- Gender and Relationships
How to Move on in 40 Days (or Less)
STAGE 1: DEALING WITH PAIN
“Sometimes it’s not the butterflies that tell us we’re in love, but the pain”
During this stage, you are still asking questions, especially if you are the one who got dumped. “What happened?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “Am I not enough?” these are some of the questions going around your head. We cannot answer these questions, not yet. Here are the things you can do during this stage of heartbreak.
1. Don’t act like you don’t feel any pain.
Pain from heartbreak is the worst pain anyone could feel. Other people would rather have their toes get hit at the edge of a table than get their heart broken. Pain is really there, it does exist. There’s a science behind the pain. As Naomi Eisenbuerger, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles told Women’s Health Magazine, the area of your brain that lights up when you’re hurt physically is the same area that lights up when you suffer “social rejection.” Pain indeed demands to be felt.
When we are suffering from heartbreak or any kind of stress, there’s an increase in a number of stress hormones called cortisol in our body. Tears triggered by stress help our body eliminate toxins, which is the cortisol. That is also the reason why we feel so much better after crying. Also, crying makes us look better. Alan Wolfelt, University of Colorado Medical School professor said that in his clinical experience with 1000s of mourners, he observe changes in physical appearance after the expression of tears.
3. Write about what and how you feel
We know people do things and then regret it again later when they are heartbroken. Instead of posting long heartfelt posts on Facebook and changing your status from “In a relationship” to “Single”; or declaring on Twitter that you are really hurting, why not write how you feel instead? In this way, you are not constricted by the number of characters or the words to use. You can say whatever you want to say, use vulgar words, curse. Just pour it all out.
4. Reflect a little
A day or two after writing what you feel, read what you’ve written. Try to reflect a little and ask yourself “Why am I feeling this way?” You can also somehow “talk” to yourself while reading. For example, you wrote that maybe you’re the reason of the breakup. You can actually negate that and tell that “Hey, I did everything. I loved him so much” and things like that.
5. Make a “Things I HATE about my ex” list
This one’s pretty easy but really effective. Making this list will help you release all that anger. Your anger will somehow escalate during the process but don’t worry, you will feel much better afterward. Another thing is that after making this list, you will somehow think that “Yeah, maybe it’s better that we broke up.”
6. Make an “It’s a mistake breaking up with me” list
Breakups could do a lot of things on our self-confidence and self-esteem. Rejection “communicates the sense to somebody that they’re not loved or not wanted, or not in some way valued,” explains Geraldine Downey, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Columbia University whose research is focused on rejection. Making a list of your best attributes and skills will help us boost our self-confidence. Guy Winch, Ph.D., a HuffPost blogger, psychologist, and author said that “Studies show that when you do that and remind yourself of your worth, then you are more resilient to rejection that comes thereafter”. This list will serve as a reminder that you are an amazing person.
7. Talk to someone about your feelings
When you break up with someone, it’s natural to feel isolated or disconnected. Talking with a close relative or a close friend will make you realize that there are people who love you and care for you. Tell them how you feel, ask them about your experience. They surely have something to say.
STAGE 2: GETTING USED TO THE FACT THAT S/HES OUT OF YOUR LIFE NOW
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
During this stage of a breakup, you are not yet used to the fact that s/he’s out of your life now. You still miss the good-morning/texts, you still miss the I miss you's and I love you’s. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Here are some of my tips to get past through this stage.
1. Unfollow your on social media sites and delete his or her number
Cutting off ties with your ex is an important step when you’re healing. It’s hard, especially at first but remember when you two broke up. Delete his number, if you have to. Don’t call hand then say “Oh, sorry. But call.” So you can talk to him or her. Stalking on social media sites doesn’t help too. Looking for your photos together will just keep the hurt coming back. Seeing pictures of him or her looking happy and unaffected will just hurt you more. So, cut off ties with your ex and stay strong.
