A breakup can make you feel like your world has ended. Your broken heart leaves many unanswered questions, including “How do I start loving myself after a breakup and get over my ex?”
It’s the kind of pain that you want to remove, yet it doesn’t seem to go away. And you are sure that you’ll never find love again after a breakup.
Loving yourself after a breakup is often the last thing on your mind, yet the most important.
Plenty of research has shown that a breakup has impacted all parts of our lives.
One study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Slotter, E. B. 2010) spoke to the self-identity crisis that a breakup creates, where so much of yourself and your live merges with another. It was such a big part of your life, and the sudden stop may cause you to no longer know who we are without your ex.
Another study published in the same journal (Davis, D. 2003) connected processing of the breakup to attachment style, further complicating the grieving process.
But, the first step towards processing the breakup and returning to yourself starts with self-love, so that you can begin loving yourself after a breakup.
By prioritizing your needs, embracing self-care, and fostering a positive mindset, you can overcome the pain and emerge as a stronger, more resilient version of yourself.
Loving Yourself After a Breakup
1. Treat Yourself Like Your Own Best Friend
Being compassionate towards yourself is crucial during this difficult time.
Treat yourself with the kindness, understanding, and support you would offer a dear friend.
Remind yourself that you are worthy of love, care, and happiness.
Nurture your mind, body, and soul by engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace.
2. Change Your Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can further amplify the pain of a breakup and hinder your healing process.
Challenge these self-defeating thoughts by replacing them with more realistic and empowering statements. Remind yourself that none of these things are true.
Reframe negative beliefs into positive affirmations that remind you of your strengths, resilience, and capacity for growth. Practice self-compassion and kindness to self through the tips on this article.
3. Minimize the Breakup in Your Mind
Research has shown that viewing a breakup as a normal part of life can help reduce its emotional impact.
Remember that many people have gone through similar experiences and emerged better on the other side. Cognitive reframing is an excellent skill during this process.
Reframe your perspective and recognize that this breakup is simply a natural progression towards the next chapter of your life, filled with new opportunities for personal growth and happiness.
4. Do Validate Your Pain
It’s essential to acknowledge and validate the pain you are experiencing.
Give yourself permission to grieve and process your emotions.
Research has shown that allowing yourself to feel and express negative emotions helps in the healing process.
Cry if you need to, write down your feelings, or seek solace in the company of close friends and family members who can provide support and understanding.
5. Distance Yourself from Your Ex
Creating distance from your ex and the reminders of your past relationship is crucial for your healing. It is not the time to be friends with your ex.
Take some time for yourself and establish boundaries to protect your emotional well-being. This includes avoiding contact with your ex and minimizing exposure to places and activities that evoke painful memories.
Use this opportunity to focus on your growth and rediscover your needs and desires.
6. Forgive Yourself
Forgive yourself for any perceived mistakes or shortcomings; two individuals must make or break a relationship.
Understand that growth and learning often come from the challenges you face.
It’s a great time to embrace the opportunity for self-reflection and personal development.
7. Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Healing takes time, and allowing yourself to go through the grieving process is essential.
Accept that there will be ups and downs, and it’s okay to have moments of sadness or nostalgia.
Be patient with yourself and trust that, with time, the pain will subside, and you will emerge stronger and ready for a healthier future.
8. Don’t Blame Yourself
A breakup often results from various factors and is not solely your responsibility.
Avoid blaming yourself entirely or carrying the weight of the breakup on your shoulders.
Relationships end because of incompatibility or a mismatch in both partners’ needs.
9. Focus on the Bad Parts of the Relationship
It’s common to reminisce about the positive aspects of the relationship and idealize the past. Often, you’ll find yourself idealizing your ex to be the perfect partner ever.
Counterbalance this tendency by reminding yourself of the negative experiences and reasons for the breakup.
There were bad times in the relationship. Focus on those instead to balance the amount of reminiscing you will do.
10. Set Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries are vital for your well-being. Communicate your needs and expectations clearly with your ex-partner (if necessary) and yourself.
Define what you are willing and unwilling to accept in future relationships, and honor those boundaries to foster self-respect and protect your emotional health.
Boundaries are a great way to reclaim yourself again.
11. Use Encouraging Self-Talk
Harness the power of positive self-talk to build resilience and boost your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Replace self-critical thoughts with empowering and uplifting statements.
Remind yourself of your worth, strengths, and the potential for a bright future.
Practicing positive and self-love affirmations can help rewire your mindset and nurture self-love.
12. See a Therapist or Life Coach
Seeking professional help can provide valuable support and guidance during the healing process.
A therapist or life coach can help you navigate your emotions, gain insights into patterns from your past relationship, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Both offer a safe space to express your feelings and receive objective advice.
13. Reach Out to Your Friends
Reach your close friends and lean on their support during this challenging time.
Engage in meaningful conversations, share your experiences, and allow their presence to comfort you.
Surround yourself with positive influences who uplift and encourage you on your journey toward healing.
14. Hang Out with Positive People
Besides seeking support from friends, spend time with people who inspire and motivate you.
Surround yourself with individuals who bring out the best in you and help you see your own potential.
Their positive energy and support will contribute to your healing and self-growth.
15. Do Fun Things
Engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment is crucial for your well-being.
Rediscover your interests, hobbies, passions, and your favorite things.
Explore new hobbies or revisit ones you may have neglected during your relationship. It’s a good idea to find new things that you might love.
