A complete guide to getting over a breakup and coming out stronger and happier than you were before
A breakup hurts so much. It feels like the pain will never pass. You feel like you will never be able to function normally again. However, it does pass and you can actually come out stronger than you were before. People have survived horrific losses, yet they overcame them and the pain eases every day.
Sometimes relationships don’t work out and there is nothing that either side could have done to prevent it from happening. Sometimes feelings fade and you cannot salvage them. It is unfair and hurtful, but there is nothing you can do to change it. All you can do is come to terms with it and accept that you are okay. This could be a perfect opportunity to use this event as a wake-up call to make changes to your life. Set goals that you can reach and make your life better than it was before the breakup. We offer a free printable journal to help you get over your breakup and come out stronger than before.
Getting over a breakup sucks! It hurts so much. It hurts physically and mentally. After a breakup, you might feel failure and/or rejection. Your confidence might have taken a knock and you might be feeling fear and anxiety. However, in the book “Mars and Venus Starting Over” by John Gray, Ph.D. (author of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus), the author states that many gifts come from healing a loss. You will look back to this painful time and be grateful for the gifts it brings. There are incredible rewards for starting over and finding love again. Even a painful divorce can open the door for you to experience a rich and fulfilling life of love. This process is not an easy one. It takes hard work to give birth to a new you and to a new life, but it is worth it. After the initial adjustment, it will become much easier. Soon you will be looking back, and all this pain will be just a memory.
Becoming single again is a crisis with dangers and opportunities. There is an opportunity to heal and strengthen your heart and mind so that you will move on healthy and whole. However, there is a danger if you do not complete the healing process. Time alone does not heal all wounds. How we cope with our breakup determines the rest of our lives.
I wrote this article and created this journal as a result of my personal experience. In an effort to find relief, I read anything I could about recovering from a breakup. This article is a summary of everything I read or at least the parts that I found helpful or important. It was a difficult period. It made breathing hard to do. Things I took for granted once suddenly become so difficult, such as breathing without hyperventilating, staying calm, keeping the tears in, concentrating, sleeping, and even eating. I would have given anything to lose my appetite before the breakup, and suddenly it didn’t feel like such fun. I had to force myself to eat to keep up my strength. I would lock myself in my bathroom so that my kids couldn’t hear me cry. I have since discovered that crying is actually helpful. Scientists have confirmed that shedding tears triggers the release of oxytocin and endogenous opioids, commonly referred to as endorphins. These neurochemicals associated with positive emotions play a crucial role in alleviating both physical and emotional distress (source: Harvard Health Blog).
It was a horrible time. I honestly felt like I would be scarred for life.
After my divorce, I gave myself 7 days to cry and mourn. On the 8th day, I decided to pull myself together and make lemonade out of the lemons that I had suddenly been given with no advance notice.
I made this journal to get over my breakup and it made me feel great. Not every day was great. There were some times when things seemed overwhelming but I came out of it a stronger, happier, and more fulfilled person.
Today, 18 months after my divorce, it was one of the best things that happened to me. My life has improved in every way possible!
I am more independent, I have fulfilled myself in ways I never dreamed of before the divorce and I am happier. I have achieved every one of the goals I set for myself right after the divorce and that has not only improved my life but my self-image, as well, as I now know that I can do anything I set my mind to!
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
It takes time, but the time it takes depends a lot on you. If you cut off contact and stop hoping for him to come back then it will be easier. If not, you will only stall your recovery. Don’t stalk him on Facebook, don’t check when he was last online on WhatsApp, and get off his Instagram. Don’t ask mutual friends about him and stop making excuses to contact him. It sounds harsh but if he wanted you back he wouldn’t have left. If he wanted to contact you he knows your number. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? If he takes you back now he could change his mind again in the future. Keeping your hopes up will just keep you getting hurt over and over. You deserve someone who wants you. Someone who loves you. Someone who knows that they want you and would never let you go. You deserve more than you had!
If you follow the suggestions below, you will not only recover sooner but you will come out of the breakup better than you were before it.
