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How to overcome a breakup and learn to love yourself

If you are reading this article it is probably because you are going through one of the hardest and most difficult times of your life.

People around you will tell you that “it’s not the end of the days”, but you know exately what you are feeling deep inside.

It seems to you that all of a sudden lights turned off, some moments you find it hard to breathe and (especially if the relationship was lasting, stable, you were living together / or family involved) it seems to you that the ground has collapsed under your feet.

All the projects, the dreams of a future together, the memories of happy moments that you thought would last forever… suddenly begin to crumble, to fade into the folds of a future that you imagined but will no longer exist.

The first thing I have to tell you is: remember that you are not alone . There will always be a family member, friend, colleague ready to listen and stand by you. Don’t close yourself in, let out all the sadness and anger you feel. Cry, scream, punch the pillow (be it very soft, please, we don’t want you to get hurt)! Nobody deserves your pain.

Let’s see together how to go through this storm that is turning your life upside down. Start from this assumption: everything happens for a reason, maybe it was time to evolve, to change (and trust me, it will be a change for the better).

Table of Contents

The stages of a breakup

Overcoming a breakup is, in effect, like grieving. According to some psychologists, in fact, there are 5 “phases” to be faced and overcome, in order to be considered cured. I will report what, in my opinion, is the clearest and most correct vision, by Dr. Gabriele Calderone .

  1. Denial : it is precisely the phase in which we reject the loss. We can’t admit that this is really happening, that, as already mentioned, all our future plans and dreams will not come true. This new reality is “unacceptable”, intolerable for our subconscious, and for this reason we deny it. We seem to live in a nightmare from which we think we have to wake up at any moment.
  2. Plea bargain : at this stage we accepted the break, but we have the hope that everything can go back to the way it was before. You will find yourself making several attempts to win back your ex partner and every gesture on his part will be interpreted as a sign of rapprochement.
  3. Anger: this stage comes when, after various attempts at reconciliation, we realise that there is the same “stance” on the other side and that our former partner is firm on his decision not to retrace his steps. Anger could manifest itself with the fury towards him, or against yourself: for not having yet overcome everything, or for not having noticed before the arrival of the end of the relationship .
  4. Depression : this appears when the strength to feel anger is also lacking (yeah, it is an exhausting feeling). This is the stage where we think we will never fall in love again; in which we are afraid of suffering again and lose faith in the opposite sex. However, we are in the final phase, the definitive one in order to get out of “mourning”.
  5. Acceptance : when we finally acknowledge what has happened and decide to move on and continue living, opening up to new happy experiences. This does not mean that we will totally forget about the pain we experienced, or we will never again feel a sense of nostalgia thinking about our old relationship. Simply, as the word itself says, it is about welcoming this loss into our lives, being able to think about the past without getting depressed, and starting to make plans by restarting with ourselves.

First steps to feel better

senza fretta
  1. Sin prisa pero con ganas, is a Spanish motto that translated means “without any hurry, but with desire.” Well this is the very first thing to keep in mind. Don’t rush , take your time to get over your down moments. There is no time limit : it could be days, weeks, months or even years, before you can say that you are “healed” completely, and have really overcome it. Be patient and kind to yourself: the strength to get out of this situation can only be found within you.
  2. Take some time . If you feel like (and your job allows it) to spend a whole day in bed, do it. If you can only eat ice cream, chips and pizza, go for it. If you don’t feel like eating… make an effort to do so, as your body will need even more energy during this internal struggle.

sweet moments

Watch your favorite TV series (” Friends ” was my lifeline when me too, like you, I went through this dark period in my life). Focus on your self-care, read the books you left on your bedside table, go out with your friends. Reconnect those relationships you “neglected” to give your partner more space (unintentionally, we all do, don’t blame yourself).

3. Don’t repress your emotions ! Please cry. Cry for as long as you want, it will make you feel better. Tears, in fact, contain substances such as proteins, hormones and potassium which, acting on the immune system, help and eliminate chemicals (toxins) that would be developing due to this “traumatic” event.

4. The pain is real (you will really feel like “your heart is breaking”), as are the mood swings. It will happen that you think that you have already overcome it, that you feel better, that you will use feelings such as anger and resentment in order not to feel sadness. But this will return to make its way in your heart and be again the dominant feeling. Don’t worry: you will see that day after day, the “no” moments will give their place to the positive ones, until they will completely disappear .

5. Avoid Ruminating : Crying over spilled milk won’t change things, keep that in mind. It will only serve to slow down your healing and overcoming process. Whether it is the case that you think you have all the responsibility for the breakup, or you lay all the blame on your partner, remember that focusing on this thought will not turn back time. Rather, think about the behaviors you will no longer accept in the future and the mistakes you will no longer want to make. Try to understand the reasons that objectively led to the end of the relationship. Write them on a piece of paper. Look for solutions or what behaviors you would like to change. You will have learned a lesson. Now keep it in your mind and move on. It will come in handy when you are ready for your next relationship.

6. Try new activities , play new sports, keep your mind busy. Do meditation (it helps so much to learn how to control our thoughts), yoga, sign up for that class you always wanted to take at the gym, or start that sport you love so much.

Any kind of physical activity, from jogging in the park to exhausting spinning classes, will help you in two ways: first, because of the release of endorphin, the happiness hormone, that occurs during physical activity, you will feel more peaceful. Second, sports activity will help you feel stronger, feel better about yourself and more confident.

In my case, the only reason that pushed me to leave the house was going to the gym. Seeing myself every day stronger also gave me a great internal motivational push (I knew I could do it, I could get out of that abyss of sadness and tears).

Useful tips: What to do now

  1. Get as far away as possible from him and the circle in common: try not to hang out with his friends anymore or in those places where you risk meeting him;
  2. Eliminate/block him/her on social media if you feel it is necessary and useful for your mental health;
  3. Write a list of the pros and cons of the relationship: was it really that dream story you were idealising in your head?
  4. Write what your strengths are and what you would like in a next relationship: take advantage of this experience to be able to grow and learn a life lesson.
  5. Stay alone for a while : to start something on the rebound can certainly be useful in helping you not think about your ex too much, but it is not the solution. Don’t fall desperately into the arms of the first person you meet. Take some time to get to know yourself and understand what you really want,
start over with you

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