Breakups have gotten a bad rap, and I’m here to set the record straight. I’m speaking from personal experience, having very recently gone through a breakup. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo. Oh no, did I just say that?! We’ve all been through breakups before. They suck. It’s a painful, emotional process, highlighted by gaining a couple pounds in pizza-weight and adversely affecting the overall Kleenex tissue stock. At their very worst, breakups can leave us feeling hopeless and foreign to ourselves. But we so often forget that they can also be good. In fact, they can even be awesome.
See, here’s the thing. When we change our perception surrounding something difficult, we gain enormous power over our lives. No longer must we sulk around in our sweatpants and our unkempt hair. We can break the self-fulfilling cycle of post-breakup depression. So, without further adieu, I present…
The Truth About Breakups, As Told By Bre
1 | People break up for a reason. Relationships should be uplifting and easy (most of the time). They shouldn’t make us sad or angry or bitter. When two people break up, it usually means you weren’t meant to be together. You shouldn’t be together. Sure, things hurt at first. But is it possible that you’ll be better off in the long-run? I think so.
2 | Breakups provide us with the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. In the weeks and months after things fizzle out, you’ll find yourself reflecting on your relationship and your role within it. By recalling those rich and meaningful experiences, you can gain invaluable insight about what you want and don’t want in prospective partners. This deep understanding will benefit you in the future. If you do things right in the post-breakup period, you’ll come back stronger and more self-aware than ever before.
3 | We owe it to ourselves to become better at being alone, and that can be difficult to do in a relationship. Being single is a chance to look loneliness in the eye—and conquer it. Instead of running away from solitude, we should run towards it. If we can’t truly be with ourselves, how can we be with someone else? I learned to accept my aloneness during my travels abroad. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t escape myself. I was constantly isolated, exploring foreign cities and learning to navigate the world for the first time. I answered only to myself. What started out as a fearful exploration of who I was deep down, turned into an empowering and liberating experience that changed my life. You can’t find out who you really are until you’ve spent some time alone to mull it over.
4 | There is a sense of epic, looming loss that defines breakups for most of us. When a relationship ends, we feel like we do, too. But the reality is that we haven’t lost any of those fantastic, magic moments that made us fall in love in the first place. Sure, it’s not easy to look back on a relationship soon after a breakup and remember all those great times, but they do still exist. When I look back on the relationships I’ve been fortunate to have, I can recall the moments that epitomized each one happily and without regret. I gave it my all, and that’s the best I can do.
5 | Have you ever heard that the only constant in life is change? It’s true. At the root of every breakup is change. When we’re dating someone, we become used to that warm feeling of familiarity and comfort that underscores our relationship. When the person who felt like home to you isn’t part of your life anymore, it’s challenging not to feel lost. Beck refers to this as “the chaffing ache of change.” By learning to accept its place in our lives, we will be much happier. It’s hard to let people go, but we have to. While the most important people in our lives are here for the long-haul, most of the people we meet along the way will come and go.
So, how about we start treating breakups more like a beginning, and less like an end?