There are a lot of things that interest me about Millennials. One of the things that really fascinates me is our common lack of understanding about who we are and what we want. Maybe it's just being in your 20s, but literally everything is so confusing.
I think the most confusing thing I've stumbled upon though thus far (outside of the all-consuming “What the hell am I doing with my life?”question) is how to maintain your independence in a relationship. I'm sure you can attribute some of it to age and lack of experience, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fear of being alone. That fear is universal.
It's hard when “I” becomes “we.” It's even harder when it all happens so fast you feel like all you did was blink and three months have passed by. It's hard when your relationship becomes all-consuming and you start questioning who this person really is, what his real intentions are. It's even harder when all you want to do is be with that person because you feel him slipping away, and you feel like your presence will make your him stay.
Suddenly, you've let this person become your entire life. You stop doing the things you loved to do before you met him. You stop making plans with your friends in case he actually has the time to hang out with you. You're ignoring the fact you're clearly not a priority for him, so you proceed to change everything about your life to accommodate your relationship.
You lose yourself in the process. Then, when it comes down to deciding whether or not this relationship is worth fighting for, you're the one begging him to just keep trying. But instead, he walks away. Even worse, he makes it seem like a piece of cake, like you never even mattered in the first place.
When the person you love walks away from you, you're not just picking up the pieces; you're finding them all over again. Because whether you like it or not, you're different. You aren't the same person you were before you met him, and you're never going to be that person again. So, how the hell do you get back to being yourself after a breakup? Here are the seven breakup commandments:
1. Acknowledge, feel and accept your emotions.
Burying your emotions and refusing to acknowledge them is the worst thing you can do in such a vulnerable situation. Losing someone is confusing, heartbreaking and sometimes it even feels earth-shattering.
But you're not doing yourself any favors by trying to be the tough guy and just “get over it.” That's not how relationships work. That's not how love works. Acknowledge your emotions, feel them fully and accept them for what they are. Do not judge them.
2. If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don't say it to yourself.
Now is the time to start putting the love you had invested in the person who walked away from you toward yourself. That means being your own best friend. Don't question why he left you, don't blame yourself for a failed relationship and do not question your worth. He quit, not you.
3. Surround yourself with great people.
Chances are you won't want to spend a lot of time alone right after a breakup. It reminds you of what you lost (or what you think you lost). Spend your time with your best friends: enjoy their company, laugh and be social. Your best friends are your rocks. They're going to support you on the good days, the bad days and every day in between.
4. Read a good book.
When you don't stand a chance against taking your mind off of the breakup, dive into a good book. If it has any kind of emphasis on finding yourself or coming back from a downfall, even better. It helps to know that life kicks other people in the ass, too.
Often times, they were dealt a hand that's a hell of a lot worse than any breakup you could ever go through. Reading puts life into perspective. Don't know where to start? "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed and "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert are amazing, enlightening reads.
5. Take care of yourself.
Eat healthy, exercise and be mindful. This one can be exceptionally hard and may take some time to come around to, but it's vital. Taking care of your body and your mind — your physical and mental health — is key when it comes to loving yourself. Not to mention, endorphins make the pain of heartbreak a little more bearable.
6. Try something new to challenge yourself.
When you're picking up the pieces and trying to find yourself again, you can use it as an opportunity to better yourself. This something new doesn't have to be huge; I'm not saying you need to go hike the Pacific Crest Trail to find yourself again. It can be something as small as singing karaoke. Doing something you wouldn't have done before your relationship can feel like a win. Winning is fun.
7. Love yourself.
I know loving yourself sounds corny. But I also know it's the hardest thing on this list. I know people who literally look themselves in the mirror every day and tell their reflections they love themselves. These people are not crazy; they're smart. They know that when you love yourself, the people around you and the life you lead, life loves you right back. If the positive energy is out there, you will absorb it.
Soon, the heartbreak that consumed you will feel like a distant memory. The love you had for yourself pre-relationship will return stronger than ever. You will realize that while you may have been lost for a short time there, you are not the loser in this breakup. You did not lose. You found the greatest love of all: Self-love.