Breaking up with someone is like an emotional Brazilian wax. But while a Brazilian heals fast, breakup agony can drag on for months or even years. I recently went through a painful split and decided not to wallow but instead seize control and put together a full recovery plan. Best decision ever.
I gave myself time to mourn.
When going through a breakup, it’s all too tempting to jump right back into dating. While getting back in the saddle is a great thing to do eventually, I realized I was swiping and going on dates to avoid the pain and feelings of rejection from my breakup. Instead, I decided to take the time to sit with my uncomfortable feelings and accept them before moving on. I also needed to mourn the loss of someone I loved, as well as the loss of what I had imagined my life would be like. When I failed to take the time to properly mourn a breakup in the past, those feelings came roaring back a few months down the line and even led to relationship relapse.
I took control of the situation.
Once I moved through the initial mourning stages, I was still in pain and feeling disempowered. I realized I needed to regain control of my heart and my love life in order to move forward. Putting together a plan of action for how I was going to recover and chart a healthier path forward helped me feel like I was back in the driver’s seat of my life. That alone worked wonders.
I addressed my own issues.
When going through a tough breakup, it’s easy to place all of the blame on the other person, but the truth is, it takes two to tango. After my breakup, I took the time to journal and reflect on how I’d sabotaged intimacy in my relationship and why I’d chosen to be with someone emotionally unavailable in the first place. Once I shined a light on my issues, I knew it would be a lot harder for them to sneak up on me in the future.
I put a pause on dating.
After spending some time reflecting, I decided a key component of my breakup recovery plan was going to be a long-term dating hiatus. Not only was my relationship turbulent and the breakup abnormally traumatic, but I felt I really wanted to take the time to delve into my issues and emotional needs without the distractions of sex and dating.
I experimented to find what made me feel good.
As I was healing and exploring my inner self, I wanted to develop concrete tools to help me recover. With so much of my time and money freed up, I really had the chance to experiment with what made me feel good. I tried therapy, reiki, yoga, and more. While traditional talk therapy wasn’t exactly for me, more alternative options like hypnotherapy, yoga, and crystal bowl meditation had an amazing impact. Getting regular massages also helped me to become more comfortable with physical intimacy and acupuncture is now my favorite way to destress. With all of these powerful tools available to me, exploring healing became an adventure. I truly felt like I was dating myself.
I rediscovered my spirituality.
Between finishing graduate school, launching a new career, and holding down a bumpy relationship, I had neglected some important aspects of my identity. Through my healing process, I rediscovered spirituality and realized it should be a core part of my life. I dedicated myself to carving out time for my spirituality, whether it be going to a meditation class or simply running a bath and listening to my favorite podcast.
I set boundaries.
Part of my breakup plan was to practice listening to my inner voice. Turns out, my inner voice had been begging me to set firm boundaries in all of my relationships. I learned to develop the confidence to say no and be direct about my needs. Before my breakup, I’d been worried that setting boundaries would make me look shrill and uptight. Now I know anyone who doesn’t respect my boundaries doesn’t respect me and I don’t have the energy to deal with disrespect anymore.
I got clear on what I was looking for.
In the past, I had often been more concerned with whether a date liked me than whether or not I like him. Unsurprisingly, I ended up with absolutely no idea of what I was looking for. This led me down emotional wild goose chases with guys I wasn’t even remotely compatible with. As I went through my healing journey, I learned more about my emotional needs, personality, and desires. Eventually, I began to feel like I actually deserved everything I wanted.
I reimagined my future.
Before I began this journey of healing and self-reflection, I didn’t really have a clear picture of what I wanted in love or my future in general. I kind of thought love was a “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” type of situation. I looked at my love life with fear and anxiety, always anticipating pain—and of course, I only attracted men who were more than willing to deliver the drama I was expecting. Once I started to develop confidence and clarity, imagining my future actually become fun rather than terrifying. Now when I have to make decisions, I have an image of what I’m aiming for and I can ask myself, “Does this help me get to where I want to go?”
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