If you’ve decided it’s time to release and move on, it can be difficult, and there will be times where you doubt whether or not you’ve made the right decision.
It is normal to feel preoccupied when a relationship has ended. They may have left behind a mountain of hurt feelings, memories—good and bad, and big gaping holes where they had been woven into the fabric of your life. Expect your mood to fluctuate as your mind and emotions adapt to this new-normal after deciding to move on.
My favorite tip for acknowledging the loss of a relationship is to IMPACT JOURNAL. Impact journaling is where we straight up write how the person has impacted your life. The good, bad, and everything in between. This can be extremely beneficial to move on.
Here are the 6 steps to IMPACT JOURNALING. Impact is a mnemonic that includes: Illuminate, major and minor, physical knowing, acceptance, clear boundaries, transformation. You are going to need 4 pieces of paper.
- ILLUMINATE: Get out your first piece of paper. The first step of IMPACT JOURNALING is to illuminate the impact a relationship has had on you, both positively and negatively. First, draw two columns. In the left column, write the positive aspects of the friendship, in the right column, write a list of the negative aspects of the relationship.
- MAJOR and MINOR: Next, get your second piece of paper and write down what you are looking for in your friendships.This list will be comprised of major criteria and minor criteria. Circle the major criteria, these are the non-negotiables. For example, if you value honesty as an absolute necessity in your relationships, this is a major criterion. If having a mutual interest in bowling is only minimally important, that is a minor criterion. Circle all of your major criteria.
- PHYSICAL KNOWING: Go back to your original list (the first piece of paper) and see how things line up. Notice how you feel when you look at the columns reflecting your friendship, versus the description of your desired cast of characters from the second piece of paper. How do you feel in your body as you look at these lists? On a third piece of paper, write down how you feel and what you notice in your body. Your body has a physical knowing, which often has the answers long before we do. The journey of navigating relationships is, at a deeper level, a journey of learning to trust your physical knowing.
- ACCEPT: Radical Acceptance is a conscious choice from the depth of your soul, to simply acknowledge reality, regardless of whether we like it or not. It is a choice to stop resisting what we cannot change, to stop fighting with reality, and choosing instead to release the need for control. Through illumination of everything you feel deep down and listening to your physical knowing you will have the opportunity to make the right decisions for yourself going forward, including adjusting your expectations, auditing your boundaries and moving on.
- CLEAR BOUNDARIES: Creating clear boundaries is a way to protect yourself and On your fourth piece of paper, draw a floor plan of your house. Include the front porch, draw a CABLE across the front door to represent the criteria to get into your house, then draw a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Write your boundaries and expectations for yourself and the guests that are allowed in each room. Remember the porch is for acquaintances, like the delivery driver, people you are kind with, but do not let in. The living room is for casual friendships who you trust and have passed the CABLE criteria. The kitchen is for deeper intimacies, people with whom you can share more private information about yourself. And the bedroom is the most intimate room in your house, and this room is reserved for only the most tried and true relationships. Sometimes the bedroom is only for you, and that’s okay. Once you have identified your house, each of its rooms, and expectations for those rooms, look at the first three pieces of paper, and ask your PHYSICAL KNOWING where this friend belongs. Maybe they were in your kitchen, but do they still belong there? What would it take for them to stay in your house? What would you need to see change in you AND in your friendship?
- TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMATION: Transformation comes from intentionality, and to change your life, you often have to change how you function in your relationships, and what your boundaries are. Make a decision on how you would like to proceed with this friendship. Create clear boundaries in advance. Assign the friend to a place in your house of boundaries and get clarity on what that will look like going forward and stay firm in your decision. Remember, sometimes that means walking away and not looking back, move on. Write this on your house of boundaries drawing. Release: Sometimes creating a ritual for release is a powerful way to create closure. Release the drama, release the stress, release the anger, resentment, hurt and feelings of betrayal. They do not belong to you any longer. Send it into the universe and let it go.
In the Anxiety Breakthrough Program we do a complete audit of relationships and who belongs in your house and who needs to be kicked to the porch, or even across the street. It’s amazing how anxiety can start to lift once ridding your world from toxicity. Set boundaries and move on, my loves. You wellbeing is important.
Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.