The problem regarding getting over someone you love is that you simply can’t argue your subconscious mind out of it’s pain. Snapping out of it isn’t a realistic option. Nor are temporary band-aid solutions such as finding a rebound relationship in order to fill the void and comfort-zone that have been lost, partying like it’s 99′ (more on this later) or feeding off the hope that you might make it work in the future.
What does that leave us with? Happily for us, a surprising amount! Here’s my subjective take on what I feel are the five best tools at your disposal to get out of your emotional rut as swiftly and thoroughly as possible.
Don’t look back in anger
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to healing is trivializing the worth, or exalting the callousness of the other person. Suggestions and attempts at shoring-up self esteem, such as “he/she wasn’t worth it”, will not result in erasing the episode from your memory. Nor will attempting to numb the pain. In my opinion, moving on is not about forgetting, it is primarily about accepting.
If the standard you set for being “free again” is hardly ever thinking about them, healing will take far longer than it should, because just when you’ve gone through a good stretch of painlessness, all it will take to throw you back to square one is a hair’s breadth of contact or a memory trigger that spontaneously bubbles up.
In short, moving on becomes a reality when you are willing to fully accept the past. Think of moving on as compartmentalizing your feelings rather than throwing them away. See anger and loathing for what they are; a deep sense of attachment that lurks below a veil of illusory smoke. Clear the mist by forgiving both yourself and them and you’ve bought you’re ticket to acceptance.
Let it rain But Keep Moving
One the one side it is important to not deny your feelings internally by letting them flow freely. Give your subconscious mind the time to process the trauma, thereby inching your way closer to a new cognitive comfort zone. On the other hand, it is equally important to not let this episode define your present.
This particular key realization on how to get over someone you love revolves around understanding that:
- Making our pain the centrepiece of our present only feeds it.
- We can reduce the impact on our present by physically moving on — quite literally — by walking.
Why would exercise help? The act of walking, jogging or being being active is more than a brain-training exercise. The stress-beating properties of moderate exercise help directly contrast the downward spiral that post-traumatic depression usually embodies.
The flight or fight response is an integral part of stress or trauma. By choosing to react by keeping active we are taking giant steps towards containing stress. On top of this, exercise releases helpful neurotransmitters that alleviate both physical and mental pain. Exercise is a fantastic indirect way to make moving on as painless as possible.
Talk yourself out
Don’t let wounded self-esteem or guilt stigmatize you. Now is the time to tap into any existing social networks and to reach out to close friends and family. Interacting and talking provide a way for pent up feelings to be released, processed and scrutinized. As the saying goes:
Those who care don’t mind, and those who mind don’t care.
As time goes by, just as there is only so much to be felt, there is only so much to say. You may come to realize that you don’t require “closure”, and that you have exhausted all avenues of doubt and pain. My only warning regarding letting it all out is to steer as far from enduring self-victimization as possible, it has a nasty habit of not only destroying the wielder, it will also destroy friendships. Keep conversations open and two-way, or people may grow weary of dealing with it.
Improve your life by setting small achievable goals
Ironically, if “moving on” is your goal, everyday spent tackling your feelings will feel like you’re back-pedalling. Instead of large goals, set small achievable ones that can be accomplished in the short-term. Even accomplishing small things can lead to great strides with regards to self-confidence and self-esteem.
Some ideas could include:
- Losing weight in small, measurable doses.
- Picking up a new hobby or reacquainting yourself with a personal passion.
- Improving your financial situation.
- Making new acquaintances or getting to know those you have a little better.
- Doing a self-styled makeover.
The important thing is that these are all aspects of your life that you directly control, and not dependant on external validation (such as a broken relationship). Putting your needs first, and progressively achieving them, is another great way to shore up self esteem and find your smile.
How to get over someone you love
You’ll have noticed by now (and if you’ve come this far — thanks for sticking with it!) that I personally feel that the best way to move on is not by directly tackling the pain, or trying to make sense out of chaos. Neither is it by ignoring, denying or suppressing it. Moving on, means precisely that, to keep walking on, and dealing with it as best you can. Only by processing, accepting and forgiving can a long-lasting breath of freedom finally be formed — despite the many tips and tricks touted by marketers and experts on the Internet. There is no magic bullet. There is no big red button.
Surviving a heart-break is one of the single best opportunities we have to grow, and improve our lives. Why deny ourselves this privilege by ignoring that it happened, or by becoming numb? No matter how deep the trench, there is a long curve of joy to be ridden once you’ve hit the mud. And it’s just around the corner.