Investing time in enjoyable activities will help you reconnect with yourself and create new positive experiences.
16. Give Yourself Credit for the Little Things
Celebrate even the most minor accomplishments and moments of self-care.
Recognize your efforts to nurture your mental and physical health, build new healthy habits, or step out of your comfort zone.
Recognizing and appreciating the little things will boost your self-confidence and reinforce self-love.
17. Make Your Physical Health a Priority
Take this opportunity to prioritize your physical health.
Regularly exercise (even if it’s a simple exercise), maintain a nutritious diet and get enough rest. Research has shown that physical activity and self-care practices positively impact mental health and can aid healing.
Embrace new activities that promote holistic well-being.
18. Release Judgment
Let go of judgments about yourself, your ex-partner, and the circumstances surrounding the breakup.
Embrace acceptance and forgiveness as you navigate through your healing journey.
Everyone makes mistakes, and judgment only prolongs the pain and hinders personal growth.
19. Journal Your Emotions and Thoughts
Writing can be a powerful tool for processing emotions and gaining clarity.
Keep a journal to express your thoughts, feelings, and reflections freely. This practice provides an outlet for self-expression, self-reflection, and an opportunity to track your personal growth over time.
20. Read Self-Help Books About Breakups
Explore self-help books that focus on relationships, healing, and personal growth. These books offer valuable insights, practical advice, and relatable stories to help you navigate your breakup journey.
Consider reading titles recommended by experts or those with positive reviews to ensure their effectiveness.
21. Embrace Erotic Books
Engaging with erotic literature can help you reconnect with your sensuality and explore your desires.
Research has shown that reading erotica can positively impact sexual self-esteem and promote self-discovery.
Embrace this form of self-expression as a healthy and empowering part of your self-love journey.
22. Do a Social Media Cleanse
Take a break from social media accounts that may trigger negative emotions or comparisons.
Unfollow or mute accounts related to your ex-partner and limit exposure to content that reinforces feelings of loneliness or inadequacy.
Use this time to create a safe digital space that supports your healing and self-growth.
23. Explore Sexually Pleasing Yourself
Exploring your own pleasure can be a transformative experience during the healing process.
Educate yourself on self-love and self-pleasure techniques, and discover what pleases you.
Consider seeking advice from a sex therapist or reading reputable sources to enhance your self-discovery.
24. Get Rid of Your Ex’s Stuff
Removing physical reminders of your past relationship can be cathartic and promote a sense of closure.
Pack away or donate items that hold emotional significance or no longer serve you.
Creating a physical space that reflects your new chapter can help facilitate your healing process.
25. Skip Nostalgic Songs and Movies
Avoid triggering memories and emotions by intentionally skipping songs, shows, or movies that remind you of your ex-partner or past relationship.
Give yourself the freedom to curate your entertainment choices and protect your mental and emotional well-being.
Healing from a breakup requires time, self-compassion, and intentional self-love. And you will get through it.
Feel Better After Break Up
When a relationship ends, our bodies withdraw from the feel-good hormones associated with love.
In a study published in Frontiers in Physiology (Fisher, H.E. 2016), brain scans of individuals going through unwanted breakups showed activity in areas of the brain linked to reward and motivation, such as the ventral tegmental, ventral striatum, and nucleus accumbens.
These regions release dopamine, and their activation indicates the presence of cravings and withdrawal, similar to those associated with addictive substances. This connection between rejection and withdrawal suggests that the pain of heartbreak can be comparable to the experience of physical pain.
Recognizing the link between heartbreak and physical pain allows us to approach healing from a breakup more comprehensively.
Dr. Guy Winch, a psychologist, emphasizes that heartbreak should be taken seriously, with efforts made to recover from it.
Avoiding reminders of your ex-partner and finding new activities that release endorphins, such as exercise, can help replace the dopamine surges associated with cravings.
Additionally, recalibrating your mind by acknowledging the negative aspects of the relationship and finding logic in the breakup can aid the healing process.
Understanding the science behind heartbreak empowers you to take proactive steps toward recovery.
Loving yourself is healing.
Implementing these strategies allows you to navigate the healing process with greater resilience, self-awareness, and personal growth.
Remember, the end of a relationship does not define your worth.
Embrace this opportunity to rediscover yourself, invest in your well-being, and create a future filled with love and happiness.
As you embark on your healing journey, acknowledge and validate your past toxic relationship’s negative emotions and experiences.
Take the first step towards self-love by changing your negative self-talk to positive self-talk and using affirmations to reinforce your worth and strength.
Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who can provide a safe space during this journey.
Engage in activities that bring you joy, no matter how small, and explore new hobbies or projects to discover different versions of yourself.
Take care of your mental and physical health by investing time in activities that nurture your well-being.
Prioritize self-care, set healthy boundaries, and consider seeking extra help from professionals such as therapists or sex therapists if needed.
Remember that personal growth and becoming the best version of yourself is an ongoing process.
Release judgment, forgive yourself, and understand that the end of a relationship is a normal part of life.
Celebrate the little things, give yourself credit for your progress, and fill your days with activities and experiences that bring you joy.
Always remember that you are worthy of love, and by practicing self-love and self-care, you can heal from the pain of a breakup and emerge as a more robust, happier, and better person.
Your self-love journey is unique, with no perfect formula or timeline. But, I can tell you from plenty of experience, you can and will come back stronger and better. And you will love another again.