Refuse to compare your happiness to theirs, as if they are the standard against which you have to measure everything in your life.
It doesn’t matter if things ended shattered in pieces, with a heated fight or a crushing argument. Or if you just slowly and unnoticeably drifted apart. Or if you had a very friendly and amicable breakup.
However it ended, it does not mean that the only way to be happy now is to be happier than them. That will get you the opposite of what you want. It will lead you down a path of unnecessary competition, ugly behavior, and an inability to let go of the anger or sadness in your heart in order to move onto someone else.
Instead, you will cling to the past. Not only will you cling to it, but you will live within it. It will be a never-ending race. There will be no finish line. And no one will be waiting at the end to congratulate you, because you left them all behind.
Rather than learning to grow from the breakup you went through, and reacquainting yourself with who you are when you’re alone, you will be vacant in your own life, focusing instead on what happened in the past, and on what could have been, and on every other thing that doesn’t matter anymore, because it’s in the past. It’s over.
Rather than learning to embrace your life and yourself in a way that will allow you to experience joy and healing and possibly even enough happiness to open your heart back up, you will spend all your time thinking about another person, and their life, and what they’re doing, and how they’re possibly feeling. You will look at their posts on social media and possibly stay in touch (if things are still friendly) and you will cling to little pieces of information your friends hear about them like those things are your life rafts.
And you will spend all your time thinking about this other person’s life. You will think about their emotions and their progress and their situations, rather than your own. You will be living vicariously through a life that doesn’t even exist – their supposed “life” that you’re living through is just one you’ve made up and exaggerated in your own mind.
Technically, you’re not even competing against them. You’re competing against yourself, and the version of you that thinks the only possibly way to enjoy life is to beat others, to be better than others, to maintain a perfectly filtered illusion of your life instead of living within each precious moment that you experience.
It’s okay. It’s hard not to think and feel this way when we live in an age where every single thing that happens to someone you know is broadcasted for everyone to see.
But here’s how you can be truly, genuinely happier than your ex: accept that you never will be. Accept that nobody will win. Accept that there is no competition. Understand that they are your ex now for a reason – even if they are still in your life some way, they are now more a part of your past than your present.
You have agreed to end your journey together. Your life is no longer about sharing it with them. This is your time to learn, to test yourself, to expand, to try new things, to scare yourself, to challenge yourself, to understand the ways in which this breakup was good for you, to develop a stronger sense of empathy for those that are hurting.
You will never be happier than your ex. Because you are on a completely different path, a completely different journey that no one in the world has ever traveled on, except you. Don’t compete with them. Instead, reject the idea that you can only be happy when someone else is not. That will make you the happiest you’ve ever been.