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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.

breakup1.jpg
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

breakup3.jpg
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.

breakup4.jpg
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. Maria

    Dear Tina,

    Thank you so much for those articles. I have started with the one”How to Find True Love” and I was amazed how well the flow of thoughts correspond to my philosophy of life and when you mentioned in this article the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People I understood why.

    It also makes me very happy to see all those comments, because it help me realize that I am not the only one looking for answers to so many things. I wish all those people lived a bit close and we could meet for coffee once in a while and not only communicate through internet.

    Thank you so much for a great blog, keep it up!

    Kind regards,
    Maria

  2. ashley

    Well my name is ashley and i lost love i was with the guy seven years and and three kids with him! and im only 23 about to be twenty four in april. Its hard i feel like every time i think of him my heart dies a little more each time I thought just looking at my kids would change that and thats just not the case i find myself crying every time I hear a sad song or just something that reminds me of him BUT this is a big BUT are relationship was toxic in so many ways he didnt trust me so i was home all the time and when i didnt want to be there it was like i had to run away are he would make me take the kids. When we would go out to the club one of us would hit are beat up the other it even started happining when we was not drinking but it would always end with a sorry from both parts and we would just try and move forword. But yes another but. When it was good it was good witch was most of the time. i loved it and i wish it would stay that way. HOW DO I GET OVER HIM. be for i go running back to this guy :(

  3. David

    I had been struggling for weeks over the abrupt ending of a 9 month relationship with a woman whom I had fallen deeply in love with.

    Loving her with all my might; seeing her for the absoultely brilliant, beautiful person she is and accepting, that although I still love her, we have learned all there is to learn from one another and that we can no longer be together…this has set me free.

    Thank you for this gift of love.

    • dekequinn

      thank you as well that was a real great way to set my hart free again , she was a amazing in all and i did learn all i can from her , … thank you as well it always easier to grow when in pain if you know other struggle with the same things

  4. cadburyguys

    thats such a wonderful article..feeling so good after reading your guide..thank you very much:-)

  5. ok… so I’ve been divorced over 13 years and still can’t let go of these horrendous feelings of guilt and what we’ve missed out on over the years, with the children,and in the future when we were supposed to grow old together. we have both since remarried, but I still can’t seem to let go of the pain of what the kids missed out on and the unhappiness and negativity that I feel about myself. it is debilitating. I have been in therapy and on meds, but nothing will alleviate this feeling that I have failed as a person and failed to be a good mother to my children for not being content in my marriage and keeping my commitment and doing everything I could have for the sake of the children. life would have been so much easier on them and I feel like time has been a terrible waste. I also feel like the marriage I am in is some kind of a fraud, because I still love and want to be with my exhusband and I want my family back together. I know this sounds so rediculous after all this time, but I can’t shake the feeling that I could have been a better person, accepted things and my husband for the way he was and been more tolerant of insignificant issues.

  6. Allie

    hi!, thank you SOOOO much for that message!!!! it was extremely helpful. I just broke up with my boyfriend of almost 1.5 years two days ago and I gotta admit that there were several mistakes on both parts but I was soooo relieved to read that it IS healthy to not feel anger towards him… in reality I respect and I admire him taking the step to say “im sorry, we tried but it just wasn’t working”. I knew this myself but if it would’ve been for me, I would’ve stayed… I cannot thank him enough and yet at the same time, my heart is breaking… some days I am fine and others… I just want to lay in bed all day listening to our songs… I have a LONG way to go but I know that I will get there… One day, I will be able to look at him and his girlfriend(as painful as it sounds at the moment) and say hi and actually being happy seeing him happy.

    God couldn’t have been wiser to have put him in my life; we went through some rough, rocky hard times but he stood there saying “I believe in us”, I opened my heart and let him in… I learned sooo much from him… He is…. the best incompatible person I had ever had the opportunity to love…

  7. This is an excellent and very helpful article. It is very important to understand that “getting over” a relationship is a “process”. It is unique for everyone and the recovery time is also different for everyone. One of the key factors in a “healthy” recovery from a relationship break up is to try and “resolve” the issues and emotions associated with the break up- easier said than done i know! However if these emotions remain unchallenged it may lead to depression and a tendancy to withdrawl from society.Separated people on this “path” often stay here for many years and the problems, issues and emotions surrounding the relationship breakdown may stay with them the rest of their life if not addressed.The good news is that we can get “resolution” to these strong feelings through journalling (as suggested above),talking it through and exploring the emotions with a skilled counsellor or trusted friend,working on our understanding and acceptance of what has happened , learning to really relax and building or self esteem. Sounds like hard work? Yes, maybe it is . But there is a real joy in being happily single again, and choosing to move into a new relationship (or not to). Doing this”work” (its kind of fun often and very satisfying!) will also lessen the risk of making relationship “mistakes” in the future.There are plenty of excellent support groups , counsellors and resources available to help you.

  8. Hope

    This article is very inspirational. I have just recently ended a relationship of a year and a half years, but I still feel like my heart belongs to him. I know I will get over him one way or the other, I just hope it’s soon because it hurts to imagine him with another girl and I shouldn’t really care about that at this point because he is gone and gone for good. Thank you once again for this article, I feel a lot better now.

