Closure is overrated. Yes- I said it! We hear so much talk about closure, what exactly it means and how to get it as quickly as possible. Closure is often viewed as something that we have to wait for someone else to give us. With this traditional definition of closure, it feels like closure is not within our power, that it is not certain we can get it, and feels like it could take forever. I want to move away from the idea that closure is something that we get from our ex or someone else, and empower our readers to feel that they can truly create their own closure if they wish to. Below are 3 ways to begin the road to creating your own closure after a breakup.
1. Take good care of yourself
We do not need to wait for someone else’s permission to take care of ourselves. Attending to our own needs and tuning into what is good for our mind, body, and soul is an important part of healing and creating closure. Often when we are sad after a breakup, it can feel harder to do things that feel good, or perhaps we are used to leaning on our ex to feel better. It is now crucial that we become aware of and willing to meet our own needs. Taking care of ourselves can look a few different ways. It could be a social media break, eating healthy and drinking lots of water, moving our bodies more, not watching TV or listening to music that is triggering. All of these things are things that we have full agency over and all put us on the path to bettering our mental and emotional wellbeing.
2. Challenge negative beliefs and thoughts
If we listen closely, we may become aware of all the chatter that goes on in our brains post-breakup. We may spend time wondering what our ex is doing, assuming what they are thinking, running through what we could have done differently, and beating ourselves up for what we did or did not do. Its crucial to not let these thoughts take on a life of their own. An important part of closure is challenging the hurtful thoughts and beliefs we may deduce from the end of a relationship. Often we think that talking to our ex or hearing from them will allow us to get the information we need, however so much of the information swirling are thoughts that we make up, and are ones that our ex cannot actually take away for us. For example, if we were broken up with and we see a photo of our ex with someone else, we may assume things like “they never loved me”, “they are over me”, “I'm not good enough”, etc. We think that hearing from our ex may clear up or confirm these thoughts. But so often, we do not get what we truly want or need from our ex. We are the ones that have the power to change our thoughts and to begin feeling differently, and by doing that we begin to create the closure we so often desire.
3. Decide what moving forward looks like for you
Moving forward does not have to mean dating again or being ready to date if that’s not what you want. Moving on can mean and look different for everyone. Moving on can mean re-prioritizing friendships, spending more time on your hobbies, getting into an interest you have been putting off, traveling more, etc. If we get clear on what moving on means for us, it can make it much more tangible and empowering. If moving on means ‘feeling better’ we can write down the things that make us feel good and do more of those. Breaking up these bigger phrases like ‘moving on’ and ‘closure’ into more concrete ideas can feel like a relief and something that we can accomplish, leading to more confidence and higher self-esteem. Take a moment and get clear on what ‘moving on’ means for you. Write it down and begin thinking about what steps can help you get there!
It is so important for us to understand that we have the power to shift our energy and brain chemistry! We have four main brain chemicals that are responsible for our happiness and our energy levels. They can be referred to as our ‘feel-good’ hormones and they are: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Below are descriptions of each and ways we can naturally create more of them in our brain. When we are going through hard times (a breakup being a big one!) it is especially important to get intentional about creating more feel-good chemicals in our brain.
Dopamine: activated by pleasure and reward
Ways to activate: Listen to your favorite song, dance, set a small goal (even setting an alarm and going on a walk) and reach it!
Serotonin: activated by mood, behavior, appetite, sleep
Ways to activate: Sit in the sun, create a gratitude list, walk outside, take a deep breath
Oxytocin: Activated by physical touch
Ways to activate: Hug a friend or shake someone’s hand, if you can’t hug a friend- hug yourself! Studies show giving ourself a hug or rubbing our own arm also activates oxytocin
Endorphins: activated by working out, increasing heart rate
Ways to activate: Exercise, run, belly laugh!