We’ve all felt it at one time or another: the gut-wrenching pain of the end of a relationship. Whether it’s the demise of a romance or the end of a close friendship, a breakup can take a significant toll on our self-confidence and make us question our value. Fortunately, with the right approach, it’s possible to shake those feelings, get back to ourselves again and even grow from the experience.
We reached out to Lisa Brookman, a clinical psychotherapist, and Elizabeth Wiener, an educator who lives with depression and anxiety, for their advice on getting your confidence back. The consensus? You need to get busy, tend to your interests, and discover new hobbies. (This also happens to be the secret to a successful marriage.)
Breakups have always been a hot topic in my psychotherapy practice. From divorces to family riffs, the end of any significant relationship can have serious consequences on mental wellness. But you’re not doomed to be stuck in a black hole. It is possible to restore your confidence and feel whole once again.
One of the most common feelings that arises after a breakup is an intense sense of loneliness and isolation. Once you’ve become used to having someone by your side, the loss of a partner can bring up a conspicuous sense of emptiness. This is a great time to call on your resources and book social activities with friends and family. The space will feel less empty if you fill it with people who love you and remind you of your value.
Another resource to tap: therapy. Talking about your feelings with a therapist can help you challenge the negative self-talk and guide you to a place of strength and acceptance.
Instead of becoming stuck in a pattern of self-blame and criticism, learn to love yourself again. Find activities that make you feel purposeful and accomplished. Challenge yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. There’s no better way to boost your resilience and self-confidence and remind yourself of how awesome you are!
The recent demise of a close friendship left me reeling. It wasn’t an amicable breakup, and her final words were like a knife in my heart. They made me question my worth and shook my sense of confidence. It took some time, but with hard work and determination, I finally got my groove back.
Instead of disparaging my former friend and focusing on the negatives of the relationship, I tried to embrace what it taught me. I found gratitude in the lessons I learned about myself and what I would and would not accept in future relationships.
During our final conversation, I was so blindsided by her harsh words that I found myself at a complete loss. The fact that I wasn’t able to express myself left me feeling resentful and frustrated. Instead of risking another conversation, I chose a different path. I’ve always expressed myself best in writing, and composing a letter to my ex-friend (that I never sent) helped me deal with unresolved feelings and find much-needed closure. Putting my emotions on paper was healing and helped me feel empowered.
The loss of a close friend created a void that felt cold and lonely. But filling that space with meaningful outlets and activities allowed me to broaden my horizons, meet new people and rediscover passions (like gardening, which has so many health benefits) that I hadn’t visited in years. I reconnected with some old friends, volunteered for a mental health organization and made time for self-care. Giving back and putting myself on the priority list helped me feel back to myself.
Elizabeth Wiener is an educator who lives with depression and anxiety. Lisa Brookman is a clinical psychotherapist based in Montreal. Together, they form WiseWomenCanada.com. Check them out on Instagram @wisewomencanada.
Next, here’s how to look and feel more confident through body language.