It’s breakup season again! That’s right. The time of year when, according to one survey, couples are twice as likely to call it quits. Twice!
If you are one of the many struggling with a recent breakup, then you are undoubtedly dreading all of the painful and reclusive feelings that come from spending Valentine’s Day, (dun,dun,dun)… alone.
But fear not! With a little resolve, and maybe just a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry’s, this could be your best Valentine’s Day yet. Not because you subscribed to the perfect break-up-formula, but because you started taking steps toward a stronger, healthier, better you!
Step 1- Acknowledge Your Hurt
It’s normal for us to downplay or distract ourselves from the pain of ending a relationship, especially around our friends. But it’s imperative to our emotional health that we actually allow ourselves time to grapple with these feelings. If we don’t, they will undoubtedly show up as “baggage” later in our lives, and nobody wants that.
If you want to truly heal and find wholeness then determine that you are going to do the healthy thing and face your issues head on so that you can actually heal.
Step 2- Take Responsibility For Yourself
It’s time to stop trash talking your ex, and turn your focus inward. After all, you are the only person you can change, and the longer you continue to focus on or “check up” on him, the more depressing and frustrating this whole process will become.
It’s time to be better than all of that. It’s time to turn the focus to yourself and fess up about the fact that you actually do have something to do with why things are the way they are in your life. I’m not talking about shouldering the blame for things that are not your fault. I’m talking about just admitting to yourself that you have flaws, imperfections, and ways that you need to grow. We all do. And those of us who know we have a long way to go, will go a long way!
Step 3- Release
In a breakup situation we often seem to think getting more is the answer; more friends, more plans, more clothes, more therapy. Not that any of these are bad things, but in this kind of situation it is more about shedding than it is acquiring more.
I’m not only talking about physical release ( i.e., cleaning out your bedroom, maybe even releasing some stress at the gym), but even more important than that is emotional release. Letting yourself cry. If you are a spiritual person, praying and releasing your hurts to God. Releasing your grip and attachment to this guy. Just letting all of your pent-up hurt and sadness out!
It sounds messy, and it is messy. But release is where true peace and connection to yourself begins.
Step 4- Reestablish
Now that you’ve done some self-examination and have identified some of your weak spots, it’s time to establish some new ideals that will bring health and wholeness back into your life.
Read books, find a mentor, the point is to really work on growing, maturing, and coming out of the relationship stronger and wiser than you went into it.
Step 5- Take The Focus Off Yourself
When February 14th rolls around, or really anytime that you are tempted to sulk and get in a pit of feeling sorry for yourself, that is when it is so important to put your focus on helping others.
Doing things for other people is not only therapeutic because it helps to take our mind off our own problems, but it also has a way of making us realize how truly blessed we are in so many ways.
Here are a few ideas for serving others on Valentine’s Day:
- Babysit for a couple so they can have a date night
- Make a meal for a widow or widower
- Visit and spend time with someone whose significant other is overseas
Ending a relationship is never easy, but when handled well, it can be an amazing launch-pad for a healthier, happier, more others-centered life. So use it!
And when the man of your dreams does come walking into your life, he will be the best, most unexpected surprise in the world.
And so will you!
Survey mentioned Morse, K. A. and Neuberg, S. L. (2004), How do holidays influence relationship processes and outcomes? Examining the instigating and catalytic effects of Valentine’s Day. Personal Relationships, 11: 509–527. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2004.00095.x