Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Get over it

"It may take longer to find your lost self-esteem than your next boyfriend. Prioritize accordingly." ~ He's Just Not That Into You

After the whole breakup thing happened, several people told me that the only way to recover from a failed relationship is to find the next relationship. That worried me a little - and left me dumbfounded. What if they're right? This is incredibly bad news.

I've known many people who leaped back into the dating scene, frantically looking for "the one." Is it me - or does this seem like a lousy solution? Your heart is broken; you're confused, sad and angry; your self-esteem is shot. You're not yourself. This might not be the ideal time to find your ideal person.

Not to mention - isn't that what leads to things like leading others on because you're not sure what you want, and you're just looking for something to fill the void? Seems to me that, if I followed this advice - I would end up doing to someone else exactly what I was so pissed off at Big for doing to me.

Hello, Hypocrite City.

I needed a better answer. I came across a couple of articles (one here and another here) about focusing on yourself after a breakup. "Ah-Ha!" I thought - now we're getting somewhere. The problem, in a nutshell, is that we are conditioned to look to others for our own self-worth. So when someone says we're not good enough - we give in. Buh-bye self-esteem; hello Ben & Jerry's.

I could work with this. So basically, to get over a breakup the healthy way, one needs to focus on herself. She needs to figure out how to be happy on her own; learn to identify and draw on her own strengths; and find what she wants to improve and change. Then she needs to set about doing just that. Makes sense, right?

We need to forget, "I should be in a relationship," and, "I am good enough, and I will find someone who knows it."

We need to start focusing on, "I'm in a relationship with myself. What can I do to improve it?" and, "What can I do to make myself happy?"

It's almost a trap, really. We get so caught up in the way things should be, we fight (or ignore) the way things are. It seems like maybe the key to peace is focusing on what is, in this exact moment, and not living in the past or the future.

When I started to ask these questions, it made a huge difference. I took a look at my life, and asked myself what needed to be changed? Not to find the next relationship - that's the future, and I can't predict that. So here's my situation - what can I do to improve it, here and now?

Not only did it distract me from looking for love (which I'm convinced you only find when you're not looking), it really did help me focus on changes I needed to make. Things about my life that I wasn't happy with, but that I didn't focus on when I was focused on Big.

What's the best breakup advice I found, or could ever give? Focus on what is, not what was or what you think should be. You can't control another person, or their choices - but you always control your own reactions. Don't let anyone else decide whether you'll be happy or sad - that's your choice.

I learned that from now on, no matter what - I will always choose happy.


  1. Giving up the search and focusing on me for awhile was the best thing I could have done. Because I was happier and loving myself more I was attracting more of the kind of men I wanted to spend time with...

    And I'm with you on the "jumping back in" but there's nothing wrong with a little fling or make out session with a cute guy to help boost that self esteem

  2. Great post! Really enjoy your musings!

  3. As always, I found myself nodding and saying "I know!" as I read this post! I *always* find myself with the need to jump back into the dating scene after a breakup, well before I'm ready. Usually it backfires. This time, it seems to be working ... but only time will tell.

  4. Thanks everyone. Right when I decided I was done - bam, someone walked into my life who seemed worth the effort. The compromise has been to take it reeeallly slow and make sure I'm allowing myself more me time than anything else.

    And yes - flings are fun. :)