It can be easy to forget how to love yourself after a breakup, even if you normally have a strong sense of self.
Romantic relationships open with a flood of reminders of all the qualities that make you lovable and desirable. A breakup — especially one you didn’t initiate — can call that all into question for you.
Obviously a healthy, strong self-esteem can help you come through life’s disappointments “intact.” And it’s key to showing you how to love yourself after a breakup.
But breakups and divorces can work a number on even the hardiest self-esteems. You know you have to get over your ex in order to move on. But that’s easier said than done.
It’s only natural to miss your ex after a breakup. Even if he drove you crazy, broke your heart and brought out the worst in you, making a clean emotional break is not always realistic.
The danger happens when the sadness and disorientation turn into ruminating, longing, and pleading for reconciliation.
Research shows that those who fear being single long for their ex-partners with greater intensity than those content with singlehood. And those who don’t accept their breakup are more prone to poor psychological adjustment and increased distress.
So what can you do to preserve your self-love when the one you were in love with doesn’t love you anymore?
Here are some tips for how to love yourself after a breakup so your ex stays in the past.
- Stop going after him.
Stop calling him. Stop making contact. Stop following him. Stop looking for him on social media. Stop trying to resuscitate what is already dead. The last thing you need to see is your ex moving on with someone else.
- Learn to let go.
You do not have to pretend that the relationship did not exist or did not mean anything. Quite the contrary. Letting go is not about eradicating. It’s about setting free all that you can’t control and keeping only what you have learned.
- Practice self-compassion.
Be kind to yourself. Breakups are hard! You can’t count on your ex to dry your tears, so you are going to have to do so for yourself.
Treat yourself with the gentleness and nurturing gestures that you would extend to your best friend in crisis. (Because you are your best friend.)
- Get your feelings under control.
Healing will not happen if you are artfully dodging your feelings. They will continue to hitch a ride on your coattails, demanding to be dealt with.
Learning how to love yourself after a breakup has a lot to do with learning how to experience your feelings. They have information to share with you, and they need (and deserve) your attention.
Only by going through the pain can you redirect your energy to moving on.
- Set aside me-time.
Indulge your curiosities, your creativity, your postponed interests. Even if you don’t think of the words “I love you,” you will be speaking your self-love by honoring what makes you feel whole.
- Communicate with others.
Surround yourself with people who love you, lift you up, and make you laugh. Your ex is not the only one to ever appreciate all the greatness that makes you “you.”
Good friends will help you gain perspective. They will also help you keep your mind off of your ex and your breakup.
- Focus on the positives.
Painful as this loss is, it’s not the end of your journey with love. At least it doesn’t have to be. Relationships are always in our lives to teach us essential lessons. And life, in its benevolence, pairs us with those who are best able to help us learn those lessons.
When you embrace your relationship in this light, you are more apt to see it as preparation for something even greater.
You may have no idea how to love yourself after a breakup has happened. You may not even know what “love” means anymore. But you can always choose to practice your way into loving yourself. And in this way, even when love has ended, your self-love will triumph.
If you need help loving yourself after a breakup, please reach out. We can help you find your way back to love. You can reach us here.