Saturday, 15 October 2016

Regaining Your Sense of Self-Worth After a Bad Breakup

Not all breakups are bad. Many times breakups can leave you feeling liberated, even happy. But when a particularly hard breakup does occur, it can leave you shattered.

In my lifetime, I have experienced only one breakup which left me feeling broken. I knew the relationship had to end, that continuing on in our two year relationship was not only pointless, but unhealthy. Instead of bringing each other up, as a couple should, we brought out the worst in each other. That, and there was no sex for the last six months (that's a quarter of the relationship! - but that's another story). I felt like I was dating a friend, and one whom no matter how hard he tried, could no longer make me happy.

It was very hard to get out of the relationship. I was 22, living with him in his nice house. I had grown to love his dog and he bought a second dog during our relationship which I considered mine as well. He had been very needy and unsupportive of my friendships and as a result I had neglected many friends throughout the course of our relationship in order to spend time only with him. He was seemingly accomplished in life at the age of 27 and exuded an air of competence. I became dependent and reliant on him for all things, even the smallest of things, and completely lost my feeling of self-reliance. I felt clumsy, inadequate and very nervous to break things off and have no one to turn to for everything that I was used to him taking care of.

But, alas, the relationship ended and I was forced to leave. I left his cozy house, I left our two dogs (something which saddened me to no end but I had no claim to them as he had purchased them), and I left the man that at one point, I thought I might marry.

The end of the relationship was really telling. It immediately became clear to me that this man, whom I had given up a lot for, never really truly cared for me. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me any longer. He moved on a week later with another girl and that was that. The idea that I was so unimportant left me feeling devastated.

I immediately became depressed. All my pride or ego which existed at the time of the breakup was shot down. I felt ALONE. I felt UGLY. I (irrationally) rationalized that the fact that the one person who I thought knew everything about me could so easily dismiss me and reject me like I was nothing to him meant that I must not be special, not be attractive, not be worth fighting for. I felt worthless.

Looking back (now that it's 10 years later and I am very happily married with two children), it seems foolish and childish and ridiculous that I took it to such an extreme. But my emotional response at the time was REAL.

After about a month or so I began to pull myself together, and the feeling of sadness and desperation turned into anger, and the anger turned into empowerment and empowerment turned into healing (kind of like the progression of Beyonce's Lemonade album). A took positive actions and used positive thinking to get through a hard time, and it worked well for me.

The following is a list of tips and tricks that should help you get over a bad breakup:


1. Give yourself time to be sad over the relationship. Cry a lot and get everything out. Watch sappy movies and listen to sappy songs. Think about it, question it, and let out your emotions.

2. Talk to your friends and family about it.

3. Spend a lot of time with people who you love who have your back. Family and good friends will build you back up.

4. Try not to spend too much time alone. Keep busy. Go to the gym, join an art class, do what you need to to prevent yourself from spending too much time in bed, mulling.

5. Dote on yourself. Go to the spa, buy a hot outfit, buy new makeup, work out. People feel better when they feel attractive. It has a direct connection to self-esteem.

6. Write. Keep a journal, write poems, write letters to your ex that you'll never send (writing out Taylor Swift's lyrics for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" can't hurt either).

7. Start to introduce comedy into your life. Watch really funny movies or go to a comedy show. (I remember watching Borat on dvd around the time of my breakup and laughing out loud for the first time in weeks).

8. Dance around your room. Yes. Put on some music, and dance. It must release some hormonal chemical or another because it feels like therapy.

9. Get back into the dating scene ASAP. Unless you want to take time to figure yourself out first, the physical component of moving on is important.

10. Pour yourself into something creative (writing, art, music, etc.), to release your emotions in a healthy way.

11. Give yourself time. Time heals.

12. Get involved with charitable work. It is easy to get wrapped up in yourself, lost in your own turmoil. Helping others who need it will put things back in perspective.


1. Don't contact your ex. If the relationship is really over then it's over. If it was a bad breakup then you both need a long (or permanent) time away from one another.

2. Don't check your ex out on social media. In fact, delete your ex from all social media accounts. You're dealing with enough pain already, you don't need additional reminders of it all day every day.

3. Don't go on the rebound prowl. By rebound, I mean hooking up with people who are simply there to temporarily fill your emotional void. You won't feel better, and in fact you may feel worse.

4. Worry. While you may need to go through many emotional stages until you are healed from a bad breakup, don't ever stress about your future. Your future happiness is defined by you and not any silly ex.

Remember, you can talk yourself into anything and just as equally, you can talk yourself out of anything. Be your biggest supporter. Build yourself back up. Say nice things to yourself. Be a good friend to yourself. Only you define your self-worth.

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