Most of us have experienced the loss of a relationship and its jarring effects on us physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Sometimes it’s a feeling of unbearable loss and confusion. We become sad, distressed, lonely, and often angry. It can feel like the end of the world. The impact of this loss is magnified because as one becomes two, that couple becomes closer over time, their lives more entwined. Our personal and intimate relationships directly affect and influence many other aspects of our lives so when that changes, everything else changes with it. However, all is not lost.

Although there is no ‘one’ magical answer on how to move on past your breakup, there are things you can do help you get through this painful time, get you on the path of recovery, and feeling optimistic again about your future.

1.) Take time. Although it has been suggested that people ‘get right back on the horse again’ and start dating – as a way to move past your last relationship and feel better about yourself – I am not a fan of this direction. I see more good from giving yourself some time and space before you rush back into dating again. Time spent out of a relationship and focusing on yourself provides the opportunity for clarity and introspection, rendering a more objective viewpoint about the relationship. It also allows you to take a step back, evaluate, and decide if this is yet another relationship that sounds and feels like the others. Looking for patterns can help prevent future relationship mistakes. Time affords you that opportunity.

2.) Take stock. With introspection, you can answer questions such as: What did you learn from the relationship? What are your take always? What would you have done differently? What were some of your struggles that you brought to the relationship that might have contributed to its ending? There are always take always and opportunities for growth when a relationship ends – even if it doesn’t feel that way in the beginning. Taking the time to ‘take stock’ of what happened will help you move forward. When a relationship ends, we think, what’s next? Where do I want to be? Where do I see myself? What have I learned? What would you do differently, if anything? What do you need to do to move on? For some, during this process they realize that there are positive aspects of the break-up as well such as relief, freedom, empowerment, and optimism for the future. Use the opportunity and let it open you to a life you didn’t think would be possible.

3.) Purge. Get that person off your social media! No more following on Twitter, FB, Instagram. Delete the pictures, the emails, and text messages. I remain amazed at what people keep and how often they continue to look at these images long after the relationship has ended. Consider the level of pain just looking at those pictures and messages inflict and how it keeps you stuck in the past instead of moving forward to the future. Ask yourself, why do I continue to torture myself? Some people don’t want to cut them out of their social media life so you can create a fascade of happiness in hopes that they will see you.

4.) Indulge yourself. Explore those things, read books, reconnect, visit places that you might have put on the back burner. Expand your knowledge. Take up a new hobby. Revisit an old one. Be open to new things, people, experiences.

5.) Accept the roller coaster ride. Don’t think that getting over a relationship will be easy. It won’t be! But, that doesn’t mean it has to consume all your waking minutes of everyday. Accept that yes, it will feel like you have been to h*ll and back and then around again, but the ride does eventually become less bumpy. And remember, there can be positive aspects of your break-up such as relief, freedom, empowerment, and optimism for the future. Don’t give up!

We have many relationships that will come and go throughout our life until we have one that ends all that. But until then, recognize that the ending of a relationship is painful – but what we do with it, how we grow, and move on from it, is critical. Remember, an ending is also a new beginning. A beginning of finding love again, a continued belief in yourself, your ability to overcome heartache, and knowing that love will undoubtedly come around again.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself!

This blog originally appeared on HuffPostDivorce

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