How To Thrive, Not Just Survive, After A Break-Up

How To Thrive, Not Just Survive, After A Break-Up

Because they suck, but it's going to be ok.
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I went through the hardest break up of my life this past year. I know that I (and 70% of everyone else in this world) have said that after every single one of my relationships has ended, but this was honestly not an exaggeration in the slightest because this time around, I had been engaged. I knew this was for the best, but obviously, that didn't make it hurt any less. He was my best friend, but he was an awful boyfriend and fiancé. Rationally, I knew that he had to be out of my life because of the boyfriend part. But emotionally, I just wanted my best friend there by my side to help me hide away my new wedding dress and cry into a pint of rocky road. However, life goes on so we all have to as well. After some time and a series of both good and bad decisions, I can now honestly say that I am thriving, not just surviving.

Do your best to accept the reality of your situation.

Admitting the reality of the situation to yourself is the first step of processing all that is happening around you and in you. I would like to pretend that it was all my decision and he was the only one who did wrong in our relationship, but that isn't the truth. The truth is, I did stuff wrong and we both made the decision to not get married. Sometimes people have a hard time swallowing the pill that they aren't right for that person. The truth is, you may not be, but that's not such a bad thing. Mull over the idea and over time, you'll realize that you don't have to be "the one" for that person because they aren't "the one" for you. On the other hand, it can also be difficult for some people to realize that the other person wasn't "the one" for you. The truth is, sometimes you just have to accept the harsh reality that people aren't always who you think they are. People don't just change because they say they will. People don't learn commitment by buying you a sparkly ring and make a pretty promise. Make the decision your own. Decide that you, as a fully functioning and valid adult, will not accept empty promises and lies. Decide for yourself that you will not be disrespected, abused, manipulated, or otherwise taken advantage of anymore. Decide that you will find honest and real love elsewhere.

Be completely honest with yourself.

It is so important all the time, but especially after an emotional event such as a breakup, that we do not lie to ourselves. If you're not ok, then don't try to convince yourself that you are. But on the other hand, don't lie to yourself and say that it will never be OK again. Tell yourself the truth you're hurt and disappointed. Cry if you feel like it. Don't deny yourself the opportunity to watch the notebook four times in one day if that's how you feel. But when you don't feel like crying anymore (a feeling that I promise really will come), be honest that you may not need to cry as much or as often. Be as self aware as possible and take care of the whatever your mind, body, and soul are telling you that you need. Be honest with yourself and embrace the truth. It's the only way that you will heal. That means that the quicker you are really honest with yourself the quicker you will heal.

Remember that other things besides that person made you happy.

In order to thrive, don't just find things to distract you. It's best if we find things that excite us and drive us to happiness, helping others, and positive thinking! Everyone has something (not someone) that undoubtedly makes them smile. Embrace that thing and use it to remind yourself that there is life apart from your relationship. Making the perfect cup of tea, bouncing on a trampoline outside, painting your nails, volunteering, or playing your favorite instrument are all smile-inducing activities that can not only be done often and are awesome alone, with your siblings, or with friends.

Don't make generalizations or negative assumptions.

Breakups suck. There's no getting around that. However, not every man or woman in the world is just like your ex. There are many people in this world and this life can be longer than we anticipate. Take your time, but get back out there when you feel ready. Don't turn down every dinner offer out of fear. Don't refuse to get close to a certain gender because you assume they are all the same or can't be trusted. You can survive this world with a broken heart that you refuse to take care of, but the goal is to thrive. You don't need a relationship, but in order to thrive, you at least need to have a healthy mindset on life and love.

Any breakup is hard, no matter the messy details of how it went down. Good thing the truth is that you're stronger than you think. You just have to be honest with yourself and take care of yourself in the process. Nevertheless, before you know it, you will be thriving like the competent and amazing adult that you are!

Cover Image Credit: Amanda Jimenez

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Public Health May Be The Most Important Area To Focus On As A Society

I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.

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Medical exploration and healthcare management has thrived throughout the 21st century, with major developments in epidemiology allowing organizations such as the World Health Organization of the United Nations to track the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and influenza across impoverished countries worldwide. I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua when I traveled there as a Brigadier with Stony Brook's Public Health Brigade, a coalition organized by Global Brigades during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.

Working alongside other university collaborations such as Boston University, I was mesmerized by the impact that improvements such as clean water through mountain pipelines and sustainable housing could do in reducing the severity of Zika virus outbreaks in the region, as accentuated by the near 8,400 villagers with access to clean water as a result of our efforts.

These experiences demonstrated to me the value of preventative measures highlighted by the public health approach — by attacking the origin of a disease and the medium through which it spreads instead of merely treating the manifestation of its symptoms, a holistic approach would allow for the eradication of a malady throughout an entire region whilst educating the local populations about the importance of proper hygiene practices and fortified infrastructure to prevent its re-eminence. It is for this reason that I feel inspired to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health as a professional, so that I can help contribute to the eradication of preventable illnesses across the globe.

A specific area of interest that I wish to target as a field of study would be the impact of sustainable housing in the eradication of illnesses such as lead poisoning through contaminated water sources. My own experience in this particular aspect of Public Health Administration as a Brigadier with Stony Brook Public Health Brigade showed me the importance of secure infrastructure in the reduction of preventable diseases as an especially pertinent area of community health in the United States, highlighted by the water toxicity crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A recent study released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center noted an uptick in the blood-lead concentration of Flint Children from 2.4% to 4.9% after changing their water source, with spikes as high as 10.6% in correlation with elevated levels of lead in Flint water. These elevated blood-lead concentrations put these children at higher risk for lead poisoning, characterized by reduced growth rate and learning difficulties. Purification of the available water sources throughout the region would be a comprehensive long-term solution to reducing elevated blood-lead levels amongst Flint residents.

My goals after my master's degree in public health would be to pursue a medical education and become a doctor, or go into Healthcare Administration and eventually work with the WHO of the UN to establish a more easily accessible Healthcare system across various countries to increase the number of people in impoverished areas that can be reached by doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. I feel that a proper understanding of public health would, therefore, be essential to establishing my career in service to humanity.

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