Why does a breakup hurt so much?
In the book, “How to Fix a Broken Heart”, by Guy Winch, the author explains that heartache is in fact a systemic “injury.” Ethan Kross and his colleagues at the University of Michigan used a functional MRI scanner (fMRI) to analyze the brains of volunteers who had recently experienced a painful breakup. The scientists found that the emotional pain of heartbreak causes the same reaction in our brains as physical pain, which the volunteers described as “unbearable.” This helps us understand why it’s so hard to function normally when we’re heartbroken. In fact, heartbreak doesn’t just affect our brains – it can also physically harm our bodies. You might even experience a panic attack. This is one of the ways in which our bodies react to the trauma of heartbreak. Another common response is to go into fight-or-flight mode, triggering the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. When our body releases cortisol for a prolonged period of time it can undermine our health. That’s because the hormone prevents the immune system from working properly, making it much harder to fend off viruses and diseases.
The stages of a breakup
Initial shock and pain: In the first six weeks, you will feel sad together with many different feelings and pain. Don’t try to pretend that everything is fine. Feel the pain. You will then start processing your grief.
There are five stages of grief:
Denial. You’ll wonder if you made a mistake breaking things off and consider giving the relationship a second chance. If your ex broke it off you might be in denial thinking they will come back to you and it is all just a mistake.
Anger. You feel an urge to get back in touch with your ex and to tell them exactly what they did wrong. You might direct the anger to yourself and blame yourself for doing things wrong.
Bargaining. You start replaying the relationship in your head and wondering how you could have made it work. You might consider changing to make your ex happy or be tempted to lower your standards and redraw your boundaries, just to get one more shot at making things work.
Depression. You become sad without your ex and things keep reminding you of them. When depression comes it might surprise you because you were so sad at the beginning of the process.
Acceptance. You realize that you will survive. Eventually, you stop thinking about your ex and you accept that your relationship has ended.
Tony Robbins suggests a sixth stage of grief:
Creation. You create something new. You could create a new relationship that brings you happiness. You can also start new hobbies or use this time to discover your passion or purpose in life. Do whatever brings you happiness and joy.
How important is closure?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to closure.
As Susan Elliot explains in the book “Getting Past Your Breakup”, closure comes from within – your ex cannot give you closure and you should not try to get it from him or her. No matter what answer your ex gives you it won’t really satisfy you because the outcome is still the same.
On the other side, there is the opinion that closure is important. For example, on Psychology Today, Mariana Bockarova Ph.D. describes the importance of getting closure from your ex. Bockarova defines closure as “knowing the reason a romantic relationship was terminated and no longer feeling emotional attachment or pain, thereby allowing for the establishment of new and healthy relationships.” The pain and heartache that are caused by a breakup are often not only caused by the relationship that is lost, but also by the lack of clarity about why the relationship ended. This leaves us to wonder what we did wrong. How can we trust ourselves to make future decisions when our past decisions have caused so much pain? Without answers to why a break-up occurred, we lose our sense of what we know about who we are and the trust that we have in our decisions. The author suggests that you ask for closure. And if your partner refuses to give you closure after you have repeatedly asked for it, ask yourself if you would like to be with someone who would treat you with such indignity. The chances are this characteristic would have hurt you later on in the relationship even if it hadn’t ended. Therefore, you can begin to reconcile the fact that perhaps you imagined your ex to be someone he or she is not and forgive yourself for trusting someone who has behaved in this way and hurt you.
The author also suggests writing your ex a letter without expecting a response, which you may or may not choose to send. In the letter, examine the relationship through a redemptive lens, and focus on the positive outcomes that arise from the breakup. Write about the relationship in this way, over the course of 4 days. This helped me so much and the letter templates are included in the free breakup journal below.
I found that without closure I could not move on. The minute I got closure, I felt like I was finally capable of dealing with the breakup.
How to get over a breakup fast
Getting through a breakup isn’t easy and it will take time but you can definitely do a lot of things to make it take less time. There is no best way to get over a breakup and no magic pill you can take, but if you do as many of the following things as possible, you will find yourself in a better place than you were before the breakup.
