She Broke Up With You. You’re Welcome.
A friend recently broke up with her long-term boyfriend because, well, he did not have his shit together.
He works at a job he hates and watches (by his own admission!) too much sports. On any given day, his general demeanor can be described as that of a human shrug emoji.
Now, on its face, nothing is wrong with that. Not really.
A lot of people prefer their fantasy team to Microsoft Teams.
My friend has a life she loves, one she’s worked hard to build and maintain. She’s climbed the ladder in an industry she’s passionate about, has lots of friends, and does charity work that helps her feel like she’s making a difference in this world.
Now, the breakup itself was shockingly amicable. He understood her reasons for the split, and they both wish each other well.
Unlike the recent Vanderpump Rules drama (here’s an explainer from the New York Times, of all places if you have no idea what I’m talking about), there was no cheating. No scandal.
They were just at different places in their lives.
He’s even keeping her updated on his progress to make tangible improvements in his life—a new therapist! Tackling a job hunt with vigor!
He took what was essentially a relationship exit interview and decided to make changes.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of the “We need to talk…” conversation, you understand the pivot point that the end of a relationship can be.
Maybe you know you need to overhaul an unhealthy lifestyle. Or get out of a social rut. Maybe you’ve got unresolved anger issues lurking inside you that come out in arguments with loved ones.
If any of that sounds like you, but you don’t know where to start, or you feel overwhelmed by the concept of personal growth or self-improvement, we’ve got you.
Below, 8 things to do when you get dumped:*
*that aren’t “bitch about your ex”
Start by taking some time to reflect on your life. On your strengths and your weaknesses.
Be honest with yourself and identify areas where you could improve.
If you recently went through a breakup, or have simply been fighting with a significant other recently, think about the accusations or talking points that hurt the most.
Were you called unmotivated? Angry? Inconsiderate?
Consider that feedback, and try untangling it with an objective, detached view.
Yes, even if it was delivered in a less-than-constructive way.
Think of self-improvement like gardening.
You wouldn’t be mad if a weed sprouted up in your raised beds in the backyard. You’d try to figure out how it got there, and come up with a plan on how best to remove it.
Next, set specific, achievable goals for yourself.
What do you want to change? Where do you think there is opportunity for growth in your life? Is it time for a new job? New meds? A new wardrobe?
Getting clear on how you want to be different a month or six months from now will help you stay focused and motivated as you work towards self-improvement.
Consider asking friends, family members, or a trusted mentor for a second opinion after a breakup.
Do they echo the pain points your ex pointed out?
When you get dumped, it’s easy to block out the reasons why. Work hard to understand, instead.
Listen to what your confidantes have to say, and use their feedback to make positive changes.
Read and learn
Expand your knowledge by reading books on self-improvement, listening to podcasts that expand your worldview, watching movies that push you outside your creative comfort zone.
It’s never too late to become more well-rounded and informed.
Take time each day to practice mindfulness. This could mean adopting a meditation practice, or simply setting a time for ten minutes of deep breathing exercises.
Dedicating time each day for mindfulness can help you become more centered and focused on your self-improvement goals.
Build healthy habits
When you’re tired, stressed, dehydrated, you’re not going to stay committed to progress.
Focus on implementing healthy habits, such as moving your body every day, eating foods that fuel you, and getting enough sleep.
Give back to your community by volunteering for a cause you care about. After a breakup, it’s easy to wallow in self-pity. Volunteering has the dual purpose of getting your mind off your ex, and giving you a boost of much-needed oxytocin.
Embrace new challenges
Step out of your comfort zone at work and ask for new responsibilities. Do the 75 Hard. You’ll be distracted from the breakup and grow your mental and physical muscles.
At the end of the day, relationships end for all kinds of reasons.
If you two simply weren’t a fit, that’s fine! But if any of the “exit interview” is nagging at you, take it as a sign it’s time to grow.
Self-improvement is, of course, a continuous, lifelong process. Stay committed, stay motivated, and keep pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself.