. I need to be important to a few people. I need to be respected. I need open communication.
- Self empathy: I am not getting my need met for respect. That hurts. It hurts a lot. I need respect. Respect is an essential need. I’m not getting my need met for respect. I am not getting my need for connection met. I am not getting my need for open communication met. This really hurts!
- Who has met this need for you in your past? My Grandma respected me. It felt good to be around Grandma because she respected me. I feel good when I remember my Granda respecting me. If she were here now she would respect me. I am grateful for my Grandma’s respect. I need more people in my life like Grandma.
- Rinse and repeat. If you have people in your life who can help you go through these steps several times, that is a great help. If you are grieving something big in your life, then you may have to go through these steps twice a day for weeks.
Be kind to yourself while you are getting over something. Remember not to berate or belittle yourself. That just makes it harder to get over. Give yourself the dignity and respect you need to process your pain.
For further reading look at Marshall Rosenberg's NonViolent Communication.