Given the amount of songs written about someone's missing, you already know that it's not a novel experience – just a ridiculously common one (and super stupid).
"Missing a person can include everything from the memory of a memory shared with that person to a deep longing for someone who is no longer in your life," says Dr. Candice Nicole Hargons, counseling psychologist, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky and director at the Center for Racial Trauma Healing. The feeling can even manifest itself physically and "cause the somatic experiences of warmth in the body, butterflies in the stomach or even chest pain". Yay.
And as if that wasn't enough, this pain of missing someone has a habit of making its way into your brain. that. Damn it. Time – usually when you least expect it. Do you suddenly realize that the ice cream you eat is your ex's favorite taste? It happens. And if the song you used to jam with your endurance BFF to is mixed, it will happen.
Given the spontaneity of all these sensations that someone is missing, you could just shrug and give up doing something about it, but Hargons suggests otherwise. "As with all feelings, it helps you process the emotions by identifying them and allowing yourself to feel them," she says. "In the end, processed emotions tend to go away and not stick to a cycle of behaviors used to prevent you from feeling."
But that doesn't mean that what helps you process your emotions in one situation (if you miss your cross-country beast) works in another situation (longing for your first love), she adds. "With so many reasons why you might miss someone, everyone requires an intentional response."
Admittedly, it will be even more difficult. How the hell do you decide what the best move is when you already feel down and lonely? Given the emotional toll someone can miss, you might end up doing something you regret. Don't worry, this is where an expert comes in. In front of you, Hargons breaks down everything you need to do (or not do) when you miss someone.
If you miss someone who moved:
"Reach them by text, phone call, or social media and let them know they came to your mind," says Hargons. Sure, it sounds like the obvious choice. But think about it: how many times have you thought about reaching someone and never did?
Sorry, but the thought doesn't count here. Once you start chatting again, plan to visit each other instead, suggests Hargons, and in the meantime, leave a few virtual hangings on the call. You can set up a monthly virtual book club, or prepare the same meals in your home and eat together via video call until you can do it face to face. If you make specific plans for a QT, you will feel better (both).
If you miss someone who has died:
You probably miss that person every day. But if the loss feels particularly sharp, Hargons suggests writing a diary entry that describes exactly what you miss most about that person. The process of organizing your thoughts and feelings on paper alone can reduce the pressure somewhat. If that doesn't work for you, talk it out to someone or a group of people who also miss that person, says Hargons. Sharing and listening will remind you that you are not alone. The conversation could also introduce you to a coping mechanism you have never thought of, or a happy memory of that person who has started to fade.
Sometimes loss feels too personal for group discussions, and that's fine. In fact, it is normal. If you feel this way, contact a therapist or grief counselor who will help you find effective ways to process your grief that are tailored to your needs.
If you miss an ex:
"It depends on whether you want to be with that person again," says Hargons. Simply missing them doesn't necessarily mean you should be. You may just yearn for touch, affection, or even attention (no shame), but it is important that you process these feelings yourself or with a therapist for as long as you need to before you even think of shooting that person casual "Hey, how are you?" Text.
To process these feelings, you have to consider why the relationship ended, says Hargons. Then determine if these factors have changed for the better, whether it is a healthy option to get back together, and how achieving this can affect your life – especially if one or both of you have already moved on.
There's nothing wrong with missing someone after a breakup, but it can get messy if you don't take the time to worry. Maybe call a friend who knew you both well when you were together and lead the idea from them. They can help you put things in perspective.
If at the end you still wish your ex was there, Hargons says, go ahead and see if they want to catch up. However, if you find that you are currently experiencing the breakup, scrub your phone, your social media accounts, and your memories. It may sound dramatic, but it's an effective way to part with someone who once meant a lot to you, which relieves the pain of missing it.
If you miss someone who has changed:
People grow apart. It's a hard truth, but a necessary one to remember. Maybe your friend got married and started a family, and your priorities just don't match anymore. Maybe your career will take off and you will find it difficult to keep up. Sometimes such growth is out of your control, but that doesn't mean you can't try to get back on the same page. It will only require an honest conversation.
When you are ready, "tell them that you have noticed a change in them without reproach and check to see if they have noticed," Hargons advises. Your goal should not be to get your friend to change, or to apologize for changes that he may consider positive, but to measure how willing he is to invest the work to get to a place , click on both again.
If so, plan to go out with children or partners once a month, or take part in one of their work events so you can get to know the people they keep raving about. Sure, things may be different, but they don't have to end that way.
It's also worth noting that you've actually changed. It is quite possible that people in your life may find it difficult to relate to the new (ish) person you have become. Or maybe you miss the "old you" that was more spontaneous and went dancing on a random Wednesday night. "Identify the reasons why you changed," says Hargons. "Then write down which parts of you want to reclaim and which parts you want to leave behind." With this concrete plan, you can develop as the absolute best version of yourself.
If you miss an old friend, you have lost contact with:
Don't let the fear of feeling uncomfortable stop you from beating her up. If you happen to laugh at the good old days, you probably are. Start by sending them an old photo of you two, because nostalgia is always a great way to restore common ground.
When you've talked about all of the problems that you used to face, switch to the present and ask them what problems they have today. Soon it will be as if no time has passed.
If you miss your family and home:
Never underestimate the power of touch and smell. The next time you and your family are reunited, ask your daughter or mother for a shirt they'll be happy to part with. Then when you're home and loneliness sets in, run your fingers over the fabric and sniff it, Hargons says. It is second best if you actually have your loved ones next to you.
Until you see everyone again, set up family quiz nights at Zoom or collect a few memories in a scrapbook and send them to your family members to complement them. And if you are up to date by phone, you shouldn't miss out on the small details. This information about what someone ate for breakfast or which bird they saw on their walk not only deepen your connection, but also give you the feeling of experiencing these things together.
If you miss someone who doesn't miss you:
"Leave them alone," says Hargons. Really, it's that simple. It may sound tough, but it's relentless. For some reason, that person has decided to finally separate you and you have to accept that. "If you're having trouble processing these feelings yourself, contact your therapist for help," she suggests.
Remember, no matter how lonely you feel at the moment, you don't have to go through it alone.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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