Are you struggling to get over a past relationship?
“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” is not just a hit song from the 1960s—it is a fact. Anyone who has gone through a breakup knows that a broken heart can be difficult to mend. This universal emotional response to the sudden, unexpected, or unwanted loss of love is often characterized by an intense longing, hurt, and/or desire for an ex or unrequited love. And it can hurt like hell. For some, it feels like their whole world is caving in on them. And in many cases, because the pain is so great and the path to mending it seems so daunting, people avoid healing their broken heart. This avoidance can lead to many unwanted side effects, including, but not limited to, greater internal conflict, complicated emotional responses, withdrawal, and difficulty in future relationships. So, how do you heal a broken heart? Here are a few tips.
1. Become Anti-Social (Media)
A breakup is a special kind of loss with the additional complication of your ex still being present. With social media making your ex accessible at the touch of a finger, it is important for you to understand that there is a thin line between ex-lover and internet stalker. Nothing good can come from looking at your ex’s Instagram stories or Facebook timeline. When it comes to social media, just say no.
2. Date Yourself
The broken-hearted often struggle with remembering who they were before their recent breakup. They see themselves in the context of the relationship and forget that they were once fully functional, interesting, and even desirable people when they were single. Your relationship should not have defined you then, and it certainly should not now. This is why I encourage you to rediscover yourself by dating yourself: “Dating yourself is a way for you to become more mindful of how you are feeling, what is going on in your mind and why you might behave in a certain way.” It also helps you get in touch with what your needs and wants are. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Set time aside to date yourself by scheduling it in. Make yourself a priority.
Step 2: Decide what you are going to do with that time. Make sure it is something you want to do!
Step 3: Engage in dating prep. Why should you only spend time getting all dolled up for someone else?
Step 4: Go on the date with mindful presence . . . Be open to the experience, and enjoy the moment.
To learn more about how to date yourself, check out this dating guide, Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection.
Along with breaking up comes the loss of a relationship with your ex, some mutual friends, and your ex’s family. But the loss doesn’t end there. You might lose your home, your perceived social status, and whatever future you imagined you might have had with your ex. Just like with any loss, you need to give yourself the time and space to grieve what is no more. Now, this is easier said than done. The natural reaction is to avoid this, because it seems too painful to face reality. But avoiding this part of the process can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, suppressed immune system, physical manifestations, such as body tension, despair, and obsessive thoughts, and yes, the inability to move on. Though it can be physically and emotionally unpleasant at times, grieving gives you a greater sense of being in control and feeling empowered. You do not want to enter your next relationship guarded, making negative predictions, and pushing your partner away. Grieving is a necessary part of the healing process and the path to getting unstuck and moving on in a healthy way.
On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross looks at the way we experience the process of grief.