Healing After a Breakup: 7 Do’s and Don’ts on Your Self-Love Journey!

Breakups are hard. Let me repeat that, BREAKUPS are hard (at least they are most of the time). Regardless of whether or not it was “time to go,” or the “relationship was toxic,” or you “fell out of love,” just because we know it is best for us to end things, it does not mean it is easy to say good-bye! You may have been on the receiving end of another persons decision or maybe you were the one who initiated the breakup, either way, most people agree that the ending of a relationship can be complicated. One undeniable fact is that after a breakup, things change!

I have been on both ends of a breakup and I can honestly say, neither was comfortable, joyous, or easy. Usually, when we make a decision to commit to another person, share our body, our space, family and friends, open up our heart, and be vulnerable, we do not anticipate or desire that the relationship will come to an end. From my own personal and professional experience, working with clients who start therapy after a breakup, it can shake up your world and have you questioning your self-worth and identity!

Different people bring out different versions of who we are and within those dynamics there is so much rich information. We learn about how we love and want to be loved, we learn about our shadow self, our wounds, triggers, and our strengths. When I meet people who have recently experienced a breakup, I invite them to breath deeply, roll up their sleeves, give themselves a hug, and begin an examination of all that surfaced as a result of that relationship, from its beginning to its end.

How did you behave in the relationship?

Did you honor yourself? If so, how?

Were you sacrificial? overbearing? insecure?

Answering the questions above is helpful. Processing your breakup leads to more self-awareness and allows for healing and the opportunity for growth.

Self-Love Affirmation: “My experiences do not define me, they inform me and inspire me to grow.”

The most important thing you can do for yourself after a breakup is GRANT YOURSELF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND COMPASSION. You will need your love at this time. You will need to not judge, not blame, and not feed into any narratives that make you feel unworthy or unlovable. Only you determine your worth and you are absolutely, 100% worthy of love. How can I say that without knowing you? Because as a human being, you are inherently worthy of love.

As soon as you know the relationship has ended, even if you feel powerless or as if your agency has been taken from you, be empowered. You get your power back by making a decision to deepen the relationship that matters most, the RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH YOURSELF! You do not need anyone else’s permission to love yourself. Will you do that for yourself? Will you give yourself permission to focus on your healing, your wants, and your needs?

YOU BE YOUR REBOUND RELATIONSHIP!

Begin your Self-Love Journey Today!

Your Self-Love Journey will provide you with more clarity of how you show up in relationships and why.

Your Self-Love Journey will help you understand your love languages and how that plays out in relationships.

Your Self-Love Journey will support your healing of childhood wounds (your inner child).

Your Self-Love Journey will familiarize you with your attachment style.

Your Self-Love Journey will teach you what unconditional love truly is and once you learn to extend it to yourself, you can extend it to others.

The quote by Matt Kahn, “People can only meet you as deeply as they have met themselves” helps us understand that in order to connect deeply with others, we have to first be able to connect deeply with ourselves. After a breakup, you have an opportunity to get raw and meet yourself deeper than ever before. Look yourself in the mirror, gaze deeply into your own eyes as you say to yourself, “who are you really?” and “how do you feel?”

Through the pain of loss, we encounter wounds that require acknowledgment and healing. Emotions get to be named and validated. The vision you had for your future with your ex gets to be mourned. In order to let go, we can not run from the pain. If we dismiss and compartmentalize it, the energy of the breakup will still live within us, blocking our ability to fully heal and open our heart to love again. Sometimes we rather avoid the uncomfortable emotions because confronting feels hard and hurts. Looking in the mirror takes courage. I encourage folks to be courageous. Keep asking yourself questions, and keep answering them honestly. If you truly want to let go and move on, you must first validate what comes up for you and then give yourself permission to release it in order to allow something else to come in and become a part of your life. You are in the process of creating the life you desire.

However, I have met people who are not ready to let go yet. Honestly, there were times in my life when I struggled with letting go to ideas, people, and habits because I was so attached to them that the thought of letting them go felt like too much. If it feels uncomfortable it can be tempting to practice denial, avoidance, and distraction. Most of the time we are subconsciously practicing avoidance as a way of protecting ourselves. When the relationship ends, especially if you were blindsided, accepting the breakup can take time.

