Ok, so it’s not easy. When a relationship ends, even if you were the person ending the relationship, it can suck! And when you are in that immediate post-relationship headspace, it can feel like one of the most painful experiences you have ever had to face. But, might it be possible that there are some helpful life lessons you can take away from this experience, to help you to become your best self for you and future relationships?
In my view absolutely. I’m not taking anything away from the initial shock of a relationship ending. You will inevitably experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, and a sense of loss. You might feel angry with yourself and feel like you have wasted your time. But, the good news is that in time, you will heal. And whilst it’s important to allow yourself to heal properly, it is also helpful to look at what you have gained and what you can take away for the future.
And I know we all roll our eyes when people tell us that ‘everything happens for a reason,’ but in my experience, they’re not far wrong.
Here are just 5 positive things you can take away:
1. You will have learnt a lot about yourself
It’s hard at the time to believe this, especially when you can’t see past all the hurt and pain. But if you have been in a relationship before, and faced the pain of a breakup, you know you can recover. And if you look closely you will realise that there will be a lesson or two somewhere in that experience.
And I know I am making this sound easy, but believe me when I say, I have worn the t-shirt. I’ve discovered that whenever life throws these unexpected curve balls at us, we are often being shaken and shown something. It can be about ourselves or a red flag is being waved.
And if you are anything like me, you will ignore these signs a few times until the next encounter, until finally, eureka you get it! The fact of the matter is, life goes on teaching you the same lesson again and again until you stop repeating the same behaviours.
So why not take a moment to think about the factors that contributed to your relationship ending. You might want to write a list. Be as honest and as open as you can with as an objective mind as possible. And I know it’s hard to face in to, but there will be a few factors that led to the breakup which you might have unconsciously contributed to. And that sounds savage I know, but the reason why this is so important to come to terms with is it will serve you well in the long run. It will save you from repeating the same behaviours in the future.
Talk it through with someone close to you or a professional. Especially if you think there might be some emotional triggers that have cropped up again or personal habits that need addressing. And when we address all these learnings, we soon start to develop a working formula for a relationship where we and the other person can show up as our best selves.
2. Enjoy the ‘me time’
It’s so difficult to deal with the loneliness at first, especially when you will have spent most of your time together. The emptiness can feel overwhelming and everything you see, do hear, reminds you of your past relationship. And loneliness is an emotion that is ok to feel, it’s very normal and the feeling will pass.
Use this time to be a bit more selfish, think and do things for yourself. Be conscious not to fill that void with another person or a rebound because this rarely allows you to move on in a healthy way. So, get comfortable with being alone. Enjoy your own company.
3. Time to fall back in love with YOURSELF
When we are in relationships, many of us invest so much of ourselves in the other person that we forget to look after ourselves. This isn’t a great behaviour by the way, and if you are one of those people, stop, and remind yourself of your amazing.
Allow yourself to fall back in love with yourself. And be careful to avoid looking for external validation from others. You will have many people in your life who love and care for you no doubt but get comfortable in validating how awesome you are internally instead.
Do more things for yourself, which you may have neglected in the relationship. It can be anything from spending more time with friends, having those long relaxing baths, or going back to a hobby that you may have lost sight of during the relationship.
And when we are in the thick of post-relationship blues, we question how loveable we are. But we are loveable, so take the time to reconnect back with yourself and remind yourself of how fab you really are.
4. Get an understanding of what you want out of a relationship
Breaking up with someone is always a perfect opportunity to take stock and have a think about what you want out of your next relationship and even more importantly, the things you don’t want.
When you feel a little bit stronger, and your mindset is less angry or bitter towards the other person, evaluate the relationship and write down the things you liked about it and the things you didn’t. It’s always a good idea to write this down because when you write things down you tend to release what’s on your mind a little easier and more honestly.
When writing your list, think about how you would like your partner to show up for you in your next relationship and what your values are. Think about what your love language is, and what you enjoyed in the relationship.
By understanding your core needs and values, you’ll know exactly what your heart needs and wants from a relationship going forward, and these should become your non-negotiables
5. Time to reinvent you
We’ve all been there. Some of us have gone for a revenge bod, moved to a new home, zhoosh’d up the wardrobe, or for some of us, (me), use the opportunity to do an Elizabeth Gilbert and travel around the world. Bit extreme, but this is a good time to think about and explore what you want out of life. And it’s great because it can be a blank canvas. This is about you, and you no longer have to worry about whether your goals, dreams, desires work for the other person too.
So, a breakup is a perfect time to stop your normal routine and look at your whole life. Maybe things are fine, and you don’t need to change a thing, but it’s still a good time to have a think, and see if you are on the right course, or if you might be happier making some tweaks.
After all, the next person you meet could be ‘the one’. And I truly believe there is a ‘one’ (sometimes two or three granted), for everyone, so why not show up as your whole self rather than the person you think they want you to be. When you go into a relationship being your authentic self, you will no doubt attract a like-minded person that you probably feel more yourself around and have common shared values and interests.
Relationships ending can be tough. Give yourself a little time to grieve, but as soon as you can, move to an acceptance of the situation. Try not to waste all your time and energy trying to deny or alter that reality. Reaffirm to yourself as often as you can, that you are moving on and that you are going to be happier. The more you affirm this, the more your brain responds.
Simply forgive the other person (forgiveness is a great way to allow you to move on, it removes the anger and bitterness which keeps us attached to the memory of that person). You’ll find that the act of letting go of them and all the negative emotions attached to them, will set you free.
After all, you have two choices, stay fixated on the pain and negativity or remind yourself of the good things you can take from the relationship and learn and grow. And most importantly take the time to fall in love with your wonderful self again.