Getting through any setback is tough. Yet sometimes the most challenging kind are the ones that involve the heart. After a breakup, we’re likely to struggle with feeling rejected, unloved, not good enough, and, just simply, not wanted. And while recovering from heartbreak isn’t supposed to be easy, we can also make it harder on ourselves than it should be — without even realizing it.
Here are five ways:
Ruminate About The Past. Ruminative thinking has a negative, self punishing quality, and often takes hold without really being cued. It’s as if the thought, “I’m not wanted,” just pops into your head at any given moment — and usually several times a day. And when you entertain this thought — collecting evidence for why this may be true — not only do you end up feeling worse, you also stay stuck in the past. Active, solution focused thinking, on the other hand, asks the question, what do I need to do right now to feel better? Asking this question begins the process of searching for solutions — as oppose to replaying the heartbreak.
Stop Doing What You Love. Being in a relationship with someone involves sharing activities, interests, and lives together. And often, in the process, we can forget ourselves, let go of things that are important to us, and trade the things we love for time with our partners. While this is usually a mutually beneficial process, after breaking up, the challenge is to remember what you — and just you — are passionate about, and get back to it. Because this is the authentic you that was there before the relationship began and these are the things that inspire, fulfill, and drive you — and they can also be the things that pull you through.
Isolate. It’s the easiest thing to do when we feel bad. We stick our heads in the sand, assuming that no one wants to be bothered with our problems, burdened by our sadness, our brought down by us. Yet when we isolate, we are more likely to ruminate about the past, stay stuck in our bad feelings, and return to negative habits. And that bowl of ice cream isn’t going to take the sting out of a broken heart — it might just temporarily distract you, and that’s before it makes you feel worse. After all, isolating — like ice cream — tends to be addictive.
Stop Exploring Other Options. Sometimes we become so involved with a person that when things come to an end we forget that there was life before.And we forget that there are other choices, options, and people that we are perfectly capable of going after. Especially when we invested a tremendous amount of time and energy in cultivating a life with someone, we tend to hang on — afraid of losing the investment — and ignore that we may also be missing the other opportunities right in front of us. And heartbreak is a time to let go of the illusion that is no longer there and immerse yourself in the reality of what is in front of you today — which is not the one who broke your heart.
Listen To Anyone Else’s Relationship Advice. While everyone else may have the best advice for you — it’s just that, their advice. It’s not coming from you, and it probably will not work for you either. While you may be anxious to do anything but feel the way you feel, going through a heartbreak is a time to search inward, ask yourself what you most need, what you most want, and what you need to do for you. The solutions are probably already inside of you — curated through years of life experiences and learning who you really are — and if you take enough time to find them, they will be the right ones for you.
A broken heart may be one of the toughest things we will ever go through — but it is also a moment of definition as you come to terms with what was, and move forward with what is. And while you may not have had choice in having your heart broken, you do have choice in just what you are going to do about it.