No Contact with Your Ex
In the book “The No Contact Rule” by Natalie Lue, the most important thing you need to do after a breakup is to stop talking to your ex. This includes conversations, texts, Facebook stalking, and talking to your ex’s friends and family. Keeping in touch with your ex destroys your sense of self-worth and delays your recovery. Cutting off all communication with your ex will give you the distance you desperately need to recover mentally, emotionally, and physically from the breakup trauma. Before you cut off contact, arrange to exchange possessions and resolve any outstanding issues so that you don’t make any excuses to communicate in the future. Block or delete their number. Unfriend them on social media platforms. Let mutual friends know that you don’t want to hear about your ex and you don’t want them to pass on any info either. Lue, says that you will need up to 3 to 6 months of no contact to heal yourself and find closure. If you co-parent then limit all communication to the topic of your child and keep contact to a minimum. Lue stresses that you are not stopping contact to punish each other so there is no reason to be angry or cold when you do speak. Be polite and civil in all interactions.
OK, so assuming you have stopped contact, your number one priority is yourself. You are going to make yourself your priority. You are going to take care of yourself and spoil yourself. All the time that you spent on your ex will now be spent on you. Because you are worth it! The 30-day Get Over a Breakup Journal will ensure you spend time on self-care every day. After a breakup, your self-esteem often needs some tender loving care. Being kind to yourself strengthens your self-esteem.
If there is one thing you can learn from a breakup it’s that you cannot rely on anyone else for your own happiness. You need to make yourself happy and you can do it. Right now, breathing might seem too difficult, but it will get easier. You will get stronger and you will come out of this a better, happier stronger person who takes time for self-care and makes your priorities and goals matter.
One of the effects of rejection is that it dents your self-esteem. In an attempt to understand why the breakup happened in the first place, you might fall into the trap of self-criticism and believe that you’re somehow lacking something. This is simply not true. Even if you are not right for someone it doesn’t mean that you are lacking anything. To avoid this, it is important to remind yourself of your own positive traits and boost your sense of self-worth. Every time a negative thought pops us, think of a positive affirmation to give your self-worth a boost by remembering your valuable and positive traits.
Positive affirmations are statements that you tell yourself out loud or in your head to change the negative or unhelpful thoughts you might have. They are used to help you believe in yourself and help build self-confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Positive affirmations can be short phrases, sentences, or even whole paragraphs that focus on your goals, dreams, and strengths. The purpose of positive affirmations is to reprogram the subconscious mind with positivity in order to help us change our thoughts. We live in a society that often feeds us negative things and we take it as truth because no one is there to tell us otherwise. A breakup also often causes negative feelings or thoughts. These negative thoughts become our reality unless we change them, and one of the ways to do this is to start practicing positive affirmations. Now is a great time to print our free affirmation journal.
According to Louise Hay, in her book “You can heal your life”, your thoughts create your reality. When you think about how lonely you are, you are having negative thoughts. The focus is on the problem (loneliness) which is something negative. Since you manifest whatever you think, too much negative thinking will bring negativity into your life. If you think about loneliness you will be more lonely. The best way to overcome a breakup is to love yourself. According to Louise Hay, the secret to loving yourself is learning to think in positive affirmations. She suggests turning all those negative statements into positive affirmations: I am lovable, I am a positive person, I am worthy of true love, etc. See how to write affirmations. When you frame your situation in a positive way, you’re focusing your attention in the right direction. Always state your affirmations in the present tense. If you state your affirmations in the future tense, then your subconscious will keep putting it off. See affirmation quotes.
Sample affirmations after a breakup
- I am worthy of love and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
- My happiness and well-being are my top priorities.
- I am capable of healing and moving forward from this breakup.
- I choose to focus on the present moment and the positive things in my life.
- I trust that everything happens for a reason and this breakup is an opportunity for me to grow and learn.
- I am grateful for the love and lessons that this relationship brought into my life.
- I am a strong and resilient person, and I will overcome this challenge.
