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10 Ways to Reinvent Yourself After a Painful Break-Up

Depression after breakup, Counseling for women, Grand Rapids

Break-ups are hard. Everyone knows this. If they weren’t, none of us would stay in difficult relationships. Though ending relationships can be one of the most challenging situations to go through, it is often necessary for a variety of personal reasons that differs from person to person. Learning to re-discover yourself after a break-up is essential to heal from the pain as well as prepare yourself for the future and what lies ahead. The following are steps to take as you prepare to live life a different way:

1. Give Yourself a mini makeover-

You don’t have to do anything dramatic here like dye your hair in rainbow colors or get 5 tattoos. You know the feeling you get when you just left the salon after a haircut? That’s what you want to go for. A little confidence booster…maybe a new cut or fashion accessory that makes you feel refreshed.

2. List the qualities/characteristics that are unique to you-

Whether you realize it or not, you are unlike any other person on this earth and have something distinctive about you. You also have to LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF for all that you are. A quote that has always resonated with me: “When it comes to love, you need not fall but rather surrender. Surrender to the idea that you must love yourself before you can love another. You must honor your unique gifts before you can honor another. You must absolutely trust yourself before you can absolutely trust another. Most importantly, you must accept your flaws before you can accept the flaws of another.”

3. Try to learn something new: Find ways to have FUN-

Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill but never had the time for it? Now is the best time. Often times, we are completely consumed in our relationships and lose pieces of ourselves before recognizing we don’t know who we see when we look in the mirror anymore. Learn to play guitar, sign up for an exercise program, go on a mission trip, take an art class. You don’t want to look back later in life with regret that you didn’t do that thing that always sounded exciting.

4. Make NEW memories and let go of the old-

Did you and your previous partner used to enjoy going to the beach together? Did you have a favorite park or restaurant? Don’t go there! Or, at least give it some time before revisiting until some healing has occurred. Make it a goal to try new things and places. Create a list of places you want to visit and don’t stop exploring until you find a place that brings you some peace. Take in the scenery around you and take some deep breaths. Snap a few pictures. You will soon find that these new discoveries can bring you joy, too!

5. Learn ways to relax during times when moving on is hard-

It will happen. There will be days it’s tough to shake the memories and you will miss what was familiar to you. After all, familiarity = comfort. Take time to learn how to meditate or how to correctly take deep breaths. Here’s a quick exercise to try: Bring in slowly, filling your lungs and hold for 5-10 seconds. Breathe out slowly for another 5-10 seconds, concentrating on letting the air out slow and steadily. Repeat until you feel calm.

6. Learn new ways of thinking-

Don’t waste your energy by asking yourself questions like the “what ifs” and “why’s.” Chances are, if a relationship has ended, there were sufficient reasons why things were not working out. You will just exhaust yourself if you reminisce old times. When you start to feel your mind wandering down this path, try to keep your thoughts positive and present/future oriented, “This is where I am now. Things are going to be okay. I will get through this. It will get better.”

7. Stop following your ex-

Social media does really make it a challenge to free yourself from people and groups that are associated with your previous partner. The likelihood is pretty high that you shared friends and became close to his/her family as well. Do you find yourself spending time trying to research what your previous partner is doing through these individuals? Do you see pictures of him/her showing on your newsfeed? Decide who you need contact with and who you need to break from. If it’s still too much exposure, maybe it’s time to take a break from social media until again, you’ve had some healing time.

8. Spend time with people who support you-

You don’t have to do this alone. Let people be there for you! Don’t hesitate to let people know how they can support you. Do you find that they, too, are struggling with the break-up and keep bringing up your ex? Let them know when you want to shift gears. Vent what you need to and then re-focus your time doing and discussing positive things. Do you find that you lack a healthy support network? Counseling can be a great resource during times of stress and it can often be very helpful to talk with a therapist who can provide you with an unbiased opinion of your situation and help you learn ways to cope.

9. Learn to forgive yourself and your ex-

There will come a time in your healing that it will be very important to “let bygones be bygones.” Relationships sometimes end due to unfortunate events; whether you were wronged or may have done things to hurt your previous partner, you will need to forgive the past to move forward. Wounds can leave you with resentment, anger, and bitterness, which, if not properly managed, can hurt you as well as future relationships. When you allow forgiveness, you are not saying the hurtful acts are excusable, you are simply allowing yourself to be open to embrace peace, hope and joy again. This is often the most challenging part of healing yet the most essential, as well.

10. Take time to figure out what you have learned from this experience and what you will do differently-

You have likely heard this before: though no one enjoys painful pasts, these times can often be learning experiences that can build strength, character and resilience as you never know how strong you can be until you face something that tests you. “Strong people rarely have an easy past.” Ask yourself what you can learn from the experiences you have had and what will you do with that knowledge to do it differently next time.

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