If you find yourself struggling, please consider leaning into your friendships and/or working with a therapist to support you with your grieving and healing process. Each breakup effects people differently and it is not uncommon for people to experience low mood, a depressive episode, anxiety, or adjustment disorder after a life transition. Some breakups are traumatizing. Your life changes after someone important to you leaves. That part is inevitable. Change is inevitable. Learning to accept and let go is a necessary part of your healing journey. In order to heal, you must love yourself fully. Every particle, within every crevasse, every shadow that you rather not see. Every part of you gets to be looked at and once you truly see yourself, forgive yourself, and nurture yourself, you will absolutely fall in love! Use the following 7 self-love do’s and don’ts after your breakup, to support you on your journey.

7 SELF-LOVE

DO’S & DONT’S

AFTER A BREAKUP

1. DO ENLIST SUPPORT – Friends, family members, or a therapist. After a breakup, it can be helpful to talk with people who can hold an emotional space for you. Be discerning with who you ask for support, you want to ensure that will not provoke you or feed hate, anger, or negativity. Identify what you believe you need, and then ask for it. Do NOT stay isolated!

2. DO BLOCK, UNFOLLOW, or MUTE YOUR EX on social media if you are being triggered. The days and weeks following a breakup are usually the most difficult and seeing what your ex is up to can be extremely triggering and hurtful. Taking a break from social media all together can sometimes be even more beneficial but at the very least, stay off their account. Do NOT stalk them on social media to find out what they are doing or if they are dating someone new. Once it is official and you are no longer a couple, it can feel like a loss of control. Often people try to regain what can feel like control by stalking their ex on social media platforms. Remember, social media usually shows you what the person wants you to see (not the full picture) and if you are obsessing over them, you can not possibly be focused on yourself.

3. DO BEGIN SAYING POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS and focus on your strengths. After a breakup the negative self-talk can get pretty loud. People begin to blame themselves, feel unwanted, unworthy, and unvalued. It will be crucial that you double down on compassion, self-love, and positive affirmations. You can reach out to those who care about you and ask them to name 5 things they love about you but that is not enough. How you feel about yourself matters. Identify 5 things you like about yourself and write them down. Then create affirmations or look for some online that are specific and can counter any negative self-talk or insecurities. Example: If your self-talk sounds like, “they didn’t value me anymore, I am unwanted” your positive affirmation can be: “I determine my value, I am worthwhile, and deserving of love.” Do NOT feed into negative self-talk or self-judgment.

4. DO CARVE OUT TIME DAILY TO GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. Take the 5lovelanguages quiz, find out your attachment style, and begin exploring how those things came to be and how they show up in your relationships. Compassionately explore the reasons why you do some of what you do. Do NOT avoid or dismiss your needs. You deserve to be understood, allow yourself time and space to understand yourself more.

5. DO CREATE SOME NEW RITUALS/ROUTINES and make sure they are healthy! If you do not already have a morning and evening ritual in place, create them. Especially if your ex was a part of those routines in the past. The way you begin and end your day makes a big difference in terms of productivity and overall mental health wellness. A breakup can create a feeling of instability. If nothing else, we recognize that some things have changed and change can be uncomfortable. Creating rituals can help you feel grounded and safe. Create a morning ritual that includes something just for you. It can be meditation, tea or coffee and sitting quietly or reading a book, watering plants, yoga, making yourself a healthy breakfast, creating a journal entry with a daily intention. An evening ritual can support you with getting a restful nights sleep. Winding down at night with restorative yoga, a warm beverage, a warm bath, reading, and an entry in a gratitude journal can make a huge difference. Do NOT wait until the last minute to think about your day, idle time after a breakup can be triggering and lead to endless mental chatter. Do NOT stay up late reminiscing or allowing negative thoughts to spiral. There is a higher likelihood of having interrupted sleep when we are not intentional around how we prepare our mind and body for sleep.