- I choose to love and accept myself fully, flaws and all.
- I am surrounded by love and support from friends and family.
- I am open to new experiences and opportunities for love and happiness in my future.
There are many other things you can do to support your recovery process, such as gratitude. Practicing gratitude is an effective way to bring joy back into your life. When you focus on the small things in your life that bring you joy and happiness, your pain will start to subside.
Create daily gratitude lists to remind yourself that your life is abundant. The free “get over your breakup journal” includes many sections for gratitude but you can create a gratitude journal as well. If you are finding it difficult to think of things to be grateful for then use the gratitude journal prompts to get ideas.
Journaling is an excellent way to process your thoughts and come to terms with the breakup. The free “get over your breakup journal” includes many journal prompts that will encourage you to think about whether the breakup hurts your ego or you genuinely miss your ex. If you are asking yourself “why can’t I get over my ex?” a journal is a great place to understand what lies behind the difficulty. Do you genuinely miss your ex or do you miss the security of being in a relationship? Sometimes our ego is hurt and it’s hard to know if we miss the relationship, the person, or if we are simply feeling rejected. Use your journal to list the reasons you like your ex, the reasons you liked the relationship, and the things you don’t like about your ex or about the relationship. List the things you are missing and the real reasons you cannot get over the relationship. Often you will see that the relationship wasn’t that good. When a relationship is bad for one person it is usually bad for the other too but sometimes it takes them longer to see it. A journal is a helpful tool to put things in perspective.
Medication will calm you and strengthen your mind. There are many free guided meditations available on YouTube.
In addition to calming you, meditation can be used to release your ex so that you can find closure and feel free. Gabby Bernstein, the author of Super Attractor, provides a free Cord Cutting Meditation to release your ex. Get your guided meditation here. I felt an instant feeling of relief after doing this meditation.
According to MayoClinic, exercise increases your sense of well-being and has some direct stress-busting benefits as well. Physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Exercise also reduces the negative effects of stress. Exercise also improves your mood, can increase self-confidence, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
Put on uplifting music and go for a walk. Not only will you benefit from the endorphins but the music will instantly improve your mood. If you don’t have your own playlist then search for “running playlists” on YouTube. I found this so helpful. If you enjoy dancing then go out and do it. Now is also the perfect time to learn a new sport or take exercise classes.
Reflect on your relationship and identify things you can do differently the next time. Break these down into actionable goals, and create a timeline for achieving them. For example, if you had communication issues, read self-help books and articles on how to communicate in a relationship.
Hobbies and Interests
Now is the perfect time to find new hobbies and interests. These will not only enrich your life but they will keep you preoccupied, relaxed and happy. Often, when we are in a relationship we don’t focus on the things that make us feel good. We are either too busy focusing on our partner or we simply don’t have the time. Is there anything that you always wanted to do and never got around to doing? Is there something you wanted to learn? Is there a cooking class you would like to take? A skill you would like to perfect? Is there a place you always wanted to visit? This is a perfect opportunity to focus on you and the things that give you pleasure.
Even if you are not yet ready to start something new, journal about the things you want to do and make them happen when you are stronger and ready. Never become reliant on any one person to make you happy.
Friends and Family
Often, when we are in a relationship we spend most of our time with our partners and neglect our friends and family. This is a perfect time to reconnect. They will not only give you support but build your life with people who love and accept you unconditionally. When you do eventually get into a new relationship, make an effort to keep these relationships in your life, and don’t become too reliant on your partner to fulfill all your needs.
Take Care of your Physical Health
A breakup is a stressful period. Get enough sleep, eat healthy food, and be active. Use this opportunity to make a list of all the things you have been neglecting health-wise. When last did you go to the dentist for a checkup? When last did you go to your doctor for a checkup? Take care of your body as it is going through a difficult time and needs to be as strong as possible to overcome this challenge it is facing.
Join a Support Group or Get Therapy
Sometimes, getting over a breakup causes pain that is too deep to address on your own. This can lead to extreme feelings of loss, loneliness, or hopelessness. There are many support groups available. Either find one online or nearby. Getting support from people in a similar situation is often very helpful. You might even want to try therapy.
