By: Rachel Goldsmith, MS, MA
The end of a romantic relationship can be like riding a roller coaster of emotions. Depending on the circumstances, you may be feeling relieved, heart-broken, resentful, or shocked. It may seem like the road ahead is unclear for you, and it can be difficult to know how to “get past” this difficult time in your life. It is easy to focus on the negatives at this stage. Although it may feel insurmountable, you can help yourself to move beyond this challenging time by engaging in meaningful self-reflection that leads to insights you can integrate into your life.
Here are three questions – just a few of many – you can ask yourself to help you find meaning and purpose in the wake of a break-up.
- What did I learn from this relationship? Did you learn something about yourself in this relationship? Perhaps you learned that you cannot expect someone to change themselves no matter how hard you try. Maybe you discovered that you tend to become defensive when in conflict with a significant other. Be honest with yourself and take responsibility for your end of things, both the positive and negative. If you’re able to learn from this experience, you will be better able to move forward and grow from this experience.
- What can I do differently next time? Similarly, if you have been honest with yourself about how you participated in the ending of the relationship (or the problems that led to the break-up), you can begin to plan for ways you might behave differently in the future. Perhaps you will commit to trying to be more assertive about your needs in a future relationship. Maybe you want to try to be less defensive.
- What am I grateful for right now? In the wake of a break-up, it can feel like nothing is going right. Turn your attention toward the aspects of your life that you are grateful for, like loving friends or a stable job. Perhaps you are even able to find gratitude for the lessons you learned in this relationship. Gratitude can assist you in accepting what has happened, which may allow you to let go of the past and move forward.