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13 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Admit When You Can’t Get Over The Past Relationship

13 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Admit When You Can’t Get Over The Past Relationship

If you’ve ever been in a romantic relationship, chances are you’ve experienced the common side effects of sleepless nights, loss of appetite, and somehow managing to interject the name of that person into every conversation. Ironically, these are some of the same symptoms that are also common after a breakup and can be painful (not to mention extremely trying on your friends) when experienced for a long period of time. If you’re having a hard time getting over a lost love, consider the following harsh truths that may be holding you hostage to your pain.

1. Maybe it is you.

girl standing on log

    It’s human nature to blame outside influences when things don’t go the way we want them to in our relationships. We hear things like, “He was afraid of commitment,” or “She was too controlling.” While blaming your ex can help to satisfy your ego, it saps you of your ability to gain control of the situation. However, when you own your actions and/or expectations of the other person that weren’t met, you gain total control to change your perspective and to make different choices in the future. Try this the next time you’re feeling down: Write down all the ways YOU contributed to the breakup (even if you don’t think you did) and make a decision to, next time, make a different choice. It might not be an easy exercise at first, but it’s a great way to shift the power back into your hands.

    2. You didn’t fulfill his or her needs.

    Tony Robbins uses Human Needs Psychology to teach millions of people how to have successful relationships. This theory suggests that though we all have these six human needs — certainty, variety, significance, love/connection, growth, and contribution — we each rank them differently and seek to have them fulfilled in different ways. Usually in the beginning of relationships we all do a pretty good job of fulfilling the needs of our partner because most of us are concerned with what we can give to the person instead of what we can get. But unless we continue to meet our partner’s needs in the way they want them to be met, they’re liable to move their attention off of you in the way that you would want. Here’s the harsh truth: you didn’t meet your partner’s needs in the way they needed them to be met. The “bright” side? They probably didn’t meet your needs either.

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    3. A better match exists for you.

    There are over 7.2 billion people in the world; you’ve just broken up with one of them. And if you’re in the U.S., there are about 96 million people who are single and over the age of 18. I know it might be hard to believe that there could be even a slight possibility that you will ever find another mate or even (could it be?) a better match, but it’s true — just know that you’re someone’s better match, too!

    4. You saw signs and ignored them.

    They say hindsight is 20/20. That’s because usually at the end of a broken relationship we can see all the evidence from along the way that this one wasn’t going to last. Finally, you can recognize their behavior for what it really was — especially after you’ve put so much time and energy into making it work. Do yourself a favor: The next time you see signs on the road of love that lead you to question your relationship, don’t look away.

    5. You believed you would end up with your first love.

    boy-girl kiss on cheek

      Most of us are introduced to the fantasy of love long before we fall in love for the first time ourselves. These impressions are strong in our expectations of living happily ever after, and when we finally find that object of our affection, it can be an overwhelming and profound experience. Sometimes when our first loves ends, it can feel like our whole world is ending too. Research at Stony Brook University revealed that the anguish of romantic rejection creates the same cravings as being on cocaine. No wonder you may feel like you’re going through withdrawal; and every recovering addict needs support during recovery. Find a confidant or support group to talk to; better yet, read this to learn eight things to do when getting over a hurtful relationship.

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      6. You looked to him/her for validation.

      It happens to the best of us: One day you’re a happily independent-thinking person; the next you find yourself crying in a dejected ball on the floor in the bedroom corner. What will you do, and what’s to become of you now? But what if you no longer needed the approval of your ex and, instead, were totally confident in your own skin? It’s hard when you’ve invested so much time and energy into a relationship only to see it end. But the harsh truth is this: you are enough and you don’t need another person’s affection to prove this. If you can truly get this one concept, you’ll be so irresistible, you’ll barely keep from dating yourself.

