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Self-Awareness Activities For Rebuilding Your Life

Get clarity.

Do you have a list of all of the reasons why you're doing NC? If not, bite the bullet and do it now.

Identify alternatives.

Anything that was on your list, think about how you responded (thinking and behaviour) and what a healthy alternative response would look like.

Next actions.

If there are things on this list that represent needs or values that you should be doing for yourself, identify next actions.

Summarise the events so that you're clear on what happened.

Work on an elevator pitch - a 30 second to 1 minute description of why this relationship didn't work and why you're doing NC. Practice it, it will come in handy when you waver.

Start having daily 'scribble sessions'.

Choose a time of day when you know that your head is buzzing with thoughts (like in the morning) and just sit down and write without censorship and editing anything and everything that's in your head. It might not make sense at first and may look very haphazard on the page but that is what is going on in your head. Keep writing and as stuff starts to leave your head, more thoughts will come that start to make sense, that are solutions or you reminding you of the truth. This is a good way to start your day. Rip off the sheets and stick them into an envelope and then stick them in a box out of the way. Repeat each day and even scribble in anxious moments - your anxiety will begin to reduce and you will connect with your true feelings and have the room to be creative, energetic or whatever you like.

Practice noting, internalising and acknowledging achievements and the good in your life.

Write down at least 1-3 things that you've achieved or feel good about each day. Think about these for a few moments and accept them into your thoughts. Acknowledge the good. Don't belittle their importance and recognise the small to the big - they all add up. This is important if you tend not to acknowledge what you're doing or how you're feeling. You can look back at these notes when you're having a rough day.

Review.

Sit down once a week and write down one negative word or phrase that's been on your mind all week. It's important to do this because the quality of our thoughts matter and if this has been on your mind, it's affecting other things you think about you and affecting what you do. What we focus on can end up becoming the life we live. Then write down one word or phrase that reflects something positive that stuck with you this week. During NC and difficult times it's all too easy to fall into the trap of only remembering and focusing on the negative which will then have you chasing these thoughts and next thing, you've spiralled. Even if you only do this for a month, you will find that you get into the habit of recognising the good in your life. There is a lot of insight as well in the negative stuff - it may show you where you need to do more for you, even if it's being a bit kinder or it may show where you need to process more grief - Unsent Letters of course.

Make sure your time is used to live, nurture and grow you.

Time doesn't heal wounds; it's what you do with the time so you have got to start thinking about and doing the things that reintegrate you back into your life. Look at areas that you've neglected and think think about how you're going to embody the values of the person that you want to be able to be in a relationship with one day.

Do the investigative work to avoid a repeat of the past.

There's an exercise on the Pattern Breaker course where students compare each of their relationship partners on paper to one another as well as comparing their partners to parents or even siblings. Keep it simple. Get a piece of paper for each, line down the middle, positive on one side, negative on the other. Start with your parents first and highlight qualities, characteristics, values, how you tended to feel around them and then do it for each of your exes. There is a pattern - learn from it and recognise where you may be trying to right the wrongs of the past by recreating similar dynamics. You will also be able to see blind spots where you've been making assumptions. Doing this exercise will ensure that you don't go out there and do a repeat of this last relationship. Ask yourself: What did I want from this person that I wasn't getting? Then identify how you can give this to you. Remember that anything that we expect from others, we must be being and doing ourselves. Romantic partners cannot fulfil needs that weren't met by parents nor can they be responsible for giving you self-esteem. The more you meet your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs, is the harder it is to end up in an unhealthy relationship and it certainly won't be an issue to leave it. When I went NC with my ex, I realised that I wanted and needed to be prioritised by him, to be taken care of, acknowledged, respected, loved, given attention to, to have a direction, for him to be responsible - not one of these things were anything that I was doing for myself and when I did, I had no need for him anymore.