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How to Get Over a Break Up

Falling passionately in love with someone is one of the most exhilarating feelings, as if you had wings and you are flying high in the sky, feeling the wind romantically blowing through your hair. And usually, when love ends, it feels as if you’ve been dropped like a rock in mid-air. You scramble to grab a hold of something … anything, as you witness your body falling at great speeds, and then shattering on the earth below.

Whether we’re talking about breakups, or facing the reality of a one-sided romance, it is painful. So much so that it disrupts our normal flow of experiences, causing us to not function normally.

With so much emotion invested and our identities tied in with these experiences, it’s no wonder that this is the number one topic requested by readers. Over the past year, I have regularly received email from readers sharing their own takes on painful breakups; tales of guilt, of fear, of regret, and of resentment. Although the stories were different, the underlying message was universal and one in the same, “I am in so much pain from not being with this person – what can I do?

Sometimes, the pain of lost love is so intense that it can shake our beliefs about romance and relationships. When these emotional bruises are not understood and have not healed properly, they become invisible baggage that drag with us into the next relationship. This article focuses on the healing process from “love lost”.

Personal Story: The Gift of “Love Lost”

I categorize myself as a very passionate and emotional person. I cry easily at movies and at the sight of passers-by with physical disabilities. When I love, I give it my all, and when it ends, the pain of feeling abandoned can become overwhelmingly and cripplingly intense.

In fact, my journey into personal growth began when I was confronted by a painful breakup five years ago. Out of despair, I had picked up a copy of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – the only personal development book I had heard of, at the time. Although I would recommend a different book now for similar circumstances, at the time, this book introduced me to new concepts that helped me make sense of my emotions, and I was hungry for more.

Over the next few years, it was through dealing with recurring relationship issues that I experienced several rewarding revelations and was able to trigger several major growth spurts in my own self-improvement. While these emotionally-infused episodes of “love lost” might have seemed unbearably painful at the time of happening, they were also the catalyst for personal growth, and played a critical role in my becoming a more wholesome and complete person.

The Origins of Love and Pain

Before diving into the practical how-to of healing, let’s first look at what love is, where it comes from, and why we experience so much pain when it ends.

Photo: melissa

I believe that love is a universal energy infused in all forms of life. It is something that lies within the core of every one of us. When we are in a state of conscious awareness, the intense feeling of love and connectedness is clear and undeniable. When we are in this state of clarity and inner peace, our thoughts and actions are based in love and truth.

Within the depths of our souls, we are all connected by this unifying and essential energy of life – love. We occasionally experience glimpses of this deep connection through various and accidental happenstances, such as:

  • A gratifying and intimate conversation with another person. Sharing and expressing your thoughts honestly and openly.
  • Creative expressions such as playing music, writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, designing or even computer programming.
  • Meditation, prayers or communing with your chosen religious group.
  • Communing with nature during a hike, a walk or while sitting by the bed of a river flowing beautifully in front of you.
  • During sexual orgasm (The Dalai Lama has written about this.)

When we fall in love with another person, we are essentially experiencing the love that was within us all along. The person is merely acting like a mirror reflecting our soul back at us. Technically, we can’t “fall” in love, because we are already made of love. The other person, much like a musical instrument, is the catalyst allowing us to recognize the beauty that’s already within us.

Because of our lack of understanding that love resides within us, and that we actually have the power to invoke it on our own, we credit it to the other person for giving love to us. This feeling is so strong and extraordinary, that we become addictive and possessive. We want to capture it and keep it fixed, so that we can – at last – keep this heightened feeling forever.

The desire and dependency to keep this form fixed, becomes a source of self identification that artificially justifies who we are as physical beings. We become attached to the fixed idea of how our relationship should go and our ego quickly becomes the main investor in this fund of a relationship.

The truth is that, everyone and everything is in a constant flow of change. The changes in us and in our external circumstances are inevitable and undeniable. When we change, the dynamics of our relationships change – not just romantic ones, but also friendships, family ties, and our relationships with co-workers.

Over time, some relationships strengthen and some grow apart. When people grow apart, it doesn’t mean that either one of them was a bad person, but rather that they’ve learned all that they needed to from the other person, and that it’s time to move on.

When it’s time to move on, we hold onto this invisible box that contains an idealized and fixated form of how things should be. We unconsciously and instinctively fall into the false believe that we must stop the love when we are no longer romantically involved.

