4 Simple Strategies for Getting Over a Breakup
Without a doubt, the pain that follows a breakup is pretty damn horrible. It is painful, it is uncomfortable, and it can shake us to our very core. Multiply this by a factor of ten if the breakup came as a surprise and/or the relationship was long-term.
When we are in the midst of heartache, the thought of letting go and moving forward without the one we love seems absurd. The thought of just ‘getting over the breakup’ seems insane.
As humans, we fight to hold on to what we know - and what we think we love and need. This is very normal. The good news is this: as humans we are also pretty darn good at adapting. Although it may be hard to recognise whilst in the midst of heartache, there IS light at the end of the long dark tunnel of heartbreak and hurt.
What we need to do is teach ourselves to look at the situation a little differently. To open ourselves to the possibility that if we could let go just a little – of both the person we loved and our concrete ideas for our future - we may in time find a BETTER life than the one we had.
Here are FOUR simple yet effective strategies for getting over a breakup:
1. Allow yourself to grieve
The end of a relationship is a death of sorts. It is the end of the life you shared with your significant other AND the conclusion of shared hopes and dreams – this is no small thing! And the end of this life needs to be grieved, just as any death is grieved. This process should not be skipped. It can be painful, it can be uncomfortable - it can be a downright bloody agonising nuisance at times.
Make no mistake here - the temptation to simply block and numb the pain will strike! But for your own good, ignore this temptation. You will be doing yourself AND your future mental and emotional health a HUGE favour if you allow yourself the time and the energy to mourn your loss now, by allowing yourself to feel and process the emotions as they come along – however and whenever they come along.
WHEN A DIFFICULT FEELING ARISES… SIT WITH IT, FEEL IT, BREATHE INTO IT, PROCESS IT. Then let it go.
2. Cut contact with your ex
It may seem a noble idea to remain friends with your ex. It is not. Particularly not in the early stages of your breakup when you’re needing to emotionally detach from him or her, and gain acceptance of your new situation. In order to fully separate emotionally and move through your grief in a healthy manner, you need physical space from your ex.
DON’T go to places you used to hang out together. DON’T call or text him or her when you’re feeling depressed, lonely or needing help – use your friends or a trained therapist for this. RESIST the urge to know what they’re up to, who they’re seeing, and where they’re going. DON’T stalk him or her on social media, and DON’T ask others for details on his or her life.
If you do need to be in contact (for example, if you have children together) focus on keeping your interactions simple and business-like. Don’t share details of your personal lives. You don’t need to despise your ex, but you don’t need to rely on him or her for friendship or support. Maybe further down the line these rules can be eased, but for now, NO!
3. Adjust your thinking - be realistic about the state of your relationship
Grief is a funny thing. It often distorts our perception of reality and has us believing that our relationship was a whole lot better than it actually was. In the midst of heartbreak it is completely normal for our mind to ‘gloss’ over the harsher aspects of our ex and our relationship, and to focus on the positives – the good times – only.
Reality is, no relationship is perfect. And chances are, if you’re going through a breakup yours had its fair share of problems - even though in the midst of grief this may be a hard fact to digest.
So, how to get through it?
By very consciously telling yourself to be realistic. By reminding yourself that grief is, in all likelihood, doing funny things with your head. By telling yourself OVER AND OVER that the person – and the situation – that you are missing and pining for is long gone. That what you are missing and pining for is a fantasy – NOT the reality.
If it helps, put pen to paper– make a list of five or ten things about your ex that you couldn’t stand, and WON’T miss!
4. Learn to love YOURSELF. Do what makes YOU feel good
It is now time to begin seeing yourself in a new light, to rediscover YOU – the YOU that may have been forgotten during your relationship. After a breakup it is completely normal to feel lost and wonder when you will feel ‘normal’ again. But here is the thing – your ‘normal’ does NOT have to be what it used to be. It’s time to create a new normal! To rediscover yourself and to LOVE yourself.
To really connect with who you are, spend some time alone. Go for walks, read, write in a journal. Fill yourself with wholesome food. Sleep.
Think about what you would like the next chapter of your life to look like. Think of some things that you have always wanted to accomplish, but somehow never found the time or courage to do whilst in your relationship.
This is YOUR life, and now is the perfect opportunity to make it exactly how you want it to be!
Are you struggling to get over a breakup? Or do you have any further tips on how to make a breakup work? Please, share in the comments!
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