Did you recently experience a break-up? Do you feel helpless, hopeless, and lonely? Trust me. I've been there. No matter who you are, I want to offer my advice for getting over my S/O and how I started the rocky journey towards loving myself.
1. Recognize it wasn't meant to be.
Chances are, if you two have broken up, it's because you weren't meant for each other. And that's okay. Part of college is exploring your interests and finding yourself as you study towards someone you want to become in the future. It doesn't always mean having a romantic relationship either. You need to first come to terms with what has ended. It is done and over with and most likely will not start up again. But don't lose hope. This is a journey towards loving yourself before someone else does.
2. Appreciate the power of time.
If you're experiencing a break-up (no matter how long the relationship was) it hurts. Coming to terms with what wasn't meant to be takes a lot of time and careful healing. Memories may come up, and you may want to contact them again, but this isn't fair to your healing process (or even theirs). Spend this time taking care of YOU and YOUR grief. The sadness will pass.
3. DO NOT ENGAGE IN SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR!!!
I cannot stress this enough. Don't go on a FWB spree. Don't find someone to temporarily fill that void. Do not start drinking or doing drugs or self-harm. You will hurt your heart more. You won't find closure. You WILL NOT heal. Self-destructive behavior only results in a cycle of self-inflicted abuse and this is not okay. You need to let time take its course and realize that you do not need a relationship at this time. If you feel like everything is crushing you and you can't stop yourself from wanting to disappear, call the National Suicide Hotline. Please.
4. Get together with friends. Or not.
Having a loving, stable relationship with friends is key to getting over break-ups. It doesn't matter if you have forty or two; when you are feeling down, reach out to them and let them know if you can't be alone during this time. They should support you and your wishes whether or not you want company. But do not isolate. Tell someone what is going on and how they can help you heal. It's okay to want a day or two to yourself. It's okay to skip out on a party just to be alone. But don't let a day of self-care turn into a week-long hiatus from life. Take things one day at a time. Chances are you will feel better if you get social.
Throw on a face mask. Take a long, hot shower. Listen to your favorite songs. Be angry. Cry. Take a nap. Delete the pictures. Go for a walk. Pet a dog. Draw or color. Paint your nails. Play a video game. Watch a movie. Do anything it takes (IN MODERATION!!!) to be with yourself and generate healthy self love.
6. Explore why it didn't work out.
When you are in the right mindset, explore why it really wasn't meant to be. This doesn't mean blow up your ex's phone, but rather take the time to reflect on the past. Do not let yourself spiral into uncertainties or anxiety about what you did wrong. Take this step only when you've come to terms that the relationship was what it was and will not be. If there was toxicity, take note of it for future reference. Find out what it was you liked about that person and what you didn't. Make a list of what you want in a relationship and draw parallels between this list and your recent ex. Appreciate the memories, but do not gloss over the times you were upset with them. You need to recognize when things went downhill and understand what makes you feel unloved or upset and use these as tools of empowerment.
7. Work on your perspective.
I fell into this trap too many times. Whenever I would see a couple, I would feel bitter and jealous. This is not okay and is not conducive towards healing. Instead of wishing that couple in the dining hall would go off themselves, feel happy for them. It is their life and their relationship. Do not wish ill will on other relationships or people. Find peace in knowing you are healing and seek to embrace the solitude. Sometimes it's better to be single. I know holidays don't make it any better, nor do cute Instagram photos, but understand that couples most likely expose the positive sides of their relationships to the public. Understand that everyone goes through the motions. Understand that marriage is not always the result of a relationship no matter how long it lasted. Understand that you, too, deserve love...but for now, that person was not deserving of you.
8. Listen to advice and red flags.
This goes hand-in-hand with exploring what went wrong. Chances are there were red flags you overlooked because you were blinded by love. Now that you are out of the relationship and can pinpoint what upset you during it, empower yourself by understanding those overlooked red flags and apply that analysis towards the future. If your friends were telling you this whole time that something was wrong, accept that and make amends. Oftentimes it is easier to see what is wrong from a third-party. Appreciate your friends' advice and seek to accept it in future relationships.
9. Go out!
A recent breakup shouldn't stop you from going out and having a good time. Go with friends and family! Newspapers often have weekly updates on local events and most of them tend to be free.
10. Think about yourself.
It is never too late to better yourself, but this doesn't always mean you are in dire need of dramatic improvement. Find ways to stay in tune with yourself (this includes self-care!). You can meditate or make lists. I like to think of three daily concepts to practice throughout the day: for example, compliments, kind thoughts, and healthy eating. You will feel better working in smaller increments as well as accomplished!
11. It's okay to look again.
Once enough time passes (your discretion) and you feel comfortable enough with yourself without the pressures of an S/O, put yourself out there. Be kind, crack a few jokes, and don't forget about keeping your own personality alive. Make sure to stay safe and watch your surroundings if you're in a public place like a bar or party. Take time to get to know people before rushing yourself into something. One night stands don't always end in marriage!!! And be sure to stay true to yourself and all you've built up during the time following your last breakup. The only person who has your back the most is yourself, so don't tear that person down ever again.