The last thing you may want to hear is that getting over your ex will take time. However, time allows us to process our emotions, reconstruct our beliefs about the relationship, and thus accept moving forward. Below, I give you some tips on how to move past a break-up -- pick yourself up the floor, heal your wounds, move towards self-confidence, and allow yourself to recognize any maladaptive patterns you can resolve so that your next relationship is even healthier. Furthermore, while completing these exercises, you should not be in communication with your ex at all. That can hinder the process and get in the way of you moving forward. (This process may take days, weeks, or months -- and that's okay!)
Negative appraisal. When we experience the end of a relationship, we may feel sad, nostalgic and find ourselves longing for that person. At first, think about the negative aspects of the relationship, unhealthy patterns and unfavorable characteristics of that person. Although this may cause you to feel worse at first, we will eventually move towards love and acceptance. However, because we can get ourselves stuck in the pattern of fear and longing, convincing ourselves that the relationship "wasn't that bad" or we're better off being in a potentially unhealthy relationship rather than being on our own, focusing on why the break-up happened in the first place can be helpful.
It can be helpful to make list of the positive and negative qualities of your ex and the relationship -- compare and gain perspective. Once we have begun to gain a more balanced perspective of the break-up and the benefit of it, it can be helpful to move onto the next phase.
Love appraisal. This includes reading and believing statements of acceptance. For example, “It is okay to love someone I’m not longer with.” "It is okay to be sad because that person meant a lot to me." "I am grateful for what the relationship has taught me." "I am grateful for the time spent with that person." Instead of fighting or avoiding how you feel, accept that your feelings are perfectly normal, without judging them.
Take some time to focus on thoughts that are loving and accepting. This is not meant to lead you to reach out to your ex, but to take yourself from a place of negativity to acceptance and peace.
Next, distraction. Try and focus your thoughts on positive things or events that have nothing to do with your ex. Think about things that bring you happiness or things that you enjoy. Focus on what you are grateful for, what you accomplished that day, and recognize at any point when you are feeling happy and calm.
When practicing these techniques, you may find that you still have loving or caring feelings towards your ex. And that is OKAY. This process isn't meant to take away any love you may feel, but to help change your thought processes -- which takes time. It is okay to love someone, yet it not be healthy to be with them.
Furthermore, spending more time with friends, allowing yourself more time to practice self-care and overall engaging in healthy, positive activities will help you maintain distraction AND self-improvement. Some definite rules to follow: stay off social media, don't ask friends about what your ex is doing/feeling/not doing/saying, and minimize contact with your ex until further notice. Although following these tips may be difficult, you will feel better sooner.
Lastly, once you have reached an elevated level of mood, look at what lessons you can learn from this relationship and break-up. Look at what patterns you may have gotten stuck in, or what qualities you possessed in the relationship that you did not necessarily like. Look at what you can change about yourself, and ALSO what qualities your ideal partner would have. Then, you can focus on engaging in healthier patterns and behaviors, being more aware of red flags, and be a more independent and self-confident individual when you enter into your next ideal and healthy relationship.
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