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I recently noticed a pretty vile problem cooking up. Many people trying to get over a breakup keep overwhelming themselves with innumerable recovery methods.
For example: they start their mornings with hours of agonizing meditation practices. They keep three different journals. They reserve their afternoons for a hectic cocktail of qi-gong, yoga, and tai-chi. And in the evenings, you can see them burning through their savings for dodgy, overpriced self-help seminars, retreats, and coaching programs.
If you can even semi-relate with the above, you’ve got to fucking chill.
I know you want to get over your ex. I know you want to be happier. I know you want to improve yourself and squeeze out your juicy potential. I applaud you for your bravery and ambition.
But holy fuck— you don’t have to burst a blood vessel for these things!
You don’t need to pigeonhole yourself into a gazillion recovery activities, exercises, and modalities. You don’t need to hire coaches, shrinks, and gurus. You don’t need to attend any seminars and circle jerk with benevolent narcissists on your ayahuasca retreats.
You can drop most, if not all, of that shit.
Just pick a handful of simple and cheap recovery methods that you actually enjoy and go deep with them. And only when reasonable, start experimenting with additional ones.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to drop methods that, after rigorous testing, don’t resonate with you or get you any closer to feeling like yourself again. The reason I suggest this is so you avoid overwhelm. Because it’s overwhelm that sucks all the motivation out of you and consequently coerces you to stop working on yourself when you know you should.
My Breakup Recovery Journey
While going through my most notable breakup, I didn’t do much to eventually get over it.
For the first few weeks, I spent most of the time locked in my room, playing video games or jerking off to my ex’s Instagram posts.
It was only after months that I went outside and touched grass, let alone talked to a person in real life. And then it took me a couple more weeks to rebuild my healthy eating and exercising habits.
Soon after, my productivity shot up, and my creativity, ambition, and curiosity for erudition came back around. Suddenly I was doing well in school again, a massive breakthrough.
Next, I took up a daily guided meditation habit (thanks, Calm.com!) and found myself entirely substituting playing video games with reading.
I also dabbled in no-fap for a while but found it fell short of its promises. Although limiting porn did help, particularly in improving my self-image and raising my esteem.
A few weeks later, I closed things off by adopting a short daily gratitude practice and committed to learning pick up and dating. I also finally began to invest in my social life — which was, for a long time, non-existent.
As you can see, I didn’t start by trying out every breakup recovery method under the sun. I opted for a gradual leveling up of my life instead. And I suggest you do the same.
Would I speed up breakup recovery if I took a different approach, like one of the approaches I teach now? Sure. But life is long, and for most of us, there really isn’t a need for haste.
But perhaps more importantly, know when to stop healing and improving. For the ultimate goal of breakup recovery advice is to reach the point where you no longer feel the need for it.
Let me unpack this thought.
The Point Of Recovery Is To Stop
If you keep engaging in 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’ll chase unnecessary 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 be happy.
Put differently: after a certain period, more self-improvement becomes self-defeating. And it’s at this point that you should opt for self-acceptance instead.
Self-Acceptance looks like a) becoming content with yourself and your current situation despite the immutable imperfection and b) replacing, tweaking, 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 I formed while trying to win against my breakup? Of course not!
Today my free time is split between reading AND video games 50/50. I also don’t keep a journal or do gratitude practices anymore. And I limited my mediations to once a week.
I also allow myself more cheat meals during the week than I did in the past while enduring my breakup. And I exercise less, too. In fact, I completely flipped my views on exercise in general.
In the past, my goals were bulging six-pack abs and one-digit body fat. Today I don’t give a shit about that anymore. My goal is to simply work out enough that I stay healthy, fit, and lean.
The only habit I’d reckoned stayed the same is avoiding porn since I noticed I perform worse sexually if I keep binging it for a few days on end.
Again, this is what self-acceptance looks like.
And while self-help junkies would rage-tweet that I merely lowered my standards and settled; that I’ve failed myself; that I wasn’t determined and bold enough, and that I didn’t beleive in myself enough — the truth is far less interesting.
I simply decided that my current habits and routines are enough. I decided I don’t want to stretch myself to some higher level of growth. I just don’t enjoy it or, more importantly, feel the need for it.
And while this may or may not change in the future, for now, I’m quite satisfied with how things are.
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