How to Reclaim Your Self-Respect After a Bad Breakup: 5-Step Guide to Self-Empowerment

Breakups are hard. And no matter how many movies show us women getting over men, let’s be honest: those situations are rarely realistic and almost never show healthy coping mechanism and techniques. But ending a relationship – especially if the end was messy and hard – can leave us feeling broken and self-conscious. Well, chin up, girl! Let’s go through the five steps that will make you feel like a new woman ready to take on the world.

Words: Brigitte Evans

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1. Feel the Emotions

Repeat after me: it is okay to cry. We hear so much about how crying means weakness, and that there’s no reason to cry over an ex, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your emotions deserve to be felt and you need to give yourself permission to cry out all the tears you have, and then cry again. If you are angry, get angry. Go to a boxing class, and get the frustration out. Whatever emotions you have – let them out. Only then will you be able to heal. If you feel like you don’t want to face them alone, call someone you’re close to and tell them. Having a shoulder to cry on makes everything easier to handle and process.

2. Archive the Memories

We can’t move forward if we’re living in the past, and unlike getting over someone we never dated, your mind is probably full of memories of your relationship, both good and bad. It is time to move on, and that means you need to stop replaying those moments in your head. Do what you need to say goodbye to that part of your life: write a letter, create a scrapbook, or simply talk to someone. It’s important just to be realistic, and remember both the good parts and the bad ones.

3. Practice Self-Care

The first step to becoming your own woman is to feel healthy and happy in everyday life. After the initial few tubs of ice cream on the day of the breakup, make sure you are eating regularly and healthy, and that you are drinking enough water (extra if you’ve been crying a lot). Wake up in the morning and start the day with a morning ritual that makes you feel energised. After you get your day-to-day back on track, you should go on to treating yourself every now and then, just like your ex would. Take yourself out for dinner, coffee, or buy yourself some flowers. Buy some relaxing bath bombs and treat yourself to a stay-at-home spa & Netflix day. Simply, take good care of yourself.

4. Self-Affirmation

Oftentimes, after a breakup, we are left feeling stupid, worthless, ugly and incompetent. But you have to remind yourself that that isn’t true. And what better way to do that, than to practice saying self-affirming things to yourself? Take five minutes out of your morning to stand in front of your mirror and say good things about yourself and how much you love yourself. You might not believe it at first, and that’s fine. You might even think you look silly and laugh, and that is all great, because getting to the point where you believe every one of those words is a journey. And you are starting it right now.

5. Get Back in the Game

When you feel ready (and only then!), you should push yourself to get back into the dating world. It might not be easy, but realising that there are other people out there that are interested in you is an important part of the healing process. If you don’t want to deal with it in person, you can install a dating app, so you can see that people are interested, without the pressure to reply if you’re not ready. If you are going out, it’s a good idea to go with a group of friends, so that you’re not alone if everything gets a bit too overwhelming.

At the end of the day, the most important thing you have to remember is that one failed relationship doesn’t mean that you will never find love; it doesn’t mean that you are a failure and it most definitely doesn’t mean that you should feel bad about yourself. You need to keep your head high, focus on yourself and making your life the best possible adventure, regardless of who’s along for the ride!