Breakups are hard!
They can be confusing, messy, hurtful, tearful, painful and awkward – for both the person doing the breaking up and the person on the receiving end.
How do we navigate these situations in order to take care of our mental and emotional wellbeing?
How do we interact in a break up situation in a way that honors ourselves, and shows that we love and respect ourselves?
Below are 7 things to avoid doing after a break up, as these would be the opposite of taking full care of your mental and emotional wellness. By avoiding these traps, you'll be well set for getting through:
Here are 7 Things to Avoid Doing After a Breakup
Pretend You're Not Hurting
It can be a self protection mechanism to plaster on the smile and the “I'll be fine” response. Whether you say that to yourself, or to the person who is breaking up with you, or to concerned family or friends.
You're allowed to have all your emotions. It's completely natural, normal and HEALTHY to have upset emotions during and after a break up. Acknowledging how you really feel is the first step to then processing those feelings, so you can let them out and be free to move on.
While it's smart to save your deepest truest thoughts and feelings for your most trusted inner circle (ie. you don't necessarily want to share your hurt with anyone who will listen), be sure to reach out to those who love you and are equipped to be a support function for you, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. And at the very least, journal your feelings freely as a safe way to get out how you're feeling.
Shift into the Friend Zone
You've broken up but you're trying to still be friends?
Ask yourself honestly, and listen to your intuition… will that really work? Will it work for me? Will it work for them? Will it work in the long term? What about when they start dating someone else? What about when I start dating someone else?
Trying to remain friends might work in some instances, but most of the time it can be a messy space to occupy, leaving you in limbo, trying to heal from the break up while also simultaneously trying to work out how to be in a platonic relationship with the person. The trigger of your hurt is still around, and you're attempting to interact on a friendship basis, while still processing the break up situation.
If friendship is what you need, consider who else in your life might be a better friend to rely on right now, a less-triggering, safer zone to fulfil those friendship needs.
Stoop to Their Level
If your ex hurt you, if they stooped low in their behavior during the relationship or behaved badly in the way they broke up with you, resist the urge to do the same back to them. Revenge, low-level behavior, angry responses back to them only end up further hurting you, leaving you feeling worse.
Any hurt, sadness, anger or resentment you might feel toward them are emotions that need to be processed. If we don't acknowledge and release these feelings they can simmer, grow and drive us to want to do things we might ordinarily not do, things that aren't at all aligned to our values, morals and what we want for our life.
So be sure to take time to process your thoughts and feelings in the best ways possible (healthy ways like journalling, using EFT-tapping, seeing a counsellor, talking to trusted friends/family).
Sleep with Your Ex
Break ups are hard enough without complicating it more. If someone breaks up with you, they don't deserve to have the sacredness of your time, your energy, your spirit or your body.
By breaking up with you, they are showing you that they are not right for you.
If you broke up with them, equally remember why you did, and cherish yourself enough to focus forward on what lays ahead for you… new opportunities, new possibilities and new love!
Keep Checking Their Social Media
There's the temptation after breaking up with someone, or someone breaking up with you, to check what they're up to.
Social media makes this all too easy. Particularly if you're already connected and they keep popping up in your social media feed.
It can be emotionally triggering and a handbrake to healing and moving forward into a bright new future.
Consider muting their social media posts or unfollowing them. And definitely at the very least notice if you're feeling compelled to proactively check their social media accounts… stop and ask yourself what good will that do for your heart, mind and soul?
Give Up on Love
One bad egg doesn't mean all eggs are bad.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi
In the post break up phase, when you're hurting it can be easy to fall into all sorts of negative stories like, “Relationships are bad” or “There's no good men/women out there” or “I'm done with relationships, it's not worth it”.
Remind yourself that you're strong, love is real, and that relationships are season, reason or lifetime. If the relationship didn't work out, maybe it was a relationship that taught you something about yourself, about life, about what you do and don't want? Maybe it was a season of your life only, and the seasons are changing, winter is over, and spring is here!
Let Them Break Your Confidence
Be mindful of how you talk to yourself after a break up. Avoid negative messages, interrupt negative self-talk, challenge limiting beliefs that play in your mind.
The challenges in our life are not reflections of who we are.
The behavior and choices of other people are about them, not about us.
What you have to offer, your value, your spirit, your worth, is unbreakable, unchangeable and undeniable.
You are enough. You are good. You are valuable. You are unique. You are worthy. You are deserving. Never forget it. And after a break up it can be easy to lose sight of this, so put in extra effort to fill your mind with the empowering messages that will heal and uplift you!