Finding yourself after a breakup is not easy process, but it is a necessary process.
Ending any relationship comes with a natural grieving process and it is important to acknowledge and accept this. Don’t rush the process. Embrace the pain. It sucks, but if you suppress it you won’t ever heal.
1. Run away.
But come back. After my separation, I ran away with my friend L to Ireland. We spent New Year 2011 drinking a lot. In our defense it was very cold and the only warmth was in the pub. We met amazing people and I have maintained friendships with people I met on this trip.
Although I was running away, I actually found pieces of myself. I rediscovered my laughter. I also found an elephant at the Cliffs of Moher and fell in love with my camera all over again. I bumped into a Texan in Kinsale, Ireland and reconnected with my dancing shoes.
If you choose to run away, run toward yourself. Make a point to define one missing piece and put it back in your puzzle.
2. Test yourself on the cellular level with response to music.
We hold memories everywhere in our bodies and music will create a reaction that you may not expect. Play a song once a week until it no longer makes your heart cringe and your chest constrict.
Jason Mraz was a serious trigger for me. I wanted to find him every time I heard this song and pelt him with avocados for making me cry. I wanted to tear that goofy hat from his head and stomp on it. Yes, I seriously hated Jason Mraz. If it played in a shopping center, I would leave the store. Drastic—yes, but throwing up on the floor would have been much much worse. I hated Jason Mraz. I un-liked him on Facebook. That showed him—not really, he didn’t notice but I felt better.
Use this as a time to grow. Instead of allowing a breakup to become a sandbag weighing you down or an anchor holding you in one spot use it as a sail that will propel you forward. A rudder to guide you. Use what you have learned to avoid the same rocks and pitfalls in the future. My grandmother used to say “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” I always thought this was the silliest thing, turns out she was right.
4. Be your own person. Take time to reconnect with yourself. Alone.
Don’t jump into a new relationship because you need attention or physical connection or to fill a void. I have a dear friend and I will hold her hand, hug her and rest my head on her shoulder—just to get that physical contact without any sexual undertones. It is safe and loving and no worries. Find a friend, hug your mom, get a plant and talk to it, walk your dog. Be single and wear that for a while.
5. Remove the fear.
For a long time, I was wrapped in a cocoon of fear (of rejection) and uncertainty. I stopped putting myself out there. I was fully unavailable. After my self imposed single state, I maintained a wall to separate myself from every man. I finally let that wall come down and it took time and trust in myself to realize that being single was not a prison, it was a gift. I allowed myself to finally accept dates and jump in.
6. Be in the present.
Don’t look at every person as your possible mate/partner/future spouse. You will be setting yourself up for failure. Enjoy the moments that you are given and appreciate that they are a gift. Embrace the now, not the future, and let go of the past. The past hurts, bad relationships and breakups only cripple you to be happy with another.
This week I had the opportunity to step out on a limb and throw my cards on the table; it was freeing. I was open, honest and learned that someone I had been involved with is very wrapped up his own past and unwilling to fully allow another person in his life. Instead of being crushed, I had a laugh out loud moment of celebration. I learned it’s okay to take risks and even joyous to utterly fail. Not fearing failure removes all self imposed limitations.
7. Get involved.
Many people when in relationships tend to shut out parts of their lives they love in order to focus that time on partner/spouse. Grab a journal, a piece of printer paper or a napkin and start writing what you enjoy. Find classes or groups in your community and head out!
After a breakup most people will find that their self confidence is a bit battered. Know that the people you will meet doing what you love will be welcoming for no other reason than you share a passion. We all need that connection and community.
8. Focus on acceptance and forgiveness.
You have to accept all your own failings and your previous partners issues. Things usually aren’t one-sided. Forgive yourself and forgive your past. Release yourself from guilt.
My situation is a bit different. My divorce was based on illness. My ex-husband could not cope with a sick spouse and now that I am recovering and stronger, physically I am the girl he knows. But I am not the same person. Three days ago he asked me on a date. I was dumbfounded.
I told him that isn’t a possibility for me. I am not the person I was. He does not know who he is or what he wants, but it can’t be me. I forgave his complete disregard and removal of me from our life because I was sick. I accepted his choice, I let him go. I gave forgiveness but I am never going to forget.
I can not risk ever being with someone who may leave because Lupus, and the recent cancer cells in my kidneys, could come back at any time. Being single is better for me than being with him.
Be strong in yourself; know what you want.
And know that one day, you will be kissed again. Passionately and with complete abandon.
Bonus! Seane Corn on love & career:
Editor: Brianna Bemel