Break-ups suck. They feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut and a piece of your heart has been ripped out all at the same time. Well, at least that’s how I remember them. I’ve had my fair share of relationship misfortunes and felt the sting of being dumped, but one thing I know for sure is this - it’s not the end of the story, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Heartache might be your current pitstop, but despair is not your final destination.
Here are a few tips that’ll help you survive this break-up period and get you through to a brighter side and a better day.
1. LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE.
In high-school I dated a guy for nearly 3 years. He was attractive, talented and a good boyfriend. At the time I definitely thought we’d be together forever. Although somewhere deep down I think I knew he wasn’t right for me, and I wasn’t right for him, it still hurt when we eventually broke-up. I was left confused, disorientated and disillusioned. Staying together for the sake of it would have done both of us more harm than good. And unknown to me, something (or should I say someone) amazing was just around the corner. That very same year I met a guy called Ben. He turned out to be the sweetest, most genuine, faithful, fun and handsome man to ever come my way. Today, we’ve been happily married for over a decade, are still passionately in love and have been blessed with two gorgeous kids to call our own. When I look at the big picture, all of my past relationship disappointments feel like a distant memory. So, don’t be disheartened by a temporary setback. It might just be a set-up for something better down the track.
2. CLOSE THE DOOR AND THROW AWAY THE KEY.
So often when we call it quits in a relationship, we don't actually shut the door entirely (just in case it’s meant to be). Listen up friend, you’ll never actually move past him or her until you actually let go of them fully. A wound can’t heal if it’s constantly re-opened. Now is the time to shut the door and throw away the key. This’ll give you time and space to reflect, rethink and reset in the best way possible. And hey if really is meant to be, it’ll come around again at the right time, not before.
3. DISCONNECT COMPLETELY.
Even if you’ve both decided to stay friends (because you’re mature and chill like that ha) it’s definitely best to fully disconnect (online and in real life) right after the break up. No talk, no text and definitely no Facebook stalking (which I am totally guilty of). Scrolling through your x-girlfriend’s Instagram feed is a sure way to fuel old feelings and most likely cause new ones like – sadness, loss, pain (all that tragic stuff that makes us want to eat a tub of ice-cream). On that note, nothing wrong with a tub of ice-cream from time to time. Am I right?
4. FOCUS ON THE GOOD THINGS IN YOUR LIFE.
Sometimes, when we’re facing a challenging circumstance in our life, the best thing we can do is switch our focus from what we don’t have, to what we do. Simple gratitude has a way of changing our perspective! And your perspective or perception will ultimately shape your reality. So, what can you be grateful for today? Your family? Good health? Great friends? An education? A roof over your head? A job? A dream? Your faith? Fix your eyes on the good things in your life.
5. GET AROUND YA CREW.
As human beings we are made for connection. Like the real, raw & deep kind. Not the fake, superficial, shallow stuff. In a time like this don’t isolate yourself and try and avoid people because you’re embarrassed or upset. This is the time you need your squad right by your side, whatever that may look like for you. It may just look like hanging out, having a laugh or going to the movies. Point is, get around your crew and lean into supportive, loving, positive friendships. It will do you a world of good and help you avoid the downward spiral.
6. DUMP THE TRIGGERS.
I know this can be difficult but get rid of anything that reminds you of your x. It will make the letting go process so much harder if you’re going to bed every night in one if his old t-shirts or staring at the picture frame she made for you last Valentine’s. When I broke up with my high-school boyfriend I had to dump a bunch of mementos because, plain and simple, it made me miss his company. So, trash the triggers, delete the pictures and throw away (or return) any gifts or keepsakes. Don’t be rude, just be honest with yourself and them.
7. EMBRACE YOUR FEELINGS, BUT DON'T LIVE BY THEM.
Ultimately, emotions are what make us human and add so much beauty and brilliance to our lives, but if we're completely driven and dictated by them we’ll end up on a roller coaster of drama and chaos (which sounds fun in theory but leads to a whole lot of dysfunction in real life). It’s ok to feel angry or sad, heartbroken or rejected, just don’t stay in that place friend, don’t set up tent and squat there the rest of your life. You’ve gotta keep moving through the valley if you want to get to the mountaintop.
I know it’s easy to say and hard to live out, but we need to take control of our emotions and not let them control us. I once heard a great analogy that emotions are like indicators on a dashboard. They are like little signals that should make us pop the hood and take a closer look. In themselves they’re neither good nor bad, but a by-product of our current thoughts, beliefs, and responses. So, be deliberate about what you feed your mind. Just like the body, what you put in either makes you healthy or sick. Maybe that means avoiding romantic movies if they make you feel like you’re missing out? Or jumping off the internet late at night because everything you see fuels your desire for intimacy.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds, it’s what you do with that time that really matters. So be intentional, be courageous, just because you get knocked down doesn’t mean you have to stay down and know this - you’re not alone friend! Like so many before you, you’ll get through this one day at a time.