I get it, your ex was supposed to be your partner in crime, the Robin to your Batman,
And now that you have broken up, she has moved on much faster than you seem to be. The emotions that you will deal with alone over the foreseeable future will be difficult enough to spur you take rash actions.
I beg of you, don’t.
First of all, you are comparing your progress to your ex’s. That is a surefire way to demotivate yourself from moving past where you are.
You see, moving forward will take every effort you have focusing on where you are and where you are going. The second you start comparing where you are to where anyone else is, you might as well put on a graphic tee that says “I’m about to do something stupid.”
These are the moments you give in and text your ex something like, “I miss you,” or you go stalk her Facebook and Instagram like a creeper and start assuming that every vague quote or song that she post is somehow referring to you or the relationship you had together.
Pull yourself together, man!
Focusing on Someone Else’s Yard
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Right now, you are looking at this the wrong way.
Your focus is on someone else’s life. Yeah, before your life was her life and blah, blah, blah. I get it. But accept that that time has come to an end, and now, well at least for now, she is with someone else. Sitting around analyzing every little thing that she is doing isn’t just going to drive you mad, it is actually what is holding you back.
Yeah, it’s you, you are holding yourself back… you. You cannot make someone value you. You cannot make someone see the time you shared together the same way that you did. And right now, if you are too busy plying spy and being jealous, you are quite literally handicapping yourself in the very race that you have imagined in your head.
I don’t know if you watch “How I Met Your Mother,” but there is a whole episode dedicated to “winning” the breakup.
You can’t tell me that your way of thinking isn’t similar. You think she’s winning the breakup simply because she is seeing someone new. Whereas the real reason you see this as winning is because she is no longer taking you into consideration.
It’s a catch 22 of sorts. In order to “Win the Breakup,” the first thing you have to do is not care about winning the breakup.
It’s that easy!
Okay there are a few more steps than that. You didn’t think I would essentially just tell you to “Stop it!” and leave it at that, did you?
But no really… STOP IT!
Did you ever have that teacher that as constantly saying over and over “Eyes on your own paper!”
Now, that I’m positive you see the point let’s move forward.
Own Your Pain
Very seldom do people take the time to get to know their pain. They’d rather spend their time being hurt than understanding it and moving past it.
The majority of the pain you feel after a breakup has nothing to do with the relationship you lost and more to with the relationship they thought it could become. Once you give any thought to the future, you have set expectations. Letting go of that dream of what could have been is not easy, especially when you are left powerless while someone else gets to go off and live it.
But, like Sinatra said, “That’s life.” But the song wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t contain the line, “Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race.”
So, here’s the problem with what you just read. When you read that line about getting back in the race, did you see the race as being the fight to win your ex’s hand or did you see it life in general?
If you only saw it as fighting to get your ex back, then I can assure you, you need to change your perspective. Look at your pain and know that you are missing something you likely didn’t even have.
I know that, for a lot of people, that is tough to grasp, because their idea of the relationship they had and the relationship they imagined are still merged.
In order to move past this trapped feeling you have, this shift in your perspective needs to take place so that it encompasses the truth.
Changing the way you look at the pain you are feeling so that you are being more honest with yourself should make it a bit easier to let go of.
Kinda like a balloon drifting away,
Come To Terms With Any Anger You’re Harboring
It is likely that during the relationship or even after the breakup, your ex might have taken a few jabs at your pride. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal to be angry or feel bitterness towards her because of it.
But, if you allow that anger to take up residence inside of you, you will carry it with you into any future endeavors that you take on, whether they be business related or a new relationship. And, much like a poison, it will eat away at your existence like a poison or and acid.
The only solution is to forgive. This doesn’t mean you have to forget the hurt they caused. You are just releasing yourself from the burden of feeling like you should actively carry this torch of hatred around for your ex.
You know that this hatred for exes is a plague that falls on anyone who’s gone through a breakup. You can hear it when your friends tip-toe around the subject of your ex for fear of upsetting you. Not because you are fragile, but because it’s become this generation’s version of common courtesy.
I usually let go of all of the resentment I hold for the men I’ve date pretty quickly. And still, my friends try hard not to mention their names around me or things that might make me think of them. It always makes me feel good when they finally realize that I’m not going to shatter into a million tiny little pieces at the mention of his name, or worse, burst into tears.
Give yourself the emotional freedom of making peace with the fact that she hurt you. Perhaps, simply taking into consideration that maybe she didn’t do it intentionally, or maybe she did, but she had her reasons. Whatever it is, it’s passed. By dwelling on it you are willingly being a prisoner to the past and foregoing any chance you have a moving forward and building a future.
Give yourself the gift of freedom. Because when you allow yourself to carry hurt, you wind up transferring that hurt into every other area of your life.
What Do You Deserve
I walked my friend through this very process the other night. Look at what you are doing by staying in this state of hurt and resentment. By sitting here daydreaming about reclaiming your ex as your own, you are dedicating your life to being with someone who clearly either doesn’t want to be in it or doesn’t value you.
