‘Becoming Me’: Steps to Take After a Hard Break-Up

‘Becoming Me’: Steps to Take After a Hard Break-Up

By Emmeline Peaches, 16.09.2019

Breakups are hard to handle at the best of times, but when things end in a ‘messy’ manner then you may be left feeling devastated and in need of some recovery. 

According to Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? It can take six weeks or more to start healing from a breakup. 

“We take six to eight weeks to heal a broken leg after it has been cast, so why not a broken heart?” Durvasula tells Glamour, and the memories and emotions attached to that relationship can last even longer. 

But that healing process doesn’t have to be passive. Far from it; If you’re hoping to get over a breakup in the best way possible then it pays to take an active and loving role in your recovery from the experience. 

We cannot guide you on every step of your own personal journey but here are some of the best tips to help you recover from a harsh breakup and reclaim yourself in the process. 

Allow Yourself Time To Reflect

Reflection is a powerful tool and it’s one that can serve you very well in the initial stages of a breakup. 

Here we’re not talking about self-deprecation, negative self-talk, or asking why you failed in the relationship. These are not constructive things and will ultimately leave you feeling worst for dwelling on them.

Instead, we’re talking about thinking about the relationship as a whole – the good times, the bad times, where your lives started to veer away from each other, and what lessons you can learn from the experience. 

Relationships often end not because of personal failings but, rather, because of fundamental differences that emerge in people’s lives which, over time, become irreconcilable or lead to incompatibility. Consider this as you think about how you’ve grown through your relationship and what you want to carry on with you.

As for the rest? Allow yourself forgiveness and try to let go of anything that doesn’t serve you. Do this and you’ll already begin the journey towards healing and clarity. 

Revive Your Sense of Self

Relationships are fundamentally interdependent. This means that you’ve likely built a life that involves your ex-partner – their hobbies, preferences, and mannerisms. 

Without these you may feel a loss and that’s understandable – life with a partner is as much about ‘us’ as it is about ‘me’ and, now, you’re back to ‘me’ which can be a hard adjustment. 

Because of this it’s very important to try and regain a sense of who you are as an individual, what you like, and how you want to live your life.

Start simple. Maybe you rearrange some furniture in your house, or buy something new that you’ve personally wanted but that wasn’t an option before. 

Take care of yourself and your needs. Shower, feed yourself well, and take time to nurture your passions and hobbies. 

It may be hard at first, but putting a priority on yourself again will help you rediscover who ‘you’ might be and, in time, you’ll begin to love the person that you get to know. 


If your breakup was especially hard then it may be worth talking to people about it. 

Not in a ‘drama’ type of way where you relive details and anecdotes from your time together, but more how you’re feeling, how you’re finding the breakup, and any struggles you might need help with. 

This can be done with friends and family, with a professional, or perhaps with both.

When we isolate ourselves we lose ourselves to our problems and to any difficult emotions we’re struggling with. 

Talking is like opening the windows in a stuffy room – it airs everything out and makes things much clearer – so never be afraid to do it. 

We all need to talk at times. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore Independence

This one is scary but very worth it. 

If you’ve broken up with someone (or been broken up with) then your inclination might be to shy away from life alone and to jump in to another relationship. But remember; when you’ve first broken up with someone you’re still healing. Allow yourself that time to heal and to figure out what your newly recovered self is like before jumping in to another relationship. 

Not only will being independent for a while help you reflect and establish a sense of self but it will also teach you that it’s okay to be in your own company and that it’s nothing to fear. 

Relationships should always be a choice, after all, not a perceived necessity. 

This time will also help you recognize and establish clear boundaries that you can, eventually, take in to any future relationships that you might engage in. 

Give yourself time to do these things, and to rediscover you, and any future relationships will be bolstered by your strong and assured sense of self. 

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