3 ways to grow from your breakup pain
Welcome to another weekly newsletter, lovingly named the “Beyond The Breakup Newsletter.”
It’s the newsletter that provides you with big ideas on how to grow and improve as a person and build better relationships so you can avoid a future breakup.
sign up and join the adventure!
Along with the fancy weekly newsletter, I’m also going to give you access to 4 exercises that will help you stop obsessing over your ex as soon as you sign up.
Today’s topic is all about breakup pain. More specifically, were going to be covering three ways on how you can grow from it.
1. ask better questions
Most breakup survivors groan about how life’s not fair and ask prosaic and stifling questions like, “why does this happen to me, this isn’t fair, why do I have to suffer, or how did I let this happen?”
Unsurprisingly, this type of self-inquiry does not promote recovery, nor does it contribute to personal growth and well-being. The only thing it does is insert you into a victim mentality, envelopes you in misery and promotes self- belittlement.
But does that mean that we should eliminate negative self-inquiry?
No, of course not. The more you try to obstruct involving yourself in negative self-inquiry, the more it will prevail.
What you should be doing instead is asking yourself better questions – the kinds that help you see yourself as a hopeful survivor rather than a hopeless and helpless victim.
These would be questions like, “what can I learn from this,” “How can I rebuild myself,” and “What can I do to better my breakup situation?”
To be more specific, below are five key questions Stephen Joseph, the leading psychologist on post-traumatic growth, recommends you ask yourself daily after any trauma.
- Are there ways in which my relationships with family and friends have been strengthened and deepened in intimacy?
- Are they ways in which I have found a different perspective on life with new opportunities?
- Are there things I did to survive what happened that showed me strengths within myself that I didn’t know I had?
- Are there ways in which I have found a greater understanding of life and how to live it?
- Are there ways in which I find myself being more grateful for what I have and for those around me?
2. rebuild your beleif system
To get over your breakup pain, you need to rebuild your belief system or also stamped as your shattered assumptive world. This idea is beautifully illustrated through Stephen Joseph’s famous broken vase metaphor.
” Imagine that one day you accidentally knock a treasured vase off its perch. It smashes into tiny pieces. What do you do? Do you try to put the vase back together as it was?
Like the vase held together by glue and sticky tape, those who try to put their lives back together exactly as they were remain fractured and vulnerable.
Or do you pick up the beautiful colored pieces and use them to make something new – such as a colorful mosaic? Those who accept the breakage and build themselves anew become more resilient and open to new ways of living.
The secret to dealing with adversity is to know that you can’t put the vase back together exactly as it was, but instead, start to use the pieces to build a new mosaic.
We can learn to live each day more meaningfully in light of our vulnerability. We can learn to give our love to others in light of knowing that we are not as important as we thought we were. We can work out what really matters to us in light of finding out that what we thought matters, doesn’t.”
These changes don’t necessarily mean that you’ll be free of the memories of your heartbreak, grief, and suffering but that you’ll live life more meaningfully in the light of what you endured.
3. accept your breakup pain
And then there you are, traumatized and bewildered, lost and thinking it’s the end of the line. You’re questioning your existence and believe that that it will never get better.
But – I know you don’t believe me yet – it does get better.
Whether you’re suffering from the passing of a 3-month online relationship or a 20-year marriage, your pain will fade away in time; like every emotion, pain is temporary.
But, there is a way people prolong this recovery process: by pursuing myriads of trivial activities (i.e., weeks-long youtube binges) with the intention to distract or numb themselves from their pain.
Here’s the tough pill to swallow in this case: the more you avoid something unpleasant, the more it persists, and the more unpleasant you’ll feel.
Therefore, the more you avoid dealing with your pain, grief any other demon you have under the hood, the more painful and tumultuous those things will become.
The best way to tackle this problem, or avoid it altogether, is to focus all of your mental bandwidth on accepting your negative emotions, thoughts and your whole breakup in general.
In practice, this would mean admitting to yourself that what happened happened and that you’re suffering. Nobody deserves trauma. But deserving is not the point. Trauma is just something that happens to everyone. So, admit that to yourself.
The whole thing just happened, and you can’t change it.
Even better, seek out others who are suffering for the same reason you are and join them or find people who are willing to listen and talk to you while you’re suffering. Socializing, be that online or in the real world, is proven to help anyone cope with trauma.