Everyone has childhood dreams of white picket fences and loving husbands and two perfect children playing in a pretty green lawn. No one imagines getting married in their twenties only to face divorce and a world turned upside-down. No one expects to enter a relationship with stars in their eyes and have it end on a bitter note. And whether you were the one who ended the relationship, or the one who tried to fight for it, one fact remains – starting over is hard.
To a writer, a fresh page in a notebook, or a blank computer screen, is both his or her dream come true and worst nightmare. It’s possibility and excitement, adventure waiting to happen. It’s also the possibility of failure, rejection, and more pain. Starting over from a terminated relationship is much the same. The possibility of new love and the consequences that go along with it can be daunting. Going through a divorce or breakup is complicated and awkward, and preparing oneself for a new life can be as well.
So what’s the key to starting over and ensuring success? The bad news is there isn’t one thing that will ensure a successful life. The good news is there are steps to take to get back on the path to happiness — and for those of you who are skeptical, happiness is attainable.
Some “do”s and “don’t”s of getting back on your feet:
Do Seek Counseling: Whether you think you need it or not, whether you were the one that ended the relationship or not, consulting a professional is a must. A counselor can help you to understand the real reasons for the end of the relationship, and can help you work through the stages of grief that should follow. Repressing feelings of sadness, anger, regret, and animosity will only serve to start you off into your new life on the wrong foot, and likely a bitter one. It can affect your friendships, romantic relationships, and even familial relationships. And let’s face it, after a breakup, you need your family and friends more than ever.
Do Love Yourself: Though it sounds silly, it’s critical in the process of healing. Loving yourself for who you are must happen before you can love someone else. How many of us can truly say that we love who we are? Find it within yourself to discover the things about yourself that you like, and let go of the things about yourself that you don’t like. And if there are things you don’t like that you can change, go for it. Challenge yourself and achieve what you can and release the rest. Your counselor can help.
Do Leave the Past in the Past: Recounting past mistakes and things you regret will only tear you down. Likewise, constantly reminding yourself of your ex’s negative qualities and wrongdoings will only serve to make you bitter. Letting go of the past can take many forms from the physical to the metaphysical. Whether you write down your regrets and put them in a box and burn it, keep a daily journal, or take a yoga class, find an outlet for your emotions and stick with it.
Don’t Place Blame: When a relationship ends it’s easy to lay blame at your ex’s feet — or your own. With technology being as it is, it’s easy to defame yourself or others in text, on Facebook, in your Twitter feed or blog, and even in chat rooms. Resist the urge. Posting your feelings on the internet is like posting them on a billboard on a well-traveled highway, and if the wrong person sees it, you could face consequences. You’ll also end up self-destructing, or hurting someone else.
Don’t Go on a Bender: There are other ways to face your problems. Period.
Don’t Give Up: Most importantly in this little bit of advice is this “don’t”. Giving up on life because it hasn’t worked out for you like you thought it would isn’t an option. Remember the old saying that someone in your family has likely said to you at one time or another? “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Get up, dust the bad relationship dust off your date night outfit, give yourself a makeover (inside, outside, or both!), and get out there and meet some new friends.
It all seems like common sense, doesn’t it? We all need a pep talk every once in awhile, and sometimes we need to hear things from another source in order to confirm what we already feel in our heart. No matter where you are in your journey, it’s never too late to start over.
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