Sometimes a breakup is actually the best thing that can happen to a person — it certainly was for me. I’ve been through a few by now and after the sadness subsides, I always grow, evolve, and come out stronger and smarter than ever. Losing love changed me for the better — here’s how:

I regained my independence.

I’m the first to admit that I often fall into the trap of becoming codependent in serious relationships. I forget who I am and how to stand on my own two feet. When I lost my boyfriend, I had no choice but to do everything on my own again. It reminded me of who I really am and what I want to become as a person.

I established my sense of self.

When I was with my ex, I saw everything in terms of us as a couple. I lost my individuality and sense of myself. It wasn’t his fault but that’s what happened. After I became single, I had to start really focusing on me and thinking about how I feel about my life and the world. I grew strong, grounded and confident.

I started taking care of my needs first.

After my breakup, I realized that I’m no good to other people unless I’m healthy and happy on my own. I gave my ex so much of myself that I didn’t save anything for me, and I was incredibly unhappy because of it. I now understand that taking care of myself first isn’t selfish at all — it’s necessary. I’m actually able to give more freely now than ever before.

I began exploring new hobbies and interests.

I got complacent and stagnant in my relationship. We had a routine and rarely stepped out of it because it suited us. When we broke up, I was forced out of that comfort into the unknown. It was terrifying, but it spurred me to try out new stuff I never would’ve discovered before. I was good at some of it and bad at some of it, but the important thing is that I started exploring new interests.

I started working on my inner peace.

I always put off trying out meditation and I only did yoga as a form of physical exercise. I was scared to work on my inner self and my relationship allowed me to distract myself from doing so. Once I sank into post-breakup depression, I had no choice but to finally address all my issues. I may have lost him, but I found something more precious — my love for myself.

I figured out who I really am.

It was painful but necessary. I know now that I had to lose my love in order to get back to basics and do the difficult nitty-gritty work of healing myself. I had a surface idea of myself as a person but no clear foundation. I allowed the opinions of others to sway how I thought about myself. Now I stand firm because I’m proud of my journey and I love who I am.

I reconnected with family and friends.

When I was with my ex, I let my important personal relationships take a back seat to my romantic life. I was tired and there simply wasn’t enough time in the day for everyone. I tried my best, but I felt overwhelmed all the time. Luckily for me, my family and friends were still around when I ended up on my own again. I now make sure to connect with them as much as I can and show them how important they are to me.

I took time for myself and stopped focusing on men.

I was always so boy crazy when I was younger that I rarely felt okay single. Now I love being alone because I’ve taken the time and energy to develop a loving relationship with myself. I don’t need a boyfriend — I may want one, but I’m fine without one. It feels great to know that I’m strong and independent and I made myself that way.

I eliminated stress from my life.

I know it sounds crazy, but I really did. I changed the way I looked at my daily existence and I got rid of those things that no longer served me as a person. When I was with my ex, I was stressed all the time. I was unhappy with our relationship and I was unhappy with everything else too. Life is too short for that so I made a conscious effort to fix it.

I changed my entire perspective on life.

I always had a bitter, negative mindset even when I was in love. I used my relationship to bring me joy, but that didn’t last because my positivity wasn’t coming from a grounded place. When I lost my boyfriend, I got so down and depressed that I had to make a choice: keep on living in a way that wasn’t serving me or transform everything. My new perspective is the biggest achievement of my life.

I stopped caring what people think of me.

I’ve always lived life worried about how I’m perceived by others, especially romantic partners. It crippled me and kept me from truly being myself. Even though I loved my ex deeply, our relationship wasn’t right for me. I can see that now, and I’m determined never to date someone I can’t be myself with again. I feel free and alive without the need to please dominating my life.

I figured out what I really want from life.

The bottom line was that in a relationship or single, I didn’t know what I wanted and I certainly didn’t want to deal with it. When I dated my ex, I focused all my energy on what he needed and how to make our partnership work. Without that distraction, I had to figure out how I had changed and evolved as a person and why my lifestyle wasn’t working for me anymore. Now I’m on the right path and I’m happy and excited for what my future holds.

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