Nothing hurts quite like heart-break. Having your heart savagely ripped from your chest is not something ice cream and a band-aid can fix. And unlike what romantic comedies these days tell us, self-pity, followed by the nagging of friends to “get out there again”, and the start of some crazy adventure, will likely not lead you to a new gorgeous man or woman of your dreams who is going to heal your heart and give you all that you were missing in your last relationship. This “fantasy” may be cute and endearing, but it is just that- a fantasy. The process of healing your heart is something only YOU can make happen.
Thinking someone can do that for you by immediately jumping into a new relationship is nothing but blissful avoidance. Not allowing yourself to be single and truly feel all the different feelings of pain, anger, upset, jealousy, and fear does not promote any personal growth that you need to try and embrace, regardless of how hard it can be. The ending of this relationship can be a blessing in disguise because it allows you to re-evaluate your goals, who you want to be, and gives you the chance to build an emotional resiliency like no other.
When the relationship ends, whether it was you who ended it or not, allow yourself to cry. Cry until you cannot cry anymore. Don’t see this as weakness, but as a natural emotional response that you are entitled to release and feel to its fullest. You also have every right to experience some self-pity. With that being said, self-pity is something that needs to be kept in check. Nobody likes a person who is always feeling sorry for themselves. Although it is often a natural response to experiencing a loss, it is unnatural and unproductive to get trapped in the thought cycles of self-pity. Once the feelings of self-pity are experienced, choosing empowerment is the next step.
One great thing about being newly single? Your schedule is so much more open. No more considering anyone else when making plans, or being dragged to your ex’s work functions where you have to pretend to like most of the people there. Take this opportunity to do all the things you’ve been meaning to do, but maybe have not had the time. Join that pick-up sports league, take up a new craft, or read that book you’ve been meaning to read. Do things that make you feel present in the moment and can provide you with a sense of accomplishment when complete.
That sounds so easy doesn’t it? Well, unfortunately it is not. It only takes one phrase, conversation topic, picture, or even scent to crash internally and obsess over thoughts of your ex. Know that this is okay. It happens. Sometimes we may feel regret as if we could have done something differently to save the relationship. Other times we may feel angry that the other person did not try as hard as you to save the relationship. Let these thoughts happen and label the emotions that you are experiencing. Labelling these emotions allows you to own them and add to the repertoire of your emotional strength. Look at it as a way of strengthening your emotional being as if they are muscles you are building through daily practice at the gym. The stronger these emotional muscles become, the more resilient you become. Flexing these emotional muscles in the future will not be quite as scary and challenging.
Whenever those thoughts of your ex pop in your head, or the temptation to send them a text arises- acknowledge it, feel it, and articulate it. These are just thoughts. Don’t let these negative or destructive thoughts have the power to determine your emotional/mental state. Often when we experience many repeated thoughts of our ex, they can consume and attack our self-esteem. Don’t let these thoughts become more than an acknowledgement of a thought and its resulting emotion. Take the power and control back. You are strong and significant, and thoughts are just thoughts. They are so insignificant. After their initial acknowledgement, let them go. Don’t let negative thinking patterns be a guiding force in your behaviour.
Embrace positivity. Rather than holding on to the negative thoughts of your recent break-up, give yourself the right to be happy. You have the power to be happy, and no ex can take that away from you; rather they are missing out on the experience to share it with you. Tell yourself that you are here, right now, in this moment; and it is where you are supposed to be. Think about the people in your life that you love and be grateful for them. Phone up your parents, siblings, or close friends and let them know how much you appreciate them. Gratitude is a powerful force of positivity that can strengthen even the most lost and broken spirits.
Also, remember that changing your thinking patterns and embracing new circumstances is an uphill battle. It is one worth fighting; however, taking a few steps forward and the occassional few steps back is okay. We are human and relapsing on negativity is likely and normal. What is important is that you do not beat yourself up about it, and try to pick yourself back up. Many times when we take a step backward on emotional progress, we feel bad about ourselves and as if we have failed. It is these very thoughts that push us back even further. If we can accept in the beginning that relapse is a normal part of the process and that it is in no way a sign of weakness or failure; we can become more resilient to its frequency and the anxiety of avoiding it.
Don’t sabotage yourself with negativity. Remember that things suck now, but you will survive and thrive as a new and stronger person who is in complete control. Live your life gracefully by recognizing negativity, acknowledging it, and staying the hell away from it. Be the happy you that you deserve to be. When you become this person, others will take notice. It is your internal self-acceptance and self-awareness that will shine through and promote more meaningful connections in your future. Be patient with yourself and good things will be inevitable.