I have always been of the sound mind that I don’t at any point in time want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me.
Because it’s a waste of my time and theirs.
Don’t waste your time.
Decide that you deserve better and then don’t settle for anything less.
How Do You Accomplish This?
Take a moment and consider what you would do with your life if you weren’t focused on your ex. What goals would you set for yourself if you knew they would have your full concentration?
Would you finish a degree?
Would you do what it takes to start a business?
Would you go after that promotion everyone knows you could get if you tried?
You see, right now, your happiness is wrapped up in someone else’s existence, when it should be pointed at things that are currently possible.
If your ex has moved on, then don’t waste your time pining. Instead, spend that time building a life that has the power to cultivate happiness. Nothing can do that more than putting effort into something and then making it come to life
The Wind Up
Most of the things I’ve told you so far have dealt with changing your perspective, which, while it is simple in theory, it is not necessarily an easy undertaking.
Have you ever heard the saying that basically says that you attract the same kind of energy that you put out there?
No, I’m not about to go all new-age on you.
I’m simply saying that that is a thing that people say.
The fact of the matter is that it is so very true.
Consider the last time you had a bad day. I’m sure at this moment after your breakup that this isn’t so long ago that it is a stretch. After that first thing that went wrong that day, were you more inclined to focus on the negative things that happened? If so, you probably experie3nced the snowball effect. Eventually you wind up throwing your hand in the air saying, “You know what? Every single thing about today just sucked.”
That one small thing that went wrong that morning took over and set the precedent for the rest of the day. You let that moment calibrate your perception of the day for you.
You cannot choose what happens to you, but you can control how you react to what happens to you. And once you change the way you react to the things that happen to a positive perception, you’ll attract more positive things in your life.
Do you have anyone in your life that just acts like the world is coming to an end t any given moment?
I have that friend.
She stayed with me for a little bit, and I think I probably should have gotten some kind of Guinness World Record with the number of consecutive days I had to give not single, but multiple pep talks to get her out of her funk when she was living with me.
I swear, my days are like nonstop pep talks and reminding people about the good things they have in their lives.
Most of the people in my life hear that I write for this website and their automatic reaction is, “Doesn’t that make you adopt a negative view of the world, dealing with so much heartbreak?” And to that I say a resounding, “Heck no!”
My days may be spent focusing on negative things, but because I am forced to look at them in a positive manner and spend my time focused on how to overcome them, my perception of life itself is resoundingly rosy.
Now I know you have those overwhelmingly negative people in your life, but what about those annoying little rays of sunshine. You know exactly who I mean. No matter what happens in their life, good or bad, they always seem to take it the same way, with a grain of salt.
Nothing gets them down. When you aren’t doing so hot in the positivity department, it can be a real pain in the butt to be around.
I’m sure I can be that way too.
Throughout college, after my first big breakup, I spiraled of control for a bit, doing things that I knew weren’t good for me and dwelling on the loss I had sustained. After a few months of this I realized that, if it continued, I was going to end up alone and broken, well more broken than I already was.
I allowed my thoughts to go unchecked during that period of time and my life had started to spiral out of control.
It wasn’t until I became mindful of where my thoughts had been hanging out that I took back control of where my life was headed.
What it all boils down to is being mindful. Mindful of how you react to situations and the direction your thoughts take when negative situations arise.
I mean take this break up for example. Where have your thoughts been? My guess is that they’ve been in the negative arena. The result probably didn’t turn out so great if you allowed them to stay there.
Where Do We Go From Here?
More correctly, where are you going to go from here?
Well, there are actions you can take to change your perception.
The first thing I want you to do is carry a note card in your pocket for a day or two. Every time you catch yourself dwelling on the past or on negative thoughts, I want you to make a tally mark on the notecard. After you’ve done this, count up your tally marks and write the total on the corner of the card.
Now, do the same thing again, but now, every time you find yourself thinking about the past or dwelling on the negative, I want you to replace those thoughts with the thoughts of something positive.
You know how we were talking before about moving forward and building a life? That is what you are aiming for.
I want you to dare to daydream. Visualize a future where you have achieved happiness. See in your mind what it would look like to achieve that goal.
Every time you find your thoughts drawn to negative places, replace those thoughts with thoughts of a positive future.
Every time you do this successfully, make a tally mark on the note card. Every time you find yourself unable to do this make a different type of tally mark on the other side of the notecard. At the end of two days, total the tallies. Continue doing this for two days at a time until your successes outnumber the failures.
That is how you change the direction of your thoughts, and your thoughts control the direction of your life. I realize it seems trite, but I can vouch for the fact that it works.
Set your course and follow it.
After you’ve rewritten your habits, keep a notecard handy for any sign of relapse, because we all know that there are always weak moments, even after you’ve managed to garner a win.
If you are unhappy in the situation that you are in, which I am assuming you are, this is how you will successfully change it.
You cannot direct your perception with fists and a hammer. It is something you do gently. Be kind to yourself.
Quit Bullying Yourself
That being said, you need to quit being so hard on yourself.
