How To Rediscover Your Identity After A Breakup

by Raven Ishak
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Breaking up with a significant other is probably one of the most hardest things a person will ever have to go through. Even though you know that breaking up is the right thing to do, you can't help but still care for that person on a much deeper level. While there are plenty of ways to get over a breakup, you also need to take this time to rediscover your identity, especially after a long-term relationship.

When you and your SO do break up with each other, you can feel a bit lost at first. Over the years, your thoughts and lifestyle patterns have been in unionism with another individual and once that habit breaks, it's almost feels like you have lost a bit of yourself in the process. When that chapter of your life closes, it's time to flip to a new page with open arms and self-discovery. It might take some time, and it won't be easy, but the reason why you need to do this is important on a much grander scale. Before you can move on and love anybody else, you have to take this step to learn to love yourself again. When someone has been in a relationship for the majority of their life, it can be easy to lose themselves in that lifestyle and forget who they were as an individual. This is a great time to start seeing the positive in life. While it's naturally OK to need time to heal and recover from your heart break (whether you broke up with that person or not), this is also the perfect time to rediscover yourself and figure out exactly what you want out of life. Here are some ways you can do just that by following a few of these steps below.

1. Stop Beating Yourself Up

After a breakup, it's easy to think about all the things you wish you've done differently and where the relationship went south. But the minute you start to obsess about the past, you are preventing yourself from moving forward. This is the time to heal and don't feel like you need to rush through this stage to start feeling better, quicker. Be patient and take your time. As Guy Winch, a licensed psychologist, wrote in an article for Psychology Today, "Once you’ve identified what your mistakes might have been, going over them again and again will only make you feel worse and delay your emotional recovery." Stop thinking about the mistakes you made and take those thoughts and view them as a learning experience for your future relationships instead.

2. Write It Out

One of the best ways to really rediscover yourself and let go of negative emotions is by jotting down everything that you're feeling. Free writing or journaling is a great way to connect with your intrapersonal self again. According to an article on Psych Central by Maud Purcell, journaling helps you solve problems more effectively, can reduce stress, and allows you to understand yourself better. Writing all your feelings on paper means you're slowing down your thought process, plus provides a way for you to literally review all the facts again before you decide on the next steps to take.

3. Focus On Small Goals

It's easy to just want to watch Netflix all day (or week or month) after a big breakup. Yes, vegging out for a couple of days or so is totally normal to do after when your heart has been broken, but don't forget that for you to feel better, you have to move on with your life, too — no matter how hard it is to do. Start with small goals first, like waking up 30 minutes early to do some yoga or finally completing a work assignment you've been putting off. This is a great time to keep your mind occupied with productive things.

John Brubaker, a performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author, wrote that when it comes to completing small goals instead of large ones, remember that direction is more powerful than speed and to focus on progress not perfection. Don't put pressure on yourself to overcome this breakup by trying to set large goals. Celebrate every success that you have and you will start feeling better in no time.

4. Be Social

That's what friends are for, right? Try to hang with your besties whenever you get the chance. When you start to hang out with people you naturally feel comfortable with, your old self starts to resurface and your happiness will start to regenerate. Preston Ni, the author of How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People, claims that by surrounding yourself with a healthy support system you are allowing affection and love back into your life. And while venting feels good and can be healthy in small doses, try to limit the amount of time you spend talking about your breakup. You need to try to focus on the positive instead of the negative to help heal from this situation.

5. Take Care Of Yourself And Your Environment

As cliché as it sounds, when you start to feel good about yourself from within, then happiness will start to reflect on the outside, too. You won't be able to heal probably or think clearly when you are not eating healthy, not living in a clean environment, or surrounding yourself with negative people. When you put yourself in a toxic environment, it makes it even harder for you to pull yourself out of this mental dump. Maintaining your physical and mental health should come before anything else. Jessica Sepel who is a nutritionist and wellness coach claims that by eating healthy you will feel more confident with yourself, so try to order some vegetables on your next sadness pizza.

6. Do Things That You Love That Define You As An Individual

Sometimes you lose yourself so deeply in a relationship that you forgot what you originally loved to do when you were single. Try to rekindle that love by going back to hobbies that will make you happy. According to a Muse article about ways to reclaim your life after a break up, this is also a great time to try new things. Getting out of the house and breaking your old routine with new habits is one of the best ways to regain control of your life again.

Change, while it can be scary at first, is ultimately a good thing. Take this breakup as a learning lesson to see the new world that you are in. Rediscover your old self again, try new adventures and rekindle your friendship with old friends. It will take time, but you will feel confident even sooner after taking these steps.

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