Breaking up is hard to do. No one likes it, and it’s never easy.
Sometimes a breakup is something that is necessary, and you can tell that it is in your best interest to end the relationship.
Sometimes a breakup comes completely out of left field and it takes you by surprise.
I am of the opinion, that whatever circumstances surround a breakup doesn’t change the fact that it is usually an all-around difficult experience.
I recently went through a breakup, after almost 3 years, called off my engagement with my now ex-partner, and I have to say, it has been a particularly tough time for me; especially in regards to my levels of self-love and mental health.
The relationship had some issues to it, and had gotten to a point where it wasn’t in either of our best interests to be together. But regardless of knowing that, in the long run this would be a positive move for me, it really affected how I was feeling about and acting towards myself. I found myself engaging in some pretty negative self-talk and behaviors, and just really was not being kind to myself.
I think the biggest difficulty I was facing (and honestly, still am) is the idea of dating again. Being in recovery from an eating disorder, my body has changed a lot over the past few years, and I found myself saying to friends “I am scared that I won’t ever find someone who loves me while I look like this.” My friends were quick to call out this thinking, and I appreciate them for that, but it isn’t as easy as hearing it from someone else for me. In the time since my breakup, I have found myself thinking more of weight loss, of my food intake, of the way my body looks, of how tight my clothes are, of hiding the parts of my body I am uncomfortable with, and basically everything that falls under the body image and eating disorder umbrellas.
At first, figuring out how to cope with and manage these feelings felt pretty daunting, and I think that this is pretty common! It’s been a process of trial and error, and I think I’ve found some things that have really worked well for me. One of the harder things to put into practice has been challenging negative and intrusive thoughts instead of wallowing in them. I have been extremely mindful of my self-talk in the time since my breakup, and have been working really hard to keep my head a positive space. I have been making a huge effort to practice daily self-care, big and small! From treating myself to ice cream, going to sleep early, or going to get a facial; I’ve been conscious of the need to be kind to myself. I’ve been making time for the things I enjoy, like reading and writing. Most importantly, I’ve been reminding myself how worthy of time, effort, kindness and self-love I am. I have reminded myself countless times that a relationship does not and never will define me that I am who I am regardless of the partner I do or don’t have.
It hasn’t been easy, and I believe that in some ways it will get harder; what’s that saying about things getting worse before they get better? But I think with a little extra mindfulness and tenderness, my self-love journey will be back on track in no time! I think sometimes we get caught up in the idea of total self-love… but I sort of think that is somewhat unrealistic, for me at least. I like to think of self-love as a journey that needs constant practice. It’s a journey, and I think we all need to remember to stop and enjoy the view from time to time.
Stay gentle, kind & mindful!