Moving Past Heartbreak: 5 Tips for Picking Up the Pieces

Moving Past Heartbreak: 5 Tips for Picking Up the Pieces

When relationships end – especially those that we thought were of the “forever” variety – the loss can feel like a death. For many it’s similar to giving up an addiction, new habits must be formed, routines must be shifted, and an alternate identity must be recognized.

The healing process can take a large amount of time, and unfortunately doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion. There are some days when moving on from the relationship seems easy, exciting even, but these days can be followed by the feeling that life will never quite be the same.

If you’re struggling to let go and move on to the next phase of your life, these tips can help you gain a little perspective.

#1 Separate Your Perception From Reality

When we are in the middle of a dysfunctional relationship, it’s usually extremely easy to spout of a list of reasons why things just aren’t working. Yet, once that dysfunctional relationship comes to a close, recognizing why it had to end suddenly becomes a massive challenge.

Be able to look at the situation for exactly what it is and avoid looking at it through rose colored glasses. This doesn’t mean discounting all of the good (which usually always exists to some extent), but instead seeing what is there – and what isn’t.

#2 Allow Yourself to Mourn

Your day to day life may be suffering from this seemingly uncontrollable outpouring of emotion, but it won’t last forever. So allow yourself to sit with the feelings that this break-up brings forth for you without trying to turn it off prematurely.

Part of the sadness during this time comes from the fact that you are mourning what never was, the future that you were never able to experience with your partner. Sometimes just recognizing it – putting a name to this particular brand of sadness – can help.

#3 Drop the Victim Mentality

It’s easy to take on the victim role after a break up, citing the things that your partner did or didn’t do, but this is only a temporary fix. In fact, it actually does the opposite of what you need during this time – it strips you of your power.

Chances are, you were hurt deeply in the break-up process. But healing from this hurt can take infinitely longer if you continue to see yourself as the victim. Victims don’t tend to move on to happy, healthy new relationships – or lives for that matter. Empowered self-confident people, on the other hand, do.

#4: Concentrate on You

Were there pieces of yourself that were neglected while you were in your relationship? Reconnect with who you are by doing the things that you love to do, or the things you didn’t know you loved to do. Pick up a hobby, reach out to old friends – anything that will temporarily bring you out of your head and into a better space.

Most importantly, be kind and nurturing to yourself.

#5: Let Go of the Outcome

Part of the reason why break-ups tend to hit us so hard is because, even if it was much earlier in the relationship, we expected a different outcome. We push and prod and expel all of our energy into hoping things will go the way we pictured in our minds, but sometimes there is a plan for us that is far greater than anything we could imagine for ourselves.

So stop investing all your energy in the outcome. Let it be. Let life flow the way it was intended to flow and you will lift a heavy weight off your shoulders.

Photo by Geomangio

Kayla Albert

Kayla Albert is a freelance writer with a knack for tackling personal growth topics. You can find her on her blog: http://confessionsofaperfectionist.wordpress.com or her website: http://kaylaalbert.com

44 Comments

  1. i totally agree with you ,, thanks :)

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      • Well said… Thanks.

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  2. I recognize all tips and I would say they could be used for break-ups, but also for other painful events like losing your job, dealing with the death of a loved one, …

    Thanks for sharing!

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    • You are so right! I honestly hadn’t looked at it that way before :)

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  3. Heartbreak?!! Oh come on, it isn’t that easy…you got to give yourself time and space..and maybe some shots…

    Reply
    • Yes, shots can also help…temporarily at least. :)

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  4. Hi Kayla,
    Thank you for this post. Points 1, 3,4,5 are definitely applicable in all personal growth areas. Point 2 ‘mourning” will come into play if you ignore the other 4 points(at your peril).
    be good to yourself
    David

    Reply
    • Yes, mourning is essential – if we don’t do that then we will inevitably be carrying around past hurts longer than is necessary.

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      • Mourning is essential, but hey, the most important thing is to forgive yourself first. Don’t blame yourself for what happened. It takes two to tango. You tried over and over again and it failed! Sometimes you just have to stand back in your current bad relationship and take an outside look at it.

        Read Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

        As you are led by the Holy Spirit you will become more acutely aware of what you can reveal and what you must conceal. Some things are to be told and some things are to be held close to your heart. Often it is a matter of circumstance and timing. All you have to do is be sensitive to the spiritual flow, and set a watch over the words of your mouth and wait for the unction of the Holy Spirit.

