The Dark Side Of Breakup Recovery
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The Dark Side Of Breakup Recovery

By Max Jancar | Published: May 22, 2024 | 5 Minute Read | Resilience

I recently noticed two vile problems cooking up in the breakup space. First problem: many people trying to get past their breakup unnecessarily overwhelm themselves with recovery.

They wake at the asscrack of dawn to do hours of agonizing meditation, yoga, and visualization exercises. They keep three different journals, can’t keep out of the gym, and are obsessive about their dumb, cold plunges. They gulp down their green smoothies — even though they don’t like them — while listening to the next shitty self-help audiobook promising to change their life in 12 seconds or something.

Sometimes, you can even see these people hiring life coaches to help them, who are probably one of the biggest jokes of the 21st century. Other times, you can see them burning through their life savings on overhyped self-help seminars and coaching retreats.

If you can even relate to this in any possible way, you’ve got to fucking chill.

I know you want to get past your breakup. I’m well aware you want to be happier. I understand you want to squeeze out all your juicy potential. I applaud you for your bravery and ambition. But holy fuck — you don’t have to burst a blood vessel in the process.

In fact, you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into a gazillion recovery methods. You don’t have to hire coaches, shrinks, and gurus to help you reach “the next level” — whatever the fuck that means. You don’t need to attend your overpriced pyramid scheme cattle calls… I mean your self-help seminars.

You can drop most, if not all, of this shit.

Instead, just pick a handful of simple and cheap recovery methods that you actually enjoy and go deep with them. For example, 5-minute meditation sessions, going on walks in nature, or hanging out with friends. When reasonable, maybe start experimenting with additional ones. And don’t think twice about dropping certain methods if, after rigorous testing, they don’t resonate with you or provide the outcomes you’re looking for.

Exception: while not exactly simple and definitely not cheap, therapy goes a hell of a long way to help you feel like yourself again post-breakup. If you have the cash and time for it, go for it. I can’t recommend it enough.

Why should you take this approach?

For one, it’s the best way of preventing overwhelm and burnout — a.k.a. the biggest killer of one’s motivation for self-improvement. But perhaps more important, you should take it simply to avoid losing yourself in the sauce, unable to hit the proverbial brake.

This, dear reader, is the second major problem people going through a breakup face. Allow me to unpack it.

If you keep engaging in breakup recovery, despite already reaching acceptance and overcoming most of your personal issues, you’ll paradoxically only end up reinforcing the belief that you’re not good enough as you are now.

And the more you chase unnecessary healing and growth, the more flawed and unhappy you’ll feel. You’ll always think that something is missing from your life — that there’s always some higher level you should reach in order to truly be happy.

Put differently: after a certain period, more healing and growth — more damn breakup recovery — it becomes self-defeating. And it’s at this point that you should opt for self-acceptance instead.

Meaning that you should become content with yourself and your current situation despite the few immutable imperfections that keep bugging you. Yes you’ve read that right — you should learn to be okay with some of your flaws and faults.

Not only is this a healthier approach to recovery, but it’s also the only one that’s grounded in reality. Because no one is fucking perfect. There is not a person on earth who overcame all their emotional baggage and traumas. And that’s fine, that’s normal.

The other thing tying into self-acceptance: you should should start replacing or dropping habits that you don’t need or want anymore — even if they’re positive.

I mean, do you think I kept up with all the positive habits formed while trying to win my breakup? Of course not. I stopped meditating entirely. I quit therapy after years of sticking with it. I don’t journal in a notebook anymore — now I just record my thoughts. I don’t work out for six-pack abs that would make my ex jealous any longer — I just do it to stay fit and healthy.

This is what self-acceptance looks like. Try to cultivate it yourself. I swear, it’s a far more enjoyable way to get past a breakup than neurotically trying to cram down everything healing-and-growth wise at once, without ever really stopping.

Besides, the whole point of breakup recovery advice — hell, the whole point of self-improvement in general — is to arrive at a place where you can leave it behind, a place where you no longer need it.

Like training wheels on a bicycle. Or a crutch for a twisted knee. You put it on, let it heal and/or improve you. And then you take it off and move on with your life.

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A Cheat Sheet For Putting That Bitchin’ Broken Heart Back Together

This free cheat sheet will help you stop obsessing over your ex and provide over 40 therapy-approved tips to get you feeling like yourself again.

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Not Interested.