5 Steps to Surviving a Break Up and Actually Healing
A break up is never easy.Well, maybe sometimes. But let’s be honest. Not every case is the same as Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style”, or Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.Having been through more than enough break ups, temporary break-a-parts, break up to make ups, and the list goes on and on, I have discovered a foolproof formula that makes the whole process a lot less difficult.Well, for me anyway. But who else’s perspective would I be writing from anyway?
Breakups are twofold. The first component is the difficulty in detaching ourselves from someone that we’ve molded ourselves and our lives to fit. Hence it can be much more difficult to separate from someone you’ve spent years with over someone you’ve only spent a few months with.
But still, there is difficulty in each.
The second component, perhaps even more difficult than the first, is the public becoming aware of that breakup, and asking all the questions that we hate to be asked, and hate, even more so, to answer.
It sounds shallow, but let’s face it. We live in the Twitter generation and the Instagram era. Pictures get removed, comments go away, the tweets stop coming, and the creeping never stops. But allowing yourself to get bogged down and tied up in this pattern is exactly what makes the process so difficult, so tiring, and sadly, so hurtful.
Here is my remedial recipe on how to get through a break up, distance yourself from the hurt, grow closer to yourself, and even rediscover a new happiness.
Purge to accept
It’s ironic that I list this as the first step and rarely ever is it actually the first thing that happens. This is the stage where you let it all out. If you feel like screaming, you scream, if you feel like crying, you sob, and if you feel like laying still, you lay still.
This stage is especially important because it is the first sign of acceptance for whatever has transpired. This is the storm before the calm where you come to terms with what is, and especially with what is not. This is where you get angry and punch pillows. This is where you sing all your breakup songs and cry and sing a boogery and snotful song until you fall asleep. The best part about this? The new day that awaits you.
Clean your room
Fast forward to that new day. There is often the misconception that the new day is the day after the split.
That new day can take days, weeks, and depending on the severity of the case, months to come. All that means is that you have an extended purge period, and your new day will be even brighter.
Cleaning your room is extremely symbolic. It is a cleanse of all the clutter, memories, good or bad, and just stuffthat once removed, allows you more room for new things, and new people to enter your life.
I firmly believe that one’s room is an exact depiction of their life and personality. (You should see the things I have on my walls) Do you ever find that after a long weekend of partying and no sleep, your room is just a disaster? Or those days where you feel completely in control, your room is spic and span?
Connect the dots.
You want to have a space that has, well, space! Make it an enjoyable task. Get down and dirty, scrub your floors, carpets, dig underneath your bed.
Reinvent your room, reinvent yourself.
Find a hobby
Love this part. Mind you it, like purging, can make an appearance at any point of the process. Nonetheless, it is as simple as staying busy. Only recently have I recognized how crazy the concept of boredom is. I mean think about it. The fact that we scroll through our feeds and timelines whenever we get bored, which over the course of a day, can add up to more than one hour, is nuts.
The most magnificent part of this stage is that it requires you to open your eyes and recognize the vastness of your surroundings, your city, and if you ever get there, your world. Join a class, volunteer, start a new book and tell yourself to finish it by the end of the month, book yourself a ticket and go somewhere.
The more time you spend being productive, the less time you have to think about unproductive things. There is a lot out there. Go and discover.
Create a playlist
Ever watch a movie and realize how much the music affects the experience? The same goes for your life. One of my first blog posts, “The 8 Simple Steps to Happiness”, included a step that demanded that you carefully choose the music you listen to.
During such a sensitive time, it is essential that you use all the resources possible to find strength, or at least substitute it.
Personally, I’d be nowhere without Kelly Clarkson and Celine Dion, and not her slow stuff. I’m talking about her songs “I’m Alive”, and “A New Day Has Come”. The titles alone are enough to pick someone up.
Create your playlist, play it as often as possible. And don’t forget to dance.
Spend time alone
Who spends time alone after a break up? I do. And here’s why.
Right after a break up, the feeling of isolation and loneliness can be so hard to escape. Oddly enough, one of the best ways to rid yourself of those feelings is to immerse yourself in your own company. Sounds strange right? The trick is to change the purpose.
A lot of times we’re alone because no one’s home, our friends aren’t around, we’re not meeting up with them yet, etc. But how often are we alone because we want to be?
One of the best opportunities a break up can present you with is the opportunity to begin to enjoy your own company. This is an opportunity that must be seized. Spending time alone is important because it’s crucial that we find comfort, enjoyment, and most of all fulfillment in solitude.
Once we learn how to depend on ourselves for the things we once depended on someone else to do, be it the lover that left, or the friend we no longer speak to, our need to have others around decreases. Not to the extent that we become hermits, but to the extent that if they’re there, they’re there, if they’re not, they’re not.
Through it all, we must remain whole.
I would like to remind you, at this point, and perhaps this is also a reminder to myself, that the end of someone being in your life should never mean the end of you.
And never, should it ever, mean the end of your happiness.
Don’t beat yourself up because you felt down for a bit. Don’t get confused if you find yourself wanting and needing someone that you promised yourself you wouldn’t. We are human, and this is a part of the human condition.
We are also super humans. And part of that means acceptance. Part of that means allowing our emotions to run freely, but not letting them take over us. And the very last part is rediscovering the happiness and peace that we initially sought after, not from beginning the relationship, but from being born.
We are all after something. For some, it’s wealth. For some, it’s success. For some, it’s fame. But behind all of those things lie the desire to be happy, and the desire to be at peace. These are things we cannot find if we constantly allow the arrival and departure of others to vary our ability to pursue the things that we want.
Think of it like this. In the heart of Toronto, you will find Union station. There is often construction going on
outside of the building, and hundreds of trains come and go to different parts of the city, different parts of Canada, and even into the United States. It is quite busy.
Yet still, if you look at the structure of the building, it is what it was years and years ago. It hasn’t moved, it hasn’t changed, and it is just the center of exchange.
Imagine if upon every entrance, and every departure, of each passenger and of each train, the station lost a bit of their foundation. A brick would fall here, a glass would shatter here, and a stone would eject itself from the building.
In our lifetime, we will meet so many people that come, go, stay for a while, longer than we need them to, and sometimes not long enough.
Don’t lose your foundation.
Don’t be the train. Don’t be the passenger. Don’t be the construction going on outside of the building. Be the station.
And what that means is, be stationary.
If people come, they come. If people go, they go. You must accept them when they arrive, wave them off and wish them safe travels when they decide it is time to depart.
But don’t ever let your foundation falter. If you need work on different areas, let that work be done. But you must not crumble, and you must not hit the floor.
Not unless, of course, you’re just looking for an excuse to complete this five step process. Because after all, it can bring you a little farther away from the hurt. It can bring you a bit closer to your happiness. But it really, really does bring you closer to yourself.
In any event, fall wisely.