Kris Drewry is the author of Breakup Positive: Turn Your Heartbreak Into Happiness, here’s what she had to say about:
Don’t ask all your friends for advice
Why? They are probably just as clueless as you are.
Drewry herself talks to a therapist. Therapists often are not as swayed by their own past experiences when listening, unlike many friends and family members.
Drewry is firm that you should trust yourself more than you trust others to know what’s right for you. And sure, sometimes you need to call your family to vent, but state your intentions upfront: “Say, ‘I just really need to get this out. I’m not looking for advice.’ It’s not being defensive, it’s not being rude.” It’s about creating boundaries and being explicit in how you need support.
Let go of control, without losing it
Drewry is a believer in the restorative power of throwing caution to the wind. For her, this phase included learning to surf; for others, it can be doing anything that’s scary and forces a relinquishing of control.
But, she acknowledged, there’s a need to draw a line in the sand between self-care and neglecting responsibilities — to others and to yourself. “There is a fine line between kind of kicking your heels up and having that wild phase, and hurting people,” Drewry said.
Wallow, but with clearly defined limits
Drewry takes a hard line and, for herself, enforces a one-day rule: Take one day to be angry, indulge and isolate (if that’s what you feel you need). But if you let that behavior bleed into a second day, it can easily become a way of living that causes you to spiral.
And speaking of spirals, Drewry has one more piece of tough love to offer: “You are the only one who can stop your own downward spiral.” Way harsh, but true.
Make a self-love list
When you are in a good place mentally, make a self-love list that you can go to when you feel down. This list is a recording of the activities that help you learn to love yourself again. It can be particularly helpful if, post-breakup, you’ve found yourself engaging in extreme behaviors or becoming self-destructive.
For Drewry, exercise, dining solo and travel were important entries on her list. When it comes time to make your own, write down the things that you love to do, particularly things you may usually feel guilty about doing. She also advises that you create a budget to fund your self-love activities.
Make some mistakes — on purpose
Casual dating, especially if you’re a person who finds yourself bounding from one serious relationship to the next, has its place in picking up the pieces after a breakup.
First, it gets you out of the house and away from binge eating. Also, if you’ve lost yourself in a relationship that wasn’t working, dating casually can help you figure out who you even are, because you’ll be explaining it over and over.
Drewry suggests approaching dates with an open mind and with no intention. “My expectation was it would be cool to meet different people from every walk of life, every age group, every different profession,” Drewry said of her own casual dating.
And keep it moving
She also points out that you’re bound to encounter some jerks along the way and that you should not fear that. They have lessons of their own to teach you, and the encounters may spur you into action, or they should.
When you find yourself in the company of someone who is rude, or mean, or simply who makes you feel bad, walk away. Don’t look back, just keep moving forward. That forward momentum will help you heal by helping you to get really clear on what you don’t want, and by reminding you that you have agency; you’re not merely a person to whom things happen.
Embrace your part
In her own life, Drewry made a list what she felt she had done wrong in her marriage. She didn’t want to be a victim. In the wake of a divorce or breakup, or even a difficult-but-necessary separation from a friend, she wants you to find empowerment in taking responsibility for your part and asking: What am I going to do about it?
“The hard stuff in your life defines you,” she said. “You can use it as a crutch and say, ‘Oh poor me this happened to me,’ or you can use it as an empowering thing and say, ‘I’m going to learn from this and I’m going to be better from it.’”
The New York Times