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Monday, November 12, 2012

7 Tips: Get Over Your Break-Up

"Ral, this is my worst fear coming true. How could I have been so blind?  This was supposed to be my one. Now I'm back to square one." My dear friend winced. For purposes of this post, my dear friend's name is Lola. There were no tears but I could tell she had shed some. We were sitting at our favorite restaurant. This wasn't our usual "girl's night". Lola's boyfriend just broke up with her- This was an emergency.

I wasn't sure what to say, so I called on my psychology degree. "I'm listening", was all I said.

She took the cue.

"Ral, I'm just frustrated. I'm angry, maybe even bitter. I'm hurt. This wasn't how I planned it to turn out. Why didn't I see it coming? Wait a minute...actually I did. I should've just called it off but I was  hopeful while the yeye boy was busy planning the break-up. Men eh!" Lola hissed, took a sip of her Daiquiri and continued.

"Now I have to go and take down all those albums on Facebook. And you told me about putting up pics on Facebook and BBM but was I listening? Are you going to tell me you told me so?" She sighed looking up at me.

"No I won't", I said smiling coyly.

"Thank you for that, even though I know you probably want to. And how dare she (other friend) tell me I can get over it? She doesn't know what it feels like to love. Anyone who has been in love would understand why I feel really sick right now. I really need to dig myself out of this rut."

I laughed. Then thought maybe I shouldn't have.

"Why are you laughing this girl?" She asked with one eyebrow raised.

"Because you're asking me to tell you the same thing she (other friend) told you."

Lola laughed too. That was a good sound. I hadn't heard her laugh all evening.

"Truuuueee" She said dragging out the word. "But I know you. You won't merely tell me I can get over it. You're going to tell me how". She said letting out a deep breath.

So, there we sat for the next 3 hours over Martinis and Daiquiris discussing her "Escape from the break-up rut" plan. What I told Lola that night is what this post is made of.  If you're going through a break up or considering one at the moment, this post is dedicated to assisting you do the same: dig yourself out of the rut. 

First and foremost, you need to give yourself time to grieve. You've been hurt so you need to cry it out, in some way. Its understandable to want to cry, so let yourself do it. Go ahead and think about it....the good times, the bad times, the 'ok' times. For the last time. Take time to decipher where things went wrong. Cry. Think. Yell. Think again. Cry again, if you need to.

But do this within reason. AND most importantly, literally give yourself a deadline- two days, three days, one week. But when the time is up, go on the next step.

Make a conscious decision to get over it. My dad used to tell me that the human mind is the most powerful and obedient tool any human could possess. He even believed if you were determined in your mind, you could heal yourself of a physical illness but that's a whole different blogpost. Bottom line- You can't get over something if you don't decide/want to. If you're still secretly wishing you get back together, you won't be able to heal. If you're still blaming yourself for things that you did wrong in the relationship, you can't get over it. And if you're still holding on to the good times, you would never get over it. 

Like I told Lola, I'm not saying this is easy. But YOU can do it. You have to forgive yourself for anything you blame yourself for and accept the fact that the relationship is done. Having the "will" to get over it, is the first step to paving your "way" back to sanity.
"Build a bridge, get over it, burn the brIdge so you won't be tempted to cross it again"
More so, you need to stop worrying about what people will think. Lola's break up was especially painful because, against my advice (I must add), she had been gallivanting him on social media as the "love of her life". She wondered what she will say when people asked about him. I advised her to come up with a generic answer for when people (who aren't close enough to her to deserve the full story) ask. For example, "we broke up o, things just didn't pan out but it was for the best" or "it wasn't working out but you know how these things go, we're still cool". I told her to say something like that and change topic. Fast. She also needed to resolve to handle it well if and when she ran into him in a public place. "Things don't have to be weird", I told her "Be cordial, and keep it moving". It worked.

Talk to someone you can trust OR write down your feelings. Find a way to vent. Its always best to unload on a friend who's willing to listen. Just like Lola was doing with me that night. Sometimes, you don't even need them to respond- just to listen. It'll make you feel better. I also know a lot of people are uncomfortable discussing their feelings with others. If you're that kind of person, I won't bother trying to convince you otherwise. Instead, I'll advise you to write down your feelings. You can even write a letter to your ex- things you wish you had said to him/her. FOR YOU and NOT FOR HIM/HER. DON'T SEND IT no matter how tempting the idea gets.  

If you can, also write down the reasons why the relationship was fruitless, then keep it if you can. When you start having second thoughts, you may need to re-read it to remind yourself of why you need to move on. Even when you're in a rut, you'd be amazed at how clearly you can express the contours of the relationship and the positive lessons it has taught you. But you won't see this ingenuity of yours, till you re-read with a clearer mind-set. The more your grief lessens, the more you'd learn from yourself.

