Does it ever feel like the universe is telling you to reach out to an ex?
No? Just me?
Do you ever feel like the universe is sending you a sign? You weren’t even asking or looking for a sign, and yet there it was? As clear as day and undeniable.
Maybe this seems familiar. I have gone through this cycle so many times, it feels like a song as familiar to my brain as “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies (admit it, you know all the words too). Here is a common situation. I’ve been broken up with the ex long enough that I’m not thinking about him all the time. And then a certain song comes on the radio that reminds me of our relationship. And then I drive by a restaurant where he took me to dinner, and I see an ad for a rerun of that TV episode that made us laugh so hard. These must be signs, right? I’m supposed to reach out to my ex!
The romantic part of me says that it’s a great idea to reach out. But it’s not the universe, it’s my brain. My brain is making me think that I’m being given mysterious clues, but it’s just neuroscience. I hate to be the bearer of bad news if you are like me and see the grand romantic movie plot unfolding in my life. But it’s really just science. Here’s what’s really going on.
When our brain gets excited about something, it subconsciously starts looking for it more. So, when that special song came on the radio I thought “Oh wow, I this makes me think of George.” (I’ve never dated a George, it’s just an example) And since time has probably passed since George and I dated, I have warm, happy memories come back. Our brains are great at forgetting pain, hurt, and anger, especially after a long period of time. Our brain will subconsciously decide to look for more things that make me think about George.
I knooooow, this is really an unfair trick of the brain. Making us do things subconsciously...jeez… And to make matters worse, the brain then uses confirmation bias to prove that this subconscious thought it correct, so it spends all it’s time scanning for proof that you’re right. So, after hearing that one song, it is purposefully looking for other validation to think about George.
If you find yourself thinking you’re getting a sign, you have a choice to make. Behind Door #1 you can reach out to your ex. Behind Door #2 you can take a time out.
Let’s say you choose Door #1. I can’t say for certain what will happen. Things change all the time, and situations surprise us. In my experience, however, exes belong in the past because they are an ex for a reason. Warm, fuzzy memories will stick around for a little while through the honeymoon phase but pretty soon the same problems that were there the first time will come back.
Behind Door #2, you take a pause and choose yourself. Recognize that your brain is doing what it was designed to do, but you can also break the patterns. Refocus on yourself and think about what makes you happy. Focus on your own happiness, just for a moment. What’s a song that you love to dance to? Maybe do some yoga or get some exercise. Take a hot shower or a nice relaxing bath. Fill yourself with good feelings, and re-evaluate the situation after you are feeling really happy with yourself. What do you really want?
Sometimes those signs are pointing to something that you really do want. Sometimes it's just an illusion. But the best way to discern is to do so when you're feeling happy and full. From that satisfied place, you can look at what's happening and what is true. Just like you don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry, don't make decisions when you're feeling less than happy and full.
I’ll be the first one to be honest and tell you that relationships are tricky. We get flooded with feel-good chemicals, and we want to feel those again. It can feel like things are a little bit out of your control, and that’s ok because we all feel that way. The best way to take control of your life is to return to the most important relationship – the one you have with yourself. The stronger that relationship, the stronger you are in the world.
How do you make an investment in your relationship with yourself? What activities make you happy? Hit reply and tell me what you do to make yourself a priority.
Lots of love,
PS. I love this topic, and next week I will explore the difference between intuition and impulse. This is something I am constantly revisiting, because it is evolving in my life. if you have stories about intuition and impulses, please send them my way!