Because we attribute love as being ‘to’ this other person external to us, pain happens when we forcefully try to kill the love, which is actually within us.

Let’s repeat: Pain happens when we forcefully kill the love that’s within us.

When we forcefully try to kill the love within us, it physically feels as if someone has stabbed a knife into our heart, and a sharp pain surfaces in our chest area. In reality, we are that someone doing the stabbing, because we are trying to sever our innate connection to love and our Soul is now bleeding. Our Soul is crying for help, asking us to stop the stabbing, to stop the pain.

A Love Affair & Emotional Freedom

When it comes to love,
you need not fall but rather surrender,
surrender to the idea that you must love yourself
before you can love another.
You must absolutely trust yourself
before you can absolutely trust another
and most importantly you must accept your flaws
before you can accept the flaws of another.

~ Philosophy: Falling in Love
My preferred suggestion to healing from love lost is the same as the one for finding love: to love yourself, first.

In previous relationships, we probably depended on our partners to make us happy, to make us feel special, to make us whole and complete. Our self-worth may have been wrapped up in how much attention our partner gave us. This is a ‘lose-lose’ formula that works against our personal happiness, because it relies heavily on external circumstances beyond our control and is not sustainable in the long term.

Truth is, nothing external to us can give us the security we need. Only we can give that to ourselves, by loving and accepting ourselves completely.

By learning to love and appreciate ourselves, not only do we free ourselves from the chains that keep us in pain when a relationship ends, it also makes us more attractive to the outside world. Even when you don’t explicitly speak about it, something in the grace of your movement will spread that message to others, like a summer breeze softly blowing the scent of a flower to neighboring plants.

7 Tips Getting Over a Break Up

Photo: Nathiya Prathnadi

1. Letting Go

What would you do if your house was burnt to the ground, and everything you owned was destroyed? I’m sure you’d be frustrated and angry at first, but at the same time, no amount of anger will undo what has been done. It is what it is. Your best bet is to begin moving on, and working towards creating a new home.

Similarly, when a relationship ends, you’ll want to practice letting go and allowing the healing process to begin quickly.

If you were on the receiving end of a breakup, do not dwell on whether the person will come back or not, if they broke up with you at one point, chances are, something is wrong with the fit of your partnership, and you’ll be better appreciated elsewhere, with someone else. Even if you and the ex get back together, it is unlikely to last (from my experience).

Trust that everything in the Universe happens for a reason, and it benefits everyone involved in the long run, even if the benefits are not yet clear. Trust that this is the best possible thing to happen to you right now, and the reasons will become clear in the future.

2. Release Tension and Bundled Up Energy

We all have the need to be understood and heard. Whether we’re on the receiving end or the initiating end of a breakup, we often carry with us the tension and any unexpressed emotions. We can release this extra energy by:

  • Talking about it with a friend.
  • Voicing our opinions honestly and openly with our ex-partner, which have been bottled up in the past.
  • Punching a pillow and crying freely for 10 minutes
  • Screaming out aloud and imagining unwanted energy being released with your voice (seriously, I’ve done a meditation that incorporated this, and I instantly felt better).
  • Writing in a journal (more on this later).
  • Exercise and body movement.
  • Meditating.

3. Love Yourself

The practice of loving yourself is the most important aspect on the road to personal happiness and emotional stability. I’ve personally had my most valuable personal growth spurts during the period when I vigorously worked on this aspect of my life.

I did everything from cooking myself fancy dinners, to spending every Sunday on my own doing the things that I loved, to taking myself to Symphonies, to taking overseas trips on my own. Each one had its own challenges and confronted my beliefs about loneliness. Through overcoming the fear of loneliness, I experienced deep joy all by myself. It was so gratifying, refreshing and empowering.

