Breakups suck. That’s it, that’s the sentence. I wish the process of healing from a breakup could be as short as my previous sentences. Unfortunately, human emotions don’t work this way. Most of us are familiar with the 7 stages of grief.
- Shock and Denial: “It’s not really over, we’ll get back together.”
- Pain and Guilt: “I know this is my fault, I should apologize.”
- Anger and Bargaining: “They’re so dumb! They’ll regret losing me.”
- Depression: “I’ll never get over this.”
- The Upward Turn: “Today is a good day, I’m feeling better.”
- Reconstruction: “There’s better on the other side.”
- Acceptance: “I’m okay, there are more fish in the sea.”
The death of a relationship can take you through each of these emotions. Initially, you may experience each emotion in one day. It can be extremely overwhelming and you’ll feel trapped. But if you take your time and process each breakup stage, you’ll come out even better than before you went in.
The biggest issue with many people experiencing a breakup is the intense urge to run from the emotions. Instead of facing the breakup head-on, many would rather avoid it by being heavily inebriated on alcohol/drugs, having sex with someone, or moving on to another relationship quickly. These may feel like good ideas at the moment and they do offer temporary relief. Avoiding doesn’t make the bad feelings go away though. It just postpones them because they will find their way back to you and manifest in other ways. Like a wise person once said, “The only way through it is through it.”
Instead of attempting to run from the pain you feel right now, I want to offer a better solution. I want to offer a practical strategy for coping with these emotions. I don’t want to lie to you and tell you this is easy because it isn’t. But if you take it one day at a time, you will overcome and be fully healed. Here are 5 ways to get through the breakup stages.
Feel How You Feel
When you break up with someone, your mind is going a mile a minute. You will have so many thoughts to process that your brain will literally become exhausted. These thoughts will soon become all sorts of feelings. You’ll be crying in one moment, screaming the next, laughing in another, then back to crying. The fortunate part is all of these emotions are normal. Allow yourself to feel how you want without judgment.
The problem with healing is that society tells you that you aren’t supposed to feel bad; like ever. You’re supposed to smile every day all day, even when you go through pain. It creates a false narrative that you’re weak if you cry over heartbreak. That’s just not true. Don’t allow anyone to tell you how you need to feel during this breakup. Proudly feel each emotion and take your time. Don’t rush through this. Give yourself permission to grieve properly so you’ll be fully healed and ready for your next relationship.
Lean on Your Support System
Going through a breakup is one of the loneliest feelings ever. You can feel alone even if you’re in a room full of people. This is why surrounding yourself with loved ones is so important. Even on the days when you don’t feel like being bothered, allow your friends and family to comfort you.
I recently went through a moment of self-pity because I really liked this guy and he ghosted me. I actually cried for two days because of the overwhelming feeling of rejection. My best friend offered to come by and I accepted. We ended up watching a video and we laughed all night long. That laughter ended my pity party. The next day, I accepted I was ghosted and I was okay. I didn’t cry over that situation anymore.
Laughter is healing and so is having someone to lean on in your time of grief. Your situation most likely won’t be settled as quickly as mine but it will certainly help. Each step in the right direction is a great step. Don’t resist surrounding yourself with people who support you. It will surely uplift your spirits.
Do What Makes you Happy
This is such a subjective statement so let me explain. When I refer to what makes you happy, I am not referring to the things you do to numb your emotions. That’s the stuff I previously mentioned like getting high, or drunk, or having sex with someone just to ease the pain. I’m speaking on the things that help you maintain feelings of happiness once the temporary satisfaction is over. The thing about drugs, alcohol, and sex is they feel great at the moment but after the small peak of joy, the negative feelings rush back immediately.
Things that can help you maintain your happiness is taking a walk, doing a hobby you love, going out with friends, eating at a restaurant you enjoy, and more activities that bring sustainable joy. Do things that you may think are mundane but afterward, you feel relief. I despise working out but during breakups, working out makes me feel great once I’m done. Attempting to spark happiness in other areas of your life is the goal.
Stop Trying to “Figure it Out”
I’m a problem solver. It’s a gift when it comes to career and ambitions. It’s a curse when it comes to attempting to understand what went wrong and why post-breakup. Since I’m a professional “figure-it-outer”, I can tell you firsthand that it’s an awful idea for you to do this during a breakup. You don’t need to figure anything out. Your current focus should be healing, not problem-solving.
Most times, we think if we figure it out then it’ll help us accept the breakup quicker. That is false. Knowing logically what happened and why won’t negate what you are feeling emotionally. So release all efforts of attempting to get closure or trying to wrap your mind around where it went wrong. Allow those thoughts to pass so you can spend your energy accepting that it is actually over.
Cultivate Positive Thoughts
The last thing you want to do when going through a heartbreak is think positively. You would rather remain in your pity party and I think you are allowed to have one. Pity is fine and a part of feeling how you feel but you don’t want to stay there forever. Once you’ve gotten through the bulk of your initial emotions, try to create a positive environment. This looks different for everyone but the goal is to try to overcome negative thoughts with positive ones.
For example, when your think…
“I’ll never find anyone else, I’ll be single forever.”
Replace that with…
“This is temporary. I’ll recover and be happier and healthier in my next relationship.”
Our minds have so much power. Starting early on the positivity trail will help tremendously. Unfortunately, you will not feel like it but sometimes, you have to do it anyway. Positivity is a skill. You have to train yourself to do it. Anytime you find yourself wallowing in pity, if you can journal or say a quick affirmation then do so. It will help you in the long run.
To reiterate, breakups suck. You will need time to get through these breakup stages but with a practical strategy, you’ll get through it quicker. If you’d like a more in-depth strategy, check out my book How to X Your Ex. It walks you through what to do in each phase of a breakup plus real-life scenarios.
The chapters include…
- Let it Out
- No Contact
- No Rebounds
- The Closure Trap
- Give it to Your God
- Perception is Reality
- Fighting Lonely
- Sit in It
- Reclaim Your Thoughts