Let’s begin with a story shall we?? A true one…
Once upon a time, there was an amazing, brave young lady who reached out to me on social media for a one-on-one session. She, like many others, was experiencing heartbreak after her long-term boyfriend dumped her to date someone else. She was entertaining suicidal thoughts and desperately needed answers to the questions, “What do I do now? How do I keep from constantly thinking about it? How can I move on from this?”
I began to explain to this young lady that about 5 years ago, I felt exactly the way that she did. A guy that I had been on-again off-again with for almost 5 years asked me to move across the country for him, pending a marriage proposal. But not long after I moved there (and was inquiring about my RING!), he not only denied ever proposing to me, but he denied that we were in a relationship at all whatsoever! (As if I just wanted to move across the entire country, away from my family and friends, to a city that I never wanted to live in just for the thrill of it.)
Yeah… so that pain….I felt it.
Those thoughts…I had them.
The questions… I asked them.
But at the time, I didn’t believe that there was anyone who could even begin to understand what I was going through. I was grateful to have friends and family support, but I still felt like this was something I was going to have to figure out all on my own. But now…you don’t have to!! I’ve put together 3 post-breakup/heartbreak tips that I wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way.
Now this first one is a little unorthodox… brace yourself!
1. Party of 1
I’m going to tell you something that will probably make your support system very, very nervous (they worry about you, ya know)… Be alone.
Attention: If you are completely unable to envision a thriving life in your future after your break up, it is imperative that you seek help, especially if you experience suicidal thoughts or fantasies. In this case, spend as much time with others as possible until you are able to visualize and grow hopeful about your future.
Psychologist moment… Ok proceed.
Take some time to adjust to spending more time alone. When we are in relationships, we get so used to having another person around. But after a break-up, we find ourselves with all this extra time: it feels very foreign, especially if the relationship lasted for a matter of years.
The mistake that I made after my break-ups was trying to fill the extra time with people and noise to keep my mind off of the pain. But that led me to act out my pain through:
unhealthy habits (drinking too much, eating my feelings, sleeping all day)
embarrassing public displays(like getting too drunk and having a meltdown in the corner of the bar or overeating to a simple told by a coworker)
lower my standards of the types of people I chose to hang around (like the guy who I normally wouldn’t give the time of day to but at least he’s there and giving me attention)
Yeah… don’t let it be you.
Yes, it’s scary and eeextra uncomfortable. But take my word for it: it’s better to do the work on the front end than to trudge through it later, along with all of the mistakes and consequences that result from it. And don’t worry! You’ll have pah-lenty to do and discover during this alone time, which bring me to the following points!! (You should get excited now!)
2. And who are you again??
In the past, I was not a stranger to allowing portions of my true self to go on the backburner in my relationships. It was as if my single self said to my relationship self, “You have a man now, there are some things about your true self that you just can’t be anymore. Go to the very back of the closet and hang it up, Boo-Boo!” (This is completely FALSE, by the way! Be you, no matter who it scares!)
I believe that every break-up, whether you’re happy about it or devastated, warrants a refresher on your identity. Relationships cause us to shift our lives to include another person in it. During that process, we have a tendency to adapt parts of ourselves to the world of the other person. So we may begin to like things we despised before (just because he’s so cute when he does it!), or we may train ourselves not to do the things that we normally loved because our significant other doesn’t like it.
If you retired a part of yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously, use this new season of singleness to go back and retrieve those things (as long as they are worth retrieving)! What events did you stop going to? What T.V. shows and movie genres did you stop watching? What good friends did you stop hanging out with? What annoying/weird quirks did you used to enjoy doing when no one was looking? Do you want to reenact the “I Never Close the Bathroom Door” policy of 2010? Do it!! No judgements here!
Use this time to shift back to your most authentic self.
3. Time to Sparkle and Shine!
Listeenn! *in my home girl voice* This is a great time for a self-upgrade! It’s easy to sink into sadness and despair after a break up, but maybe…just maybe … this time you can use it as motivation!
This is your chance to become the person you’ve always wanted to be: the fun, confident, and extraordinary person you truly are! This is your chance to stop all those bad habits (that you’ve promised to “cut back” on for the past 2 years). This is your chance to get your sparkle back! (You know we tend to get “stale” in a relationship. Don’t lie!)
Yeah you may have lost a relationship but they are not the last person on earth!! If you’re expecting an upgrade in your next relationship (not too soon though!), then the upgrade will have to start with you! After all, you attract who you are. And I may not know you personally, but I’m betting that you aren’t in the market for sad, boring, and life-less (no shade, whatsoever!)
But besides all of that, the main objective is to get back to loving your life! Better yet, to love it more than you ever have before. There’s always room for personal improvement, so instead of scoping out your next “last relationship,” focus on living a crazy exciting and fun life! And when your next “last relationship” finds you (see what I did there?) then you’ll have so many interesting things to talk about and offer!
I know it can be a little difficult to muster up creativity and inspiration in the fog of newfound (or unwanted) singleness, so click here for a list of ideas to “Bring Your Sparkle Back!”
I know what it feels like to think you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, only for it to crash and burn right before your eyes. It hurt immensely back then, but now my only reaction is… THANK GOD!! I’ve actually come to a point in my life where I am grateful for my past hurt and pain because it motivated me to become a better me and create a life that I love!! The trick is to not focus on the pain, but the gain!
So what are you looking forward to in your singleness??