6. DO KEEP THE THINGS YOU LOVE/ENJOY ABOUT YOURSELF that you may have mainly done with your ex. Sometimes we have so many memories attached to an activity that we did with our ex that we only associate that activity with our them. It can be anything from baking cookies on Friday night, to going for a run on a Sunday morning, to visiting an art exhibit once a month. Identify whatever it is that you enjoyed doing, and give yourself permission to continue to do it. It may look a bit different, it may trigger you at first, but if there was an aspect of the relationship that you appreciated and miss (and do not involve your ex needing to be a part of) find a way to keep it. Bring it back in. Different relationships expose us to different things and we meet different parts of ourselves in the process. Sometimes we miss who we were in a relationship, or things we did in a relationship MORE THAN WE MISS THE PERSON. So take some time to dig deeper with this one. I personally found this exercise to be one of the most enlightening discoveries after my breakups. I would miss discovering new restaurants, going out dancing, sitting and having deep conversations, eating healthier, ex…Did my ex really need to be involved? Nope. It does not mean you will not miss them or that you will not have memories while engaging in the activity. However, in time you can actually take something that was once considered an “us” thing and make it a “you” thing that you can either keep for yourself or share with others. Do NOT shut down, dismiss, or eliminate anything from your life that brings you joy just because it was once something you did with your ex. Your ex is gone, you do not have to punish or deprive yourself of something just because you used to do it with them!

7. DO FUN THINGS! Even if you do not feel entirely up to it yet, identify new things that you think you may enjoy. Remember, you are getting to know a different version of yourself. Have you ever admired something someone else was doing but you never tried because you told yourself that you are “not that type of person?” Perhaps it is going to the gym, joining meetup.com and finding a group that interest you. I am huge on doubling down on self-love when needed and to me that looks like finding like-minded people and doing things that make me smile. Hiking, swimming, painting, dancing, reading, and learning a new language. Actually anything that seems like fun to you. You get to DO FUN THINGS! Do NOT prematurely shut down a new experience, convince yourself you will never have fun again, or punish yourself by getting bought into the idea that you don’t get to be happy. You do not have to put your happiness on hold. You are allowed to do fun things!

Rather than giving energy to your “life after the breakup journey.” I encourage you to give your energy to your “Self-love NOW Journey.” Let your love for yourself heal you. Double down on self-love and self-compassion and set the tone for how you want to and deserve to be treated. Focus on being the best version of yourself and being the love you want to attract. Be what you want in a partner. You be loving, you be warm, you be forgiving, you be patient, you be passionate. You be what you want and the good old law of attraction will surely bring you people and opportunities that will match your current vibration.

I am hopeful this blog offers some support to you at this time. If your heart is hurting, if you are struggling, and if you need help, please reach out for it. We all can use a little extra support at different times in our lives, today you may be the one that can use some extra care. In the future, you may be the one to extend help and support to someone else. That’s part of my story, I have been hurt, I healed with support and self-love, and now I support others. This moment is part of your story, how will you write your next chapter?

If you would like further information and tools, my new workbook, “After the Breakup, a Self-Love Workbook: A Compassionate Road Map to Getting Over Your Ex” is currently available on Amazon, Target, and Barnesandnoble.com. It can help you normalize your feelings, name your emotions, body sensations, love language, attachment style, etc. The chapters walk you through processing the breakup. Part I “The Power of Self-Love After a Breakup” is an introduction/normalization of breakups and the concept of self-love. Part II is filled with tools, information, mindfulness exercises, relatable stories, and practices for you to take with you on your self-love and healing journey. Sending you so much love…

Self-Love Affirmation: The energy of love flows through me effortlessly, releasing all blockages with ease.

Talk to Me! 6 Ways to Create Emotional Safety in your Relationship

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“Why didn’t you tell me?” “You never share with me!” “How come you are so quiet when I try to talk to you?” “Answer me!” “You’re so secretive!” “You never talk!” “Why don’t you ever tell me how you’re feeling?”

Have you said those things to your partner? Has your partner said any of the above to you?