Here are some ideas to cultivate the art of loving yourself:

  • Take yourself on romantic dates as if you were on a date with another person. Put on nice clothes, maybe buy yourself flowers, treat yourself to something delicious, and take long walks under the stars. Whatever your idea of a romantic date is.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes. Smile slightly with your eyes. Practice giving gratitude to what you see. You don’t need words. Just send out the intent of giving an abundance of love to the eyes that you see, and feel the feelings of love within you. As you are looking into your eyes, look for something you admire about your eyes – maybe the color, the shape, the depth, the exoticness, or even the length of your eye lashes. This will be a little weird and uncomfortable at first, but just trust me, and continue with it. Do this for a few minutes every day.
  • Sit or stand in front of a mirror, or sit somewhere comfortable (mix it up, and do both on different days), put both hands on your chest and say to yourself, “I love you, <insert your name>”. Repeat a few times, slowly. Continue with qualities you like about yourself, or things you are good at. Be generous and list many, even if they sound silly. Example, “I love that you always know how to make your salads so colorful and appetizing.”, “I love that you have the discipline to go to the gym regularly, and you really take care of your body.”, “I love that you are so neat, and can keep your desk so organized.”
  • Practice doing things on your own to challenge your fear of being alone. For example, if you have a fear of eating alone in a restaurant, go out to a restaurant on your own. Your mission is to find the joy within that experience.

4. Love Your Ex-Partner

Allow the love within you to flow. Try practicing forgiveness and open up your heart.

Over the past few months, my friend Tom Stine and I have been chatting about the topic of overcoming breakups. Tom had been married for 13 years and went through a divorce that took him 2 years to emotionally recover from. When asked about how he got over his ex-wife, he had a few snippets of wisdom to convey:

  • “I let myself love her. Even when it felt like my heart was going to break. Adyashanti says something amazing – when people say, ‘My heart feels like it is going to break.’ He says, ‘Let it break. If you let it really break – really, really break, it will transform you.'”
  • “LET YOUR HEART BREAK WIDE OPEN. Let go of every possible belief or thought that says your ex is anything other than the most incredible, amazing, wonderful person in the Universe. You gotta love them and open your broken heart, WIDE OPEN!!!! That’s how to get over a break-up, really get over it. Anything short of that is not gonna do it.”
  • “The key for me was getting utterly clear: we are apart, and the Universe never makes mistakes. We are over. And I can still love her. That was HUGE. I can love her with all my heart and soul and we never have to be together. And when I realized that, I felt amazing. And still do. The freedom was great. I could finally own-up to how much I wanted out of our relationship. All the hurt and anger disappeared. I was free.”

The underlying message of love in Tom’s words is pretty clear and powerful.

Photo: Nathiya Prathnadi

5. Give it Time

It takes time to heal. Be patient. Give it more time. I promise the storm will end, and the sun will peak through the clouds.

6. Journal Your Experience

Spend some quality time in a comfortable chair, at your desk or at a café, and write your thoughts and feelings on paper. No, not typing on a laptop, writing on paper with a pen. Follow your heart and flow freely, but if you’re stuck, here are some writing exercises you can do:

  • Drill into the why – Start with a question or statement, and continue to drill into why you feel that way until you have a truthful and satisfying reason. The exercise isn’t to issue blame or blow off steam at someone else. It’s meant to gain clarity and understanding into how you feel, so you can alleviate unnecessary pain. For example, you might start with the statement, “I am in a lot of pain, ouch!”, and your why might be “because she left me”. Now ask yourself, “why does that hurt so much?”, and one possible why might be, “because I feel abandoned”. The following why to “why does feeling abandoned hurt so much?”, “because it makes me feel alone”, etc. More than likely, the real reason has something to do with our own insecurities or fears.
  • Finding the Lessons – What did you learn from the relationship? What did you learn from the other person? How is your life better because of it? How will your future relationships be better because of it?

7. Read Something Inspirational

Books that deal with our emotions and ego are incredible tools at a time of healing. They help to enlighten our understanding of ourselves and our experiences.

Here are some recommended books:

Parting Words: Healing from Breakup

Every relationship will end someday, whether by break-up or by the death of one partner. Relationships have cycles. They are born, they live, and they die. Just like every part of life. It is merely a part of life.”
Tom Stine

Socially, we view the end of a relationship with a negative connotation and give it the label of a ‘failure’. Just because a relationship has ended does not mean that the relationship was a failure. Both parties likely gained something substantial in either learning about themselves or for the benefit of future partnerships.

Capture the beauty of time shared together, and note the valuable life lessons learned. Be thankful for having experienced love, and know that you are a better person because of it.

No challenge is ever presented to us, if we are un-able to handle it.

