There’s STILL another step you might feel is insurmountable.
How do you build your self-worth after a relationship has ended?
Even though you may know that a breakup hurts and takes time to process, it doesn’t make it any easier for your heart!
There could be many reasons why your sense of self-worth isn’t at its best:
You wonder if you’re damaged goods in one way or another.
You wonder if bad luck is why you just can’t seem to be in a stable, happy relationship.
You wonder if there’s something wrong with you when you see all of your friends and relatives coupled.
You can’t imagine opening up yourself to someone and having your heart broken again.
You envision yourself dying alone and unloved at the rate you’re going.
That’s the reason for this post today, which outlines some steps you can follow to regain your self-esteem after breaking up with someone who meant the world to you.
* Editor's Note: Listen to Joc Marie narrate “How To Re-Discover Your Identity After A Relationship Split” in Episode 521 of Optimal Relationships Daily. If you're a new listener, check out all the shows in the Optimal Living Daily podcast network!
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1. Shift the focus back onto yourself.
If you bent over backwards to try to please your partner in your previous relationship, this is your golden opportunity to reclaim your life and define it on your terms.
Do the things that truly bring you joy and inspire you.
You want to rediscover what life means to you. Have you put any travel, social, or career goals on the backburner? Now’s the time to evaluate your options and freely explore what makes your heart sing.
2. Stop thinking of what things could have been.
As one of the experts mentioned in our article on getting over a painful breakup, it’s pointless to fantasize about what your relationship could have been.
Acknowledge what you learned from the relationship, but see it for what it is.
There must have been some very real reasons that made you or your partner unhappy in the relationship. A good relationship won’t take a toll on your self-worth.
Goals and priorities need to be aligned for a relationship to have a shot at long-term success. No amount of wishing or dreaming will make a relationship what you want it to be if your core values aren’t aligned with your partner’s.
3. Be gentle on yourself.
You might be an overachiever, but the post-breakup phase is a difficult time of transition where you can be gentler on yourself. You’re adjusting to a different lifestyle and maybe even a different outlook on life. Is it realistic to expect yourself to give everything your hundred percent under such circumstances?
Your world won’t collapse if you take a break or schedule in more quiet time to process your thoughts and feelings. In fact, it may be just the thing you need to reflect and emerge wiser and stronger than before.
4. Indulge your artistic senses.
Dig into your favorite music, art, and films — or discover new ones! These pursuits will help you get in touch with processing your emotions.
This is not a time to judge or justify your emotions and beat yourself down for “being irrational.” Just relax and let your creative side experience the themes or emotions from different forms of media. You may find yourself laughing or crying from stories you relate to, or feel better about your situation after realizing someone out there may really have a lot more drama going on in their relationships.
Feeling your feelings is part of self-knowledge and part of the healing process after a tough experience.
5. Explore and set your personal boundaries.
Knowing your personal boundaries is an act of self-respect which contributes to your self-worth.
Judith Belmont, mental health author and licensed psychotherapist, suggests the following as basic personal rights to protect your emotional space:
- Being able to say no without feeling guilty.
- Wanting to be treated with respect.
- Making your needs as important as others.
To be consistent with your boundaries, keep things simple and express them in a firm, calm manner. Be responsible for your reactions and as Dr. Laura Dabney shares in an upcoming Optimal Relationships Daily episode, remember that you aren’t responsible if others are disappointed by your standards.
Ask yourself if you’re living for yourself or to please others.
People will show you more respect once you establish clear and firm boundaries. It also gives you more room for people who are capable of better quality relationships.
6. Surround yourself with supportive people.
Don’t spend all your time with people who have unhealthy ways of coping with life.
Spending time with people who respect and like you for who you are will help remind you of your better qualities. It will build your confidence and sense of self-worth.
Pets can also be a great source of companionship and friendship! They won’t judge or make unrealistic demands of you.
7. Have an identity outside of a relationship.
Celebrate what you’re grateful for and set new life goals so you have an identity outside of a relationship.
Being mindful of who you are helps you maintain a healthy relationship with others. It will give you an inner compass when you do enter a romantic relationship, so that you and your partner can support each other without fear or controlling behaviors.
8. Read about happy single people.
There’s nothing wrong with being single if you enjoy the unrestricted freedom and autonomy it offers.
Far from the notion that single people are miserable, single people are commonly happy because of the freedom they’re able to enjoy.
HackSpirit has an article on 17 reasons why single people are happier and healthier.
So, if deep down you feel happy being by yourself, know that there’s nothing wrong with this. Being single gives you a lot more time and freedom to pursue your personal dreams and goals, which is a big priority to many who identify as happy singles.
9. Contribute to your future success and self-worth.
Be wise and observant with any dating that you do in the future.
As coach Evan Marc Katz shares in a previous episode, don’t try to negotiate a future too soon with a new partner. It takes lots of time to REALLY get to know someone. The right partner will enhance your life in numerous ways and both of you will be thankful for each other’s presence in your daily lives.
Above all, keep staying focused on your own definition of personal success so that you can consistently work towards making it a reality. The confidence you gain from living your own life will build a genuine sense of self-worth that nobody can take away from you.