How about when you do decide to share and the other person reacts defensively (yells, cries, criticizes) leaving you to make comments such as:

“That’s why I don’t tell you anything!”
“I can’t talk to you!”
“That’s not what I meant”
“I should’ve just kept my mouth shut!”

If the comments above sound familiar, if you’ve heard them or said them, chances are…at least one of you, probably both of you, do not feel safe in your relationship.

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When working with a new couple, one of the standard questions I ask is, “do you feel safe in your relationship?”

When talking about safety in a relationship, physical safety is what licensed professionals are trained to screen for during an initial couples session, however physical safety is not the only form of safety needed in a healthy relationship. When I ask if each partner in the couple relationship feels safe, I am also referring to emotional safety which include some of the following:

*Safe to express themselves fully and authentically
*Safe to share dissatisfaction about something their partner did
*Safe to share sexual desires, displeasure, and fantasies
*Safe to share their personal insecurities and fears
*Safe to have a conversation without it escalating to a full blown argument

Safe to share meaning that they can say any of the above without being met with yelling, name calling, blaming, shaming, exit language, and/or rejection.

According to the merriam-webster dictionary the definition of safety is “freedom from harm or danger : the state of being safe. : the state of not being dangerous or harmful. : a place that is free from harm or danger : a safe place.”

A safe place requires that you do not feel as if you are at risk of harm or danger and with emotional safety it means knowing that you will not be criticized, blamed, rejected, invalidated or dismissed by your partner.

Maslow believed that people’s behaviors are motivated through different stages of five needs. The second stage of the hierarchy of needs being safety and security (emotional safety included), the third love and belonging, and the forth being esteem (accepted and valued by others).

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As you move through stage 2 through stage 4, there is a strong connection to feeling emotionally safe, loved and connected, and valued by others. If we think about that in the context of our romantic relationships, it seems reasonable to believe that if we are not having those needs met, it will show up in our behavior in a negative or maladaptive way. If those needs are being met, the behavior will probably be more loving, trusting, and positive.

If your partner does not share with you, if your partner shuts down, if your partner finds it easier to talk to other people than to talk to you, instead of engaging in name calling and blaming and saying things such as “you’re secretive,” “you don’t know how to express yourself,” “you never talk,” “you’re such a coward,” “you don’t respect me,” etc, Turn inward and ask yourself:

  • What am I doing or not doing that is causing my partner to not feel comfortable sharing with me?
  • What can I do to show my partner that I am interested in what they want to share and I am committed to holding a safe space for them to express themselves fully?
While we can not take full ownership of another person’s feelings, what we can do is acknowledge and hold ourselves accountable for how we are showing up in the relationship. What are you doing to create safety for yourself and for your partner?
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6 WAYS TO CREATE EMOTIONAL SAFETY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

1Listen non-defensively – listen to understand the emotions and feelings coming up for your partner and validate them. Having empathy is important, however even if you are struggling with feeling empathy you can still practice validation. Usually, when people do not share it is rooted in fear of being misunderstood or dismissed. Vulnerability is nakedness, and most people do not feel comfortable being vulnerable with someone they feel is a potential threat. If you want your partner to open up, create a space in which they will be able to do so.

Damage is done when you: get defensive, tell your partner not to feel the way they do, name call and/or blame, dismiss what they are feeling/sharing, change the subject, do not acknowledge or speak to their feelings, make overall invalidating comments.

Safety is created when youvalidate their feelings, when you empathize with what they are sharing, when you listen non-judgmentally, when you do not internalize and make it about you, focus on trying to understand your partners feelings.

 
2) Let go of toxic thoughts about your partner
. Rather than holding them to old labels you may have for your partner (overly sensitive, stubborn, combative, weak), open yourself to seeing them differently. Extend a tabula rasa aka clean slate. Challenge your old thought patterns and narratives about your partner and about the relationship, and instead of thinking “She feels like this because she is overly sensitive” practice not labeling who she is or her emotions. If you hear your husband share his feelings, try not to jump to “of course he’s feeling this way, he never sees anyone else’s point of view” challenge yourself to ask questions rooted in what feelings are coming up for him. As soon as you realize you are labeling your partner, identify it as a toxic thought, and make the decision to change it!