Bring Happiness into Your Life
This might be one of the most important steps in your recovery process. After a breakup, it’s important to focus on doing things that bring happiness into your life. Whether it’s spending time with friends and loved ones, pursuing hobbies and interests that you enjoy, or simply taking time to relax and recharge, prioritizing your own happiness can be a powerful way to heal and move forward. While it can be tempting to dwell on the past and what could have been, shifting your focus to the present and what brings you joy can help you find new meaning and purpose in your life. Remember, happiness is not something that can be found outside of yourself – it comes from within. By focusing on the things that bring you joy and fulfillment, you can cultivate a sense of happiness and well-being that can carry you through even the toughest of times.
Every day, try to think of at least one thing you can do to bring you happiness, and make sure you do it. This is the perfect time to prioritize your happiness.
Why not try a yoga class? If you don’t have the time or money to go to a class, you can find many online classes on the internet or on YouTube. If you are into it, then try a yoga retreat. I went to a yoga retreat after my breakup. It totally put me out of my comfort zone. I went alone, which was strange in itself. It turned out that everyone else was alone as well so I didn’t even feel uncomfortable. It was the perfect opportunity to focus on myself, work on my breakup journal, and gain insight from the exercises and the participants. I met some amazing people who played a part in my recovery.
Often, a lot of the issues related to a breakup that cause anxiety are things that might or might not happen in the future. We are not as concerned with what is happening right now but what will be at a later stage. For example, will a find a new partner? Will I be able to do certain things without my partner? Will specific things happen? When this happens, use the principles of mindfulness to bring yourself to the present moment. Right now things are OK. Tell yourself that in this specific moment you have everything you need and focus on the present moment. Sometimes it helps to focus on your breath. The idea is to stop worrying about the future by fully experiencing the present.
Massage and/or Spa
If you can afford it then treat yourself to a massage and/or a spa day. Get a mani-pedi and/or a facial. Find a recipe for a DIY body scrub online and make it yourself. Use it to make your skin feel soft. Buy products to give yourself treatments at home and use them. Buy face, hand, and foot masks and pamper yourself. You deserve it! Lie down for half an hour with your masks on and relaxing music in the background and breath deeply. You can also listen to an online guided meditation on YouTube.
Declutter Your Home
There is something therapeutic about decluttering your home or even just your bedroom. It is also an opportunity to do something that doesn’t require any concentration. You might not be able to focus but might have a lot of negative energy. Tidying, decluttering, and cleaning your home are great ways to put this energy to a good cause. It also has an added benefit. Once your home is decluttered and clean, you will feel much better.
Actively Let Go of Your Ex
Recovering from a breakup and moving on requires that you let go of your ex. Letting go isn’t easy, but it’s the essential first step if we want to recover. Get rid of the things that belonged to your ex-partner.
Some therapists claim we have to let go of everything from our hopes to old happy memories. They claim that you should stop thinking about the good times and how much you want and love your ex.
Others, such as John Gray, PhD, in the book “Mars and Venus Starting Over”, claim that the secret for letting go of an attachment is to not try to let go as that will make you want to hold on even more tightly. Instead, keep holding on. Remember how much you love your partner, feel how much you want your partner, feel how much you need your partner, feel your gratitude for all the gifts your partner has given you, and feel how much you wish you could bring back your partner. By taking time to remember our partner with love, we give ourselves the opportunity to heal. This is how the healing takes place. In the beginning, by remembering your partner, you will feel the loss even more intensely. You may experience a variety of painful feelings: anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow. Feeling these different painful emotions is actually how we release our ex. This pain is temporary. When your heart is fully healed, remembering your ex is no longer painful. Instead, it evokes the sweetness of your love.
