If I think about the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about exes during my most significant break-ups, I’d dread to know how many days and hours that actually adds up to. I also know that one of the most painful things about break-ups is getting so totally consumed by our ex. What they’re doing, why they haven’t called/text, who they’re out with tonight, what we could have done differently, what they should have done differently. All of those things and more. I’m sure you know what I mean.
And of course, there’s the pain of missing them. Even if we’re in a situation where we know they treated us like crap, it doesn’t lessen the pain or stop them from running around in our heads, taking up every inch of mind-space on a 24/7 basis. It’s exhausting but we can’t seem to make it stop.
But what I found in my own experience and what I’ve found by coaching people through this stuff is this: you might not be able to stop thinking about your ex, and the pain and heartache might be unbearable BUT there are things you can do WHEN you decide to be ok with the fact that this IS temporary. And the longer you stay where you are in the same mindset, the longer it will take for that pain to subside.
Here are a few things that I know can really help.
Don’t fight it
I’m betting that part of why it feels so unbearable now is because you’re desperate to not feel so terrible. So the dwelling and obsession is almost like a distraction from admitting to yourself that you feel bad. We never fight the good feelings. But bad feelings are just as valid and you can’t really have one without the other. So just allow yourself to feel bad and accept it. When you accept it, you’re able to move through it MUCH quicker. Sometimes I try and remind myself that good and bad feelings don’t require me to put such a contrast on them as it then makes the ‘bad’ stuff seem even worse. Feelings just are what they are and right now, you just need to accept the more uncomfortable ones and trust they will pass.
Change your environment, habits and routine
Keeping things exactly the same as when you were with your ex isn’t going to help you get over him/her. It will only remind you of what you feel you lack now they’re gone. So switch up your space and create it into something that makes you feel brighter. Clear clutter. Get new furniture or a few fresh bits and change things around so that when you wake up and when you come home, it represents something different. Visit new places, walk or drive a different way to work, start your day differently and end it differently. This helped me so much during my last break-up and it’s something I do when I want to shake things up in my life in general. It’s a bit like starting a new chapter. (I feel like I’ve used the words ‘new’ and ‘different’ a million times here but they’re very important! )
Write down the possibilities
Ok, right now it might seem like the.most.impossible.thing.ever to imagine being without your ex and you feeling good, happy and able to get on with your life with ease. But the imagination is an amazing thing and instead of ruminating over your ex (which is also your imagination at work), use it for something positive that’s going to shift you forwards. So, brainstorm what the possibilities of being without them are. What can you do now, what opportunities does it give you? Write them all down. Even if you don’t feel like you could see any of them through, it’s amazing what forcing yourself to change perspective can do. It can help create that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel that you’re desperate to see but can’t.
Look at what history has already shown you
Think back to the times where you were in a place that you’d never though you’d get past. Other break-ups, losses or just hard times that left you feeling in pieces. You got through those. So work out what you did and do the same things (or same sorts of things) again. For me, it’s setting new challenges, finding ways to work out that I enjoy, being around inspiring, fun people and knowing it’s ok to feel crap instead of fighting it, like I mentioned in the first point.
Set some kind of goal or challenge – for you
Do something for you even if it’s the last thing that you feel like doing. Motion creates emotion and doing something positive that makes you feel like you’re accomplishing a goal that’s all yours and in no way associated with your ex signifies a new chapter and ignites renewed feelings. It also gives you something consistent to focus on where you will get to see results. Many people I work with totally surprise themselves what they’re capable of when they do this, or the opportunities that start to appear and it’s incredibly empowering for them.
Go on a social media sabbatical
This is a big one that I cover in my program (coming soon!). Eliminate all those things online that will expose you to your ex and what they’re doing. It’s not helpful looking at them on social media. It’s a bit like going cold turkey as you might have been stalking looking at their Facebook page as a crutch but be honest, does it ever help you to move forwards doing that? Does it make you feel better? Probably not. (It’s a bit like the high of drinking too much and then the low of a hangover.) We can also use the online world in general as such a distraction from feelings of discomfort. We feel shitty and before we know it we’ve spent 20 minutes scrolling on instagram looking at people we don’t even know, whose pictures aren’t even a true representation of their real lives. This form of numbing what we’re feeling via digital outlets does nothing for the soul so I am a real strong believer that getting outside in the real world, amongst real people is one of the best ways to move forwards.
And if you are going to turn to an outlet that isn’t outside in the real world, make it something where you’re learning. There’s nothing wrong with immersing yourself in a book that feeds your imagination in a good way or learning something that inspires you. There’s something about learning that really makes you feel like you’re taking responsibility for yourself instead of being passive, which is what dwelling over your ex and things from the past that you can’t change, essentially is.
I hope you find these helpful. And if so, I have a course coming out very soon, which is going to guide you right though your break-up. Make sure to get on my list if you’re interested as it won’t be long until that’s launched!
Have a great weekend my friends and as always, reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to. I’m also now on snapchat sharing snippets of advice and bits of my life! Find me there at laurayatesuk and snap me!