For those currently in relationships, cherish and honor your partner for who they are as form and formless Beings. Accept the reality that life is full of change, and dance with the changes and challenges as they come. And when they come, view each one as an opportunity for personal growth – when you do that, nothing is lost.

All is well, and so be it.

** What are your experiences with dealing with breakups? Any words of wisdom for others going through it? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comment section. See you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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283 thoughts on How to Get Over a Break Up

  1. Tina, what a powerful message! It is so important that people GET that love is not a “thing” out there attached to someone else. You don’t have to turn it into some “thing else” when you end a relationship. Thanks for sharing Tom’s wisdom as well! You both have a very similar message (love and truth), delivered in very different ways (down-to-earth and seriously-deep-thoughts). Having both of you in the same post is a treat!!

  2. Tina, I’ve recently gone through the breakup of an 8 year relationship, so reading this helped me clarify my own issues a bit.

    I agree that Loving Yourself is really important, but I think it’s even more important to LET OTHERS LOVE YOU.

    Like many people, I have a hard time accepting help or admitting that I’m not strong enough to do something alone, but I’ve really tried to reach out during this time.

    As I’ve been talking to friends and family about the end of my relationship, I’ve gotten nothing but love and support. I could never nurture myself to the extent that others have nurtured me recently and it’s helping my recovery tremendously.

  3. Hi Tina. This is a beautiful post. Loving yourself is where it all starts on both ends of a breakup. I’ve been in a relationship for years and am not really “in” it anymore. Coming up with the “right” way to end a relationship is one of the most challenging things for me.

  4. Wow – great timing! I just wrote a similar article myself:

    How to Get Over a Failed Relationship

    Excellent article – I think that working on your self-esteem during the break-up can avoid unnecessary suffering. And yes, time heals everything.


  5. Ah man, relationships are everything. They really are – whether they are intimate relationships, or business partners or just good’ol relationships with friends.

    I was working with a coaching client the other day who has had trouble finding a mate for the past half decade. You know, as we got talking I started to think about the relationship with my wife.

    I told her to think of a relationship as a rose. Instead of thinking of what she could get from the relationship, ask herself what she could bring to the relationship.

    If you give your best to others, the best will always show up for you.

  6. I like the love yourself idea, although this is often hard, since so many people place too much stock in how others love them before they love themselves. It takes great courage to truly take the steps to love yourself, but it’s so worth it.

    Thanks for this Tina!

  7. Your posts always give me such a profound sense of comfort, Tina. I think what I appreciate most is the way that you bring so much of yourself to them–they’re not a collection of tips that everyone else suggests, but rather what works for you. Thank you!

    For me, I find that #4 is so crucial. So often, when people end relationships, they seem to need to deny that there is love and ever was love between them, and when I tried to force myself to do that, it made breakups a lot more painful because it was denying what was true for me. It’s nice to see it on your list.

  8. I just love your perspective on the topic, Tina. I am going to incorporate some of the lessons I learned from this post in my own teachings. So thank you.

    In my experience, where most people fail is already at #1. Letting go. In general, people have a hard time letting go simply because they can not accept the fact that it is over.

    May all stay well with you!

  9. Jairo

    Hi, Tina.

    I had a breakup about two years ago and now I’m feeling good – I realized about some of these tips you give by the force of experiencing pain, then grudge, then catharsis and finally peace. Now I remember the wonderful moments in the past, with that person: we loved ourselves – it was like heaven. So I now keep nice memories of that, and I don’t feel it was lost time.

    However, prior to this peaceful state I spent a large time period denying my love to myself and to other people. The former relationship ended up with misunderstanding, mistrust and a feeling of betrayal. I received also hard and poisoned words from the other person, just to try keeping me away…

    So, thank you for this post. It will help to chase the ghosts of my past. It will lead me to believe in love again.

  10. Breakups affect us all differently. I think being able to “resolve” things is really important. Without forgiveness, we are doomed to keep repeating these events in our mind.

    I love how you share with us your most effective tips. They’re really spot on!

  11. Hi Tina,

    Such coincidence! I picked up the the book “7 habits of Highly Effective Teens” during my first break up.

    Letting go is definitely an important step to take before we can start mending our broken heart. I agree with you that there is no point thinking about getting back into a relationship if it had ended before because there is already flaws in it and getting back doesn’t mean it will last again. My personal experience stand for it too.

    Thanks for the article and it do have great points for helping people to get back on their feet after a failed relationship.

