Teaspoon of HappyA Bad Case of the Break-UpsSarah May Bates

So, you’ve gone through a break-up. I know, it sucks. It’s one of the most tedious places to be and it’s seemingly endless. But this might be the best thing that could ever happen to you. I kid you not. Hear me out.

Relationships come into our lives for very specific reasons. We want/need something in another and that compliments something they need as well. As we move through different relationships, we take from each a different part of ourselves. We gain a different missing puzzle piece that completes part of who we really are: our true and best self. Sometimes they end because they no longer fulfill or compliment a part of us or that other person, and though sad to let go, it’s healthy to move on. Break-ups can be especially traumatic when they’re unexpected because it’s someone you’ve invested your heart in that is now willfully hurting you, which is a knowledge similar to the death of a loved one. You must mourn that loss and accept the reality that they are not who you thought they were, and that can be very, very painful. A lot of that pain comes from the lack of control you’ve had in the break-up: you’re just not ready to let go.

Often the greatest opportunity for us to discover our best selves is when we are jolted into reality in a way that forces us to confront a lot of what is normally unseen: Hidden fears or hidden feelings that we often bury and soothe in our relationships. When you go through a break-up, despite the pain of the loss, you have a rare opportunity to discover the most valuable relationship you’ll have throughout your entire life: your relationship with yourself. You can get to know yourself once again and truly see what you like about yourself. That knowledge will lead you to surrounding yourself with everything that rewards you and your passions. When we get into long-term relationships we tend to get into habits of compromise and sometimes without even noticing, those compromises have eroded our sense of who we are. We also come to know ourselves through a filter of one person, and that filter can tint our understanding of who we are in directions that might not be authentic. Of course our relationships are in our lives for big reasons: they help us to face challenges in life and to grow. Even in decidedly bad relationships, there is value that we take from them, we don’t have to decide that they are a blemish on our life forever.

Regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship, your life can always be as happy and fulfilled as you want it to be. Your happiness is not reliant on being with another person. It may not feel that way because you’re sad, but know that it’s true. That is a myth that comes from fear of loneliness and old painful feelings that live deep down inside. Your happiness comes from your ability to know and love yourself and to be proud of who that is. When you know that person and love that person, you shine like a beam of light and you attract others that see and love that person as much as you. During this time especially, take excellent care of yourself. Do not spend time blaming yourself or considering that something was wrong with you in any way. Instead spend time thinking about what you like about yourself. What do you think is great about your personality? What do you value in others? Those values might have shifted as of late.

Now is the time that you can gain much understanding about yourself that will bring to life the person you’re meant to be. When you grow into a better, more true you, that you sees different things in others, like you have a “gifted” vision. It’s almost like finding an invisible ladder that leads you to a world of people that you didn’t know existed. And that world is full of wonderful friends and hobbies that support you, and it’s sunny and safe no matter what, because you have this quiet confidence and comfort in You. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because in order to get to that place you’ve got to start by healing.

During in your break-up triage, try to do a few things to productively heal.

• Stay in your own head: how you feel and not what “they” are thinking. That is none of your concern and it’s only going to inflict pain on you to think of it, so stop it.

• Let go of any thoughts related to what you did to cause them to do something: truly you cannot cause anyone to do anything, you are the boss of your body and your actions alone and the same goes for them. You did not make them to do anything.

• Take aggressive measures to take care of yourself and meet your basic needs: listen to what your body and mind need. You’re in a tough place for a bit, so maybe that means you need friends to come over every night and watch comedies. Or maybe you need to take meditation classes. Or you need to exercise more so your emotions stay level. Be aggressive and don’t slack on self-care. Especially right now.

• Do not accept mistreatment and do not put yourself in harm’s way. If you need a friend to help you with this one, pass that power over to them. People that know us well have a lot of power over us. Sometimes in order to gain the distance we need to let our wounds scab over, we need to force a safety buffer. Put that in place in any way you know how. With distance will come much clarity.

• And last, go easy on yourself. It’s easy for others to give you advice on how you should be acting or what you should be feeling but the truth is, you’re heart is taking care of it, but at your own speed. No one is a machine and you can’t be somewhere before all of you get there, so give yourself time. Take care of yourself and you’ll get to where you need to be.

