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6 Steps to Bounce Back After a Breakup

6 Steps to Bounce Back After a Breakup

A break up can send you spiraling downward head first into the basement where you collect old thought patterns and negative beliefs about yourself in dusty mason jars. OR it can be the greatest soil for growth. It all depends on how you decide to see your break up and the approach you take. Here are 6 ways to keep you out of the basement so you can turn your break up into a break through.

1.  Reframe.

The first step is the simplest but can be the most difficult. The re-frame. 

Like milk, your relationship has expired. It had an expiration date. It was meant to end one day sooner or one day later.   

Write this on your bathroom mirror. 

You may not believe it now.  But you will one day when you look back.  I understand it may be difficult to swallow.  But there’s absolutely no other way to look at it.  If you do, you’ll open up a giant can of what ifs, I should have, could have, if I only, if he only, and that’s when you start playing the highlight reel.  Read this daily out loud until you believe it and you’ll start playing the documentary.

2.  Cut the cord.

No emails.  No texts.  No check ins. Unfriend him.  Unfollow him. The worst thing you can do is follow his life on social media.  I don’t care how strong you think you are.  Photos, updates, his carefully projected filtered life will trigger your emotional elephant.

It’s either over or it’s not.  If it’s not, you should be working on the relationship.  If it’s over, you should be working on you.

3.  Build yourself a structure.

I tell my clients, out of your house and out of your head.  Remember that. That’s how you’re going to get through this and structure is how you’re going to execute that. 

Let’s start with a self care plan, because from here on out, you HAVE to make it about you.  It may feel weird at first because you’re not used to it.  But that’s the growth piece.  Get used to it.  Because when you find someone who really deserves you, you can’t lose your stance - yourself.  That’s what happened in this last relationship.  Somewhere down the line, you started to lose yourself.  You started to compromise.  You started to put their needs before yours. 

Six basic human needs.

Emotional need.

How do you fulfill your emotional needs?  Friends?  Family?  Therapist?  If you don’t have anyone, how do you plan on fulfilling your emotional needs?  By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Work / Passion / Purpose need.

How are you fulfilling your need to be fueled with passion and purpose?  If you’re in a shitty job, that doesn’t mean to just quit it.  It means to start the process of exploring other things.  By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Sexual need.

This doesn’t mean how much sex are you having.  What are you doing in your life to feel sexy?  Yes, that is a need and if you don’t, you should work on your sexy.   By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Physical need.

Fitness.  Maybe you already have a routine and you’re good.  Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try something different.  Well, now’s the time.  By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Intellectual need.

What are you doing to feed your brain?  Are there books you’ve been wanting to read but you’ve put aside?  A course you’ve always wanted to take?  By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Spiritual need.

How are you getting your spiritual needs met?  This doesn’t mean you have to be religious.  How can you connect or reconnect to the spiritual part of yourself?  By _________ (date), you will commit one step toward fulfilling that need, knowing that it may take many but what’s important is that you’re being proactive about giving yourself this need. 

Many of these needs can overlap.  But this will give you a framework to start building a structure on.

4.  Assess the damage.

Eventually you want to review the damage the relationship did to you.  Not the person.  Assess damage is not about blame.  It’s about review so that you can learn and grow.  You want to first have some distance from the break up before you can go back and look at it with new clearer lenses.  When you’re ready to assess the damage, here are some questions to ask yourself.  Did the relationship chipped away at who you are?  If so, in what ways?  Did you lose your essence?  What messages did you absorb about yourself through this relationship?  Is this a pattern? 

5.  Take ownership

After you access the damage, the next step is to ask yourself what your piece was in the damage.  Remember, there’s your ex, you, and the relationship.  The relationship is it’s own piece.  The damage came from the relationship.  Not your ex.  He or she contributed.  But you did as well.  So the question is what was your contribution to the expiration of the relationship?   If you’re not willing to own anything, there’s still a lot of pain and anger there.  It will prevent you from moving on.  Instead, it will keep you stuck.  So in a way, taking ownership is accepting and forgiving. 

6.  Create non-negotiables.

Finally, you want to start creating non-negotiables, things you are not willing to negotiate in your relationship / life.  Remember, non-negotiables are not preferences.  Preferences are things that you prefer.  Non-nogotiables are rock solid stances that you keep so that your container is safe and growth is possible.  Most people negotiate more than they realize.  We don’t usually start off this way.  Love distorts our lenses. Make a list.  From everything you’ve learned about love, life, and yourself through this relationship, what are you now not willing to negotiate? 

Like working the 12 steps, these getting-through-a-break-up steps are not a one time process.  You may have to go through them many times.  Or you may get stuck on one step for months.  For example, you may not be able to cut the cord for a while.  That’s okay.  Keep at that step until you accomplish it and are able to move on to the next.  See these steps as an engine that will help you climb that hill. 

Remember, the only way out is through.

- Angry

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