Breakups are hard. If you’re going through one right now, I feel you.
I understand you must be feeling hurt and lost and millions of other terrible emotions right now; the ground beneath you seems like it’s breaking apart and you feel as though you’re being swallowed up into nothingness.
But please hang in there.
You’re not alone and you will survive this —no, thrive from this —I promise.
Like many others, I have gone through many heartbreaks in the last 20-something years of my life, and if there’s something good I’ve learned, it’s that there’s a way out —a way that will help you become a much better person who is capable of manifesting their dream life.
Here are 10 solid steps to guide you through your healing process:
1. Go No-contact
The first step you need to do immediately is to go no-contact.
No-contact means literally that — no communication of any kind, including phone calls, texts, social media interactions, mentions from friends or family.
As far as you’re concerned, your ex is technically dead.
This step is the most crucial step in your healing process.
Let me explain.
When you get together with someone, regardless of the health of the relationship, you develop a bond with them. You become emotionally affected by their words and actions and this bond doesn’t stop simply because the relationship stops.
You might still feel happy when you hear from them and anxious when they don’t contact you; even information about them someone gives you or you find on social media could influence your emotions for the day.
But it doesn’t mean you should be back with them.
Your goal immediately after the breakup should be to detach yourself from your ex, and you can only achieve this by going no-contact.
Over time, your brain won’t associate them with “reward” anymore and your internal reward system will reset. You will be able to feel happy and sad for reasons that have nothing to do with your ex again.
It’s undeniable that cutting contact with your ex cold turkey is challenging. Right now, you’re no less than an addict whose supply just got cut off.
When you’re in a vulnerable place, the emotional part of your brain will aggressively bargain and tempt you to find your supply again. It will convince you that this is the most important thing you have to do right now, and if you don’t do it, you might as well die.
Of course, this is all bullshit. You will live on and you will become even stronger.
For now, the easiest way to fight your urges regarding your ex is that you set no-contact as a hard rule. You tell yourself that this is what you must do, regardless of reasons.
Simply put, just do it.
2. Release Your Feelings And Emotions
After you go no-contact, it’s all about tending to your feelings and emotions.
In the first few weeks or months, you will experience intense withdrawal from your ex. It’s very critical that when you feel something, you don’t fight it. You accept it, observe it, name it, stay present for it, sit with it, and don’t act on it.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel. Whatever it is that runs through your body, it’s okay. Your feelings are valid. Even if it’s a negative feeling or dark thought, don’t shame it. Let it be and it will dissolve in its own time.
A few practical things you could do are: Writing a journal or letter to yourself, calling a friend you can trust, expressing your feelings and thoughts artistically, singing or shouting out your heart, crying whenever you feel like crying.
In a nutshell, everything is allowed.
This is the period where you get to go through every mental note, every level of emotions, every hypothetical scenario you might have about your past relationship and your ex without doing anything about your ex.
Think of yourself as having a bad cold. You need to sweat it all out and simply just rest. It will pass.
3. Allow Yourself To Mope Around
Now, give yourself permission to be a complete loser.
During this moping around time, it’s okay if you miss parties, cancel plans, talk too much, leave an event without saying goodbye, stay in bed all weekends, forget to do your laundry, don’t wash your hair, don’t change out of your pajamas, and so on.
Let go of the pressure to present yourself well, look happy for other people, reply to every text message, answer every phone call, or even talk about your feelings.
You don’t even have to move on right now. Not yet. You have every right to be an emotional mess after your breakup.
4. Give Yourself A Deadline
Mope around all you want, but remember to give that moping around an end date. Set it to one week or one month, for example.
Mark the deadline on the calendar. Be realistic and generous and take your overall lifestyle into consideration.
When the day comes, you will need to get your life back up and running again. Get out of bed, put on your favourite outfit, put away the ice cream, maybe even shop for some fancy jewelry or whatever gets you excited.
It’s time to be intentional about moving on. Show up for yourself every day; be your own coach and cheerleader.
You don’t have to rush it. Take your time.
5. Give Yourself No Deadline
That said, when it comes to healing your shattered heart, you don’t need a deadline. There’s no timeline for grief caused by a failed relationship or a lost connection.
While you physically and mentally carry on with your daily life, perhaps emotionally you’re still a little bit behind, and it’s okay.
For some people, it takes them a few months to fully get over their ex. For others, it might take a lifetime. On some days, you feel nothing, and on others, you can’t stop reminiscing about the past.
It makes no sense to compare your healing process to others because we’re all different and our relationships are all different. Let yourself be.
6. Start A Committed Relationship With Yourself
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. From here on, it’s all about you, your own happiness, and your dream life.
It’s the stage where you start going on dates with yourself and do all the things you would want a partner to do with you or you to do to a partner.
Go all out. Dress up, take yourself to nice bars and restaurants, get to know yourself through journaling and participating in new activities, bring yourself to the gym, treat yourself to a leveled up wardrobe if you can afford it.
Go to therapy. Pick up a new fun hobby. Talk and listen to yourself attentively. Respect your own feelings and boundaries. Set a daily schedule.
Nurture the relationship with yourself the way you wished your last relationships could have been. Put yourself first.
7. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Now that you’re single and have a lot more free time, you can spend it with family members and close friends.
This is the step to help you realize that there’s more to life than romantic love, and you deserve love from the people who see you and love you for who you are.
It’s the time to build yourself up with healthy love and teach yourself what healthy love feels like, looks like, and acts like so you will see more and more clearly each day why your last relationship must end. You’ll thank god that it did.
8. Do What You Love
Your life now should only consist of the things that you absolutely love and give you positive energy. This will help build your self-esteem and confidence and instill in you a sense of hope again.
You owe it to yourself to listen closely to your body and heart and do what’s good for you. At the same time, you need to ruthlessly cut off things that make you feel anything less than positive. You must have zero tolerance for bullshit and toxicity.
Just ask yourself these questions: Does it make you feel good? Does it make you feel good about yourself? Does it add any value to your life? If the answer isn’t a big, fat yes, then no thanks.
9. Set Goals
If you have followed the first step and at least five other steps from the above, you’ll likely be in a good headspace right now. It’s comforting and hopeful to set goals and envision yourself in five or 10 years with all your aspirations materialized.
Make a plan for not only next year but for the rest of your life, even if it’s super vague. As long as you have a rough sketch of who you might want to be, how your life might look, you will be able to work backward to where you are now and you will have something to look forward to again.
If you’re creative and have some editing skills, you could even turn those goals into a vision board. It will remind you daily that an amazing life that works for you and is full of people who love you and choose you is possible and it’s coming your way.
You will also remember how great it feels to only focus on yourself and your own development and not have to care about someone who would never care for you the same (good riddance).
10. Reflect Productively
After enough time has passed and your emotions have stabilized, it’s time to look back at your past relationships and learn some lessons from a place of strength and centeredness.
Remember that it’s no longer about your ex or your past relationships. At this stage, it’s about you and your needs and wants. It’s about understanding and accepting your past self, owning up your part of the story, and giving yourself the support and love you need to keep going forward with confidence.
After you have completed the previous steps, you should be able to see how far you’ve come compared to when you were in the relationship or right after the breakup, and you will realize that you would never want to be back there again.
This reflection time might take a day or even months or longer. The lessons might come in waves or suddenly pop up at random moments. Regardless, you’ll be wiser and better for it.
Now go and celebrate a new, exciting, and wonderful chapter of your life!