If you feel scared and overwhelmed, like you can’t live without this other person, know that this is an irrational fear and not connected to reality. You need to work on calming down your emotions. You might want to consider seeing a therapist to get you through this time. Know that this is a common emotion and you just need to work through some stuff around it. But it’s irrational and not based in reality. You can move on and live happily once again, it just might not feel that way right now. Reach out and talk to someone with a background in therapy.

Pass this time well. Be kind to yourself and protect yourself, and use this time to get to know who you are, minus another. Because that is great and wonderful, and will lead you to everything you’ve been looking for all along.

Happy Sunday, xox Sarah

Featured image via T. Elise on Flickr

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  1. I love your sunday posts and look forward to them every week. It’s nice to read about things that a lot of people are struggling with and different ways to tackle them/be at peace with them… and to come out of them on a positive note. Thanks for writing on this blog- seriously inspirational! -M

  2. Thank you so much for this article, it’s exactly what I’m going through right now. In my case it was my own decision because I knew it wasn’t making me a better person at all, which I think it’s the most important thing in any kind of relationship. As easy as it sounds, it is hard to let go almost four years of my life where I’ve grown so much, but no matter how scared I was before taking the decision I knew I needed this time for myself. To all the girls going through this right now: allow yourself to feel sad and accept the natural process of healing.

  3. Thanks for that article, I broke up with my boyfriend 6 days ago, it was very unexpected and I feel like I’m dying inside, (I even begged him not to leave me for 3 days)… I’ve being blaming myself for the breakup like every minute of the day, but reading you article I realize that I need to respect myself so much more… so I’ll try to keep your article in mind next time I break up in tears or think about calling him again or something… Thanks
    !

    • Oh Diana I wish I could sit with you and cheerlead your inner strength. I know how you feel and I know how powerful that pain and longing is – but truly you are worth so, so much, and that is what you must focus on now. The pain of the loss is a pain born of many other things in life and it’s swirling into a cloud that represents this person, but it’s temporary, and it’s not as dark as it seems now – so with all your might, stay committed to doing what is best for you. Be gentle, take it easy, and know that this part will be over before you think. Just keep on moving and keep your eyes focused on the bright future that lives ahead. xoxoox

  4. While I haven’t actually had a breakup in the recent past, I have done a lot of reflecting on the things I learned about myself from past breakups. I have a feeling that this is due to the ever-narrowing gap between me and thirty. Reading this article triggered a feeling of “yeah it hurt like crazy, but I am so much more me than I was before and that is awesome”.

    • Here, here. I am post-30 so I don’t have a focus on the impending milestone but being where I am (32) I can say dude, you’re a baby! You got lots of youth left to experience. Savor every moment of getting to know you better. xoxo

  5. Thank you for this great article. You are absolutely right. And while reading, I realized that I’m nearer to the point of I’m-over-him-and-my-life-is-great than I thought I was. As it is night already in Germany, I can go to sleep now with a very confident and happy feeling. Thank you! :)

  6. This is a really insightful article. I’ve had two breakups in the last 8 months, and I wish I had had this article after the first one.

    • I wish you did too! Thank you Danuta, and I am sorry to hear of your breakups but speaking based on my own experience, the best is yet to come. xxooxox

  7. You should’ve wrote that years ago :D Great article and advice, I like your writing style. It’s important to have support in every thinkable way when going through the tough time of a break up.

    • Totally. I wish I did write it years ago :)! I usually write things to friends or to hello gigglers that write to me. It makes the article more meaningful or immediate to me when it’s directed at one person. And it always makes me fulfilled in every way when it touches someone like you, so thank you xo

  8. Hey, Teaspoon is back! Missed you, Sarah! :)
    I like your pratical advice (as always). I think what’s important while getting over a breakup or a disappointment in general, is a) to keep ourselves occupied, doing things, going out and stuff and b) to not freak out and realize it’s going to take time and we’re going to feel pretty pathetic on the way but that’s okay.
    When I’m sad, the Virgo in me takes over and I put myself on a schedule of activities,so that I won’t have to think too much. Incidentally, I have just made myself a Reading List and I also expect to write an essay on each book I finish. Just for me, because writing works for me. I say find what your thing is and throw yourself into it. And experience every feeling you get without feeling guilty or stupid about it.
    Have a great week! x

    • I love you Amalia – you always make me so happy to read comments! xoxo You’re pretty damn good at taking care of yourself. Not sure what you do for a living but I think you should consider becoming a therapist or something related to helping people. Have a great week xoxooxox