- It’s actually the bad relationships that take the biggest toll, and are the hardest to get over.
- Breakup recovery and dating coach Cherlyn Chong told Insider there is a way to let go of your heartbreak, no matter how devastating, in 30 days or less.
- Firstly, you have to decide you’re going to get over them. Secondly, ground yourself by finding some grass and place your bare feet on it.
- Thirdly, work out what it was you wanted from the relationship, and where your vulnerabilities are. Then, in step four, you grow 1% every day.
- The absolute worst thing you can do is try and replace the intimacy of your previous relationship by jumping straight into a new one.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A breakup is heart-wrenching for everyone involved, as dreams of a future together shatter forever. But confusingly, it’s actually the bad relationships that take the biggest toll, and are the hardest to get over.
Breakup recovery and dating coach Cherlyn Chong told Insider there is a way to let go of your heartbreak, no matter how devastating, in 30 days or less. You simply have to follow four steps.
1. Decide you’re going to get over them
While it sounds obvious, many people skip this step and go straight to deleting numbers, blocking on social media, and going no contact. But it’s a really vital part of kick-starting the recovery process.
“Just make a decision that you’re going to get over this, and you will,” said Chong. “That’s the first thing you have to do, not just no contact, you have to determine you’re going to get over him [or her].”
Healing can’t happen without this decision, she said, because your mind will be all over the place, wanting your ex back one minute, and wishing they’d disappear the next.
If you don’t get into the frame of mind of moving on, “you’re going to go through this cycle wishing for it to go away,” she said. Rather, “the decision to get over an ex has to come first and then you figure out how to get there.”
2. Find some grass, and place your bare feet on it
This is a process called “earthing.” Some alternative medicine communities swear by it as a means to remove free radicals from the body, reducing oxidative stress and some of the symptoms people feel when they go through a stressful, traumatic time (like a breakup).
But unusual theories aside, looking at your feet on the ground can help mentally stabilise you, said Chong.
“Looking at your feet helps you realise your feet are still supporting you, and you’re still in the moment,” she said. “We use these phrases – ‘the ground has fallen away from me, I don’t know what to do, I’m just falling’ – but looking at your feet you realise the ground hasn’t fallen so you can actually move on.”
It might sound strange, but it requires very little brain power, and you might find it helps calm your thoughts a bit.
“It’s really easy but so powerful,” Chong said.
3. Find out what you really wanted from the relationship
Every breakup is a loss, but healing can come from working out what that loss actually is.
“It’s always surprising, but what I tell people is it’s not about the ex, it’s what the breakup means to you as a person,” said Chong. “Because if it really was that great and it really was so awesome, you wouldn’t be so heartbroken.”
Relationships tend to build on what’s already there. So if you’re mentally secure, it’s likely only going to grow with the person you choose to be with. But if you suffer from low confidence and always assume you’re going to fail, a relationship will probably only make those anxieties worse.
For example, if the relationship was a toxic and harmful one, you may have become addicted to the highs, meaning a breakup is all the more traumatic. While if the relationship was mature and stable, it’s more likely the breakup would be more amicable.
“If losing the relationship means you’re losing your identity, that’s why you really feel that loss,” said Chong. “Because you don’t know who you are any more … And that’s what you need to heal from.”
She said it’s important to work out what you wanted from the relationship in the first place. Was it comfort, security, or validation?
If it was comfort, it will help to seek it out from friends and family instead. If it was security, ask yourself what you have to offer, and what it is you’ve lost that makes you feel insecure now. If it’s validation, you should tell yourself you’re not always going to fail – this just wasn’t the right person for you.
“The difference with people who actually move on is they know there is a huge difference between the relationship and the self,” said Chong. “They separate those two. And that’s why they get comfort, security, and validation in other areas of their life, and they don’t need a relationship to give them that.”
4. Try growing 1% every day
We are not overnight successes, Chong said, we are the sum of our habits. And by the time we reach adulthood, our good and bad habits determine who we are.
“If I just got broken up with, I’m going to reaffirm my belief in how horrible I am, because I have a habit of doing that,” she said. “So again if someone has a very resigned fixed mindset after a breakup, its likely the cumulative effects and habits that occurred before the breakup ever came about – even before the relationship, they thought this about themselves.”
Relationships won’t bring anything new to your self worth. They emphasise what’s already there. Which is why the end of a relationship can be so triggering.
“The 1% rule is basically how 1% little changes every single day results in a cumulative effect,” said Chong. “You need to go from a fix mindset to a grow mindset. The fix mindset is I am not loveable, the growth mindset is I have learned so much from my relationship. It doesn’t have to define me.”
Think of it like a flower, she said, which grows just a little taller than the rest of the plants around it. By reaching just a little higher, it has a better chance of taking in more and more sunlight, and it’s a cumulative effect.
Never try to replace your ex with someone else
There are exceptions to every rule, but generally, it’s a bad idea to jump straight into another relationship after your previous one has ended.
“In love we have three things: we have intimacy, we have commitment, and we have passion,” said Chong. “So when you’re trying to see someone after your ex, you’re trying to replace these things.”
What you’re going to find is just passion, she said, which is not a sufficient replacement in the long term.
“That’s why it devastates you,” she said. “It’s too much to ask of a stranger.”
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