Damage is done when you: hold your partner to old negative labels of who they are, are bought into the belief that they will never change, struggle to give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

Safety is created when you: give your partner an opportunity to show you something different, shift any negative/toxic thoughts to positive and loving thoughts, enter into the conversation open to experiencing them in a more positive light, practice trust.

 
3) Body language and Touch matter
. Body language matters a great deal in creating a safe space. Research shows that over 55% of communication is non-verbal. While there is some controversy around the actual percentage, current research tells us that it’s anywhere between 55% – 90%, in other words, it is pretty important. While words matter, body language matters just as much, if not more.

Damage is done when you: turn your back, roll your eyes, walk away, fold your arms, stand/sit at a distance, have a tense facial expression, sigh, etc

Safety is created when you: turn towards your partner, give them eye contact, make facial expressions that show them they have your attention, sit/stand in close proximity, touch their hand. In other words, join them where they are.

4) Emphasize and Reinforce your commitment. The most damaging reactions a partner can have is using exit language (I want out of this relationship, maybe we should break up, I think you should move out, I want a divorce), or shutting down/withdrawing emotionally. These two behaviors are extremely damaging as they lead the partner to feel unsafe, insecure, and may trigger old wounds/fear of abandonment. If you want to create a safe space, reminding yourself and your partner that you are in this together and committed to figuring things out is imperative to creating a safe space. Statements such as “we really need to figure this out” “we are better than this” “we’ve got this” “I’m not going anywhere” “I may be feeling hurt right now, but that doesn’t mean we are breaking up” all support reinforcing the fact that you are committed to your partner.

Damage is done when you: use exit language (break up, divorce, moving out, etc.), withdraw/shut down emotionally, and/or give your attention to other people.

Safety is created when you: make “we” statements around resolutions, talk about future hopes and goals for the relationship, speak to the commitment such as “we will get through this,” and comments/statements to let your partner know that you are committed to figuring things out and continuing to work on the relationship.

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5) Thank Them – whenever your partner shares with you, regardless of the content and how it made you feel, thank your partner for opening up. Thank them for trusting you, thank them for being vulnerable in front of you, let them know that you appreciate learning more about them. It does not matter if you do not see eye to eye, what matters is that you trust one another enough to have the conversation.

Damage is done when you: do not acknowledge when your partner is vulnerable and has the courage to share something with you that may have been difficult to share and/or you make negative/dismissive comments about what they share.

Safety is created when you: acknowledge that being vulnerable is not easy, thank them for trusting you enough to share their feelings, validate what they have shared with you, and encourage them to continue to open up and know that they will be met with love and understanding.

6) Be Consistent – with your words and actions. Consistency builds trust, because you know what to expect, words and actions are aligned, you learn you can count on your partner. Be consistent with your partner, if you say you are going to do something, do it. If your behaviors and your words are not consistent with one another, it will be hard for your partner to trust you. If you are consistently inconsistent, you are ultimately sending a message to your partner that you can not be trusted.

Damage is done when you: make promises that you do not keep, treat your partner lovingly and shower them with attention one day, and then have limited interaction with them the next day for what feels to them like no reason, you tell your partner that they can call you anytime and you will be there for them and when they call you are not available/do not pick up. Damage is done when you commit to do something and do not follow through. Inconsistency and unpredictability cause people to be constantly on guard which is a major cause of anxiety and stress, making it nearly impossible for someone to feel safe.

Safety is created when you: follow through on what you say you are going to do, keep your word, establish trust by being consistent. Be yourself at all times and if you put your best foot forward in the beginning of the relationship, then put your best foot forward throughout your relationship. Consistency sends a message to others that you can be trusted.

Remember, you are part of a couple relationship and if either you or your partner does not feel safe in any capacity, then you both play a part in what has been created. When emotional safety is created, conversations are smoother, trust is established, connection feels stronger, and sex is better! The great news is that at any point, the two of you can make a decision to create safety in your relationship, as long as you are both committed to the process and take ownership of your individual roles.

 

As always, best of luck creating the relationship you desire!