  9. Paulina

    I haven’t read all comments yet, probably somebody already wrote about this. For me an important step would be Forgive Yourself. This is an integral part of Love Yourself, I know, so in a way it is already there, but I would need to add it on my list as a separate step altogether. I ended a “dating” relationship, I don’t really know how to call it, a week ago as I didn’t see it going anywhere. However, again I find myself filled with guilt and accusations, it is difficult to detach from the piercing thoughts of self-blame. I tend to see past relationships as failures on my side. How I always do something wrong and the relationship disintegrates and does not progress. At the same time I tend to idolize the other person, seeing that it was all my fault that the relationship ended. I am not saying that I didn’t contribute to things falling apart, I made a very big mistage of non-communication to protect myself, but it is as hard as letting go of the person to let go of self-blame. To forgive myself seems almost an insurmountable task. Now it is the perfect timing to practice that, to let go the relationship and forgive myself.

  10. CindyB

    That was powerful…and just what I needed to read. Everything does happen for a reason…..we just need to find the pot of gold at the end of each and every rainbow….or….forget the gold…but know enough to enjoy the rainbow.

  11. rekikoglumd

    hi

    i was dumped by my girlfriend of 4 yrs when a childhood friend of mine confessed his love for her.all of us were close friends, and i trusted them too much. my ex admitted that there is actually no reason for her to leave me, she was really happy with me right until the moment my friend confessed. and all she can say is sorry.it has been 2 months now and although i’m feeling better, but i still cry almost every other day.

  12. 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.

  13. Kimberly

    Thank you. I don’t know why, but I went from being on the verge of tears to actually feeling better about my situation and about myself. I think that sometimes we end up so wrapped up emotionally on others that we forget about ourselves. Most people are approaching love the wrong way, we believe it all revolves around are partner when in reality it’s mote about ourselves. We expect to be “given” love to be appreciated by others in order to feel any self worth. Which i believe is what opened by eyes! When I read this article I realize that if i had thought about myself more often, my relationship would have been different. If I can learn to love myself as much as I have loved others, I wouldn’t need anyone to “make me feel better,” instead i would have a partner who simply adds joy to my life. It’s a refreshing article, it reminds some of us to always have a positive outlook.

  14. Hi Kimberly- yes very wise words. Its a cliche’ but definitely true, that its very had to form a stable , balanced relationship if we havent learned to love ourselves. Having said that many people really struggle to do just that for many reasons, mainly due (or often due) to past experiences/family of origin etc etc. We can be so hard on ourselves, maybe the first step to ‘self love’ is to give ourselves a break- nurture ourselves. When we are feeling good we attract good stuff .

  15. in the wonderland...

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts with us.
    I’ve been living in denial about a man I loved very much for 3 years and pretending I didn’t care about the break up for the past 9 months. Tonight, it finally hits me.
    I have secretly been searching for getting-over-break-up help online and I thank you for putting on yours……. I find it incredibly helpful!
    I appreciate your words of wisdom, clarity and inspiration.
    I found it extremely painful when I broke up with him.
    I now understand that I was just trying so hard to kill it because I thought if I did it fast the pain will go faster.
    I still love him very much. He is a kind and beautiful person with a beautiful heart.
    I will get over it. I am looking forward to feel more painful and then hopefully transform myself.
    Once again, thank you!

  16. Roman

    I was in a very stress filled relationship for 9 months. For some reason i cannot let go. She was cheating on me…and i knew it. i just didn’t want to believe it. She has told lies that i have hit her to all of my friends who “forgot” that i existed. I gave everything in this relationship and i feel like somehow it is my fault.

  17. sanaa

    tina can u suggest something about long distant relationship ……….. coz i hv been in gr8 pain after been parted from my boyfriend……. we r even unable to communicate due to some unavoidable circumstances………..

  18. Katie

    Hi,.. I am 16 years old and I have experienced love, you can comment and say that at that age there is no such think as love but their is,.. so this is my experience and thoughts.
    We were together for over a year, we couldn’t be separated, we were best friends and we would see each other most weekends.
    We were both going thought some tough times at school, I was getting bullied and he hated school that much that it was making him so ill, but together our worries would go away and we could just be happy, share thinks that i wouldn’t even share with girl-friends and we trusted each other so much.
    Then school started coming an end and we were both going out separate ways,.. he enjoyed working that much and i was so caught up in revision and seeing friends we started losing interest but we still loved each other will all out hearts.
    Our relationship did end about 2 weeks ago now, i could say it was a happy ending we both decided it and their were no arguments,.. but it was that easy it doesn’t seem real sometimes and then recently it hit me the guy that was inseparable to me is disappearing out of my life and its a shock to my system.
    I would just like to say that your article is amazing! Reading it has made me had faith that it is possible for the pain to go away. Some of the thinks listed i have already done and they work wonders. I see my best friend quite often now and she has been there for me every step of the way, and i feel privileged to have someone like her.
    Again Your Article Is Going To Work Wonders,.. Slowly, But In Time It Will Be For The Better
    THANK YOU!

  19. Noo

    Thank you Tina,

    Thank you so so much for your post. I will start to love myself.

  20. Great tip! Time is the best cure for breakup.

  21. lydia

    thanks so much for this. i just read this the same day my partner asked for a break up and i was so down

  22. jai

    thanks for guiding me and giving peace in my heart,really nice article once again thanks

  23. Kris

    Man do I have one that will blow everyone out of the water.. Its so embarrising to talk about because I know I am a sucker.. for the past 2 years I was used and abused.. They would break up with their gf then get back with me saying this will be the last time I never want her again.. Now the exs family cant stand them now and want me around. My exs moms like my mother she lives across the hall from me.. I need to let go but dont know how. I think of my ex everyday and I dont want to.. I want to move on and me happy I deserve that!

  24. ashley

    Me and my boyfriend broke up last night and this help me recognize a few things thank you very much god bless you

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