Break-ups suck. No matter which way you look at it, there is an element of sadness that will usually always lend itself to a situation in which two people part ways. Sometimes they’re not the nicest person and it’s for the best, sometimes they were great and it’s mutual, and sometimes… it might feel like neither. You could be the dumper or the dumpee, and still, feel the sting of loss.
For those who were on the receiving end, it’s a double whammy; you’re now left with the task of putting your life back together whilst possibly also recovering from a solid knock to your self-esteem. It’s also easy to lose sight of yourself when you’re healing from a breakup, and even though (nearly) everyone has gone through it at least once in their life it never gets easier.
We’re here today to help you through this period of your life, and tell you that by taking it one day at a time and following a few of the tips below you’ll hopefully find the everyday get a bit easier.
1. Allow yourself to grieve
It might not have been the best relationship for you. It might have been toxic, and they were a bit of a jerk, or it was fantastic and you’re left with unanswered questions - either way, you want to look at it most of the time there has been a loss.
Allow yourself to grieve the relationship, the person you were, and the life you had. Allow yourself to grieve and get it out of your system and make room for the beauty to come.
2. Learn to accept and trust the person you are
Every person on the face of this beautiful Earth is built differently.
We all have different experiences, different aesthetics, different preferences, and different ideals. What we want and what we need could differ vastly from those of the person sitting next to us - and unfortunately, sometimes that point can’t be ignored.
In the event of a relationship breakdown, the sting of rejection or feeling as though you’re not enough can be near impossible to let go of; you want to be ‘that’ person, the one they wanted.
Although it hurts to know you might not be perfect for them, take solace in the fact that you’ve probably dodged a bullet - now you can be perfect for someone who will appreciate you and the changes you never had to make.
There’s beauty in what makes you different, and there’s strength in finding someone in sync with you and all the weird things that make you the individual you are. It definitely doesn’t help when you’re in the grips of a breakdown because you found a shirt that still smells like them, but if you allow yourself the chance you will come out of the experience stronger and wiser.
Your distinct beauty will have a chance to shine and you will know that you deserve more than having to settle for only giving someone half of what you’re capable of. Here are a couple of steps below to get you on your way:
Step one: name something you like about yourself.
It could be your eyes, your smile, or your ridiculously terrible sense of humour. Write it down. Say it out loud. Allow yourself the feel the words, and believe what you’re saying. Affirmations are powerful, but part of that power lies in the repetition and the extent to which you allow yourself to believe the words.
Step two: Stand up straight!
Not just something mum was saying so you didn’t develop a hunch back by the time you were 40, but there are studies to suggest that our posture affects our hormones and thus how we feel and perceive our environment.
By standing up straight, it has been suggested that you will experience a reduction in cortisol (the stress hormone) and feel more confident. Win-win!
3. Self-Care: Necessary, not narcissistic!
Finding something you enjoy is absolutely necessary at this point in your life; it could be ordering a pizza with three times the accepted amount of pineapple or eating a tub of Haagen Dazs, getting into running or finding a hobby that allows balance and joy back into your life.
Balance in all things (so maybe go for that run if you’re going to eat the pizza), but doing something for yourself purely because it will make you feel better is absolutely necessary. Exercise, playing with puppies, or even looking at something we deem beautiful can release hormones that are responsible for making us feel happy.
In this particular instance, self-care might also include powerful aesthetic changes that allow you to leave the past behind. I wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself but sometimes getting a haircut or colour change can do wonders for your psyche and confidence if you’re feeling a little down or not quite yourself.
Pair that with a new outfit, maybe some skincare and healthy food - girl (or boy), you’ll be glowing from the inside-out!
As a note: Depression and anxiety can be experienced by people who have recently been through a major life event or change, with a relationship breakdown definitely on that list.
If you feel as though you might need to speak to someone in order to get through, speak to your General Practitioner or Health Care Professional about a plan to get your mental health back on track. #itsnotweaktospeak
4. Practice Gratitude
Now this one might make some of you scoff into the aforementioned tub of ice cream.
“What do I have to be grateful for?”, I can almost hear you say, and I completely get it. It feels as though your life has been turned upside down and here I am telling you to be grateful for what you have, though if the studies conducted within the field of psychology have taught us anything - what you think, you manifest.
Being grateful isn’t the same as being happy, it’s simply telling your brain that there is good in your life. It could be something as simple as being grateful for the beauty in a blue sky or the way the early morning sun hits and makes everything feel new, or even being grateful for coffee (which I am - every. single. day.).
Keeping a gratitude journal is a powerful tool that will prime your brain to look for the good in your every day. This small shift in your mindset could lessen the emphasis on the negatives, and help you to rebuild in a powerfully positive way.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but making a few small changes every day can help you to rebuild your self-esteem after the loss of a relationship.
By changing how you view the world and accepting things as they are, you’ll eventually find that this experience is just one of that many good and not-so-good situations you’ll come across in your life. There’s no discounting the pain or how hard it might be, but time and few healthy habits can help you rebuild stronger and more confident than before.
If you're looking for support following a break-up; booking in a free 15 -minute consultation with us at Online Psychologists Australia could be the first step to a happier and healthier life.
You'll be matched with a professional, experienced psychologist that best fits your unique needs.