Have Faith in the Universe
In our lives, things often fall into place, fall apart and come together again in unexpected ways. To let things happen you have to create and have faith. You will find that positive solutions emerge from the most surprising places. When a relationship doesn’t work for one side it means it wasn’t working for the other side as well. However, sometimes only one side sees it. If the relationship wasn’t working then it needs to be over so that the Universe can send you a better relationship that will be more suitable. Have faith that something better is going to emerge. How many times have you been upset about something only to learn that it worked out for the best? See how to manifest a relationship.
Forgive your ex
Forgiveness is crucial along your way to recovery. Why forgive your ex if they didn’t treat you well? You need to do it for yourself, not for your ex. The motive is purely selfish. The reason you need to forgive is so that you can be well and not lose energy. Anger, hate, and resentment drain your energy. They cause you to have sleepless nights and lots of pain and anguish. You are the one who suffers, not your ex. Your ex might have even moved on to a new relationship and might be having a good time. In the meantime, you are the one who carries the negative energy around you wherever you go. It is of no benefit to you to be angry or resentful. Instead, be grateful for the good times you had and forgive them for hurting you.
Do something kind for someone else
When going through a breakup it is hard to focus on anything else besides our grief and pain. Try to do something small for someone else. Besides the karma (which certainly can’t hurt) it enables us to focus on something else besides our heartbreak. Helping someone else will make you feel much better even if it is for a brief moment. You don’t have to do something major. Here are some things you can do:
- Smile and say hello to people you pass by on the street or in your workplace.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Offer to help someone carry their groceries or other heavy items.
- Pay for someone’s meal or coffee.
- Offer to lend an ear to someone who needs to talk.
- Compliment someone on their work or their outfit.
- Send a thoughtful text message to someone you know who may be going through a tough time.
- Volunteer your time to help out at a local charity or community organization.
- Offer to pet-sit or house-sit for a friend or neighbor who is going out of town.
- Leave a kind note or small gift for someone to find.
- Donate clothes, books, or other items to a local charity or shelter. If you have done the “declutter” task from above you will have many things to donate.
- Help someone with a task they are struggling with.
- Offer to teach someone a new skill or hobby you know well.
- Make a meal or bake something for a neighbor or friend who may be going through a tough time.
- Simply listen and be present for someone who needs support.
What not to do?
- Don’t allow negative self-talk. If you find yourself taking that path then work on positive affirmations. Ask the people you confide in to force you to say 3 positive affirmations every time you use negative self-talk.
- Don’t sleep too much or too little. See our sleep tracker. If you cannot sleep, then speak to your doctor.
- Don’t write posts on Facebook to get messages to your ex. Everyone knows what you are doing and you are worth more than that. In fact, try to stay away from social media as much as possible. The picture-perfect lives that people present online are often far from reality. Rather than comparing yourself to the idealized versions of other people’s lives that you see on social media, it’s better to stay off the platforms altogether until you recover. Instead, focus on your own life and find genuine happiness and fulfillment.
- Don’t jump into a relationship before you have mourned and overcome the breakup.
- Prevent emotional eating.
- Don’t turn to alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t neglect your physical hygiene (take regular showers, wash your hair, get dressed, and don’t stay in your pajamas all day).
- Stop blaming yourself.
- Don’t idolize your ex and focus only on his/her good qualities.
Turn Lemons into Lemonade
No matter what happens to me in life, when someone or something throws lemons at me, I try my best to turn them into lemonade. It isn’t always easy but it is so effective and rewarding. I got this trait from my father, who thinks that everything is the best thing that could have happened to him no matter what it is. Now, I don’t mean that you should learn to live with the lemons but turn them into sweet lemonade.
Use this opportunity as a wake-up call to reevaluate your life and set goals to improve your life in every way. It has been 18 months since my divorce and I can honestly say that my life has improved in every way possible. See our free printable goal planner that will guide you through the process.
