3 Ways To Cultivate Self Love After A Breakup
It’s easy to judge ourselves for staying too long in a relationship that isn’t working.
I took a while before I knew. I coped with what I would later come to understand as depression by
self-medicating with the best drug ever – endorphins. By training for a marathon, I was getting pumped full of endorphins, socializing with my run group, and staying out of the dark place where getting laid off and having a relationship in the pits could lead. It was the perfect treatment. Until I got injured and couldn’t run for two months. My endorphin supply came to a screeching halt and suddenly all the feelings I had been avoiding came crashing down on me. As I began to get treatment,I asked myself the same question over and over: Why hadn’t I dealt with it sooner? Later, as the dark veil of gloom began to lift, I realized that in life you simply don’t know until you know. Relationships are no different. We may hang in there too long when signs that relationship isn’t working abound. When it finally ends, it’s easy to judge ourselves for staying. But judgment and shame don’t translate to healing. Here are 3 ways to shift our thinking from self-judgment to self-love after a breakup.
One of the hardest parts about a breakup is the feeling that part of me has been severed off. My built in best friend, dinner companion and who to contact in an emergency is suddenly gone. Ordinary things feel as foreign as living in a new city. But part of moving through grief is learning to refocus on ourselves, which takes time and practice. Starting small, like taking an online class, going to therapy, or trying a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try can help begin the shift back towards focusing on yourself. Part of shifting to you means shifting away from the relationship.
2. Go 60 days no contact
It’s so great when exes can stay friends. But for me, I had to learn the hard way after my worst breakup that the only way to begin to move forward is to go no contact for at least two months. It sounds soooooo long. After all, we get used to texting multiple times a day. I realized that going no contact allowed me to get through the beginning stages of grief, when I was broken, vulnerable, raw, and unpredictable. I began to forgive myself for staying too long when the red flags it was over were there. There is something about two months that clears away enough anguish that you get back to eating, sleeping, and think about functioning like a normal human being again.
3. Let it out
After my worst breakup, my heart felt shredded and self-judgment was in full force. Then I went out dancing with some friends who were going through their own breakup grief. Halfway through the night I found myself arm up in the air, jumping up and down, singing along with and sweating to Pink, “…And I don’t need you. And guess what? I’m having more fun, now that we’re done. I’m gonna show you tonight”. I caught the eye of an old friend watching on quietly from the side. Instantly I understood her look. You go girl.At the end of the night, I was still mid-grief, I was still single, I still went to my apartment alone, but I had sweated and jumped and danced out so much anger that I felt cleansed.
No matter how many self-help classes you take, how much you avoid drunk texting, or how much you jump around to your theme song, breakups bring grief. But by turning towards ourselves and practicing self-love can help bring us back to homeostasis.Practicing other strategies like finding gratitude and doing damage control can also help squash self-judgment and foster self-love post break-up.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, help is available. You are not alone. Call the confidential helpline here.
About the Author:
Kim Baker, author of the Girls’ Guide to Healthy Dating: Between the Breakup and the Next U-Haul, is a dating columnist and writer whose writing examines healthier dating through the lens of mindfulness and self-care. Find her at www.girlsguidetohealthydating.comor join her email list by texting gg2dating to 22828, message and date rates may apply.