I believe it was Robin Williams who once said, “A hungry stomach, an empty wallet and a broken heart can teach you the best lessons of life.” Today, I would like to address the latter. I’ll be honest with you though: this isn’t easy. Moving on and getting over someone you shared a history with is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Our perception and prediction of not having that person around us anymore, will make it seem as if the world is falling apart.
But I am here to assure you that it’s not so, and that you’re definitely not alone in this. I would say that 99% of us have experienced a breakup at one point or another. With this blog I want to help you get over your ex, so you can alter your perspective with a renewed sense of clarity. That being said, I need you to understand that, although each of us has his or her own pace, the process of getting over someone you love and probably still care about takes time. It’s what makes us human.
For those of you who just came out of a very long relationship it may be even harder to apply the below mentioned guidelines. But that’s okay. Moving on is not about getting everything perfect. It is about healing your pain and gradually getting rid of all your inner baggage. Just follow me, I’ve got you on this one….
Observe, accept and let go of your feelings
When you have just broken up with someone, you are likely to be left with a lot of confusion and mixed feelings lingering inside of you. Sometimes these feelings pop up suddenly out of nowhere and are so overwhelming that we are clueless as to how to respond to them. It is probably even worse when your relationship has lasted a long time. Naturally, your first instinct is to deal with this reality with as little pain as possible (surprise, surprise!). Perhaps you even believe that the best way to go about this is by suppressing your emotions. This may be because you think it’s the path of least resistance or simply because your ego refuses to admit that the person who left you has any power over you.
Either way, suppressing your feelings is not the same as actually healing the deep wounds inside of you. When you suppress instead of express, you’re just holding on to something that is almost guaranteed to explode and backfire in the future, and most likely when you least expect it. It is therefore essential to consciously observe your emotions and accept them for what they are: just emotions. They are meant to be felt as they are part of the natural healing process. Allowing yourself to go through the grieving stages is probably the quickest way to let go of what is no longer there. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about being sad or even shedding a tear. Likewise, don’t feel too sorry for yourself. Understand that for every door that closes, another will open. That’s just life.
Acknowledge that he or she is not meant for you
When you’re in love and in a new relationship you firmly believe that you have embarked on an everlasting journey. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that the majority of our current relationships will not last long into the future. The problem, however, is when you breakup and you think that there is no one else out there for you anymore. When you tend to perceive the other person as ”the one”, you are limiting your possibility of meeting someone new. If you ask me, I’d say you’re naïve to think this way.
Just think about this for a second. What makes him or her ”the one”? Many will say something like “that special person who was put on this earth to share eternity with me”. I would argue that everything that makes ”the one” the one, is not solely limited to the serendipity of time and place. I would even go so far as to say that we don’t actually fall for people, but for a combination of physical and emotional characteristics that we can admire, appreciate or identify ourselves with. Human beings are just a combination of such characteristics, and with seven billion of us roaming around, there are a myriad potential partners currently going through similar life experiences as us.
For instance, I don’t have an actual preference when it comes to the physical appearance of women, at least not in the ethnical sense of the word. However, for as long as I can remember, I have always valued and recognized the importance of physical exercise and a healthy lifestyle. It is therefore more likely that I will attract and feel attracted towards women who share these same values. Now ask yourself this: how many women are there on this planet who love working out, don’t smoke and take care of themselves? See where I’m going with this?!
It goes without saying that if you think it’s about physical appearance, you’re obviously missing the point. It’s about recognizing that there are plenty of potential matches and that the remainder of your days is not limited to one human being.
If possible, seek closure
In a perfect world, every breakup would be a peaceful separation in which each individual goes their own way and remain distant friends forever. But this is rarely the case. Nine out ten breakups end with feelings of anger or resentment. Our feelings have been hurt and we are overwhelmed by all these negative emotions, questions and unfinished sentences. Speaking out your thoughts and expressing how you feel is probably one of the best ways to find closure.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve been through breakups that have ended on good terms and bad terms. I will always choose the first. Even more, in my last breakup I actually decided to have one final meetup with my ex so that I could speak up and say whatever I felt like I needed to say in a clear and calm manner. I even wrote down some questions on my phone. Once it was over, I was still upset, as some of the answers I got were not the ones I was hoping to hear. Nonetheless, they were precisely what I needed to hear to get some closure and move on with my life.
Seeking closure is not about getting the right answer, it’s about getting any answer that allows you to move forward. Now I can hear you thinking, “What if he or she refuses to answer my questions? What if he or she is lying or twisting and turning the truth?” Well, silence and deceit too are an answer, and they say more about them than they do about you.
Break all contact with him or her
The first couple of weeks after a breakup are always the hardest. During this period you go through a rollercoaster of emotions. You doubt yourself probably more than you should and your decision-making is temporarily impaired or even completely paralyzed. It is during this time that you should particularly avoid every form of contact. Restrain yourself from reaching out and make sure you do not fall into the the victim role or entitlement trap.
