Dealing With a Breakup: How to Heal Properly and Love Yourself Again?
After breakup, you’ll find yourself with three options.
The first is to spend all your time and effort trying to get back with your ex.
The second option is to pretend that nothing has happened and go on into the same path that led you into unsuccessful relationships.
The third option is to heal properly, examine what happened, and learn how to build a healthier life. Doing this will help you become a better person and find someone who is good for you and to you.
Even though the last option is the one that will assure sustained long-term happiness, most people choose the first, and when that doesn’t work, they go on with the second option.
Because they don’t know how to do the third and take charge of their lives.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to heal properly from your heartbreak and start loving yourself again.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Time alone can’t heal all wounds. If it did, no one would have unresolved grief that still upset him every now and then.
In fact, pain that is not faced will never go away. And if every time to have a loss you don’t face it, you’re going to end up with a heart full of unresolved grief. This is going to make each loss harder to cope with and prevent you from living up to your fullest potential.
With unresolved grieve, it’s hard to get close to people and trust them. Life becomes narrower and fear becomes greater.
This why you need to allow yourself to grieve your loss properly.
But if you take the time to heal and learn the lessons you need to learn, you’ll be able to break the pattern and become able to love fully and give freely.
The Three Phases of Grieve
Grieve happens in phases: the first phase is shock or disbelief; the second one is review and great emotion; and the final phase is acceptance.
These phases aren’t a straight line. People can go back and forth between them until one finally move to the last phase “acceptance”
Phase One: Shock and Disbelief
In the beginning, a breakup might feel like a shock to you. You might find it hard to believe that this is really a loss.
You’re in pain but you want to suppress it and ignore it. Many people do that, but it’s healthier to simply recognize your loss and allow yourself to feel the pain of the loss.
Even when breakup was for the best, you still had a loss. At the very least, you’ve lost the time and emotional and physical energy you put into the relationship. You’ve also lost the identity of the couple and maybe some mutual friends and your ex’s family members.
When the breakup is sudden, you find yourself in a state of shock. Your mind might go numb, and for a while, refuse to face the reality. This shock is a protective mechanism that keeps you from the pain of the overwhelming array of emotions.
While the effect should wear off by itself, it’s important to acknowledge the pain if you want to move out of the shock phase sooner and not remain stuck.
Phase Two: Review and Great Emotion
After the initial shock wears off, you find yourself left with great grieve along with great array of emotions:
You feel devastated that the person you are in love with and who told you he loved you, says it’s over. Even if things weren’t going well and the breakup was expected, the loss is devastating. It’s even more devastating if you didn’t see it coming or your ex had been cheating on you or abusing you in some way.
A breakup might leave you overwhelmed by feelings. You feel mentally and physically incapacitated in some way. You doubt your ability to function and maybe even your sanity. You either have trouble sleeping, or you find yourself sleeping too much.
This is normal. It’s the grief’s way to call attention to itself. But it’s also the mind’s attempt to reorganize your life again.
Give yourself permission to feel confused. Take care of yourself during this time. Be extra cautious when driving. Make lists and keep a calendar. Recognize that your memory isn’t working properly, but don’t worry it’ll come back. In the meantime, write things down and stay as organized as you can.
Anger is an appropriate reaction after a breakup. But while feeling anger is okay, action on it is not. Own your anger, talk and write about it but you should not lash out in anger. Remind yourself that, eventually, your anger will dissipate.
Unexpressed anger that people refuse to acknowledge, will manifest itself in other ways. People take it out on other people, become prone to bad moods, go through their day irritated, etc.
Below are some ways to help you manage your anger:
- Write a letter that you don’t send to the people you are angry with.
- Talk to a therapist
- Talk to a supportive friend. If you can’t think of a supportive friend who’s going to listen, try 7cups of tea it is an online service with thousands of volunteer listeners stepping up to lend a friendly ear.
- Breathe deeply
Guilt is a normal reaction of grieving. There will always be things you wish you said or didn’t say. Done or not done.
Guilt stems from the inability to accept what happened and falsely believing that you can go back and fix it. But guilt and blaming yourself for the breakup aren’t going to change anything. What happened has happened.
If things went wrong in the relationship, you need to accept it, learn from it and move on.
Phase Three: Acceptance
Reaching this phase doesn’t mean you’ve moved on; it means you are ready to move on and find some peace. It’s about understanding what happened and accepting that it cannot be changed.
During this phase, you might start setting new priorities and values for yourself. You’re learning from your mistakes and learning more about yourself.
