Valentine’s Day and other special occasions after a breakup can be difficult, but what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way? What if I told you that you could approach post-divorce life in a new and powerful way that is non-traditional, empowering, creative, and full of love, purpose, and meaning? Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you.
As a certified divorce coach and relationship expert, I have some expert advice to help you navigate these big days post-breakup and show you how to fall in love with yourself again. And, trust me, you won’t need a dating app or a wingman to do it.
Getting over a breakup takes time, so be patient with yourself
First things first, it’s important to remember that healing takes time. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not over your ex by Valentine’s Day or your first anniversary apart. The only person you should be in a rush to impress is yourself. So, give yourself the time and space you need to grieve and heal. And if that means taking a break from social media, mutual friends or anything that reminds you of your ex, then do it.
Learn how to love yourself again after a breakup
Next, focus on self-care. Treat yourself like the royalty you are. Book a massage, take a bubble bath, or invite yourself out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. Dress your kids up and take them out to your favorite place and show them how it feels to be on a special date. I do this with my kids on my birthday every year to teach them that it’s important to celebrate yourself, too, just as it is to celebrate someone else. Whatever makes you feel good, brings you joy and holds meaning, then do it. And don’t be afraid to splurge a little. Remember, you deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion, including showing kindness and compassion toward yourself. Trust me, you’ll feel better about it.
Valentine’s Day 2.0: create a new tradition post-breakup
This Valentine’s Day, instead of sitting at home feeling sad, lonely, and sorry for yourself dwelling on what once was, go out and make new memories of what IS. Take yourself out on a date, go to a concert, a comedy club, a movie, sit at the bar at a new restaurant, pick something out for yourself at your favorite store, bake a cake for your kids or have a Palentine’s Party and invite your besties over to celebrate your platonic friendships and how much you appreciate them in your life. Volunteer at a local charity, buy flowers for a stranger and leave them on their car with a note, or write a love letter to yourself about all the ways you are proud of the person you are and all of the qualities you admire most in yourself.
Pay love forward with acts of kindness
But self-care isn’t all about pampering yourself. It also means pouring into others and giving back. One of the most powerful ways to feel purposeful and to feel love is to show and give love to others. This could mean the people you cherish most in your life, outside of any intimate partner relationship: your kids, a parent, a sibling, a bestie, a pet, or even a stranger (appropriately, of course!). When we spread acts of kindness into the world, we are filled with a sense of purpose and meaning – a powerful “pay it forward” kind of love.
Don’t dwell on the past, look toward the future
A big part of healing after a breakup is learning to shift gears. This may mean letting go of the past – of old memories, rituals, possessions, celebration spots, traditions or even people who may be reminders of the relationship. Instead of dwelling on what you’ve lost, focus on what you have right now. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have when you’re not waiting for someone else to plan your night (and often leave you feeling disappointed, by the way…). Not today, my friend. Today, you get to be in charge. You get to pour love into life on your terms, and in return, that will shower love and gratitude into you.
Celebrate love everyday
I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day person, but what about anniversaries, you say? Anniversaries can be especially tough after a breakup, especially the first one on your own. But why let that stop you from celebrating? Just because you’re not with your ex anymore doesn’t mean you can’t honor that day as meaningful in your life and celebrate the milestone anyway. However, it does mark a successful experience in your life because it was a success for the time it lasted. So, instead of seeing this as a day of sadness and heartbreak, celebrate the anniversary of the day you became you again. Your rebirth, you are redefined you – Version YOU 2.0. That’s right, celebrate the day you became independent and strong.
Who needs an anniversary or a single day on the calendar designed to remind us to love when you can celebrate your love for yourself and the things that matter in your life every day? Life isn’t a “Jerry Maguire” movie; no one completes us. We are whole and worthy of love all by ourselves; every day we are alive is worthy of celebrating that love.