If we could have it our way, we’d be talking to our exes right now and getting to the bottom of this breakup. We’d be closing in on all the answers and repairing our heart and rewinding the clock so the fate of our relationship wasn’t yet determined and the power to control it was now all in our hands.
Oh, what a dream it is to think that talking our way back into love could ever be that easy or even productive. The reality is, having one last talk with our ex is rarely ever a wish for one last talk. At the heart of all our knee-jerking desperation to get him back, on the line is a profound plea to be accepted, to be taken back in and given one more chance to prove ourselves impossible to leave. This is where the often uncontrollable craving to reunite with our partner comes from.
We do not want to give up on our ex because we do not want to give up on ourselves.
This is what our intentions are driven by when our egos are enflamed by self-doubt and the fear of our inevitable, and perhaps perpetual, aloneness. The real and lesser talked about heartbreak can be found in this battle here. In the battle of talking to our ex, so we do not have to listen to ourselves; in the battle of returning to our ex, so we can avoid being with ourselves too.
When we do not give ourselves a chance to process our fallout, we do not give ourselves a chance to rise up wisely into love again either. Consequentially, should we wind up being taken back by our ex, it happens not because we are sure in our love or strong in our efforts but because we are so able to give into our fears and give up our fiery independence and beautiful self-expansion.
Before you give yourself up, here are 5 ways you can take up a relationship with yourself first. And, the good news is, if you can manage to cultivate a relationship with yourself, new love will come without old regrets.
1. Schedule an early morning appointment.
Maybe it’s a spin class that you sign up for in advance, a coffee and bagel date with an old friend, or just a ten minute back rub at the corner nail salon. Whether you go big or go small, all that counts is that you are making a commitment to yourself first thing in the morning, that you will show up somewhere for something regardless of how you feel the morning of.
The value doesn’t really lie in the appointment itself but in getting yourself there. It’s about walking out into the world at an earlier hour, when the day is a tad bit quieter, the light softer, and you can look at your watch and feel like you have all the time in the world to turn your life around. The reality is, at any moment you can begin to.
2. Purchase a Bluetooth shower speaker. ASAP.
It’s no secret that music is medicine. It can take us out of our mind and into our body. It can steer us away from emotions or pull us right into them. After a breakup, moving into and away from our heartache is a hard balance to strike but it’s essential that we find our way into the emotions that deplete us as well as those that revive us. Music helps us go there. It enables the therapeutic journey without the blank face stare of a therapist herself.
For those of us who need a safe space to swing our hips or divulge our tears, streaming music in the shower is the ideal setting to engage in a meltdown or a dance off. For under $15, this gift to yourself is an instant remedy that won’t let you down and, who knows, it could even come in handy for the romance that swoops into your life post-healing.
3. Go for a spin with an Uber driver.
If you’re not into or simply can’t dish out hundreds of dollars on a therapist, then you need an Uber driver. These drivers might as well be spiritual advisors. It’s easy to not pay much attention but that guy who’s driving you around has seen a lot of characters come in and out of his car and he’s heard plenty of their stories. In other words, he’s no stranger to life and he’s also not in the business of judging what he hears or sees on a daily basis. There’s a good chance he even feels a little isolated just as you might be feeling post-breakup. After all, when you’re driving around for so many hours, you can get up in your head a bit.
For this reason alone, an Uber driver is the perfect person to reach out for when you are anxious to connect. Whether you strike up a conversation from the backseat or order an Uber pool and sit shotgun, tell your driver what’s up, ask him what he thinks about what you’re going through, see if he has any tips on what you should do when you’re feeling stuck and up in your head. The beauty of this interaction is it will remind you that the every day man can guide you and that such guidance is only an arm length away. Conversations, after all, breathe new hope into us and that is often all we need in our darkest, most desperate hours.
4. Be your own breakup coach.
Emotional freedom begins by letting go of the need to know the whys of an ex in favor of discovering the whys of your own heart. Of course, to reveal your own whys you have to ask the right questions and coach yourself into recovering your most honest and hidden answers.
Begin here: If you had the chance to sit down with your ex, would you be more interested in hearing what’s in his heart or voicing what’s in your own? What do you think you would hear? What do you think you would say? Imagine you’ve sat down with your ex and you’ve heard what you expected to hear and you’ve told him what you went there to say.
You’re by yourself now and you’re on your way home. You’re replaying everything that just happened. The thing is, you don’t feel entirely relieved. What else were you hoping he’d tell you? If you could turn around and go back right now, if you were there looking him in the eye with resilience and courage and a stunning degree of compassion, clarity, and self-respect, what else would you ask him, what more would you say?
Write it all out. Then, say it to yourself. Even if only in a whisper, read your words aloud. Listen to yourself speak the full truth. And yes, you are allowed to feel proud of the courage it takes to listen to yourself really, to hear yourself in all your disappointment and dreaminess.
5. Read your way into better thinking.
Nothing takes over our mind in the wake of a breakup like the stories we tell ourselves. Of course these stories are rarely empowering and, more often than not, they are far from true. This is because our pain and suspicion, and sometimes even our vengeance, exacerbates grief’s ugliest emotions. As a result, we turn on ourselves in our mind. Then, in an effort to gain control over ourselves and that which devastates us, we put ourselves at the center of all blame. We do this by looking back at what we could have done, what we may have done, and what we should have done to keep the heart of our ex. If you want to spiral into sadness quickly, this is the rabbit hole to go down. The harm is, going there won’t save your relationship, foster a new one, or remind you that who you are is enough to love.
This is why you need to surround yourself with a fresh pile of books. Changing the way you think about yourself, others, and your life is a lifelong project that you have to engage in every day. In time you won’t even realize you’re doing it, but initially it will hurt and challenge you. Reading though will make the process not only more enjoyable but easier as it will pour new thoughts into your mind and show you new ways to think about yourself, your circumstances, and your world.
All you have to do is open the book and open yourself enough so a new story—an empowered story—can be let in to your mind. (Recommendations: Barbara de Angelis, “How Did I Get Here?”; “David Richo, “The Five Things We Cannot Change”; Debbie Ford, “The Secret of the Shadow”; Ken Page, “Deeper Dating.”)