Efe and Dayo dated for three years and we all thought they were headed for the altar. The introduction ceremony had already taken place and we were already picking out colours of the day, at least in our heads. Then out of the blue, things fell apart. Dayo dumped her in the meanest way. He took her money, her pride and her love and jetted out to Canada with another woman. After three years of romance and scented candles. Efe tried to be strong, putting a fake smile on, like everything was going on well. We all thought she was strong and doing fine until tragedy came calling. She wrapped her Toyota Camry round an electric pole and almost died.
For four hours, we sat outside the theatre in the hospital, holding hands and hoping she would be wheeled out alive.
Our prayers were answered, Efe survived but with injuries inside, deep emotional cuts. In three months she was back on her feet, with a physical limp but she was totally crippled inside. She’s healing gradually and has even gone on a few dates.
Are you like Efe, trying to recover from a broken heart and deep emotional cuts? Are you healing the right way or just pretending to be healing? Have you rushed into another relationship just to kill loneliness?
For most people who are hurting and feeling lonely, blaming everything and everybody including fate is what they do. But wait, while you’re trying to sort out who really hurt who and why, you need to face your demons before diving into another relationship. When you are desperately lonely is not the time to make serious commitments. Wait, feel, heal.
Here are a few antidotes to get you through a lonely season.
Don’t pretend that you are not hurting. She made a fool of you. He broke your heart. You feel like putting one in-between his eyes. All the signs were there that she was up to no good but you were a ‘happy mumu’. You loved him too much to let go and so he bullied and bashed you for three long years or more and then dumped you like rotten potatoes, so you’ve every right to be sad and disappointed in yourself. I mean, how could you have let a man do that to you? Own up, you messed up big time. He was an SOB and you curse the day you met him. It’s all good to let it all hang out. You gotta feel it to heal it. Now you know. So. Go on, feel it and start healing. Bawl, cry, pound your pillows, bring it on. Face your fears no matter the time of the day, even if the demons of loneliness hit at 1 a.m. Wait patiently, let the tears flow, heal from the inside out. That way you will not rush into another relationship out of desperation, trying to kill loneliness from outside in.
Physical activities help the mind. Lift the lid and release what’s inside. Let it out. If you bottle it all in, you will explode. The good thing is you will know when you are nearing boiling point because you will feel all the hurt welling up to the surface. That is when to do something before you crack wide open. Running, hiking, swimming, dancing classes—anything. Play your favourite artiste and dance. I like Joha and Lonely at the top by Asake, Ladies and Gentlemen by Reekado Banks, Ojuelegba by Wizkid and everything by Yinka Ayefele when I need a quick fix. Just keep moving!!
This one is easy. No book is too small or too big as long as it helps you escape into another world because when you come back from that world, you’d feel better. You may opt for inspirational books, the “if I can do it, you can, too” stories. I love fiction, racy stories told in fluid short sentences. Try them out.
Get all those dark feelings bottled up inside on paper. It lightens the burden you carry. There are people who write themselves love letters but I prefer you document where you slipped up and how you’d like your next relationship to feel like. Whatever you are and have in there, pour it out. Write letters to God, to yourself. Anything to prevent the dark thoughts from poisoning your inside.
Who knows, maybe you’ve got the next bestseller in there somewhere!
Start collecting stuff you love and you have strewn all over the house. Pull pictures out of fashion magazines, well made up faces you can try to replicate when you need to fill the time space. You will be surprised what you will discover about yourself and what lies right beneath the surface of your mind.
You have friends and siblings. Talk to them in the wee hours of the morning. There are always folks like that who are devoted to your well-being and understand what you are passing through. When you get really lonely sometimes talking would take the edge off. Just hearing someone’s voice is comforting and will get you moving.
Be playful. Don’t wear your inner turmoil like designer cufflinks. I dance alone in my bedroom in front of the mirror and laugh at myself. Do whatever brings healthy fun and has positive consequences. Take salsa lessons. Learn how to play chess, scrabble or get into golf or tennis. You do not need too much time on your hands when you are trying to heal.
Retail therapy also helps. Go and do some shopping in the open air market or push your grocery shopping till when you feel the walls of loneliness are closing in again.
Get a pet.
I love dogs, not the ferocious baby-eating ones. I like them pretty and furry, the kind I can put in a basket and go on a drive with. I used to have one I occasionally went to the office with, she would sit on my sofa, pink ribbon on her head, watch television while I worked. Yours may be a cat, pigeon, parrot or even ducks. It’s therapeutic watching them. Cats and dogs also cuddle up to you because they are sensitive like that. Feeding them, washing and blow-drying them and getting them to the vet help.
Find something that makes you laugh. It takes your mind away from why he left you or why you had to leave him. It helps you refocus your lenses on life. The doctor once told me to create one hour daily for something apart from work. That was when I began to look in the direction of comedy. Just imagine watching a movie that’ll make you laugh for one hour daily. Ah ah, trust me, it puts you in a better mood. It gets the laughter hormones running. Everybody needs that genuine, regular indulgence in gigantic belly laughter.
And it is inexpensive entertainment. Your favourite comedians are now on You tube, Netflix. See? It’s easy. You can listen to them in the shower, while fixing your makeup or even in traffic. You can also get comedy movies. Build a library and, girl, they are way less expensive than a one-night stand or bad relationship choice just because you are lonely.
Didn’t the pastor not tell you the prayer is a master key? Oh yes, never underestimate the power of prayer. It works wonders. Ask your Imam. There is God up there who has seen your struggle, your pain and knows that you need a man in your life. He knows because he created you and that need. He created us male and female because he knows we will need each other. So, go on, talk to him. He never tires of listening. Pour out your heart and get divinely connected. Everyone who has passed through this lonely path knows that talking to the one who formed you works better than talking to anyone else because nobody understands your loneliness like him. Yours sincerely recommends it.
Now, wind up the pity party and start living again. How can let one bad relationship define you and the rest of your life?