A breakup can feel like the pain of losing a loved one, and that sense of loss is real; when we break up with someone, we mourn the loss of that relationship and the hopes we had for it. No one wants to experience a breakup, but with the right tools and perspective, it can become a stepping stone to better understand yourself and understand how to manage your pain.
One of those often sought after tools for healing from a breakup is closure. By seeking closure, we’re ultimately seeking a story we can tell ourselves that helps us make sense of the situation. The first mistake people make is in feeling that closure lies with the other person; closure is not something you’re given, it’s something you give yourself. Learning to provide yourself with closure when you need it is a powerful skill that will serve you beyond just breakups. Here are some ways to find closure after a breakup.
Validate what you’re feeling for yourself.
There can be a strong impulse to make the other person understand how you feel and your perspective, but this is the trap of seeking closure where you won’t find it. Instead, give yourself the power to acknowledge how you feel. Accept that this other person cannot or will not understand you, and that’s okay — everyone need not understand you at all times.
Practice mindfulness to find acceptance.
So much of what makes a breakup painful is our desperation to escape that pain. Some experiences in life will always hurt, and a breakup is one of them. Catch yourself when that moment of pain wells up and your escape impulse flickers on. Take a slow breath and notice how you breathe in and out, and apply a sense of curiosity to the feelings that come up — is it sadness, resentment, anger, fear? Let the emotion be and just examine it. Remind yourself that a breakup isn’t something beyond your ability to overcome, and accept the process.
Remember both sides.
It’s hard to let go of a relationship when we have many pleasant memories we have with the person. You’ll remember their quirks you loved, you’ll think about all the interests you have in common, you’ll miss the way you joked together — accept it all but remind yourself it’s only half the story. You can have all those pleasant memories and commonalities and still know that this person was not right for you. Instead of thinking “but” when you remember the enjoyable parts, think “and” — yes, you experienced all those lovely moments, and the relationship didn’t work out. Hold both at the same time.
Going through a breakup pushes us to our limits. There are times you might feel crazy and desperate, but remember that you alone are the one who can create closure for yourself.