        But we are hasty from nature, always want to take matters into our own hands. There is a force out there, doesn’t matter what you want or don’t, the plan is set for your life. You just have to ride the wave for a while before you take action!! Your gut feeling will tell you exactly when the time is ready. Taking into consideration that you enter it with a sound, calm, quiet mind and not a monkey mind trying to get out of the turmoil as quickly and fast as you can…..

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      • yes l do agree with you crying will make air out yo emotions

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  5. that was a very nice read Kayla
    thanks for the post :)

    Reply
  6. These are great tips!

    I don’t think people allow themselves to mourn because our culture says ‘get over it.’ When a relative or close friend dies, we only receive three days off and it’s back to work. People in other countries take one year to mourn the deceased. The same principle can be applied to friendships and romantic relationships. It’s important to mourn and process the grief. I didn’t do this and learned a tough lesson. Running away doesn’t help — you take yourself with you wherever you go. This includes your subconscious self. Lesson learned.

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    • That is so true Rebecca. Often times we will jump into another relationship in an effort to numb the pain we are still experiencing from a breakup. Unfortunately this tends to result in many of the same issues – just with another person. It’s important to go into a new relationship as a whole and fully healed person.

      Reply
  7. Hi Kayla,

    Thank you for sharing this. I am going through a heart break right now…today i decided to mourn but now I know what to do next in regard to letting go of the outcome and concentrating on myself. Thank you!!

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    • You are so welcome. I’m glad this came into your life at a time when you really needed it!

      Reply
  8. I think focusing on yourself is very important as all the rest are too. Some people change their hair color or get a new outfit or tattoo or piercing. This makes the person think about and feel good about themselves. Keep yourself busy might be something that should be added. Overall, awesome. I am going through a breakup, and need to read this.

    Reply
    • Keeping yourself busy is definitely key as well. But it’s also good to really face all of the emotions you are dealing with head on so that when things do slow down, or when you’re alone, you aren’t bombarded with all the things you haven’t yet dealt with.

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  9. Actually right now im having a very hard time releasing all these anger in my heart knowing that the 2 years spent with a guy was all a lie.. and i was spending al the effort of love and investing all the sacrifices while he on the other hand is totally betrayin me with a worthless female..:'(..however upon redaing your steps it boosts me all over again.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with such a tough situation. Even if you feel on some level that your relationship was “a lie,” know that there was a purpose to you being with that person. Maybe it was a lesson you learned from them that you can carry with you to the next relationship. Maybe they helped you to see the qualities you actually wanted (or didn’t want) in a partner. Those two years weren’t a waste – they brought you to the next stage in your life. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  10. This is some of the soundest advice that I’ve read in regards to heartbreak and healing. Thinking back now on my own most painful breakup, I see that I had a good handle on #2 but could’ve used an article like this to remind me of the importance of #s 1 & 3 – so that I didn’t have to learn those points of wisdom the hard way.

    Reply
  11. Great points, especially the last one about letting go.

    Holding onto outcomes is a sure way to stop any progress. It’s like trying to drive through the rear view mirror.

    I checked out your blog and it has some great advice. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  12. Thank you so much – that is a huge compliment. All of these tips came from my own personal experience and I too had a REALLY tough time with #3 — until I realized how sick I was of other people treating me like I was the victim in the situation. I didn’t want to feel that way anymore, so I knew that I had to stop seeing myself that way. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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  13. Enjoyed reading this post immensely. Great tips for any situation when you need to let go – works just as well for any ending in your life – not just personal relations.

    I especially liked dropping the victim mentality – this does nothing to heal you – it only ties you closely to your pain.

    Great info and great writing

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  14. these are really helpful tips. i am going through a devastating break up right now and feel like im going through hell slowly.spent almost 4 years with my bf only to find out that he lied to me of his where abouts and then to only have me catch him hanging out with other females as he lied to me about where he was, and then after catching him he confessed that he didnt want to be in a relationship with me anymore and that he wanted to be single and not have to answer to anyone or feel guilty about doing anything and that he is not ready to settle down. even though he swore he never cheated on me through out the course of the relatiosnhip im not sure if i believe that…the fact is that he still lied.so now i am doubting everything that we had gone through, and also my world has turned upside down i wasted so much time and effort and energy in focusing on him i lost myself, so now that i have all this time im trying really hard to find out what makes me happy besides him.but i feel like nothing i do has meaning . it is such a hard adjustments i still cant sleep well at night and wake up in depression and anxiety as 4 years of my life was with that bastard and i lost 10 punds in 0ne month becaus ei coudlnt eat.i dont want to be angry now because itis a waste of energy being worried and thinking why and how could he do this to me? why is he so careless now? and is so happy being single and loving his life? i want to move on from this pain and leave this all behind but it is such a struggle. its like i have to learn to do everything by myself again and the world seems alot bigger and alot more lonelier.

