Part of me can hardly remember the pain and agony that I suffered during my worst breakup. It's only now that my best friend and I can finally giggle about our outrageous grieving mechanisms and the torture we put ourselves through for boys who didn’t deserve it.
The other part of me remembers every excruciating detail of feeling lonely and crying myself to sleep. And of course, that awful, fatalistic feeling that it was always going to be like this. . . forever.
I wrote a guide on how to want to get over a breakup a year ago, and I was overwhelmed by the emails and comments I got from many of my readers who empathized with me. So many of you have personally written to me and shared with me your own stories of heartache and pain. I have been absolutely touched and thankful to you all.
As I read through your letters, I recognize that there is still so much pain and regret that overcomes us during a breakup – and we mistakenly try to rush the healing process. But keep in mind that there is no time limit. And the amount of time it takes to get back to feeling normal varies from person to person: Yes, you are a special little butterfly.
And while I do hope that my breakup survival tips are helping, I also want to share with you a few more insights that may help keep you sane throughout your recovery.
If you are ever going through a breakup, a rough time, or just need a pick me up, these are 7 phrases to tell yourself on repeat:
- “I love myself.” Cheeseball, I know. But it works, especially if you believe it. And by now, you probably know that I am pretty much a giant cheeseball. According to Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love, self-love is important, “because ultimately we are the ones responsible for our actions, choices, and the outcome of those actions and choices. We cannot give to someone else what we don’t have, and likewise, we cannot get from someone else what he or she doesn’t have.” I couldn’t agree more. If you love yourself, you will be the master of your feelings, not some idiot who broke your heart through a text message.
- “I want to be happy.” Seriously, do you? This seems like a dumb question: Of course I want to be happy, who doesn’t? The problem is, a lot of the time, I actually don’t. I let small things frustrate me. I have an extremely short temper, and I get mad at the most trivial matters. Why? It’s because I forget (or maybe don’t want) to be happy in that moment. Maybe I want to be angry or upset, so I have to remind myself that I want to be happy, and then I will force a fake smile until it turns into a real one. It even turns out that a fake smile is better than no smile. Researchers at the University of Kansas recently discovered that holding your mouth in a smiling position could help lower a person’s heart rate after stressful situations.
- “Screw him/her.” I’m not a big fan of cussing, especially since I joined the No Cussing Club back in 2008, but bad language can actually be good for you, according to a study published in NeuroReport, which “found that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain.” Say it, whisper it, scream it – let it all out. Not only do you end up soothing the pain, you are also telling yourself that you are not going to be a victim.
- “I always hated his dumb haircut.” Remember that annoying thing about him that always bothered you, but you never admitted it to yourself, because you were madly in love? Well, it’s time to spill all the dirt. Take off your love goggles and tell yourself what you really saw in him. Even if it’s something as tiny as "I hated his toenails," embrace it. Doing so will help you realize that your ex wasn’t as fabulous or perfect as they seemed and it will help you heal faster. In fact, a study in Cognition and Emotion found that those who “indicated strong negative feelings about their ex in the immediate aftermath of the breakup were less likely to be depressed."
- “I am better off without him or her, because…” Quick! Finish the sentence. For me, it was: I am better off without him because now I can finally eat blueberries! At the time, my ex had a terrible allergy to the fruit (which just happened to be one of my favorites). He wouldn’t kiss me or come near me if I had eaten anything blueberry-flavored, so eventually, I stopped eating them too. The first thing I did after our breakup was devour a pint of blueberries. Obviously, my heart still hurt, but I let myself enjoy something that I hadn’t been able to do when we were together. And while that was something little, it kind of felt pretty good. And during a breakup, that's the one feeling you should be constantly striving for.
- “It has been X days since we broke up, and I feel…” Here’s another fill-in-the-blank for you. You can say whatever you like – just be truthful. If you’d rather write it down in a journal, that’s okay too. The reason I like this phrase is that it keeps you present in the current moment and lets you feel whatever it is you need to feel. Eventually, one day will turn into 30 days, and you will notice a difference. You may still be sad and heartbroken, but the degree to which you feel it will change and you will be able to recognize your progress. Life Coach Patrick Schriel writes: “I use my feelings, my intuition, as a guiding system. If something doesn’t feel right to me I won’t do it. If the feeling is right, I will.” He says feelings are often truer than thoughts or beliefs and can often lead to “real moments of insight and can be the beginning of change.”
- “I will find someone better.” These words may be the most difficult to utter, especially if you believed that your ex was “the one” or your soul mate. Trust me, we’ve all been there. And because this phrase is so hard to say, it is, in fact, the most crucial. Let me tell you something that you may not want to hear: You will meet someone better – it is inevitable. You will meet someone else who will treat you well, be kind to you, love you, and most important of all, not break your heart.