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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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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