We all know that the end of a relationship really hurts, but it will hurt all the more if you leave the relationship without your self-esteem intact. If your self-worth and confidence were dependent on your partner or the relationship, when it’s over, what are you left with?
You may be feeling a whole host of emotions, probably a mix of loneliness, anger, confusion, guilt, sadness, resentment and a sense of vulnerability all at the same time. You can also feel that your deepest insecurities have been exposed as your self-esteem hits rock bottom.
After a break-up, its normal to focus on the demise of the relationship, dwelling on the ‘What ifs’ of the past and your own negative actions and weaknesses. But if too much time is spent on blaming yourself or your partner and wondering if you could have done things differently, your self-worth is still too dependent on the relationship. If this is the case you can’t see clearly what happened in the relationship so that you can process it and move on. You need to rebuild yourself from within.
By relying on validation from outside of ourselves, we are taking the power away from ourselves and we need to get that power back.
So while the process of breaking up may be painful, it is also an opportunity for self development and rebuilding our self-esteem. You need to process the relationship realistically, heal from the break up and create your own inner strength. Once you have true confidence in yourself, you will start to attract the right people in your life.
Of course, that’s easier said than done and there may be a temptation to overcome your breakup by jumping right back into another relationship. But this will only mean falling into the same pattern of using the value of others to boost your own self-esteem.
Whilst this might initially distract you from the hurt, it’s not tending to your own-self esteem at all, leaving your self esteem even lower at the end of this rebound affair. Try to give yourself some time for yourself, however uncomfortable that may feel to do.
Remember: healthy self-esteem means realising your worth and not needing validation from others.
So what you can do to get your own Mojo back? Here are some ways to you boost your self-esteem.
It’s a natural and necessary process you need to go through for any loss and this isn’t just the loss of the relationship, but probably also your best friend, your hopes and your dreams. So mourn the loss, but grieve without attacking yourself. Reflect on your past but don’t let it stop you building your future and don’t let the past define you. You can get help to change the patterns of behaviour to avoid repeating the same mistakes again.
Learn to forgive both yourself and your ex, as you accept the end of the relationship. You will be feeling emotionally battered and bruised and probably giving yourself a hard time, so you need to forgive yourself. The past cannot be changed, but the way you think about it and yourself can be. Be kinder to yourself by taking a look at yourself through the eyes of a loved one, maybe you will see good things you had forgotten about.
Make sure your current relationship with your ex, is consistent with the relationship you now have with them, not the one you had. You are no longer giving yourself in the same way and you need to build a self respecting distance between yourselves so that you can move on and avoid being hurt.
Every time you think about the relationship, take off the rose tinted spectacles and really question it. Reflect on the different aspects of the relationship to work out why it didn’t work, without blame involved. It is easy to focus on just one perspective so try to move the spotlight around and get a realistic look back and see all the dimensions of the relationship. There was a reason it didn’t work but you don’t need to blame yourself and carry that with you.
It’s going to hurt but acknowledge that and say to yourself in the mirror how you really feel, say ‘I’m angry’ or ‘I’m upset, or I’m lonely’, and then say but that’s ok, I love and accept myself. Try not to ignore your feelings but once you have recognised them, learn to leave them alone without constant engagement. You can also give yourself time to heal without having to meet everyone else’s needs around you.
Remember that your inner voice is your voice and can be changed by you. So rather than allowing your inner critic too much air time, understand that it is possible for things to end, at no fault of your own. Even if mistakes were made, that's part of being human and learning from these to avoid making them again. Balance your inner critic with your inner cheerleader, its probably needing a voice.
After a break up you feel a huge gaping hole in your needs, that your partner once fulfilled. You may think that you need your partner for these feelings or being special and loved, but you allowed these feelings and are the one who can create them for yourself. You are the only one that can really make yourself feel loved and beautiful and valued, a partner just made it easier for you to feel those things. Buy yourself some flowers, decorate your home how you like it and become financially stable so you aren’t relying on anyone else. Once you take the power back and fulfil these needs yourself you will start to feel happier
Remember what you like, what you want and how to enjoy the freedom to do the things you want to. Accept yourself, warts and all, so that you can see your strengths and address any weaknesses. Through better understanding of yourself, you may start to see that the mistakes you thought ruined the relationship maybe weren’t so pivotal after all, and maybe you just weren’t a good match.
Don’t isolate yourself and your negative thoughts, spend time with your friends and family to distract yourself from over analysing the relationship and the punishing thoughts circulating in your mind. If you find your thoughts are out of control, practice some mindfulness. Try to notice your thoughts and without engaging with them, let them pass by, like clouds passing by in the sky, to allow new thoughts to come in your mind.
Find a hobby or sport that you enjoy, eat well and look after your appearance. All of these will boost your confidence and self-esteem. Take control of your life, try juicing, get your nails done or a new hairstyle and do things that make you feel good.
You can only build up your self esteem after a break up if you realise that YOU hold the key.
Therapists can help you unlock your confidence and see how you can rebuild your self respect and your life post break up. Get the help you need to move forward and leave the past where it belongs. What once may have seemed like everything, may have been important but is in the past and you now have a future to focus on. A future where you are centre stage and can shine brightly on your own.
You can book a session with Gilly by clicking on her bio below.