8 Things Not to Do After—or During—A Break Up
1. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you want something what you don’t really want.
I remember when I was younger and mourning the loss of my boyfriend—the one whom I had broken up with for a multitude of good reasons. I was sobbing uncontrollably while comparing myself to the unknown entity of a woman he was now planning to marry. I was certain she must have some magic ingredient that I did not. After all, she got the guy. Of course, what I was neglecting to do as I compared myself to her was take any time at all to realize that I didn’t actually want the guy. I had, after all, broken up with him. The ego likes to trick us into thinking we’ve been wronged, when in actuality, we may well have been helped.
2. Don’t tell yourself stories that use definitive words like “always,” “everyone,” “no one,” or “never.” These words cast a spell of judgment that you can’t possibly know to be true and cause you pain. “I’ll never find love.” “I’ll always be alone” “Everyone cheats on me.” “No one will want me.” When you repeat language like this, these thoughts become a belief system with which you align your behavior. These behaviors can turn these limiting thoughts into a self-fulfilling reality. Instead, align your words and thoughts with what you want to be true. “I will get through this.” “I deserve true love.”
3. Don’t obsessively keep texting and calling your ex-sweetheart.
This behavior reeks of desperation and neediness or overbearing control, none of which are powerful positions for communication. Communicate when there is something necessary to communicate. If you are hoping to get back together, pull yourself together and then present your case. Your weakest, messiest self is not your most attractive.
4. Don’t listen to music and watch movies that feed the belief that you can’t survive without another.
Our music and entertainment are full of messages that reinforce the belief that we can’t live without another person, or that we are worthless—worth less—as a single person. Music is a powerful input mechanism so carefully choose music that supports your strength and capability, rather than the opposite.
5. Don’t monitor the other person’s social media page all the time.
Consider what you are actually hoping for as a result here. Are you hoping to find them miserable so you feel better? Guaranteed, when they post only their happiest “I’ve moved on pictures” or pictures with someone else, you are going to feed your angst, rather than healing. Focus on finding your own happiness instead of watching over theirs.
6. Don’t blame and collude. Take responsibility.
When we are hurt, we tend to want to get the whole world on our side by negatively talking about the other person and telling our side of how we were wronged. Not only does retelling the story over and over again keep us stuck in the pain, it also gets in the way of our moving on. Dragging mutual friends into our drama also puts them in the uncomfortable position of having to take sides—often on a faulty or one-sided perspective. If you need to talk to someone, talk to someone who will elevate your way of seeing the situation, not someone who will help you stir the drama up. Take responsibility for your part in whatever happened, this is how you release baggage instead of carrying it.
7. Don’t focus on what you lost. Focus on what you learned.
We have the opportunity to learn from everyone we encounter, most especially those we love. Ask yourself, what did you learn about yourself from this relationship? What have your learned from the break up? What will you do differently going forward?
8. Don’t learn the wrong lesson.
Whenever someone tells me that they learned “not to trust” or “not to love” from a relationship gone bad, I encourage them to look again. The lesson may be to practice more due diligence or discernment or to pay better attention to the quality of a relationship, but I just don’t believe the answer is less love and trust. See if you can transform your broken heart into a heart broken open.