Regardless of whether you decide to vent to someone or write the feelings down, you should  surround yourself with positive people who love you and have your best interest at heart. Break-ups pave the way for feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, you need people around you to boost your self-esteem and get back to old/happy you. When they tell you its your ex's loss, not yours and that you deserve better, its in your best interest to believe them. They'll help you re-realize your worth.

Maintain a good distance from the ex. At least in the beginning. Even though I've never done so, I totally understand that some people need to go all nine miles- delete the ex, and sometimes his/her friends as well, off all social media . One of my friends turned off her Blackberry newsfeed just so she won't have to obsess over her ex's updates because she knew and accepted she was inclined to do so. Do what you need to do to keep your distance...and your sanity. No matter what you do, its never a good idea to call or text. No need to reminisce with your ex. 

Get rid of "emotional triggers"- all things that remind you of the ex- delete their pictures from your phone or if you can't stomach that just yet, put them someplace where you don't have easy access and tag it "history". And STOP checking their Facebook profiles. Staring at their pictures or pictures of both of you will only set you back emotionally.

Remember once you have decided to get over it, you can't second-guess your decision and opening yourself to your ex's charm will only pull you back in. The truth is that whatever you don't feed won't grow- the only way to make the emotions go away is to starve them!

Get Busy/Redefine Yourself. This is as simple as the old rule that an idle mind is a devil's workshop. Keep your mind and body busy. Find a hobby and immerse yourself in it. Take the time to take a vacation you've been planning. Do something you've always wanted to do. Exercise. Indulge. Read a book. My mother still tells me to this day- nothing succeeds like success. Focus on making yourself better: look better, learn new things, impress yourself, remind yourself of your'll start to feel better. Remember, the best revenge is living a good life!

In the same breath, I have to add that you can't let a bad relationship/breakup change you. You've heard it many times- "every 'player' was once a heartbroken good guy". It is true. A lot of times, people close off and harden their hearts after a break-up. In fact, arguably, its quite normal. People say "I'd never fall in love again" "All men are cheaters" "All women are liars". And then, they start to live it. Its either they never give another person to chance to love them or even if they do, they keep judging them using the crimes of their ex.  Truly redefining yourself requires keeping who you truly are or want to be. Changing because of your ex is giving them means giving them indefinite control over your life. 

Never let yourself forget why the relationship ended. When a person shows you who they are, please believe them the first time. Remind yourself why you and the ex can't get back together. If he hit you, who's to say he won't hit you again? If she cheated, how can you trust her again? If they showed you aren't priority, what has changed? Learn your lesson.

You know, I've learned that the fear of the process of getting over the break-up is wayyyy scarier than actually doing it. Once you rediscover yourself void of your ex, you may even begin to wonder why you were heartbroken in the first place. Trust me, when you start to see things crystal clear, your relationship will start to play out in your head like a movie- you'd be experiencing it as a third party and you'd see things you never saw: little things will continue to add up.

You'd be surprised- a lot of people are in horrible relationships and don't know while they're "in" it; Lola for example.  She had settled for what she believed was "love" but really wasn't. Here and  here are two of my previous posts on what love truly is or should be. Read them. Most likely, you'd realize what you had with the ex wasn't really true love.

More so, if you never forget why the relationship ended AND you truly learn what love should be, you will more easily recognize the same dreadful traits in the next person you date. A lot of people fall for the same kind of person and get heartbroken over and over and over again. That's because they forget what they didn't like about their previous relationship and continue in an endless cycle of pain and loss.

Lastly but DEFINITELY not least, pray about it. God is not above hearing the little things that hurt you- it concerns Him and He IS the ultimate comforter. If you drifted away from a relationship with him previously, this is a good time to seek him out again. Trust me, He has a way of making you feel like he hasn't slept on you yet. Tell Him what you want. He listens.

In some weird way, I truly believe that hanging onto a past relationship can spiritually hide you from your "true one" because when your mind is overtaken by one person, you don't seem to see anyone else. So when you pray, ask God for help in healing and in finding the person who's meant to be yours. He has a way of getting around to that.

Lola is all healed and happy again. I hope these tips do the same for you. If you're currently going though a break-up, keep your head up. Remember, this ex wasn't always in your were once happy/content without them- why should they now dictate your happiness? Hang in there, give yourself time, it WILL get better. 

Besides, there's lot of love in the world to be found. My sister Ogo always says it's funny how when you're in a bad relationship or going through a break-up, you can't fathom the thought of being with someone else or that there is anyone else out there for you. But then, she says, there almost always is someone better. But you won't know till you get over the ex, learn your lessons, free yourself of the pain and get back out there. If you do it well, one day you'll look into someone else's eyes and say, "So, this is what real love feels like". 

Stay Inspired...

P.S.- this is funny.


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