Self-Compassion Is The Key To Getting Over A Breakup & Here's How To Find It
Sure, there are tons of rituals you can do to help you cope and move on, but getting over a breakup is tough. You can journal out your feelings, work out all your emotional energy at the gym, or sit at home by yourself and cry it all out. But whatever you do, just know, moving past a relationship that has ended begins with you. As a study found, the key to getting over a breakup is self-compassion.
“Without self-compassion finding self-love is difficult. Without self-love, finding true love in a relationship is difficult,” divorce and health coach Pam Mirehouse tells Bustle. “People that ‘hate' themselves and are self-critical often do not know how to treat other people with compassion either.”
In a 2011 study, David Sbarra from the University of Arizona and colleagues took 105 divorcées (38 men and 67 women) and asked them to talk about their divorce. Participants had been separated for an average of 3.8 months and were married for an average of 13.5 years. Participants were also told to complete questionnaires on how they were recovering from the separation. Judges listened to recordings of the participants for self-compassion when they spoke. As the study found, having self-compassion or loving yourself was the most effective strategy to help people deal with breakups in a healthy way.
“The key to self-compassion after a breakup is to allow yourself to spend time being quiet so that you can tune into all of the gifts that you gained from that relationship,” spiritual author and guide Heather Kristian Strang tells Bustle. “So often, we will immediately launch into self-blame or blaming the other—but what will really bring us peace and harmony is taking time to truly reflect on all that we've learned from the relationship and how we've grown. And then we must take these reflections into the new chapter of our life.”
But finding self-compassion after a breakup is easier said than done. Here's how you can do so, according to experts:
1. Limit Social Media Use And Spending Time With People Who Don’t Make You Happy
“To access greater self-compassion, you need to treat yourself like the tender, beautiful being that you are, which means only allowing into your personal space what will nurture and uplift you,” Strang says.
2. Stop Blaming Yourself
After a breakup, it's so easy to torture yourself with questions like, "What did I do wrong?" But as I’m sure many of us know, blaming yourself for things you shouldn’t have said or things you should have done only makes you feel worse.
“Blaming yourself doesn’t change the outcome," dating expert and creator of Fantasy Dating, Suzanne Casamento tells Bustle. "Instead, blame acts like a giant anchor that prevents you from moving forward.”
3. Focus On What You Learned
In order to move forward, Casamento suggests that you focus on what you learned from your relationship. Did you learn how to be a better communicator? Did you learn that you don't want to spend every Sunday watching TV on the couch? Did you learn that sex is really important to you?
“Whatever you learned, focus on that. Be grateful for your experiences and think about what you can do differently next time,” Casamento says. “Then when you start dating someone new, ask yourself, ‘Does this person fit into what I've learned I want from my other relationships?’ Things will only get better.”
4. Don’t Let Guilt Weigh You Down
“Finding self-compassion is a different process for everybody,” writer and relationship vlogger, Michael Noker tells Bustle. “In the case of leaving an unhealthy relationship, we're often left with guilt over ‘giving up’ on someone. It's important to remember that you can't save your partner if you're both drowning. You are simply saving yourself. It's not selfish to do so.”
5. Become Your Own Best Friend
“It's really important that after a breakup you become your own best friend,” Antonia Hall, MA, psychologist, relationship expert and the award-winning author of bestselling book, The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life tells Bustle.
According to Hall, becoming your best friend involves practicing “radical self care and acts of self love” such as buying yourself flowers, taking hot baths, listening to soothing music, and so on. “What makes you happy?” Hall asks. “We're all doing the best we can in life, and it's imperative that you advocate for your own best interest, which begins with the messages you're telling yourself. Know that you deserve the best, and that begins with treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated.“
6. Make A “Responsibility Pie”
“It is important to understand that relationships don’t fail, they run their course. It is important that you are able to learn and move forward with that learning,” Paul DePompo, board certified cognitive therapist and author of the book The Other Woman tells Bustle. “A failure would mean that every relationship is supposed to work out, and therefore we would only have one in our lives, which doesn’t make good sense.”
According to DePompo, to get in touch with self-compassion, try making a “responsibility pie.” In order to do that, determine what percent amounts were involved from one to 100 on the following:
- What percent did your actions play into it, and what percent did their actions play?
- How much had to do with outside stressors going on at the time?
- How much had to do with deficits in communication learned from growing up?
- How much of these issues related to differences in culture or learned values?
- How much had to do with age and lack of experience?
If you put all these factors and more into the pie, you’ll see it all plays a part. “It’s never one thing or one person,” DePompo says. “Sometimes relationships just run their course and are for the sake of learning and experience.”
After a breakup it can be hard to not have your emotions overwhelm you. One thing you can do to help you deal with those emotions is meditate. John Turner, CEO and founder of QuietKit, a guided meditation of beginners, suggests taking a few minutes a day to sit up straight, close your eyes and focus on your breath and help you deal with stress and increase your mindfulness.
“Mindfulness is an important component of self-compassion, and simple, breath focused meditation is an easy and direct way to increase your own mindfulness,” Turner tells Bustle.
8. Remember That You’re Not Alone
“Experiencing heartbreak, making mistakes and not always getting what we want are all part of being human," Jamie Price, Wellness Expert and Co-founder of the award winning Stop, Breathe & Think meditation app tells Bustle. "Suffering is a normal part of life, and something that we all have in common.”
So, next time you’re feeling like you’re the only person in the world going through a breakup, time a moment to think about how we’re all in this together. “It can be with a phrase like ‘I’m not alone,’ ‘we’re all in the same boat,’ or maybe something like ‘we all experience pain,’” Price says.
9. Trust That There’s More To Come
“Saying goodbye to anyone in life can bring a sense of grievance," Kelsey Patel, Spiritual Empowerment Coach, Healer & Intuitive Thought Leader tells Bustle. "When you let someone go or if you’ve been the one let go, find the space to trust that something beautiful and wonderful is coming towards you from this energetic completion.”
According to Patel, when one door closes, another one will open. It’s all about finding a connection to what you actually want moving forward in your life. “The more you can focus on what you want to bring in to your life and how you want to feel in the future, the more you are sharing that energy to the universe so you can bring it towards you,” Patel says. “There is so much beauty in trust... Trust that you are already creating that life for yourself. And, remember, this breakup does not break you, it will inevitably help change, love and support you on your journey.”
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