“I beg of you, don’t say goodbye; Can’t we give our love another try; Come on baby, let’s start anew; ‘Cause breaking up is hard to do” – Neil Sedaka
They say that breaking up is hard to do, but it gets easier when you know how. The trick is to let go of the past. This is easier said than done, but it is achievable. Follow the ten steps below to let go of past relationships, and move on to the next chapter of your life.
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Everything takes practice, and controlling your thoughts and emotions is no different. Stop taking a back seat in your life while expecting things to be handed to you. Instead, roll up your sleeves and put in the effort. Over time, you’ll develop the ability to pull your thoughts consistently away from dwelling on what could’ve been, and maintain focus on what is.
2. Forgive Thyself
Nobody’s perfect. If you think you did no wrong in your last relationship, you’re insane. The relationship ended for a reason. Something didn’t click, and it wasn’t what you both were looking for. No matter how amicable the split is, there are natural feelings of loss, abandonment, and failure. Forgive yourself and move on.
3. Find Comfort in the Good Times
No relationship is completely devoid of good times, so focus on the great times you had. Don’t linger on what you could’ve done to make them better, or think of how to get them back. Those times are gone, and even if you get back with that person, things will never be exactly as they were. You don’t get mulligans in real life. Allow those good times to provide you with a smile. They happened to you, and they were happy. Don’t let negative thoughts of your ex keep you from reminiscing about your own happiness.
4. Learn from Your Mistakes
If your mind does wander into blame game territory, don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up. This eye-for-an-eye situation involves only you, so you lose. You can’t always make it right with the same person, but you can atone for your mistakes by avoiding them in the future. No time is wasted if you learn something from the experience.
5 . Focus on You
Don’t worry about what your ex thinks, how they feel, what they’re doing, or who they’re talking to. There’s no point having lengthy, imaginary conversations, because it’s not the other person in your head–it’s you. You’re repeating their words or imagining responses. Stop worrying about what they’re doing. It’s out of your control. Focus on what you’re doing, before you hit a tree.
6. Eyes to the Front
It sounds obvious, but the best way to let go of the past is to look to the future. That past relationship isn’t so bad when you have experiences and goals to look forward to. It’s ok to reminisce here and there, but don’t let thoughts of the past envelope you and impede on your present.
7. Don’t Try to Forget
Trying to forget someone is a bad idea. Simply by focusing on trying to forget, you’re going to drive yourself to do things you shouldn’t. The time you spent with someone is a part of your life. Why would you want to voluntarily give up on a part of yourself? Don’t block out memories on purpose; you lose enough of them naturally to force the situation.
8. Embrace Life’s Impermanence
Everything in life is temporary, even life itself. Even if immortality were possible, life wouldn’t stay like it is forever. We’d have to expand, connect, disconnect, and move. Part of growing up is accepting that nothing in life is permanent. No matter how hard you work, some things just aren’t in your control. Do what you can with what you have, or you’ll soon find yourself with nothing.
9. Tear Down the Berlin Wall
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There’s a void where that past relationship once was. You need to fill that void with human contact. Whether you connect with new people or reconnect with friends and family, ease your defenses and let people in. If you’re guarded, you’ll just drag out the inevitable, making yourself miserable in the process.
10. Give Good…
A great way to feel better is to give to others. Katie McCarthy has a great podcast called Give Good, in which she profiles people who make positive contributions to society. It’s entertaining to learn of all the ways you can contribute. You don’t have to change the world–just make people around you happier. They’ll return the favor by cheering you up when you’re down.
Breaking up is difficult, but we all lose important relationships. Letting go of past relationship is difficult, but necessary to move forward with your life. If you don’t, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of time and regretting it later, creating a viscous cycle. With focus, discipline, and practice, you can drop that past relationship from your mind and move on toward a newer, happier you.
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