I will start by quoting a famous cliché: “Every person has a story”
As with every one of our stories, one way or another, we all come to experience pain, heartbreak, and disappointments. I found that most people seem to see pain as the enemy when it comes to losing someone. The pain that you feel when you start to realize that the person you loved and cared for for so long is no longer going to be a part of your life. The pain of having to do things on your own from now on. The pain of having to start over. But that pain will be your greatest weapon. The way you handle the experience and the pain will define who you are.
I have been one of those people who Google searches “How to get over a breakup” soon after getting dumped, but I started to realize that no matter what you do and how much you follow all the rules, you can never truly get over it. It’s an experience, the same as any other painful experience, that sticks with you until you learn to live with it. I’m not going to lie and tell you that after two months, you will get over your ex completely as if they were never a part of your life, or that you will no longer feel or even remember the pain that you’re feeling right now. No, that’s all a lie. And believing in false truths will only make it worse over time. So instead of trying to get over it, we should learn how to deal with our emotions in a healthier way and how to cope with the pain that comes with it.
Everyone will have a different length to their breakup journey. For some, it may take a few short weeks; for others, it may be longer than a few months. But the stages of your journey will always be the same:
Your goal is not to reach the end (acceptance) as fast as you can. Instead, your goal is to let yourself go through the journey in the healthiest way.
When you’re going through a painful experience, pain is not your enemy—denial is. I’ve seen so many people, me included, deny that they are hurting or that they need help. I found this to be true about myself because I’ve always been taught to be a strong independent woman. And because of this, admitting to myself that I was hurting or that I actually needed help from other people was a real kick in the face.
One of my biggest mistakes when I was going through a breakup was trying to stay positive throughout the whole experience. It led me to a false sense of happiness, and I constantly lied to myself and the people around me during the times when I wasn’t feeling the best. When I googled “How to get over a breakup,” most of the articles I’ve read said to keep myself busy. And busy is what I did. I distracted myself with work, the gym, my writing, Netflix, cooking, you name it—anything to keep myself busy. But the real reason behind all my busyness was to distract myself from the pain. I did everything I possibly could to hide from it, to forget it, to pretend it didn’t exist, only to find myself late at night crying myself to sleep.
You can run away from the pain, but you can never truly hide from it. So instead of hiding, let yourself feel it. Give yourself a moment during the day, every day, for as long as you need, to just acknowledge the pain. You can sit in your room, close your eyes, and spend the next 10 minutes or so just recognizing what you’re feeling. Instead of sitting in front of the mirror and telling yourself, “I am happy,” be truly honest with yourself and say, “It fucking hurts, and I feel tired, but that’s okay.” And that’s it. Remember that you are human, and humans are not supposed to be happy all the time. You need to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling instead of punishing yourself for it.
I remember three weeks after my breakup, I found myself feeling sad out of nowhere, and I started hating myself. I questioned why I was still sad when I should be feeling better. It’d already been three weeks—surely I should be over the whole thing by then, right? I set myself this false timeline that by a certain number of weeks, I should be feeling better, and when that time came and I still wasn’t, it only made things worse. Don’t set yourself a timeline of when you should feel better. You will only feel better once you feel better, not when you say you will be.
Once you’ve learned to be okay with not being okay, everything else will follow, and you will slowly get better at dealing with your emotions. Because that’s all they are—emotions.
I’m a strong believer that you never truly get over something, you just learn how to live with it. And that’s okay. The pain that you are feeling, the experience that you went through, no matter how horrible it was or who was to blame, is a part of who you are and who you will become. It’s a part of your story that makes you who you are. You will learn so much about yourself and who you are as a person by every experience you encounter. Let every experience, every heartbreak, and every tear make you a better and stronger person than you were yesterday.