It’s been two days since you’ve ripped my heart out, tossed it in a blender with the mixtapes I made you, and poured the resulting cocktail all over the white chiffon bedding we used to share … I have yet to see the light of day…Except for maybe the kind that emanates from the netflix screen through my comforter.
Cue “Cry Me a River”… No, cue it more dramatically, sound guy! I want these people to feel my pain…Ok, you know what? Just! Gimme that. I’ll cue it myself. *”Cry Me a River” plays dramatically*
If you’ve ever been through a breakup, chances are you recognize a bit of yourself in some of the above theatrics. Splitting up with someone you once loved can be one of the most devastating, emotionally-trying things in the world. But, if you let it, this period of mourning can become an opportunity for some incredible personal growth.
With that, here are some important things I learned after my most recent break up.
Moving on means actually letting go
I’m just going to say this point blank: you will not get over someone if any part of them (in physical or digital form) still exists in your life. Checking whether they are on social media or asking your mutual friends what they’re up to will inevitably keep you tethered.
It is not petty to remove reminders of them from your space. Whether that means putting pictures of them in a box or blocking them on Instagram—your actions are self-protective and truly allow you to start healing. They should not be fueled by a desire to attack or passive-aggressively send messages to your ex, but rather to get you into a headspace in which you can actually move on.
I value my independence tremendously
I think one of the reasons it was so difficult for me to get over my ex was because we truly were best friends. Losing a confidant and a comedic counterpart left me barren for a very long time, and I consistently felt the urge to reach out and tell him about something funny I had just witnessed or to ask him for some of his incredibly lucid advice.
But every time this yearning would wash over me, I would force myself to put my phone away, write down whatever it was that I would have told him, and mull over the issue on my own. Time and time again, I would walk away from these moments feeling incredibly powerful and liberated. I quickly got into the habit of addressing my problems completely independently, and I was truly better for it.
Reflection is only possible once things are over
When you are blinded by love, it can be very difficult to take an objective look at your relationship. A breakup can be the perfect opportunity to truly dissect the inner workings of your dynamic, and to figure out why it actually didn’t work.
For instance, although I didn’t realize it at the time or even soon after the break up, I was quite selfish in my relationship. Things were unequal in a number of spheres, and coming to this conclusion allowed me to become a much more giving, selfless person in general.
“The one” can be many people
I used to have this very narrow idea of what “the one” meant, and it was exclusively defined by my ex. I thought that I couldn’t possibly be with—let alone be in love with—anyone else.
However, what I’ve learned since that point is that there are a number of people who can fit the mold of what you are looking for in a partner. You have to define a set of non-negotiable traits (compassion, humor, emotional intelligence, etc) and allow for a lot of leniency with the rest.
You cannot be boxed into your perspective of the perfect lover, because that truly doesn’t exist. Open your heart to other possibilities and you might be surprised what you’ll find.