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5 Small Steps to Get Over a Breakup
“Breaking up is hard to do,” the song reminds us. It’s a given that the end of a relationship is fraught with emotional trauma. Even if the breakup were amicable, there will still be regret if not bitterness. And whether it was you or the other person who initiated the breakup, the pain of loss will still be felt, particularly if you had invested so much of yourself in the relationship. Boundaries have to be redefined, given that you have been part of each other’s lives and have formed bonds with each other’s family and friends. The top of mind question is: where do you go from here? How do you move on?
1. Pack up and move on. A good way to “bury the past” so to speak is to put all the mementos of your time together in separate boxes to keep. No need to fight over who keeps what – but if you have to, the measure is always the level of importance placed on the object. If it means more to your erstwhile partner, although ownership is indisputably yours, try to find it in your heart to give it away. Follow your instincts, and act from a place of compassion rather than anger. Don’t be so quick to throw things away either from your end; place whatever it is in that box of yours, and perhaps later, when you have gained more perspective and are willing to let go of regrets, open the box again and see what needs to be discarded and what won’t hurt you to keep.
2. Keep your distance. Since you’ve decided to end the relationship, it’s time to distance yourself and re-establish the boundaries that were in place before you became a couple. Agree to help yourselves move on by not seeing each other, or communicating with each other, immediately after the breakup. No calls, no text messages, no emails, no dropping by at work or at home, no joining the other’s family gatherings. Try to get used to not having the other person in your life. Cut the ties that bind – and make that a clean break.
3. Unburden yourself. Talk to someone you trust (and who isn’t already biased against your ex). It helps to have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on during this time. You will have moments of doubt and despair, and it will help to have another, more objective person’s perspective. Give yourself a break. It’s normal to feel the pain of separation. Allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to feel the loss, allow yourself to lean on a helping hand. Give yourself time to heal. Do not expect that you will move on from the breakup so soon.
4. Meditate. The stress of a breakup will affect you in different ways, including some depression and sleeplessness. Meditation will aid in easing that sadness, helping you sleep better, and giving you a measure of peace. It is a way of calming yourself, letting go of negative thoughts, and living in – and taking pleasure from – the present moment. Some reflection won’t be amiss, and it will help if you do it calmly, with some practiced detachment.
5. Try something new. More often than not, you will be tempted to withdraw into yourself and brood. However, it will be much more beneficial if you go out and take part in activities that will keep your body and mind active. A way of moving on is to try something that you haven’t done before; this new activity or sport or hobby also has the bonus of not having any memories of the past. It has to be something that makes you feel good. It has to be sufficiently challenging to keep your interest and concentration. It will allow you, in the aftermath of the breakup, to channel your energy into something stimulating and life-affirming.