He left and I was literally broken, because I honestly didn’t know who I was without him. I’m sure that strikes a cord with many of you. I mean in all honestly who hasn’t been in a relationship where you have basically sold and sacrificed your soul for love (even if the “love” was pretty crappy to begin with).
I was asked this question recently, how do I love myself after getting my heart broken and torn apart by men? Or boys as she referred to them. I thought about the question for a while and I was going to create a stereotypical type blog post that gives you tips on how to rebuild yourself after a breakup. However, I’ve read those blog posts before, seriously Google them, there are plenty out there and don’t get me wrong they are helpful but I don’t think you should ever have to rebuild yourself after a relationship because we should really have never lost ourselves anyway. I think what’s more important is continuing to build you and your identity throughout the relationship.
My now fiancé and I broke up almost 5 years ago and it was one of the most traumatic breakups I have ever experienced. I spiraled out of control, the grief was so overwhelming I remember lying in bed with my head on my sister’s chest and I was just sobbing. I remember wishing that he would just come back and take that pain away. I remember crying myself to sleep at night and waking up the next morning, just wishing that the breakup was a dream. I was so bad that my mum ended up paying for me to go to Bali for a week to get myself back together again. Now the breakup wasn’t traumatic because he was a bad person (I mean I wouldn’t be marrying him now if he was) but like I said before – the break up was traumatic because I had lost my whole self throughout the relationship, I had literally given up everything I knew about myself to be someone else for him. So when he left, fuck – I was broken because I didn’t know who I was or how to live without him.
Breakups are always going to be painful, when you lose someone that you love, that you have invested lots of time and energy into, it’s going to hurt like hell when there not there anymore. But I believe that, that real depth of despair pain and grief that we experience, is really because we have identified ourselves so much with another person that we don’t know who we are or how to survive without them. After much thought, I don’t believe the question should be how to love yourself after getting your heart torn apart and broken. I think the question is how do we continue to build and honour our own identity and love ourselves through relationships, so if the relationship is ever to end we only grieve the loss of the individual not the loss of ourselves.
So how do we continue to build and honour our own identity and love ourselves through relationships?
First things first, it’s really important to know who you are before you even enter into a relationship, like the old saying goes, you must love yourself before anyone else can love you. I feel that as women there is so much pressure to be in just any relationship for the sake of not being on our own and being in a relationship becomes more important than, what we value, what we stand for and what we believe.
So, what are your values?
What do you stand for?
What do you believe in?
You do need to be very clear on those things.
The time that Chris and I spent apart, I really got to re-know and rebuild my sense of self and when it came to the time that we decided to get back together, I laid all my cards on the table and I remember saying to him, “If you don’t like this about me, you know where the door is and if you leave, I’ll miss you but I know I’ll be okay without you”.
Secondly, continue to honour those parts of yourself throughout the entire relationship, never lose sight of them. There will be times when your partner starts to challenge you on your values, what you stand for and what you believe in – don’t be afraid to SPEAK UP and challenge them.
Now I do believe there is healthy challenging where you pretty much agree to disagree and don’t give it much thought after that, but there is also challenging to the point where they are attempting to change you. Really know and be able to identify the difference between to the two – and if they are trying to change you.
Lastly, and it’s pretty cliché, but maintain your own life. I can’t even stress how important that is. Keep running your business, keep catching up with your girlfriends, keep your hobbies, and maintain your passion. Keep exercising; put simply keep doing the things that you love and the things that are represent who you are.
The goal isn’t how to rebuild yourself after a relationship, because the truth is – you should never lose yourself for the sake of someone else. The goal is to maintain who you are in the relationship, so if you’re ever faced with a breakup, in time once the grief passes, you know that you’ve got this and you’ll be okay.
The most important relationship in life, is the relationship with yourself.