      7. He/She’s just not that into you (and that’s OK).

      We all have our preferences for different things (food, style, vacation spots, etc.). And if you’re honest, there are probably several people you’d prefer to spend your Saturday night with over others. This doesn’t automatically make those others undesirable people, does it? Of course not. Well, the same goes for you. Just because you’re not one person’s preference doesn’t mean a thing about you; it just speaks to their preference. You, on the other hand, have plenty of fans. Why not give one of them a call and meet for coffee this week? You may be glad you did.

      8. You’ve romanticized the whole thing.

      romanticize; couple on pier

        It’s easy to remember only the good times when a relationship ends, but chances are you can identify plenty of things that weren’t ideal. If you find yourself only able to remember the good times, have a friend remind you of the challenges or complaints you had while you were together. Write these things down and then ask yourself these questions to snap yourself back to reality.

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        9. You want what you can’t have.

        If this one applies to you, chances are the person either a.) belongs to someone else, b.) is too young or too old for you, c.) lives in another state, country, or region or d.) has taken a vow of celibacy. Whatever the reason, the fact is they’re not available, and the more you focus on this, the more miserable you’ll be. Do yourself a favor: Shift your attention to what you can have, and go buy yourself your favorite dessert to take your mind off of things. (Hey, it always works for me.)

        10. You took them for granted.

        This is a tough one. If you believe that you let go of someone you truly cared about but took for granted, you might be having the worst reaction of all because, in your mind, if you had done things differently, you would be together today. Take heart: we all make mistakes. But if we’re wise we call them “learning experiences” and make sure we do things differently the next time around.

        11. Your beliefs are not necessarily the truth.

        We all believe something; some of us believe in angels, some of us believe in big business, and some of us believe in the Tooth Fairy. The thing to remember is that belief in itself is neither good or bad. So if you believe that you and your lost love were meant to be together and it’s causing you pain, recognize that you can choose to have a different belief. What if, for example, you believed that this relationship was the perfect set-up for the ultimate relationship on its way to you? Oh, the possibilities when you believe!

        12.You’re holding yourself back from happiness.

        You deserve every happiness that life has to offer. The fact that you’re hurting so badly only proves that you don’t feel the way you know you’re supposed to feel, which is not crummy. Try this: recall a time when you were extremely happy or at peace before this person came into your life. What were you focused on? What activities were you involved in? What contribution were you making to the world? Answer these questions, and you’ve got a blueprint for getting your groove back and moving into happy. Or try something new that you’ve always wanted to do and read this to perk yourself back up.

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        13. Everything will be OK.

        Everything will be OK

          Believe it or not, the earth won’t stop spinning on it’s axis, your heart won’t stop beating, and you will be OK. If you allow it to, time can be your best friend when you’re getting over a relationship. Spend some much-deserved time loving yourself and appreciating all of the good things in your life right now. Make a list and rehearse it each time your default turns to thoughts of your ex, or put yourself in the space of others who are less fortunate than you to give yourself some perspective on how good your life really is. The truth is you’re not the first person to have a hard time getting over a past relationship, and you won’t be the last. Just remember to breathe; everything will be OK.

          Featured photo credit: Logan Adermatt via unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2019

          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

          Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

          In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

          Step right up, don’t be shy!

          Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

          The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

          Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

          Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
          So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

          A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

          Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

          Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

          When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

          Culturally Conditioned

          We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

          I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

          The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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          Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

          Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

          Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

          1. Broadens Your Network

          After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

          2. Improves Your Communication Skills

          I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

          Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

          3. Continually Learning

          So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

          Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

          4. Increases Self Confidence

          Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

          Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

          So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

          How to Talk to Strangers

          Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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          1. Say Hello

          Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

          Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

          Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

          2. Ask About Them

          Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

          You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

          As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

          3. Just Do It

          One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

          When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

          Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

          4. Don’t Take It Personal

          One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

          When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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          5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

          I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

          One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

          6. Detach

          A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

          Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

          7. Share Your Stories

          Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

          To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

          So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

          8. Give a Compliment

          Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

          When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

          9. Relax Your Body Language

          If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

          When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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          If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

          10. Practice, Practice, Practice

          Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

          Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

          After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

          The Bottom Line

          As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

          There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

          Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

          Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

          More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

          Reference

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