Don’t Be Scared of Change
Spencer Johnson, in the book “Who Moved my Cheese“, explains that fear is what makes confronting changes so difficult. Change requires you to cope with a new situation and it’s natural to be scared of change. As long as you are afraid of leaving your comfort zone then things won’t get better. After a breakup, the loss you feel can be devastating. You won’t be able to recover until you find a new way to bring joy to your life. This means you have to look for something new. Johnson suggests that you visualize yourself happy or whatever your goal is in vivid detail and this will increase your desire to attain your goal. So if you feel stuck or scared, visualize yourself happy and loved. This will give you the energy to move forward and get over your breakup. When you move in a new direction, you learn how to conquer your fears. The next time you deal with change in your life, it will be easier. The fear in your mind after a breakup is usually more intense than being single again actually is. Once you start moving, it is likely that things will improve. There is always new cheese (new partners or new ways to bring happiness into your life) to be found. All you need to do is step out of your comfort zone and start your search!
In the book “When Things Fall Apart”, by Pema Chödrön, the author claims that embracing your fears is your ticket to greater self-knowledge. By getting to know our fears rather than avoiding everything that frightens us, we can gain entirely new perspectives on our personality, relationships, and past. Often, fear is our first reaction to a breakup. However, you should take the time to understand your fear on a deeper level by taking time to reflect on it.
The author describes an ancient strategy called “no more struggle”. This is the practice of using meditation to recenter yourself at times when you feel powerless. Rather than struggling with your thoughts, embrace them and investigate them to find out more. What scares you most about the breakup? Observe yourself to find the answers to these tough questions.
Learn How to Be Alone
Some of us have trouble being alone. Some people don’t even enjoy their own company. How can you expect anyone to enjoy your company if you don’t enjoy your own company? Solitude provides us with some of the best opportunities to relax, recuperate and recenter.
In the book “How to Be Alone”, Sara Maitland explains that solitude is an immensely powerful and positive thing. Those who truly experience solitude can be far healthier and more relaxed than those who don’t. Alone time can also improve your personal well-being and creativity.
Spending time by yourself, free of outside influences enables you to discover your real “self”. It allows you to focus on a deeper understanding of who you are and what really matters to you. Learn to connect with who you really are.
If you are not used to being alone and feel uncomfortable, try to identify any fears you have about being alone. What is it about being alone that scares you? Once you overcome your fears you can start finding ways to actually enjoy your alone time.
Find Ways to Distract Yourself
In the book “Emotional First Aid” by Guy Winch, Winch explains that after a breakup, people tend to rehash the painful events over and over. This is called ruminating. Each time you do it, it feels worse, and takes longer to recover from the breakup. It also leads to anger, and negativity and drains your mental energy. Winch suggests you shift perspectives and reframe events to help you get out of a rumination rut. It isn’t always easy to stop ruminating but it is possible. You need to change how you look at the experience. People usually look back on the breakup from their own point of view – a “self-immersed perspective.” The problem is that this doesn’t improve your understanding. It just forces you to relive the negative emotions. It is much better to distance yourself from the situation and look at it from a third-person perspective. Imagine you’re a stranger watching the relationship from a distance. Do this whenever you start ruminating.
In order to deal with anger and torment caused by rumination, reframe the breakup in a less upsetting way. Look for any positive intentions, opportunities, or lessons hidden in the breakup. For example, you are now free to pursue your goals and focus on self-care.
Looking at the breakup in this way can take the pain out of rumination, but the best way to stop it completely requires another tactic: distraction. Take your mind away from ruminative thoughts by focusing on moderate or intense activities like a conversation or playing games. Think of where you often ruminate and list appropriate distractions. For instance, going for a run or for a walk is a great distraction when you’re at home, while a game on your phone could help when you are away from home. Use these tactics regularly.
Use a Breakup as an Opportunity for Growth
A breakup is a great opportunity to reevaluate our life and the direction it was going in. Are you happy and content? Have you found your passion? If not, see how to find your passion. Are you fulfilled? Are there things about your life that you would like to change? See our free goal planner to help you set and reach goals. List all the things you would like to change in your life. Rank each thing from easiest to most difficult and create a strategy for achieving each one. Work your way through your list and achieve each of your goals. With each success, you will feel more empowered to tackle the next goal and your self-esteem will improve. Focus on who you are going to become and what you need to do to get there.