I know that after a breakup, especially if you weren’t exactly on board with the decision, you can get stuck blaming yourself for the loss.
Yes, you lost something. But a relationship is between two people, no one person can be at fault.
I’m not saying you have to start letting yourself get away with everything, like skipping work and avoiding your responsibilities. Nothing good can come from being negative and sulking.
Whenever you are tempted to start sulking or you realize that you been marathoning Netflix for two days straight without doing anything productive, remember Newton’s
Law. “An object in motion stays in motion.”
Now, I know Newton wasn’t talking about a breakup. Although who knows, maybe he was.
Actually, what he was talking about was movement, and that is pertinent here. What he was saying was that an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by some opposing force. A ball rolling will continue rolling until something stops it from moving, like a wall or someone’s hand.
Likewise a life in motion will continue moving forward until we allow the gravity of a situation to stop us.
Are you letting the negativity of this situation stop you in your tracks?
This ties greatly into what we were discussing earlier; negative thoughts.
It is tempting to see ourselves as worthless and at fault after a relationship, but no one person can take the blame.
I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. He has been separated from his wife for a long time and the divorce papers had arrived on his doorstep that day. He had literally been perfectly fine up until that moment.
Why? Because this meant that his wife wasn’t going to change her mind and come back.
Over the course of the past year or so they had been separate. They had both dated other people and, as far as we could see from the outside, had both moved forward with life.
So, why did I find him in a hammock drinking a beer and moping the day he got the papers?
After talking to him about it for a bit, I found that what was really bothering him was that he couldn’t figure out, “where he went wrong” or “what he could have done differently”.
Don’t we all find ourselves in those places occasionally?
I had to be frank with him.
There was nothing he could do now. Just like there is nothing you can do now to change the past.
Everyone has ahead of them a path. They shift from side to side depending on the decisions we make throughout our lives. The one thing they all have in common is that they all move forward.
Occasionally, you will find that someone’s path runs alongside yours. Sometimes, your paths will continue together, sometimes your goals and actions shift and spate your paths.
You have a choice to dwell on the past, which you cannot change, or look to the future.
He cannot talk her into seeing him differently no more than I can tell my parents that I don’t go out and party on the weekends. People choose to believe what they want to believe.
So, rather than trying to control something you can’t, look to building the future.
Like I told him, sign the papers, focus on your daughter and create something wonderful.
You have been given a wonderfully blank slate with which to do whatever you would like and right now you are choosing to use it to, what, be miserable?
Now that you know all there is to know about directing your thoughts, don’t just think about the future. Build it. Set goals and press towards them.
So many people go I want to (insert really awesome goal) and then they just sit on their thumbs and wait for it to come to them.
I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of this from time to time.
I once met a really nice lady in a business-minded think tank.
Everyone in this group was intelligent and driven. But this one lady stuck with me. She listed off her goals, all of which were very lofty and exciting. And after that we did an exercise where we went into detail about what we were doing to make our goals a reality.
When the question fell to her she said, “Like I said, I really want to accomplish (lofty goals) with my life. Now all I have to do is wait for the universe to give it to me.
I don’t think I laughed out loud, but I was absolutely shocked at her naivety.
If you expect the universe of some outside force to just hand you what you want, you are in for a surprise. Nothing comes without work.
If it is the universe that hands out wins, it will do so for those who put effort into getting them.
Don’t sit on your hands and wait for it to come to you.
Take steps to actually achieve your goals. Put the effort in and reap the rewards.
If your goal is to land a promotion, then apply to take the class to get the extra certification you need. Get to work early and throw your everything into whatever you do at work, whether it is something small or major projects. Put in the work.
If your goal is to get buff, then get a program or a trainer, something or someone that will hold you accountable. And get up every morning and chase that goal with a passion.
I mean, have you ever seen someone who always talks about working out, but never seems to make any progress?
The thing is they spend their time talking about it and thinking about it, but not actually DOING anything about it.
The Simplicity of it All
You see, so many people think that, after being dealt a hefty hand of heartache, they have to either lay down and be defeated or distract themselves with anything under the sun.
They think that these are their only two choices. Then they wonder how others seem to move forward so easily. The answer is so simple that it is easily overlooked
You have to think of your goals as a wall, daunting and tall. When you set your sights on your goal, you are simply making the decision to climb the wall. It is not until you make moves that carry you forward towards your goal that your grappling hook lands solid atop the wall. Without following up with more action, you will be left dangling, useless.
Continuing to pull yourself up and forward by taking action is the only way to escape this feeling of a standstill.
It may be simple, but it is not easy. It will take effort. It is up to you whether you let your disappointment override your desire to move forward.
I suggest not. Instead, I suggest you do the following.
Stop waiting for time to heal wounds and for the universe to just hand you a fix-it-all. Yes it takes time, but if you just sit there waiting for it, it will take even longer. Put your efforts to making your life better.
Keep moving forward.
Change your thoughts.
Change your habits.
Change your Focus.
Change your Life.