I promised a friend that I would do an entry on healing from break-ups. Driving on the way home from work yesterday I balanced a clipboard and a piece of scratch paper on my lap, and made a list of a few "dos" and "don'ts" of how to move on from a relationship gracefully. And this is what I came up with.
In my experience, the equation for getting over ex-guys (and gals) has been fairly simple:
distance + time = no more pain.
However, this next piece is for those who are looking for some immediate ideas. I wish I could say that I had some research backing me up here, but no. I'm really just running purely on women's intuition, and a bit of experience.
Getting over Guys and Gals: 101
- eat chocolate (as if I even had to write that one...).
- breathe.... click here to review my previous entry on Square Breathing. It helps me immensely when I need to calm down, or fight off feelings of panic.
- watch movies. I always find that good movies can transport me for a few hours into a different world, which can sometimes feel really good when the current world seems disappointing. DISCLAIMER: When watching movies, if you don't want to cry, choose comedies, animated flicks, action movies, etc. There's a tendency with romantic movies to apply your current love life to the movie scene, even if it's a wild stretch, just because that is where your mind is. (Illustration: I dated a guy a few years back who confessed that he had once cried during Legally Blond. When I asked him why he had cried? Bingo! It had been during an emotional time in his life...).
- run, run, RUN! Move your body. Shake/kickbox/run/wiggle off some of your hurt inside. Relax your jaw, and your bruised-feeling heart and soul. Exercising will also send some endorphins to the brain, which will help to kick the sad feelings.
- reframe. Reframing is sometimes the only difference between the current you and happy you. For example, instead of thinking, "What a jerk! He has a real issue with commitment!", try to reframe that into, "Wow, I feel really sorry for him. He's going to take that commitment problem with him his entire life, and that's really going to hold him back from some incredible opportunities". Another reason for reframe? In my experience, bodies and hearts can function better when they are feeling pity, than when they are feeling hurt or anger. Those two emotions are very exhausting.
- throw away/burn/tear up all belongings and gifts. DISCLAIMER: this one is tricky because it requires a bit of assessment before the box of letters goes into the bonfire or the jewelry gets thrown off the bridge. The assessment piece is this: ask yourself "was I really dating a full-on jerk, or did our relationship end because the timing wasn't right, or we weren't well suited for each other?". If the answer is the former, go ahead and chuck the letters in the fire, and enjoy it! If the answer is the latter, quickly put everything into a box, hide it at the back of your closet, and save it for a day a few years down the road when you are in a new wonderful relationship and you are emotionally distant from this one enough to enjoy the memories of a friend from your past. I add this disclaimer because I have tossed things in the garbage that years later I wish I still had...
- let your friends take you out. At the end of the day, yes, you are alone again, but a healthy distraction never killed anyone, and well-socialized people are healthier than hermits.
- try something new. Then, when people ask how you're doing, instead of saying, "Well, I'm depressed and getting over an ex..." you can divert the response to your new endeavor: "Well, I just attended my first ever vegan cooking class/sniper shooting workshop/audition for a Disney character, and it was a hoot!". How's that for a conversation starter?
- date the ex's friends, just to get back at them. I know, I know, it's tempting, but resist.
- go broke trying to heal your pain. Fact: retail therapy just really hits the head on the nail sometimes, but do yourself a huge favor and splurge at a thrift store, or the dollar store. There is no sense in adding financial problems to your list of things to overcome.
- get stuck thinking that this person was the last person you will ever love and that nobody will ever come along who will make you as happy... When your mother and your best friend and your sister-in-law tell you that he didn't deserve you anyway, and that there are other, bigger fish in the sea, despite the comment not being helpful in the moment, they are absolutely right!