“The broken hearted are the bravest among us—they dare to love.” ~Brené Brown, Rising Strong
Are you finished grieving your breakup and want to get over your ex once and for all?
Don’t get me wrong. Grieving is important. Actually, it’s imperative.
But there is such thing as grieving for too long. When we get stuck in a downward spiral of negativity it gets harder and harder to get out. Our guilt over the way things turned out and regret over what could have been become heavy burdens to carry.
I was there last year. After the toughest breakup of my life, I grieved in a not-so-healthy way. I lived with my ex-girlfriend for a month before moving out of our apartment. Every day I drank beer and smoked pot all afternoon in my ex-neighborhood’s park. At night, I cuddled with my ex-cat since we were breaking up, too.
Day after day, the same routine.
Until I finally got the kick in the rear end I needed. It came from a close friend. He sent me a blunt text message telling me to get off my ass and get back to living my life.
After that, I started paying attention to the limiting beliefs that had been holding me back, getting comfortable with their presence, and being curious about how I could get past them.
One of the biggest obstacles when we’re recovering from a breakup is getting over our limiting beliefs.
A limiting belief is something we tell ourselves so many times that it seems true, no matter how false it might be. Limiting beliefs creep into our lives like chronic back pain, until one day we accept them instead of trying to fix the problem.
Here are three limiting beliefs that are preventing you from moving on from your ex, and some tips to get past them.
1. “My ex was my soul mate.”
“But we were soul mates, kindred spirits. How can I move on knowing that I’ll never find someone like them again?!”
I get it. Many of us want to believe in fate, soul mates, and happy endings.
But this isn’t a Disney movie and you need to move on with your life.
I don’t say this to be callous. I say this because you need to hear it. Your friends and family can’t say it to you because they’re afraid of hurting your feelings. But I’m a stranger, and I want to give you the same kick in the butt that got me going.
Listen, you’re not totally wrong. Maybe your ex was your “soul mate.” But I think where we get confused is thinking we only have one soul mate on this planet.
What if we decided to believe we have multiple soul mates? What if we believed we have soul mates all over the world?
When I started to believe there could be other soul mates out there, I began to meet new, wonderful women who I made genuine connections with.
We have to keep in mind that some relationships have expiration dates. It’s not our fault or the fault of our partners. It is what it is. Sh*t happens and the world keeps spinning.
Soul mates, just like relationships, come and go. You have more soul mates out there, I guarantee it. But, if you stay locked up in your house watching Netflix, I also guarantee you’ll never find them.
2. “I deserve to feel guilty.”
“It’s my fault the relationship ended. I pushed them away. I didn’t know what I wanted but now I see I made a mistake. I can’t get over this guilt!”
I get it. Hindsight is always 20/20. You’re looking back and wishing you had made different decisions. But guess what? Unless you have a DeLorean and mad scientist, you can’t change the past.
I want to repeat that.
You. Can’t. Change. The. Past.
If you believe that, why aren’t you allowing yourself to move on?
Nothing good is going to come from beating yourself up over something that happened that can’t be changed.
Believe me when I say these next words:
You don’t deserve to feel guilty.
Even if you lied, cheated, or weren’t emotionally available to your partner, you don’t deserve to continue feeling guilty.
Sure, you should feel bad for a time. You screwed up. But you can’t take it back so it’s time to get over it.
If you were a crappy partner, start asking yourself some tough questions. What needs weren’t being met in your relationship? Do you know what your needs are? Do you love yourself? Do you have healthy relationships with friends and family? What do you want more than anything in your life? What’s stopping you from getting it?
Sure, it would have been better if you could have talked to your partner about your true feelings and broken up before things fell apart, but that didn’t happen. C’est la vie.
Still, it doesn’t mean you deserve to feel guilty. You made mistakes, and that’s okay. That’s part of being an imperfect human.
If you feel guilty, look deep and see where that guilt is coming from. When you find the source you can start to find solutions. You’re single now. Take this time to work on you so the next time you get into a relationship, you’ll be confident not only that you’re with the right person, but you’ll also be confident in yourself and what you truly want.
3. “Love conquers all.”
“But there’s still love between us. How can I move on when I love my partner? All you need is love, right?”
When my ex and I broke up last year, without a doubt there was still love between us. But we knew our lives were moving in different directions, so we decided to break it off after five years together instead of growing resentful.
Our friends and families couldn’t figure it out. “If you guys still love each other, how can you not work it out?”
But we stuck with our decision despite the pushback. Now that I’m eight months out of the breakup, I’m still confident it was the right decision.
Here’s the thing:
Love does not conquer all. Love is not enough.
Boom! Did I just blow your mind? It’s like finding out frozen yogurt isn’t really good for you. How can that be, you say? Impossible!
Love is beautiful. Love makes us happy, fulfilled, and purposeful. When a relationship ends and there’s still love there, it’s hard to let go.
Still, as cliché as it is, it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. When we love someone else we learn so much about ourselves. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable, open, and true.
Just because you broke up doesn’t mean the love has to die. Let it be. Love that you loved and move forward. Staying stuck in the past because you believe love can save you is pointless.
Love isn’t a relationship savior; love is a relationship enhancement.
You will love someone else again even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. But if you don’t let go of your ex and start looking for love in new places (including self-love), you’re going to stay stuck for a very long time.
Limiting beliefs are tough to overcome, I know.
But if you’re reflecting on the three limiting beliefs I’ve mentioned or if other ones are coming up for you, then you’re taking the first step to overcoming them.
Once you know they exist you can take action. And when you start to take action you’ll begin to move forward. I promise.
Breakups are brutal. But if you’re tired of grieving and ready to move forward with your life, remember to take it one day, one step, one choice at a time.
Make the choice to go out with a friend for dinner instead of staying home feeling sorry for yourself.
Make the choice to go to the gym instead of creeping your ex on Facebook.
Make the choice to read a book like Rising Strong instead of drinking beer and smoking pot all day.
Getting over a breakup is a choice.
I believe you are capable of moving forward with more confidence, purpose, and authenticity than you’ve ever had.
But it’s going to take hard work to get past your limiting beliefs.
Are you up for the challenge?
About Eric Ibey
Eric Ibey is a speaker, adventurer, and storyteller. He is the creator of the Breakup Challenge, which has helped hundreds of people let go and move on after a tough breakup or divorce. Eric lives in Montreal, Canada.