Starting the healing process after a break-up is important. And this is how I did it.
While I’ve been broken up with before and had much longer “relationships”, this particular break-up hit me like a ton of bricks. Let’s go back to December 2017. I met this person and we immediately had an intense connection. We talked every single day leading up to our first date (we went to see Thor: Ragnorak and went to his favorite Chinese restaurant. We quickly decided that we liked each other and made plans to see each other the next day. Fast forward to our 3rd date, during which we watched the Clone Wars and he made me dinner. This was a Sunday. I didn’t leave his house until Wednesday night.
This pattern went on for us for the next few weeks. We alternated between his house and mine, even spending Christmas together at my house. We talked about all the things that we’d do and places we’d go together, especially in the summer when the weather was nicer. This came to a crashing halt in late January. He said he no longer wanted to date for reasons that in hindsight was the best for both of us. I was devastated in a way that I had not felt before. I took a few days to cry, talked with my parents, and decided that this was something that required more.
One of the first things I did was to seek out positive affirmations and prayers. While I’m not a particularly religious person, these did provide the comfort and positive outlook that I was seeking. You can find them here. I said these every day for weeks. One in the morning and one at night. One line in particular from the prayer “My Soul Mate is Coming”, resonated with me and has since become my mantra, “May I let love in”. I started wearing a MyIntent bracelet, so I could take my mantra with me everywhere.
I also started therapy a few weeks after, to help figure out how to cope with my anxiety, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. When I would feel someone pull away, I’d fill the gap and push harder, always to my detriment. As someone who didn’t want to go to a traditional, office-based therapist, I tried TalkSpace. My therapist helped me see that the anxiety that I was feeling was normal. While I’m currently not in therapy any longer, it was absolutely one of the best decisions that I made.
Adopting a Pet
I had always wanted a pet and this break-up was the push that I needed to move forward. I adopted my cat Chloe from a shelter and she is a constant source of love and laughter. She has probably helped me more than any of my other ways of healing. We (especially as young adults), are sometimes tied to the idea of romantic love being the end all. Love, in any and all of its forms, is valuable.
One of the last things that I did to heal from my break up was to recommit myself to one of my forms of self-care. I love to travel and experience new places and cultures. In particular, I was able to travel to New York City with my dad as an early birthday present for him. I love going to NYC and being able to share that with my dad was one of the best experiences of my life.
Fast forward to today. I now live less than a half a mile away from this person and I’ve been able to grow a friendship with him that I previously would not have been able to do. My goal was not to get him back as a friend, but it happened nonetheless. These are not the only ways to heal, just the ones that worked for me.
If you feel comfortable, please share how you’ve healed after a break-up or how you wish you would have healed.
Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. She has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention. Her passion for serving others is the heart of this site. She started Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives.
Briana is also the author of The Self-Care Journal for Young Adults.