4 Opportunities You Can Only Get After You Break Up With Someone

by Maria Alexia Hinoporos
Jovana Vukotic

Breakups are never easy. It doesn't matter whether it ended amicably or tumultuously. One thing is for sure: Wine, tears, late-night venting sessions and (occasionally) tequila shots are involved.

After the whole "wallowing in my self-inflicted misery" period is over and done with, a sudden epiphany soon follows. You realize everything that's wrong with your ex, and discover you're better off without him or her. You'll know you had to break up. The sun shines again, you hear the birds chirping and you're overcome by a sense of freedom and liberation.

My breakup was a chance for me to rebuild myself and work on me. Although I'm still a work in progress, I learned these four valuable lessons that helped me tremendously.

I hope these lessons help anyone else who has been through a similar situation:

1. Love yourself first.

Before you love someone else, you have to love yourself first. Yes, I know it's total cliche. But, there's a reason why you've heard it hundreds of times: It's true.

I'm not talking about that superficial kind of love or that "I tolerate myself" kind of deal. I meal real, unconditional, flaws and all kind of love.

Let's stop and define what "unconditionally" means. It means "without conditions:" like, none. I think it's important to look in the mirror and be completely transparent with yourself.

You should be able to see yourself clearly and accept all that you are and all that you're not. If you can do that and appreciate, love, value and cherish the person staring back, you're definitely ready to give the same love to someone else.

If you don't love yourself fully, you'll find staying in a relationship extremely difficult. Our insecurities, feelings of mistrust, jealousy and betrayal all ultimately stem from the fact that we don't fully love ourselves.

A confident and secure person will never come across these feelings of doubt because it's simply not in him or her. This person understands his or her worth and knows what he or she brings to the table. So, this person will never settle for anything less than what he or she deserves.

2. Give yourself a break.

We all have different paths. Some meet their partners at an early age, while others go through the process of trial and error.

Whatever the case may be, give yourself a break and soak up the lessons that came out of every experience. Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't blame yourself and don't judge yourself.

I've learned that you can't hurry love: It comes when it's meant to come. In the mean time, prep yourself for it by living your life to the fullest and making yourself as happy and complete as you possibly can. Surround yourself with positive things.

Travel, read, write, pick up a hobby, watch a movie, work out, paint: Whatever it is that you want to do, do it.

3. Chase your dreams.

We all have dreams we want to fulfill and goals we want to accomplish. For some reason, we put them off, forget about them and leave them on the back burner until we have "time."

But as we get older and our responsibilities pile up, we have less and less time. We never end up accomplishing the things that really matter to us.

The last thing I want to do is to look back on my life and realize it's just a bunch of resounding "what if" questions. My newly single life has taught me I need to make time for my passions. There is no reason I shouldn't be chasing each and every one of my dreams.

Yes, I know it's easier said than done. But every time I have a moment of doubt, I hush that little voice up and remind myself I can do anything I want.

4. Trust your wings.

We all have them. If we learn to trust them, they will never let us down. Ultimately, I'm preaching self-love. Without it, nothing is possible.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that's filled with judgement, criticism and hate. It's inevitable that we will feel insecure at times.

Instead of focusing and drawing attention to everything that's "wrong" with another person, we should be looking at all the good in everyone. When you empower someone else, you empower yourself.

By doing so, you're building up the self-love you may have lost. In turn, you'll muster up the courage to chase everything you want in your life.

At the end of the day, know that you'll be OK. I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself too. We've all been through our own messes, and we all have valuable lessons we've learned from these mistakes.

So, the next time you're about to hate on your ex for the sh*t he or she put you through, thank him or her instead. Chances are, this person did you a huge favor. Now, it's time for you to re-discover yourself, rebuild yourself and chase those dreams.