Breakups suck — you don't need me to tell you that. We've pretty much all been through them, and when you're still hopelessly in love with that person, it can seem like the hurt will last forever.
The only thing that can truly mend your heart is time. It's been said in popular media you need about half the time you've been dating someone in order to get over them completely and one study put the golden time at 11 weeks, though obviously, everyone heals at different rates.
If you're anything like me, you're probably raging at your screen right now, wondering if there is a way to stop feeling so hung up on your ex that doesn't involve sitting around feeling like garbage. And there is.
In order to truly heal from a breakup, you need to focus on bettering yourself.
The most proven way to feel better about yourself, and stop focusing on your ex, is to shift that focus on improving things in your own life, experts told INSIDER.
"A breakup is just that: a breaking of something that once made us feel whole and complete," author of "Journey to Freedom: The Soul-Ties Detox" Kenyon Martin said to INSIDER. "We chemically and biologically grew to accommodate that person in our lives to a point where a part of them defined a part of us. So it's important to take the time to rediscover who you are outside of them."
Take the time you need to grieve, Martin said, since it's important to let yourself feel sad. Obviously lean on your friends and loved ones, but as tempting as it is, try not to go out and find a fling just yet. Ultimately, that rebound relationship might feel good, but it will actually set you back in your process.
You'll also want to cut your ex out of your life, so therapist and Three Day Rulematchmaker Christie Tcharkhoutian told INSIDER that she suggests to her clients that they unfollow their exes on all forms of social media.
"This may seem harsh, but it's my firm belief that even if the relationship ended amicably, you deserve to give yourself a chance to move forward without a thought that they might view your latest selfie on social media or they may call you on your birthday," said Tcharkhoutian. "You deserve to move forward in your life without their potential ghost haunting your every Snapchat story."
Reflect on where you went wrong.
Take an honest look at your past relationship, or relationships, and try to see what you could have done better.
"This is the place where the healing is done," Martin said. "With every relationship failure, it's important to reflect on the part you played in the making and the breaking of that relationship. This is where you will need to be honest with yourself about where you went wrong and right."
This can be done alone, with friends, or even with a therapist. Tcharkhoutian said that after a breakup is actually a great time to begin therapy, and that it can be an important first step in bettering yourself.
"Giving yourself the chance to truly grieve the loss of a relationship and process these emotions through the safety of a therapeutic relationship will help you learn from the pain rather than run from it," she told INSIDER. "Therapy can also help decrease your chances of entering a another wrong relationship because you are investing in knowing yourself more deeply and fully which will help you avoid the wrong people in the future."
Start working on your goals.
Relationships can cloud our worldviews a bit. So if you were too wrapped up in your last relationship to, say, work towards a promotion at work, set those plans into motion.
Your goals can be anything, big or small, and you can have as many as you want. When you put your energy into achieving these and bettering yourself, you're not only focusing your energy away from your ex, you're giving yourself motivation to turn that energy into something positive.
While you're busy making gains, you can also take time to treat yourself right. Develop a self-care routine, hit the gym, go to the spa, or take a solo trip — whatever makes you feel good. Focus on your own needs and what makes you happy for awhile because, after all, you have no one to answer to but yourself.
"If you like massages, get some massages! If you like going to the movies, go to the movies! Self care is always important, but especially when you aren't feeling good," wellness coach Susan Golicic told INSIDER.
The time after a breakup is really what you make it — you'll have good days and bad days. No matter what, time goes on and focusing your energy on your needs and goals can only make that time more productive.
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