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Using Imagery to Find Peace After a Breakup

Letting go of relationships is a process. I recently ended one. I cognitively understood the relationship would not work, but the subsequent feelings of loss and pain were still there. To create a healthy distance from my partner, I utilized imagery. I found it to be a powerful tool to create the healthy lifestyle I wanted to live and be my authentic self.

My partner was frequently away on business and personal trips. It was difficult to keep in touch when he traveled so I became accustomed to lengthy silences. To create even more distance I began to imagine the “tie that binds” as a rope engulfing each of us. Across the miles, we were tethered to each other with this imaginary rope.

I engaged my senses and imagined how the rope looked and felt around my waist. I would symbolically imagine taking a pair of scissors and cutting our rope. I would close my eyes and see the rope fall. With its drop, I was now an individual again and not part of this relationship.

While focusing on my breath I allowed my feelings to emerge, and simply experienced them. I tried not to label them but focused on the present moment. What image could you utilize to create distance from an unhealthy relationship? What mental pictures, sounds, shapes or color could you use?

I imagined the traditional red heart as a symbol of love. I would think of this heart as a living, beating organism. I would imagine filling my heart with all the things I love and value in my life. What things do you love? Family, a pet, a place? I never denied that my partner had a portion of my heart, but rather than focusing on the portion he had, I began to fill this space with all of the things I loved.

Imagine breathing in all the love in your life into this heart deep inside and letting it fill your body with peace. Make a conscious choice to focus on the love in your life and not on what is lost or what is missing. Utilizing these tools, I created a new story based on the present moment, rather than an interpretation or story from the past.

Imagery is a powerful tool. It can induce relaxation and decrease your stress level (Bourne, E., 2004). Personalize the imagery you choose to use for healing. Choose a script or image (e.g., an ocean, a forest, a word) based on your own life experiences and what will heal you. You may want to incorporate several techniques that best suit you and your life (e.g., deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation).

I wish my ex peace and love. I imagine breathing peace in and breathing peace out, letting my breath wash over me and sending him this peaceful energy, like a funnel from my body to his. If we consciously focus on positive rather than negative energy and direct it toward others, our energy and life force will be affected in a positive manner. Be compassionate with yourself as you let go and find tools and techniques that work for you.

Reference

Bourne, E. (2004). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook: 4th Edition. Oakland, California: New Harbinger Press.

Woman feeling free photo available from Shutterstock

Using Imagery to Find Peace After a Breakup


Elizabeth Grasher, MS, LPC, LMFT

Elizabeth Grasher, M.S., LPC, LMFT, is a counselor who has worked in a variety of settings including juvenile detention, non-profit drug and alcohol and outpatient practice. She assists clients with relaxation and mindfulness techniques and also practices them herself.


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APA Reference
Grasher, E. (2018). Using Imagery to Find Peace After a Breakup. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/imagery-after-a-breakup/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 6 Nov 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.