When you’re going through a breakup you’re going to be hit by waves of emotions. Waves turn out to be the perfect metaphor for several reasons. Think of yourself as swimming in the ocean and as an emotion as an approaching wave.
When you’re in the ocean and a wave approaches from out in the sea like emotions there’s not much you can do about the wave itself. It’s coming at you, it’s going to reach you, and all you have control over is how you respond, not whether or not it hits you.
If you stay calm, present and you’re looking at the right place, you can see the wave approach. If you’re still caught up in the previous wave or you’re not calm, you won’t see the next wave approach you.
You cannot fight a wave.
You can hold your breath, and dive under it, and if it wasn’t about to break, you’ll pop up on the other side. You’ll be somewhat out of breath, but you’ll have survived. This corresponds to choosing when to grieve and when not to grieve. You can only keep doing this if you maintain awareness and present-mindedness.
You can try ignoring the wave. But it will either swallow you or smack you down. Leaving you disoriented and confused. This corresponds with being emotionally unaware.
You can anticipate the wave, and float up with it as it goes up, and float down with it as it goes down. This only works if it’s not about to break. This correspond with being emotionally aware.
If it’s about to break, and you’re calm and aware, you can position yourself in order to surf the wave. Depending on how good a surfer you are and how powerful the wave is, you can successfully surf the wave. This corresponds with actively dealing and exploring your emotions.