How do you feel after a breakup
What does it actually mean to “focus on yourself” after a breakup?
One of the basic rules after the end of the relationship is that both parties should “focus on themselves first”. For many, however, this only means not to enter into a new relationship for the time being. Couples therapist Esther Boykin says, however, that this is actually about something else. If you feel like you've lost or neglected parts of your personality during the relationship, it can be very helpful to focus on yourself after the breakup. But how does it work? Do you have to delete the dating apps and become a hermit now? Do you have to write all your thoughts in a diary from now on until you finally understand your life? Fortunately not. Focusing on yourself is only half as difficult as it sounds.
First of all, you should divide your life into four areas: relationships, physical well-being, mental state (this includes your emotional health and anything that stimulates you intellectually), and a purpose in life or the feeling of belonging to a group. Then you should think about which of these areas are doing really well and which ones could use a little help. Boykin says: "If you specifically choose an area that you would like to devote yourself to more in the next few weeks, the task is quite manageable." Then you can think about concrete steps to advance the area that needs it most or improve.
For example, if you've always wanted to learn a foreign language or volunteer, but couldn't find time to tackle the project during your relationship, you can take your chance now. Or maybe you just want to spend more time with your family or friends in the future. If you've mostly met your friends for drinks up to now, you could now suggest that you do something creative together, set up a book club or spend time together in nature. If any of these things make you feel good, that's great. Because that's the whole secret: you concentrate on yourself. Boykin emphasizes: "Taking care of yourself doesn't necessarily mean doing things on your own."
And people who are in a relationship can also concentrate on themselves. According to the couple therapist, it happens all too quickly to get lost in the needs of your partner. “Especially when people get into the phase of relationships in which their everyday life is intertwined, many stop thinking about the new things they would like to learn or experience for themselves.” That is why Boykin advises to always pay attention to a balance between To create 'I' and 'we' and to structure the coexistence in such a way that you have enough time to both be alone and to consciously spend time with others. A bit like on a plane with the oxygen masks: only when you have taken care of yourself can you help others.
Also, during this process, it is important to realize that "it is very seldom the case that what you need is the opposite of what you have," as Boykin put it. This means that the solution to your relationship problems is not to never be in a relationship again. Or that you don't have to hang out with people all the time after a breakup when you're actually more of the type who likes to spend time alone. Or the other way around, that you don't have to sit at home alone and brood over the end of your relationship, even though you are otherwise an extrovert. "Try to spend more time doing activities that you enjoy most or that make you feel particularly comfortable," advises the couples therapist. In other words, do what feels good to you.
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