Get Over Your Breakup and Come Out Stronger Journal
In the book “Mars and Venus Starting Over” by John Gray, Ph.D., the author describes three steps for healing the heart after a breakup:
- Step One: Getting help. Sharing your feelings and spending time with people who know what you are going through is essential to the healing process. Men can speed up their healing process by hearing from others who are in pain, while women particularly benefit from being heard. You can also take a workshop, join a support group, or seek help from a counselor.
- Step Two: Grieving the loss. We must take time to grieve the loss by remembering the person and what happened in the relationship. Remembering your past together brings up painful feelings, but it also evokes the love you shared. Re-experiencing this love helps you to heal and soothes the pain. By feeling gratitude for the good times and forgiveness for the mistakes, the heart is filled with the love it needs to heal itself. Use a journal to journal about your good times, and the gratitude you feel. It isn’t always easy to do this but when your heart is filled with love it is so much easier than when your heart is filled with hatred and anger. The challenge is to find forgiveness and only then will you be able to grieve fully. Even if the relationship was mostly bad in the end, remember the good times. This process sets you free to move on with an open heart to find true and lasting love. The author explains that until the healing process is complete, men tend to stop caring as much, while women have problems with trusting again.
- Step Three: We must take time to become whole before getting involved intimately. Before we can successfully share with another, we must heal our neediness and have a strong sense of self. The best time to get involved again is when you feel as if you don’t have to. Ideally, we must be generally fulfilled and complete before entering into another intimate relationship.
When are you ready to move on to the next relationship?
When you feel complete as a single person you won’t be reliant on others for your happiness or looking for someone else to make you happy. You find this happiness by focusing on yourself first and foremost. The moment you no longer need a significant other is usually when they arrive.
In the book “Mars and Venus Starting Over” by John Gray, Ph.D., explains that when we lose love, it takes a lot longer for our heart to adjust than for the mind. As soon as we think we are ready to move on, another wave of painful feelings comes up. The author explains that the heart does not let go in one step, but rather gradually and in waves. To me, it felt more like a rollercoaster than a wave. We often move on to the next relationship too soon and before we are ready. We don’t want to feel pain and a new relationship seems like a good distraction. Although it does provide short-term relief it is counterproductive in the long run.
Even if you are the one to end a relationship, it is still perfectly normal and healthy to experience feelings of grief and loss. Even if you realize that it is a good thing that the relationship ended your heart might still be sad and feeling alone. You need to explore, process, and release your unresolved feelings. Taking the time to examine your feelings is not only normal but also healthy. It allows the healing to be complete.
Another mistake we make after a loss is not giving ourselves permission to experience all our feelings. To release our ex and our attachment to our ex, we need to experience four healing emotions: anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow.
Anger: After a loss, it is important that we give ourselves permission to be angry. If we don’t, then we may become indifferent and lose our passion for love and life.
Sadness: we need to give ourselves permission to be sad. Feeling sadness reconnects us to our ability to love, value, and enjoy what we do have. Sadness opens our hearts to feel love once again.
Fear: Fear allows us to explore what could happen that we do not want to happen. This helps us find the determination to find love again but not because we need it but rather because we want it.
Sorrow: Sorrow allows us to explore what cannot happen that we want to happen. This awareness is important since we need to acknowledge that we are powerless to undo what has happened. By reflecting on what is not possible, we shift to our ability to discern what is possible. As a result of feeling sorrow, we are able to release our past hopes and eventually find new hope.
Each of the four healing emotions plays an essential part in the process of healing a broken heart. There is no particular order in which we should feel them. Quite often, after a loss or disappointment, we will experience first anger, then sadness, then fear, and finally sorrow. Yet in different situations and with different people, the healing emotions come up in a different order. If we neglect any of these emotions then we can delay or even obstruct the healing process. To grieve the loss of love properly, we need to make sure that in our mind we give our heart permission to feel each of the four healing emotions. Feeling the pain associated with each of the four healing emotions eventually triggers a release from pain.
If you have any additional tips on how to get through a breakup then please leave a comment below.