Moving on is not easy.
It’s not something that gets better after a night’s sleep. It’s also not like a hangover that can be cured with medication.
It’s something that breaks our heart because of our what-if’s and could be’s. From the minute we wake up until we sleep, we carry the pain of a failed relationship.
I know it’s hard to let go of something so intense. But for your peace of mind, it’s worth it.
Here are 13 helpful ways to figure out what to do after a breakup:
1. Accept how you feel
After a breakup, we will feel a mixture of feelings and it’s normal.
We may feel sadness, regret, hope, wistfulness, melancholy, disappointment, hate, grief, anger, fear, shame, and other deeper emotions.
But whatever the emotion is, accept the emotions fully. If you hate the person, feel that hatred. If you feel sad, it’s okay to cry.
Do not deny the emotions but embrace them. Take time to process and accept these feelings.
It is a bad decision to bottle them in because it might explode into a full-blown depression or emotional issues in the future.
2. Slowly let them go
As you accept how you feel, slowly let them go. Feel them, understand them, then release them.
There are a lot of ways to release these feelings. You can talk to a friend, write in your journal, or meditate.
If your mind gets too tired, sleeping helps to clear the mental and emotional baggage too. But, do not use sleep as a way to escape your problems.
3. Think that he/she is not the one for you
If you want to move on, stop seeing him/her as “the one” for you.
Fixing your eyes on him/her won’t do you any good. It will lead you to linger on and on and it will give you false hope that you will end up together someday, which will never come.
4. Share with your close friends
Breakups are hard but you don’t have to go through this alone. That’s what friends are for!
Your friends are there for a reason – they will help you, support you, and pull you through this period.
Real friends help each other and this period of your life will make you appreciate them even more. This experience will undoubtedly strengthen your friendships.
5. Reduce contact with him/her
A wounded heart doesn’t need a constant reminder of the person that hurt it the most. Seeing them or contacting them will be like rubbing salt on your wound.
Reduce contact with this person during the initial healing period, because it is the most delicate. During this time, don’t let anything come near and agitate your wound especially those things the wound is susceptible to.
Avoid contacting this person, if that’s what it’s going to take to move on faster. Let your broken heart rest.
6. Seek closure with him/her
At the end of every unrequited or broken relationship, there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions and pent up emotions.
Although you can try to rationalize them away, but they will still remain there, yearning to be answered. The best thing is to seek closure with the person who has hurt you.
You can write down everything you want to say such as the things you had qualms with and the questions you always wanted to ask. Then arrange for a heartfelt talk with him/her and get the air cleared with these questions.
Ask for their side of the story and listen to it. Seek for an answer, even if it doesn’t really matter.
In the end, it’s not about the answer itself but the fact that there was an answer. It will give you certainty on where he/she stands.
If the person avoids the issue or doesn’t answer the questions you ask, the avoidance itself is the answer.
This behavior tells you that the person is irresponsible, player, evasive, unsure, and conflicted. If he/she can’t even give you a simple, proper answer you need, why waste time on that person?
7. Forgive him/her
Forgiveness is not for the person who hurt you. It is for you – whenever you refuse to forgive someone, the person you are not forgiving is really yourself.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” – Robert Muller
If you think about it, it really makes sense. When you feel anger and bitterness to someone, It’s your heart that’s being eaten out by these negative emotions.
For what it’s worth, the other person is probably not aware of how you feel. Thus, you are the only person carrying the baggage around.
To be able to forgive, you must forgive yourself. Think about how you are denying yourself happiness and freedom by holding onto your grievances.
Just think about the person who hurt you as a stepping stone or guiding star pointing you to the right person. You can never be with the one who’s meant for you if you don’t let go.
Whenever you hold on to your baggage, you prevent yourself from receiving new things in life. Forgiveness will heal you from the trauma you put yourself into.
Forgive yourself first for everything that has happened and forgiveness for the other person will occur naturally.
8. Do the things you love
When you get hurt, it doesn’t mean that the world stopped revolving. Life goes on with or without you.
After you’ve cried your heart out, accepted the situation, and forgave yourself – it’s time to get back on track. Enjoy yourself and get into some activities.
Do the things that perk you up, excite you, enthuse you, make you feel rejuvenated. Better yet, try new activities like exercising, jogging, swimming, cycling, or rollerblading.
Do anything that will take your mind off and engage yourself in them.
9. Meet new people
When you love, it’s normal to focus on the person. Sometimes, your world might revolve around him/her.
It’s easy to get trapped in your head thinking about how hard it is to go back into the “real world” without that person. But when you try to meet new people, it will remind you that it’s okay.
There are many great people to get to know out there so don’t get cooped up with your life. There is a whole world out there and it’s waiting for you.
10. Know that there is nothing wrong with you nor the person you loved
It’s easy to fall into the pit of self-pity when something doesn’t work out. But this is an erroneous belief.
If your relationship turned sour, it’s not because of your certain traits. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not enough.
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you must have this trait or that. However, different people have different expectations.
If you’re not what they expected to be, then it just means you are not the right match. So don’t wallow in self-pity because there is nothing wrong with you or him/her.
You are just not suited for each other. That’s all.
11. Recognize there is someone out there for you
You may not believe in true love anymore after a broken past, but it’s true. There is someone out there for you
No matter how many relationships you’ve been in the past, how many wrong people you’ve been with, or whether you’ve never been in any real relationships – someone will love you for who you are.
With billions of people in the world, you’re definitely not the only single out there. Every time you see couples, there are multiples of other singles.
And here’s the thing. Just because you’re single, it doesn’t mean you will end up single for the rest of your life.
It means you have not found the right person just yet. Meanwhile, focus on becoming the best version of yourself.
Live the best life according to your book. Remember that your life doesn’t and shouldn’t depend on having a special partner.
Nobody completes us – we are already complete by ourselves.
12. Learn from the broken relationship
One day, when there’s no more pain, you will be able to take away lessons from the relationship. Not today, but it will happen soon.
The lessons may teach you how to be open to love or to trust your gut next time. Do not look at the relationship as a waste of time ending in heartbreak because there’s always a reason for everything.
Find the silver lining – there is always something good that comes out of everything. The tough stuff will make you tougher and wiser, they say.
One day, you will find yourself looking at the bigger picture, understanding why you didn’t end up with each other.
13. Time is the best healer
Moving on is hard, I get it. It takes a lot of time and tears to move on from a broken relationship.
If you ask me when you can move on, the answer is uncertain because there’s really no schedule for it.
What might take other people a month to get over someone may take you longer. Heck, it might even take years if the wound is too deep.
The process needs time so don’t rush it because you can’t. If you do, it will only prolong the pain.
Accept the fact that at any given day, you may feel like crying your heart out. But tell yourself that it will be over soon.
In our lifetime, we will face pain and heartbreaks. It’s part of being human because we are emotional beings.
But, there’s always a way out from the sadness. It’s up to us to help ourselves and move to our happy place because we always have a choice.
We can choose bitterness or we can choose to move on and be happy. The former is easy but the latter takes a lot of courage.
Which one is yours?
Are you mentally tough?
Resilience and mental toughness are key attributes to living your best life. They determine how high we rise above what threatens to wear us down, from battling an illness, to dealing with challenging emotions, to carrying on after a relationship has ended.
In The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness, we outline exactly what it means to be mentally tough and equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today.
Sign up to Hack Spirit's daily emails
Learn how to reduce stress, cultivate healthy relationships, handle people you don't like and find your place in the world.