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  15. I don’t know why i’m writing this. I can tell you right now that I have never fallen as hard as I have this time. For myself, it was always a known fact that if I opened up to someone, I was gonna get hurt. So I kept it simple. I never got fully involved. Never exposed. I had always been the safe one. I’ve had many relationships, but I’m not known as a player. So then it finally happened. I met a girl that I put 110% into for years, and it’s now ending in disaster. Not only is this crushing me, but I can’t reach the top of the water i’m drowning in. My parents lost their home, and other things have made their way to impede my progress.

    Yes, I went looking for help on the Internet, that’s how bad I am. I am really, really struggling with this, and where you tips may be helpful in some ways, they seem impossible in others. The problem is, that where we had our problems in our relationship, that’s what made it better. We had worked most of them out, making us stronger and more honest with each other. There was no cheating, and there was no deception. I think it’s harder to digest for me because I don’t fully understand ‘why’. I was the victim of the break-up portion this time around, but i’m not looking at it from that perspective, so that doesn’t apply. I am really trying to function as a normal person, but everyday it’s getting harder. Everyday is darker.

    I am losing my passion for anything in this life. I’m losing weight, because I don’t eat, I’m losing my mind because I’ve stopped talking. I want this pain to end.

    Reply
    • My heart goes out to you. I’ve been there, and it sucks! It’s been several months and I’m still not fully over it. So much happened in that relationship that I dare not even mentioned it out of fear of stiring up old feelings. It was the worst heartache I ever encountered. I’m afraid and almost paranoid of a new relationship. I’m currently in counseling now.

      Reply
  16. Thank you for the tips. @ Septimus X, I’m sorry you are hurting. I am 2 mos post heartbreak and I tell you it does get easier BUT slowly. Time is your friend. Hang in there.

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  17. Hey dear!
    I am dying inside! I can get over my ex boyfriend. It’s has been 2 years ago, still haven’t move forward, can somebody please help me !

    Reply
    • It has almost been a year for you, I hope things are better for you.

      I am 2 yrs out and my heart is still crying. The man that convinced me to trust and planned our future was done with me one day cause he decided he couldn’t marry and was a noncommittal man! 3 months later I found out he was dating a co worker and a year later engaged and they are marrying in May! Breaks my heart as I feel so lied to. And many of my friends have received invites to their wedding reception, feel such betrayel.
      I’m a smart woman and I don’t get it, I wish there was a magic pill to forget this pain.

      Can’t believe this has happened. I know this is all for the good… REALLY?

      Reply
  18. this website is powerful l. am really going to let go

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  19. Thanks kyla, i really need this..

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  20. i have been dealing with heartaches and pain right now since he’s been gone 2 weeks ago and never contact me at all…but thank you for this article as it will definitely help me.

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  21. Thank you. What you wrote is a validation that I’m taking the the right course. Very well sai I must say. =)

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  22. My boyfriend of 8 1/2 yrs broke up with me mth ago im devestated we had such plans toghter,cant stop crying he moved into his own place but im still where we lived toghter,its so hard i love him so much,cant see life without him im so sad all the time,we spend all our time toghter and i just dont know what to do now,people are telling me time will make it easier but i cant see that happening,am i been silly to think he will come back?i just know we were meant to be toghter

    Reply
  23. Me and my ex had been together for 5 going on 6 years, weve been living together for 3 years and were only 21! Meaning we practically grew up together, went through poverty and homelessness, a bunch of things, we only had eachother in this world. Our love became sooo strong and unconditional due to all the emotional turmoil. We moved from all that and started fresh in a new city new world. Everything seemed good but we began to distance, she claimed she missed her fam and friends back home (were we ran frm to try to make life better) and she felt alone. I was very confused and hurt i thought this move would help our relationship, we tried to work things out but she became more distant and mean. She hated my jokes, she was extremely impatient with me, wanted everything done her way, she just seemed so unhappy. :( So i let her go, i told her it was mybe best if she returned to our old lifestyle if she wasent happy here. She claimed to love me and said she didnt want to loose me to just hold on and lets take a break to see how things go. I agreed being deeply in love still, i didnt want to loose her, she promised to call me and stay intouch everyday. Yeah she stopped calling n texting me, then when i would call she would call me clingy and i wasent giving her the space we needed. I started the NC on her and she text me 1 week later asking how i was, i called her in the middle of the night and she answered, she said she would call me in the morning. She hasent. :( should i give up hope? Should i let go of the love of my life? Should i completely iliminate her frm my life? I think shes starting to talk to someone else..

