There are many possible break-up scenarios and a range of complex emotions that go along with any of them. Do any of the following sound familiar?
Possible break-up scenarios: She dumped you. You ran for your life. You both agreed to move on. He disappeared. And so on.
Or these possible post-break up feelings? Your heart is broken. You don’t remember why it ended. You miss him/her. You feel giddy with relief. Etc.
It doesn’t matter how it happened, or what particular emotional roller coaster ride you are on. None of that changes the fact that to get over your ex and the break-up, and to really move on, there is only one way to do it. Completely.
Here are eight concrete steps you need to take to put the past behind you.
- Steer clear. That doesn’t just mean move out of his or her physical sphere, it also means don’t call, don’t text, don’t Facebook. In other words, don’t communicate, and don’t see each other (even at a distance). AT ALL. For at least 30 days, preferably more. Complete separation will allow you the time you need to be more objective about the relationship.
- Purge. And what I mean by that is an all-out clean sweep. Eliminate anything that might remind you of your ex. All mementoes—into the trash. That cute photo from the lake, the adorable pair of earrings he gave you or the snazzy wallet she gave you, his tee shirt you sleep in, or her little cardigan that is still hanging from the bathroom doorknob. Delete the texts and trash the emails. Oh, and don’t forget to delete that last voicemail. Whatever it is, ditch it. Letting go of these things is necessary for you to move forward in your life.
- Practice thought control. Yours not your ex’s. Unfortunately you can’t control anyone’s thoughts but your own and even that is not so easy. When you find your ex wandering into your thoughts, immediately banish him or her with a replacement thought that is far more helpful. Think of someone else. Your mom. Your best friend. Your nephew who’s graduating this spring. Think of the vacation you are planning or the goals and resolutions you have set for yourself this year. Anything but your ex. This will take time, practice, and lots of repetition to become automatic, but it sure is important.
- Be in the now. Don’t waste another second living in the past. Instead, focus on being your best, doing your best, and having what you deserve. You can also look toward the future; realizing that you have a bright future ahead of you is the first step. Not only is the now worth living, the future is worth having, and the past is simply not pertinent at the moment as you try to move on. Someday you can look back, when it doesn’t hurt or keep you down. But for now—the past is off limits.
- Be realistic. If you simply cannot help slipping into the past from time to time, get rid of those rosy glasses! Remember the bad times: all those negatives that led to the break up. Remember what was said, how your ex treated you or spoke to you, and how you felt. A healthy dose of realism will keep you from idolizing the relationship.
- Forgive. Let me say it again: forgive. How? Realize that the best your ex was capable of was not in your best interest. Forgiveness is powerful when it comes to letting go… and moving on.
- Love yourself. You are enough. At this moment and always, you are worthy of love. Your own and that of others. After a break-up is a good time to get back into the habit of loving kindness… towards your own wonderful and deserving self. Acknowledge all your gifts and talents and express all that you came into this life for. You deserve nothing but the best!
- No re-runs. If you are tempted to give your ex another chance, put that thought in these terms—it would be like going to Good Will to get your old clothes back. There was a reason you got rid of them in the first place. Even if you were unceremoniously dumped and now your ex is having a change of heart, remember, as Mark Twain famously said, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” You won’t move on with your life if you keep one foot in that old door.
Practice each of these 8 steps every hour, day, week, until one day you realize that where you are is suddenly many miles from where you were.