This is when people tend to make major changes (moving to another state, changing jobs, returning to school, etc) or become serious about their goals in life. They start enjoying life again without unresolved grief.
2. Taking Care of Yourself
If you want to heal and move on, you’ll need to put yourself first and nurture yourself while allowing your emotions to be felt.
You need to keep in mind that nature abhors a vacuum. If you lose something or someone, something else will come along to replace it. But this new thing might not be something you want. For example, when you succeed in breaking a back habit, unless you replace it with a good habit, you most likely will end up with another unhealthy habit.
This is why you need to exert some control over what replaces the things you lose. When you try to work out your hurt and anger, you need to replace it with positive thoughts and self-image.
#1. Journal – Externalize Your Pain
Strength is facing your feelings and confronting the pain with compassion and curiosity, even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.
Greif is about letting your feelings and thoughts out. Journaling allows you to do that and keeps your thoughts organized allowing you to observe your feelings and thoughts and bring awareness to them.
It can also help you plan and set goals. It allows you to see where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you want to go, make adjustments and figure out the next step to take.
#2. Increase Your Self-Esteem
No one can love us more than we love ourselves. Healthy relationships with others start with a healthy relationship with yourself. If your self-esteem is not high, especially after the breakup, you can still increase it.
A breakup can leave you, not just feeling lonely, but painfully aware of your shortcomings. Maybe you starting thinking back of all the mistakes you’ve done, or maybe your ex started dating again and you’re comparing yourself to his new partner.
It’s time to change that with positive self-talk and affirmation:
Through self-talk, we control what we’re doing, saying and feelings. But self-talk can be brutal at times. For example, when you forget something, you might tell yourself “I’m so stupid! How can I forget something like that?”
But the truth is, forgetting never means that you’re stupid. People forget things all the time. By changing to positive self-talk, your self-esteem will increase. You become more confident, happier and you start attracting healthy relationships.
The best way to start talking to yourself positively is to stop yourself when you’re tempted to say something negative and instead affirm yourself. So when you forget something, tell yourself “I’m smart!”
Affirmations are powerful tools – when they’re done correctly. They are the best way to change your self-image and challenge your negative deeply-held beliefs.
The subconscious mind is simple, takes statements literally, only know the present, doesn’t understand negative phrasing, and responds well to visualization. This is why it’s important to choose your affirmations in a way that your subconscious mind will understand.
In other words, effective affirmations must be positive, present, personal, corrective, brief, and concise.
#3. Make a Gratitude List
This self-care tool is short, simple but very powerful. Many people report experiencing miracles after they started expressing gratitude.
Because you’re feeling down after your breakup, it’s hard to pay attention to how much you have in your life. This is why you need to start taking time each day to deliberately consider the good things you have. This will help you feel more positive and get you back into balance while you do the hard work of grieving.
#4. Hobbies and Interests
A breakup can leave a void in your life that, unless you deliberately fill with something positive, might create a bad habit. Hobbies and interest are one great way to take control of your life and decide what to come into your life.
Remember: Nature abhors a vacuum, whatever comes out of your life will be replaced with something new.
You choose something soothing like coloring. Or something enjoyable like making a dried-flower arrangement. Or something more elaborate like learning to crochet. Or something that requires concentration like learning new language or learning computer programming.
#5. Set Goals
Making changes and setting goals for yourself is an important part in moving on. This is the time to connect with who you are and what you want. This could be a major change like going back to school or changing jobs or something fun like traveling or learning a new skill.
To set goals you’re going to successfully achieve, they need to be aligned with your own values.
#6. Take Care of Your Physical Health
You might feel low on energy during this time, but don’t let that come at the expense of taking care of your body.
* Eat right. Avoid binging on your comfort food. Avoid sugar and energy drinks. Eat healthy food and take vitamins.
* Get enough sleep. If you are sleeping too much, try to limit your sleeping hours each day. If you’re not sleeping well, try few techniques to help you sleep better like taking a bath before sleep, reading a novel, and putting down your phone an hour before sleep.
* Exercise. Physicalactivity helps you look your best, but also releases endorphins, which are “feel good” hormones.
The intensity of your pain might frighten, but remind yourself that it’s normal. You are grieving.
But pain won’t last forever. You will not always feel this way.
For now, take it a day at a time, an hour at a time and take care of yourself. Reassure yourself that you’ll heal eventually and move on.
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Portions of this article were adapted from the book Getting Past Your Breakup, © May 2009 by Susan J. Elliott. All rights reserved.