Breakups can be a tender time. We’re surrounded by images that the end of a romantic relationship, but how do we make space for breakups that don’t fit that narrative?
The assumption that so much of our lives should be centered on romantic relationships and partnerships can be beautiful, but can also push toxic assumptions that make us prioritize romance over other equally important parts of ourselves.
With that thinking, there’s no surprise that breakups are often painted as nothing but devastating.
It’s true that breakups can be heartbreaking and cause a sharp shift in how we view ourselves and the world around us, but not always. Sometimes, they are simply reminders that we, as individuals, are enough; that our healing can be as simple as rediscovering our relationship to ourselves is the most important one that we can embark on.
Of course, this can be easier said than done. Immediately post-breakup, we’re often caught in a rapture of complex emotions. We want to scream, or cry, or eat comforting food and wallow in the depths of our emotions. And that’s ok. We should create space for ourselves to do that. But rising from that, our healing can take more productive forms.
I’ve thought a lot about how to navigate this space for myself, following a breakup with a person that left me feeling resentful, embarrassed, and small. But once the ebbs of my anger subsided, I was left with the realization that this relationship’s end wasn’t a mark of my character or a sign that I had done anything wrong. I wasn’t unworthy of love because this person believed that we were no longer compatible and didn’t want to see me anymore. The end of this didn’t mean the end of all things; in fact, there was a transformative nature that I begun to lean into when I processed the ways that this breakup could help me.
We measure the relationships we hold with ourselves in different ways. For me, healing from this breakup meant paying special attention to how I relate to myself. I thought about the ways that I thought about being a lover, and how I celebrated being my own lover. I cried and meditated and indulged in comforting practices. But there was also the embracing of how grief can take different forms when a romantic relationship ends that helped me feel like a person again. It was in wearing lingerie around my apartment, catching glimpses of myself doing mundane everyday things in clothings that society tells us that is meant to be alluring for others, that I thought about the power sensuality has to heal us.
This feeling is mine, is just for me, I thought. And that’s okay.
I don’t feel a rush to find myself in a partnership anytime soon.
I think I’m just enjoying the feeling of embracing this quiet power that has resided in me this whole time, and that has helped me overcome what society tells us should be one of the most trying times of our lives. Forcing myself to dress and done myself in clothings that was once reserved to seduce others reminds me that when we find our spirits shifting; that we begin to pick up the pieces of what truly serves us and feel the courage to start again. These situations are a blessing in disguise for us because they force us to let go and shed what no longer fits, what no longer moves to bring out the best in ourselves.
Embrace that power, lean into it, and let it guide you.