    Reply
  24. this is hell on earth…i wish this experience on no one, not even the one who put me through this. it hurt soooo bad and i wish i had Madea by my side. he is staying with the girl (colleague) he cheated me with in our house. 7 years, humble beginnings… i love and trusted him with all my heart. he promised me marriage (he started telling most of friends and families), good home for our kids and now he doesn’t even care… he does things to hurt me

    Reply
  25. It is saddening to see so many people have gone through and are going through some awful times like this. I am certain that websites and blogs like this do help and the passing of time certainly helps too. I think it’s fair to say that most right-minded people would admit that only time can truly heal all wounds….especially if they’ve gone through the same thing before and come through the other side…and yet we still keep googling and searching for answers. The problem is…we are finding people with the same issues as we are searching…and they are all looking for answers and it is always at the same stage of heartbreak and despair. I would say that you should take something from everything you read and that you should remember that it DOES get better each day…even if you might not see the results as they evolve. Keep following tips and advice from excellent articles such as this one…they all help. There’s no magic pill. If there was you wouldn’t be reading this…and there would be no such thing as counsellors, therapists, doctors and emotional well-wishers. Good luck to everyone. I hope to get over this myself…but I accept that it is going to take a long time. Thank you for putting this on here. It all helps :) x

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  26. I am currently undergoing a relationship breakdown. All my life, I have never loved any one as much as I did love her. I am presently working away when I recieved a mail on Friday that our relationship is over. I have to no avail tried to savage my relationship but no way.

    I would like to seek any help on how I can overcome this difficult period. It is particularly difficult because I am supposed to be working away abroad now and can’t seem to focus on the job at hand.

    I am in need of help on how to overcome this trying times and would please welcome suggestions and ideas from people who have passed through this.

    Reply
  27. It appears my world is crashing before my very eyes. 10years relationship went down the drain just like that for a flimsy reason from my partner. I am currently devastated. I tried everything to salvage the rship but its not working. Rather she is having an ego boost as I continue to plead and beg her.

    I am happy reading this blog and few others. I am ready to let go and be strong for myself .My fear is that she may want to come back later. She is my first love and vice versa and I am extremely vulnerable to her. I am currently praying for strength to be able to tell her off by the time she comes back.

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  28. Heartbreak must be the worst thing to go through….my ex & I broke up almost 2 months ago…it has been hell. I always loved him but after breaking up I realize just how much I love him. I so wish we could just reconcile and the pain would be gone. He is not interested in even talking about our relationship…that just hurts like hell. I have put all my faith in God now (never been really religious) and know that he knows what’s best for me.

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  29. I’m in so much pain right now, can’t even type properly. Father of my 6y old son left me for the 2nd time for another woman 10y younger than me. We have been together on and off for 8y. This guy made me fall for him while I was still married and now he is dropping me like a piece of meat. This hurts so much cos again, I didn’t see it coming. I wanted this to work so badly. I can’t see myself as a baby-mama. Its been two weeks now since they started seeing each other. Every wknd I cry my eyes out. My poor son is so stressed out cos he doesn’t know how to deal with his mom being so depressed. This man disrespects me around every corner. Blames me for this failed relationship. And the best part of all is that his family never encouraged marraige. His mom is happy that he found new love. I am not a bad person. Why is this happpening to me? :,,( feels like I have no one in this world. How can he be so evil. I understand that he can’t help loving someone else but he could have broken up with me first beefore persuing this woman.

    Reply
  30. Hi Kyla,

    I am really hurting right now. I accepted my BF back 2 years ago because he said that he will leave the girl and we will fix our relationship. But as time pass by, he have not done anything to leave the girl. He made excuses but i still continued to wait and believed in his words and promises. Now, he said that the girl is pregnant. My mind says to let go but my heart says no. I love him so much that I do not want to lose him. I just can’t bear the thought of losing him forever. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I am not worth fighting for, that I had been his 2nd option the whole time. It hurts me to think that they are going to have their child now. That I will completely be out of the picture. Im in so much pain and hurting so much right now.

    Reply

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