2. Get rid of mementos
3. Avoid going to places that remind you of him
4. Don’t listen to your “theme song/s”
Focusing on the past will only keep you from moving toward your future. Looking at your pictures at a photo book and reading his or her love letter will hold you back from moving on. Yes, your ex played a big part in your life but these things will just trigger a feeling of sadness, loneliness, and anger. If you feel bad putting that cute bear your ex gave you on your birthday, why not give it back to him? Or maybe sell it at a thrift shop or donating it?
5. Don’t make some kind of revenge
You shall remember that your success is the best revenge. Sending your ex some mean texts will not do any good. He or she already broke your heart. You felt so unloved. Don’t make people think that you need him to live. You shall take the high road and behave in ways that have dignity and restore your self-respect.
6. Keep yourself busy
Breakups can cause depression. According to Psychology Today, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 7,000 male and female twins and analyzed their levels of depression and anxiety based on traumatic experiences in their lives. “The research found “losses that involved lower self-esteem were twice as likely to trigger depression as ones that involved loss alone.” To avoid thinking about him all day long, keep yourself busy, whether it’s work or studies.
7. Hit the gym
Two things may happen after breakup. It’s either you eat too much or you’ll eat barely anything. Neither of the two is good for your body. I know you just suffered a lot of pain but it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to look after yourself. C’mon, it’s not worth it.
STAGE 3: LET YOURSELF GROW AS A PERSON
“We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges”
Not because you broke up with your ex, you will stop growing as a person. No, this is the perfect start to be the person you always dreamed of becoming. Use this tragedy as an inspiration to be the best person you can. It’s time for your Version 2.0.
1. Go on a charity work
2. Learn a new hobby
It’s time to start learning the hobby you’ve always wanted to learn. Learning a new hobby is good for you in so many ways. It enhances your creativity; most hobbies require creativity and developing creativity through a hobby can transfer directly into creativity at work. Also, hobbies build confidence because being good at something and learning something new is very rewarding. Moreover, hobbies that require some level of physical activity also create chemical changes in our body that help reduce stress but even if your hobby does not require physical activity you can still benefit. Lastly, it will help in your personal development.
2. Go on a vacation
Take some break. Go to a place you’ve always wanted to go to. Go to some place quiet and far from all the things that remind you of your ex.
3. Go on a food trip
4. Go shopping
“Retail therapy” can actually be good for you, if it’s done wisely. Research shows that when you go shopping after rejection, you tend to envision how your purchases will fit into your new lifestyle. Just don’t spend too much.
5. Think positive thoughts
To achieve this easily, surround yourself with positive people. Humans are really susceptible to “emotional contagion,” or picking up on others’ feelings and moods. If you surround yourself with positive people, you’re way more likely to feel positive yourself. There are a lot of people who love you unconditionally and will brighten up your day anytime.
STAGE 4: MOVING ON
“The truth is unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
We are now to the stage you’ve all been waiting for: Moving on. Congratulations! You are now ready to conquer the world stronger and wiser. Hold on because the best is yet to come.
When you already feel better and some of the pain has subsided, you can give way for forgiveness. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciling with the person who upset you or condoning the action. In forgiveness, you seek the peace and understanding that come from blaming people less after they offend you and taking those offenses less personally. Forgiveness is for you and no one else.
Forgive the person but do not forget all the things you learned from your relationship. I’m sure there are few things that you learned from your ex or things from your relationship. You can write down what you feel, now that you’re somehow okay and close to moving on. It could be something that you will do and remember next time when you fall in love again.
3. Look forward
Look forward to something more wonderful, real and long lasting. Your relationship didn’t last because of some reason. This is the time when you can do things you can’t do when you are in a relationship.
4. Give it some time
Time heals all wounds. You may be okay 40 days after the breakup but there will be times when you miss him and just want to call him and hear his voice for one last time. When these times come, just breathe and think that moving on (like smile-and-say-hi-to-him-without-getting-awkward kind of move on) takes a long time. You will just realize on day that you are over your ex and that later on, he can be a memory you’re quite fond of and glad happened