How to heal after a painful breakup

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You will want to read this blog even if you are currently in a loving relationship, entering a new relationship or healing from a breakup, you will see why!

Breakups are painful, period. A relationship is an investment of our heart, time, love, hard work, and so much more. Even if it was you who ended the relationship, it can still be challenging to move forward. Where do we even begin the healing process? Here are some of my thoughts about how to heal after a painful breakup.

One of the most important aspects of healing is self-care. How do you nurture yourself? (Yes, this applies to men as well.) Self-care appears to be a challenge for so many of us, even if we are not healing from a breakup. When I ask people, “How do you nurture yourself?” many look at me as if I’m speaking a different language that they don’t understand! Life is hard, and we get worn down. Self-care is necessary to build ourselves up again. And if you are trying to heal from a breakup, self-care is crucial.

However, one of the most important things that you can do after a break up is this:

Ask yourself: What did I learn about myself?

If you don’t learn from your relationship, well then, what was the point? I hear people say when a relationship ends, “Twenty years of my life wasted”! Well, it doesn’t have to be that way if you can learn something from it.

And the reason I suggest that everyone reads this blog is because it is important to always to gain self-awareness from your relationship.

Let me explain! When I am working with someone who is beginning to date after he or she and the person they are dating have experienced a bad breakup, I always encourage them to ask that person what they have learned about themselves from the relationship that ended. If that person can only focus on blaming the other, it is a real concern. Here’s why…

It is easy and understandable to get caught up in how we’ve been hurt. And it is easy and understandable to focus on all the pain, challenges, and heartache that the other person brought to you and the relationship. However, you also need to be aware of the challenges you brought to the relationship so that you don’t repeat them, or you can at least be mindful of them in a new relationship.

Even if the person was awful to you and the best thing was for that relationship to end, you could still learn something about yourself.

For example, if someone was consistently mean to you, the focus should not be on what a horrible person he or she was. Rather, the question to ask yourself is, “What do I need to understand about myself as to why I endured such meanness?” Was it because of low self-esteem or self-worth? Was it because you struggled to set boundaries within your relationship? There is so much to learn about ourselves from a relationship that I could never address it all in one blog post!  All of us are unique individuals with different lessons to learn, and different levels of self-awareness to be gained. Two separate people may each endure meanness in their relationships, but it could be for completely different reasons.

Another example… Do you see yourself as “unlovable” because your partner was not able to show you love? It is simply not true that you are unlovable because of another person’s challenges. It is their challenge, not your challenge. But why do you see yourself as unlovable? That is the question to focus on, not why didn’t he/she love you.

Did your former partner blame you for many of the challenges in the relationship? The focus after a breakup is not how horrible that person was because they were blaming; the question is: why did you accept blame that you did not deserve?

Among the many things that I appreciate about being in a relationship is gaining self-awareness. Again, that is why I suggested that you keep reading even if you are in a loving relationship. Nothing feels better in life than personal growth and the gaining of self-awareness. Now let me say this: the things that I learn about myself are not always positive and sometimes it is hard to accept truths about myself! But that’s okay; it is the best way to gain insight, self-awareness and personal growth. Personal growth, self-awareness, and insight are empowering in any relationship, but perhaps especially so in a new relationship.

Please remember, what I am suggesting is not easy work, and this kind of self-reflection needs to be done with self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and experience personal growth at the same time.

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Photo Credit: Nickolas Raymond@flicker.com http://www.freestock.ca/

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How to heal after a painful breakup
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How to heal after a painful breakup
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Some thoughts on how to heal after a painful breakup. Important read even if you are in a loving relationship!
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