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Break ups suck. If you haven’t been through one yet, you will, and it will suck. Whatever type of relationship it is, to have a “break up” with someone (or something, for that matter) is absolutely, undeniably gut wrenching. But, it is absolutely undeniably necessary to go through for your personal growth and happiness.
This time last year, I went through one of the toughest break ups and journeys I have ever experienced. When you’ve been in a committed relationship and have decided to love someone for three years and that abruptly ends, it turns your world upside down a little bit. We don’t need to get into details, because that’s not the point. The point is, I’m here a year later writing on the other side of it all, and so thankful for the journey this last year has been.
So, without further ado, here is Claire Lancaster‘s 7 step process to healing from a breakup:
STEP #1: GHOSTING SZN
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Initially, if you’re the one who’s been broken up with, you’re likely going to be in shock. Most people when they’re broken up with don’t see it coming– if you thought there were severe enough issues in the relationship to warrant breaking up, you probably would have made changes before it got to this point. Regardless of the reason, you are probably going to be in a state of shock, which can also lead to a state of denial, or groveling. You may try to reach out to your ex (naturally you want to talk to them because that’s been the norm since you started dating). You might try to get them to change their mind, or act out to get their attention. Let me tell you something that will sting to hear, but should be your motivation moving forward: if someone breaks up with you, they do not see you at your true value. You do not want to be with someone who does not love you enough to work through any issue, because someone out there will be willing one day. Again, you do not want to be with someone who does not love you enough to work through any issue, because someone out there will be willing one day. And, on the subject of begging, would you want to be with someone who so clearly relies on you for his or her happiness? That’s a whole lot of pressure to put on someone. So don’t beg, don’t act out, just drop off their grid. In simple terms: ghost the f*** out of them. After all, it is what they asked for when they ended things, even if they don’t outright say that.
TIP #2: LEAN ON YOUR PEOPLE
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It always becomes clear who really cares about you when you go through a hard period in your life. My friendships only strengthened when I went through my breakup. People I barely knew reached out their arms for hugs, and the people I am closest to carried me when my feet were dragging. Here, you can bond with your friends about their past breakups, and you can spend all that wasted time that you were normally with your partner with them now (honestly, probably having more fun). Not to mention, if you have single friends, you’ve now just entered a whole new world of fun. Your friends and family WILL be there to compensate for the love you’ve just lost.
TIP #3: DON'T REACT
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No one looks good when they’re bitter. Granted, this is much easier said than done, but it is crucial to not react, (aka not speak poorly of your ex as tempting as it might be). In general, I’d advise you to not engage in discussions about your ex at all except with your best friends (who you can talk to privately). It only makes you look bitter, immature, and honestly undesirable for potential future partners. Keep your head high in public, because there are many people who just want to sit back and watch some juicy drama. Someone else can be their soap opera.
TIP #4: REALIZE TRASH
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After your time of being shocked, devastated, sad, and everything in between, you need to recognize the trash in the person that left you. This is not to say that they are completely compiled of trash, but like every one of us, there are pieces that need work or changing. It is natural to remember all of the good parts of your ex and almost look at them as a perfect person, but no one is perfect. We all have flaws. I want you to make a list (with tons of blank pages after it to fill) of all of the shitty parts of that person that you didn’t like. Did they treat you the way you really want to be treated in a partnership? No? Trash. Did they have an annoying habit you secretly hated? Trash. Be specific, talk about the scenarios you hated how they handled. Whenever you find yourself missing your ex, look at that ”Trash” page, and read it over and over again.
TIP #5: SELF REFLECT
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When you’re a bit more at ease with everything because you have allowed yourself to grieve what’s been lost, it’s time to look inwards. From here on out, the healing process is all about YOU. You’ve talked about all the wrong things with your ex, and now it’s time to think about how you contributed to the situation ending. Did you lash out at your partner on your bad days? Did you reassure them enough? How did you handle arguments? Were you willing to compromise? You cannot fully heal from a breakup if you do not do this. I promise, in every breakup, both parties have done something wrong. If you don’t recognize that in yourself, you can’t learn from your mistakes. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you can expect to repeat them with the next relationship.
TIP #6: IMAGINE
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This part is absolutely key to your healing. It’s now time to imagine all the possibilities in your life now that you have all this free time and headspace. Had you always wanted to get in shape but never had the time? Did you have somewhere you always wanted to go that your ex didn’t? Your ex leaving you opens at least a million more doors of possibilities- life is easier when you don’t have someone else to worry about. You can move wherever, be friends with whoever, flirt with whoever you want. This is a clean slate, and it might not be exciting immediately, but once you start making lists and imagining all of the things in your life you want to do, you’ll begin to see the doors open.
TIP #7: GET BACK OUT THERE
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After this entire process is over: you’ve recognized what you want and don’t want in a partner, you’ve recognized your mistakes and you see what you want in your future- and, when you feel ready, it’s time to get back out there. You’ll remember how exciting it is to get to know someone new, even if it’s nothing serious. You’ll see that you are someone people want to be around and get to know, and your confidence will soar.
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Everyone’s process is different; this was just my own way that I healed. By no means do I claim to know it all- I am just learning as I go. If you take anything away from this though, realize that someday you’ll have perspective and be happy with where you are and how far you’ve come.
Art of the day: a few songs got me through my breakup, but this one especially helped. It reminded me that some people just don’t know how to love.