I know that living in an age where Instagram and Facebook dominate the world, it has become increasingly challenging to avoid your ex’s new life without you. You are constantly reminded and confronted with their “newly happy lives”, either as a single guy or girl or, worse, with someone else! If you feel like you can’t resist the temptation of following their every move online, you should block them, mind your own business and don’t look back. Your time on earth is too precious to waste and you should not be dwelling on the past or circumstances that are no longer in your control.
Make sure you forgive them
If you moved on with your life the moment the relationship ended, then you are probably the one who decided to break up in the first place (or at least accepted the breakup). If that’s the case, this article is probably less interesting to you. However, since you’ve made it so far, I’ll assume that this is not the case and that there are feelings of resentment lingering under the surface. It is especially in these first moments that you have to remind yourself that healing has nothing to do with your ex, and everything to do with you!
Forgiveness is about healing your suffering by making peace with your circumstances, including the people who caused them. It means letting go of all the negative weight that only you are carrying around, impeding yourself from moving forward and opening up to new experiences. It doesn’t mean that you simply must forget about what happened or that you can’t dismiss their actions. In fact, you should definitely learn your lessons. But you need to understand that life happens for you, not to you, and holding grudges will only withhold you from that realization. It’s as the famous saying goes, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Take care of yourself
Sometimes when we breakup, we tend to drown ourselves in our misery and forget who we are. In fact, we get so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t even notice the world around us any longer. Notwithstanding, as goes for my other blogs, it all comes down to “perspective” and “life is really what you make of it”.
So stop kidding yourself and be honest! How do you perceive your breakup? Is it really the end of the world or could this also be an opportunity to re-engage with the things you love doing most? After all, not having to invest in another person anymore must give you a whole lot of spare time (and maybe even money) to invest in yourself. If you ask me, I’d say that this is the perfect time to go out again and start traveling, swimming, exercising or simply enjoying a nice movie with your friends.
Share with your friends and family
Though it’s not always easy to open up and talk about your emotions, I can say firsthand that ventilating is actually one of the best reliefs. Generally, women tend to find it less difficult to open up about their feelings to each other. We men, on the other hand, are usually clueless when it comes to conversing about these topics. Society expects us to be tough and “man up”, and crying about a girl is not exactly what you call “macho”.
For a long time I was also enchained by the myopicness of this dogma. Yet, the moment I decided to talk about it I started to feel better, even when it meant talking to my family, which can feel a bit more “tricky” than talking to your closest friends. Do not be afraid or ashamed to say what’s on your mind. You are not a robot and it’s totally fine to feel upset when someone dear to you walks out of your life.
Go out and meet new people
Yes! Getting to know new people is probably the best way to get over your ex and to be in the present moment again. That being said, I am not encouraging you to immediately reopen your Tinder account and start swiping until your thumbs fall of. What I am saying is: be open, go out and, most of all, don’t be afraid to engage in new and potentially interesting conversations. Who knows what you might run into….
Understand that there’s nothing wrong with you
I know that it is probably one of the most cliché thing to say after Elvis has left the building, but, really, there’s nothing wrong with you. You were just not compatible. Shit happens. Having said that, it would be recommendable to do some introspection and analyze where things could have gone wrong, so you can learn from your mistakes. No one is flawless, not even you. In fact, there’s probably a good reason why you weren’t compatible and it’s very likely that you had your part in the story as well.
I remember when I was younger, my mom used to ingrain me with this phrase whenever I refused to own up my slip-ups. She said, “Son, it doesn’t matter how thin you bake a pancake, it will always have two sides.” Her wisdom is forever engraved onto my memory as it allows me to have an objective view on my part in a bad story. We all make mistakes. That’s just human nature. Just remember that you are not defined by someone else’s mistakes unless you let them. Nor are you defined by yours. Just make sure you learn your lessons so that you may have a more enjoyable experience in the future.
Know that there is someone out there for you
Love works in mysterious ways. It is the most powerful feeling we can express as human beings, and, conversely, the lack of it can paralyze us in an ever-evolving universe. Still, you should know that a breakup really isn’t the end of the world and there is someone out there waiting for you! He or she is probably going through the same painful experiences as you, only to learn from them so you guys can encounter each other in the near future.
If there is such a thing as “the one”, then this would probably be a charming addition to the aforementioned statement. It really doesn’t matter if you’ve already had more than one failed relationship. Each one gave you an experience to take with you to the next one. I know it’s hard to keep your hopes up during the time of your grievance, but there’s no reason to do otherwise. So don’t be hard on yourself. Just look around you and soon you will realize that the opportunity of you meeting the most stunning person is just around the corner.