    Personal Development Blogger

  12. Love yourself first is a great foundation.

    I once found either an article or a book that wrote about the cycle and stages of love. It was eye opening to see how the pattern works. It was also a bit disheartening because the picture it painted didn’t match my expectations.

    In the end though I realized that regardless of whether these were named stages, you’re always the most significant meaning maker in your life, and your experience is always what you make of it.

  13. dp

    amazing post…i find it incredibly valuable, and fitting for all kinds of relationships. i am going through an incredibly complex breakup involving my life and biz partner, and this piece has me reevaluating my approach. thank you tina, very wise, very kind, and loving advice.

  14. Prinks

    Its difficult…but possible…Just u have to be a bit selfish after the breakup..Try and do the things which makes u happy….Music best heal…And anyways whatever happens,happens for good….So the one who is not wid u was nvr meant for u…Talk to me,I have several better tips. ;)

  15. Tina, well written article and I cannot agree with you more about loving yourself first! I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks so much.


  16. Hi Tina, I am always impressed with your writing. How did you get all the knowledge?
    In this article, I like the idea of letting go and loving yourself, because they are all about surrender yourself and accept yourself the way you are. I think it is not easy to do all of these.
    Thanks for sharing Tina.

  17. Terry Taylor

    Let me start by saying THANK YOU. I never cease being amazed at how the Universe brings me what I need, shows me what will be helpful, in times of need (if I am open enough to accept the gift).

    You write incredibly well, and your insight and philosophy is very much in keeping with my own, and my path.

    Your latest entry on the pain of emtional break ups really “hit the spot” for me. I’ve been going through a break up of sorts with a friend. Not a lover, but the truths/advice are nonetheless applicable. As I was reading your article, particularly the advice about mirror-work, I kept thinking about Louise Haye, someone who’s teachings I have been working with for 20 years. Then I saw what I consider to be a core text for me, “You Can Heal Your Life”, listed at the end. Such a small text, but one that has had a huge impact on my life. I guess big things do come in small packages.

    Thank you for your insights. I am a new reader to your site, but I will keep coming back.


    Terry Taylor
    Halifax, Nova Scotia

  18. Raj

    I experienced love for the first time when I met a girl in my office.She used to talk with me and even i liked her company.But she has a boyfriend.It was just a one sided love ,but i can’t help loving her.I am totaly heart broken and shattered.Please advice how to return back to normal life.

  19. Tina, this is a fabulous article. I think it’s so important that we recognize love is always available, whether we are in a relationship or not. It’s an infinitely abundant energy stream that we invite another person to share when we go into relationship. And it’s just as abundant when we step out of that relationship.

    Great stuff!

  20. Tina, thank you for writing this fantastic post. I love your definition of love. I do agree with you that we need to give us time to accept the reality of broken up and learning to let go of our pain of losing someone dearly in our life.

    I remembered my friend told me when I first experienced a break up, “Enjoy the process.”. I did not understand her that time. After going through the process of healing. I have grown so much and become stronger. I’ve learned so much and I really enjoyed the process that brought me who I am today.

  21. Hi Tina, You posts are amazing, I read and read them and every time looks like first time .
    How did you get all the knowledge?

    Thanks Tina.

  22. Barbara LeFleur

    This was simply an outstanding article, so appropriate, and so true. I would that all people would learn the contents by heart and practice them faithfully every day. Our world would become a paradise in less time that it would take me to say, “Yes we can!”

    Thank you so much for writing it

  23. Thank you to everyone who’s commented. It makes me really happy that you’ve connected with the article. This was a personal article for me, and one that I’ve been pondering on for several months. And I finally sat down to write this this Tuesday. I deeply enjoyed the experience… it sort of just flowed out.. and all I did was type it out on the computer. :)


    I wouldn’t call it knowledge as knowingness we are all aware of deep within each of us. Most of what I wrote about where from personal experiences, some from my studying on relationships (notable with Alison Armstrong), and some from my reading on the human ego (Eckhart Tolle and other authors I’ve listed in recommended reading).

    Thanks for asking. :)


    Please read the article in full. It contains the answer you are seeking. Also, I highly recommend “The Power of Now” book if you haven’t read it.


  24. Jenna

    thanks so much this is 100 percent true and exactly what i needed right now!

    thanks a million

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