How to Heal After a Breakup
The thing no one ever tells you about breaking up is that you have to deal not just with one loss, but many. Yes, you lose the person (in the sense that you no longer see him anymore), but you also lose your entire concept of self, as it is most likely linked with the relationship. You are no longer the partner, or spouse; you are this new person, and your identity is no longer defined by being one half of a pair. More than questioning who you are, you might even lose trust in yourself, as you ask questions like: Why didn’t I see this coming? When did he become this way? Or was I blind to the truth? This sort of thinking plants seeds of doubt, which can make you feel like you are losing your mind.
As you question yourself: your judgment, perception, and ability to make sound decisions, your world begins to lose shape. Your foundation crumbles. You start to think that nothing makes sense, and from this mode of thinking, you can convince yourself that everything is meaningless. The mind loves to think in extremes, and so it tells you things like: You’ll never find anyone. There’s no such thing as love. It’s impossible to find someone at my age. There are no honest people in the dating pool.
So, the key to getting over a breakup is two-fold: 1)You have to make meaning of what feels like a chaotic situation, and 2)You have to let go of any doubt about yourself and replace it with confidence and surety.
How Do You Find Meaning?
The mind is constantly seeking meaning; this is why it’s difficult to cope with tragedy, such as the death of a young person. The same is true when a relationship ends. Oftentimes, people question why it happened, as it doesn’t seem fair. However, when you find meaning by looking for lessons you’ve learned, or by identifying value that you’ve gained as a result of being in the relationship, then your mind will stop spinning stories in some vacuous quest for understanding. Only then can you relax, let go, and begin the process of healing.
Maybe you were mistreated; maybe you deserved respect, or honesty, and your partner was reckless with your heart. Here’s the shift you have to make: Just because it was unfair, just because you didn’t deserve it, doesn’t mean you can’t give the relationship a positive meaning. Did you grow as a person? Did the relationship result in your having a child? Were there positive aspects? Stop asking why it ended, and instead, give your heartbreak a purpose. Give it meaning. We’re all on a journey, growing and evolving, and it’s very possible that one relationship had to end because another one that is better suited for where your heading will make its way into your life once you’ve let go of your ex.
Get Rid of Doubt
The next step is to become aware of when you have doubtful thoughts and, in the moment, shift them. Catch yourself as you’re thinking things like I should’ve known better or How can I trust my instincts now? and choose a new thought. Instead, tell yourself: I’ve learned a lot from my past. I trust that I am capable of making good decisions. As you begin to regain trust in yourself and find meaning, even in difficult times, you will begin to heal. You’ll find that you won’t use breaking up as a reason to beat yourself up, or declare life as meaningless. Rather, you’ll use it as a tool to help you grow and become stronger.
A breakup is simply life redirecting you somewhere new. It’s a beginning, not an ending. Shift your perception by finding meaning and letting go of doubt, and you’ll find it a lot easier to move forward in life.
Read more about how I let go of my ex HERE.