Break-ups are not known to be fun.
Whether it’s the end of a friendship, or the end of a romantic relationship, chances are we’ve all experienced the hurt of a breakup. Often, the pain can feel unending and we start believing no good will ever come from it. But in reality, breakups have gotten a bad rep. In fact, a break-up offers the perfect opportunity for self-development and growth.
Author Cate Gennaro realized this after trying to figure out who she was after her own break-up. In an effort to rediscover herself, Cate picked up a sketchbook and began to write her own motivational prompts. Continuing to illustrate and write day by day, Cate began to love the person she was becoming – or rather, the person that was hidden beneath the identity attachment she formed to her exes.
“Heartbreak is a universal theme throughout life, but learning how to ground yourself, and re-center yourself, is something that is not always explicitly taught.”
After showing her sketchbook to friends, many expressed the desire to have had similar tools while they went through their own breakups. As a result, The Happy Break-up was born.
Next time you’re going through a breakup, and you’re ready to rediscover yourself outside of the relationship, Cate suggests these three tips for how you can best grow after a breakup.
Here’s how to grow after a breakup:
1) Create your own identity.
Quite often, we forge our identity based off the people we spend our time with. A relationship often shapes and molds our understanding of who we are, sometimes to the point where we no longer know who we are without that other person.
“Don’t be afraid to create your own identity and your own narrative for your life,” says Cate. “Recreate your identity as often as your want to. You don’t owe it to anyone to be the same person you were yesterday – do what makes you happy!”
Ask yourself who you want to be and write it out or draw your vision of who you are. Putting your identity to paper is the first step to making it a reality.
2) Feel your emotions.
Secondly, Cate encourages everyone to take the time they need to go through the range of emotions and through processes that come after a breakup. Don’t listen to the advice of “getting back in the game” and start dating again before you’re ready. “If you continuously repeat that habit, you’ll lose sense of your own identity pretty quickly,” says Cate.
In fact, Cate points out that properly feeling your emotions will allow you to mentally process the personal development opportunities better in the end. “There comes a time, though, when something just clicks, and you’re done grieving and you just want your old self back – or a new and improved self. That’s when the fun begins!”
3) Lean on your friends.
We all need support and love, especially after a breakup. Lean on your girl gang as you process your emotions and rediscover who you are. “These are the bonding moments that can last a lifetime,” said Cate. “Even when you’re clawing your way out of the deepest heartbreak, you’ll always remember the friend that came by with a pint of ice cream and a box of tissues.”
These exercises, and the exercises in The Happy Break-up, won’t erase the heartache from the loss of a relationship, but they will allow you to become a stronger, more confident person as a result.
As Cate shares, “Heartbreak is a universal theme throughout life, but learning how to ground yourself, and re-centre yourself, is something that is not always explicitly taught.”
This post was originally published on GenTwenty.