Ok, so you have done the cognitive understanding that you were an active participant, co-creator, designer and an engineer of your relationship. You may have even understood why you have created that relationship, and what challenges you have set yourself up to overcome through it. However the emotions are not so easy to calm down with cognitive understanding. As useful as it is for your future success in relationships and for your growth as a person and for your development as a successful-at-relationships man or a woman, the cognitive understanding does not do much to cool down the emotions of love and sadness and missing someone. The cognitive understanding does help us with the feelings of being hurt, because it makes us aware how we have participated in that game of being hurt. It is a game, it is not real. This needs to be clear. Every occasion of being hurt by your partner is co-created with you to make you strong enough to stand up for yourself, to make you strong enough to choose You and to accept You, if they are not accepting you, to stretch their lack of accepting you and liking you and loving you so much so that you finally find it intolerable and you finally get it that you need to love yourself first before you love another, that you need to respect yourself first before you get into a healthy relationship, that you need to be compassionate and caring and kind towards yourself first before you can attract the right people for you. So these are the functions of the cognitive understanding.
The cognitive understanding does not do much to efface the love we feel for someone if we still love them and to help us stop missing them. The emotions run on a much deeper layer than the cognition so the cognition is not enough to reach that deep. And with the emotions of loving someone and missing them, come the emotions of fear from being alone, fear from the future, sadness, desires to hold on to that person because of these fears. So we need to do some emotional work. And this work is very simple and counter-logical. We accept whatever emotion arises and we stay with it. Accept it and stay with it. Accept it and stay with it. Matt Khan says “Whatever arises love that” as the map to successful navigation through rocky emotional landscapes. I have not reached the level of enlightenment of Matt Khan yet, however intuitively I feel very agreeable to his statement, and what I find useful is to go in a direction of multiplying the feelings instead of trying to reduce the feelings. And this technique I was taught by the Stanislavski school of acting. When a human tells herself/himself not to feel something, that feeling escalates higher and higher. So when an actor on stage has to perform a certain emotion, he tells himself not to feel that emotion. That is the inner talk of the actor – exactly the opposite of what he wants to portray. This is the curse of humans. We are not very good at portraying straight forwardly our emotions. It always comes out exactly the opposite to what it is intended. For example, someone wants to look sexy and carefree, if they start trying to achieve that – they will look silly. No one can achieve to look sexy if they try to look sexy. The main prerequisite of looking sexy, is not to try at all. There are other ingredients to looking sexy, it is a more complex formula, but if one thing needs to be done to look sexy that would be – not to try to look sexy. Not to try. There is failure conceived in the trying. So, if we are not going to be trying anything, because that does not work, then logically the opposite should work. And that is fully accepting, fully embracing the Now, the Present, the feeling at this moment. Breathe in and out and accept it. Breathe in and out and stay with it. Don’t run away from it. Stay with it and locate it in the body. See where it is located in the body. Direct your consciousness to that place in the body and observe it. Observe the pain that this emotion is giving to that place in the body. Breathe in and out and observe it. Direct your breathing towards the painful place in the body and breathe into it. Breathe into it. And just accept it. Then talk to it lovingly and caringly, with the sweetest, gentlest possible voice you can do without trying. “I love you” “Thank you” and repeat it as many times as you wish and keep breathing into it. This is the effective processing of emotions. You send acceptance, love and thanks to the emotion and to the body which contains the emotion. Not running away from it, distracting from it, or filling the empty space with new material. And no trickery – “hm, ok if I want to get rid of this emotion I have to accept it first and I have to love it first, so let’s do that then”. It will work only if the acceptance and the love are sincere and only if there is no goal-directed-ness towards reducing the emotion. We do not like it when we are upset someone to tell us “calm down”, so why do we tell that horrible ineffective, devalidating, devaluing, disrespectful, dishonoring statement to ourselves? Why don’t we trust that the emotions as uncomfortable they are and as obstructive they are, come from a deep, mysterious place within us which deserves all the respect and honour and validation and acceptance in the world. Trust it. Trust yourself. Trust the sincere and authentic nature of your emotions. Love them, respect them, honour them. They are part of your Authentic Design which is far too unique, enigmatic and deep to be reduced to some socio-cultural expectations of what emotions are appropriate and what levels of emotions are appropriate. And if you want to subside your emotions because they are disruptive in your daily life – then you need to see them as protestors in the streets with loudspeakers shouting at the government. You are the government and your emotions have something to say to you. If it has come to this point where they have got so loud and are shouting – you need to take responsibility for that. How did you neglect them along the way, how did you neglect your inner world, your deep feelings along the way. Why did you neglect them. And this is not done to reprimand yourself, but to better understand yourself. Did you feel the need to trade the fulfillment of your emotions with some other kind of security. Many people do that – they get a well-paid job, they leave a less paid job where their feelings were comfortable, for the financial security of a new job, and on the new job the emotions don’t feel comfortable. Or choose a partner who provides the financial security and leave a partner who offers an emotional security, then the emotions feel uncomfortable. These are just 2-dimensional examples, it is not given that less-paid jobs are more comfortable to the emotions than higher-paid jobs, nor is it given that financially supportive partners are not good with emotional support. The examples are just to show the direction of the self-exploration so that we to understand how and why our feelings ended up so strong and so out-of-control. And we will discover that it is our own mismanagement and neglect of our sacred emotional inner worlds. So back to some cognitive work of self-reflection and self-searching. In Cognitive Work During the Ending of a Relationship, I discuss that process in detail.