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How to Maintain Self-Worth After a Breakup

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent three decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.

The more painful the breakup, the more we tend to focus on what we lost instead of what we still have. However, throughout the stages of disappointment, grief and anger at losing the love relationship, self-worth should be among the values we focus on maintaining.

Think positive thoughts about yourself.

Think positive thoughts about yourself.

Self-worth (synonym of self-esteem) is “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect1.” It requires that instead of blaming ourselves, we accept responsibility for our contribution to the break-up and forgive ourselves.

Maintaining our self-worth is also worth losing the desire for revenge. It helps us keep a level head. It empowers us to put our efforts into moving forward, instead of trying to keep back the other person.

While we process the accepting and forgiving up to the point where we manage our emotions effectively, the following ideas will help keep our self-worth intact.

(1) Take Care of Yourself

Take charge. As with any other significant loss, the loss of a relationship is stressful. Dr. Sheri Meyers, Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA, suggests a holistic approach2 involving four core areas to help us take care of ourselves and manage our recovery.

  • Physical: Avoid the abuse of food and drugs (meditate, not medicate), choose nutritious foods, get adequate sleep and exercise.
  • Emotional: Cry, write, self-talk or whatever it takes to deal with feelings rather than ignore them. Keep company with people who uplift the spirit.
  • Mental: Focus on pleasant thoughts and speak calming affirmations.
  • Spiritual: Practice gratitude to change the mood from gloomy to happy. Practice generosity, which gives a feeling of empowerment.

The alternative is an out-of-control situation in which we may try to avoid pain by making rash decisions: rushing into another relationship to prove self-worth; or crazy spending on clothes, entertainment or travel as an antidote to loneliness.

Self-worth sparkles if we pass the test in patience, self-control, and wisdom. Get help, if necessary from a trustworthy source; don’t neglect divine help.

(2) Lose the Regret

It is normal to experience some regret, but it could be disastrous to get stuck in it. Regret recognizes that different choices would have produced a different outcome.

In a situation where we can alter the choices, regret may have a positive payoff; but when two people have decided to end a relationship, they have most likely tried and failed to rework the situation.

Because regret looks backward, it has to be managed in the interest of personal progress.

  • Does looking back at the relationship make the individual feel foolish, miserable, humiliated, hopeless? Those feelings can sabotage self-worth. They need to be replaced with resolutions for restoration.
  • Does looking back present an opportunity to learn from the experience? Then extract whatever lessons can be learned and move forward.
Celebrate your values.

Celebrate your values.

(3) Celebrate Your Values

Suppose an old love letter from an ex-sweetheart or ex-husband surfaces. It contains expressions of love and reasons that he loved you — your charm, friendly personality, humor, kindness and the other attractive virtues. Would you read it?

Those words boosted your sense of worth the first time you read them. Your concern should be whether they are still true; most likely they are because character assets are among the things you do not lose.

Whenever your ex comes to mind—through a letter, a Facebook photo, or an actual glimpse, focus on the values you still have despite losing the relationship. Train your mind to celebrate the essence of who you still are. Think of your value as higher, not lower, for having survived adversity.

(4) Maintain Good Judgment

The mistakes you made in entering or ending the relationship are unfortunate; but what about the mistakes you did not make? Didn’t you reject some ideas which could have produced more damaging results? Because of your good judgment, the worst did not happen.

Continue to do things which feed your sense of worth:

  • Stop caring about what the other person is doing and with whom; dismiss excuses to check his or her Facebook page and drool over photographs; spend the time adjusting your schedule to accommodate new activities and events.
  • Resist the temptation to talk about the other person's flaws; tell your friends who ask for an explanation of the breakup that like so many other relationships, things did not work out for yours.
  • You do not have to show up at all the functions you used to attend together, with all the friends you both share; but when you do, be pleasant.
  • Be civil to your ex if your paths ever cross; give the kind of respect you deserve, whereby establishing your respectability.

Loving, Letting Go, Moving On

(5) Get Back on Track

The American Psychological Association (APA) offers counsel on rebounding3 after a life-changing experience. They believe that after struggling with any kind of loss, people grow stronger. They learn something about themselves, develop spirituality, find better relationships and experience an increased sense of self-worth.

The APA suggests a daily answer to the following question:

"What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"

— APA

Although you are the primary beneficiary of your survival, there are other people in your sphere of influence who will be inspired by your resiliency. Share with them who you are and what you can do; not what happened to you (except for the purpose of empowering them).

Your aim is not only to survive the breakup, but to allow the lessons you learned from it to make you better and wiser, and help you advance. What begins feeling like a loss could become an enhancement to your self-worth. Eventually, you gain more than you lose.

References

1. © 2014 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Dictionary, self-worth

2. Meyers,Sherri: Huffington Post, Women, 'It's Over!' 10 Breakup Survival Tips to Get You Through It (08/15/2012)

3. American Psychological Association, Psychology Help Center, The Road to Resilience (visited 5/7/2014)

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2017:

June, welcome to HubPages! You are blessed to belong to such a caring family. Thanks for sharing.

June Liandra from State of Wyoming on August 17, 2017:

great article! i'm glad i'm part of a family that helps each other and i had help maintaning my sanity after all those years

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 19, 2014:

Suzette, thank you for your encouragement. I studied Christian Counseling and intend to more write counseling articles. I'm glad you asked.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on May 19, 2014:

Another excellent article. I certainly can agree with everything you say here. Are you a psychologist? If not you could be one, that is for sure. I enjoyed reading this and gained much from it. Voted up+

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 19, 2014:

Ignugent, your comment encourages me. Thank you.

ignugent17 on May 19, 2014:

Very helpful MsDora! A person who experienced sadness can make bad choices but this hub can guide them to the right path.

Have a nice day! :-)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 13, 2014:

Thank you, Nell. The best thing about a breakup is that it creates an opportunity for something better. If we could only realize that!

Nell Rose from England on May 13, 2014:

You are so right with this MsDora, I know some people who go into a sort of gloom for months or even years, and yet there are others who seem to be able to pick themselves up straight away! We do need to find the good things after a break up so that we can all carry on with life, nell

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 12, 2014:

True, epbooks. Better to encourage yourself than wait for someone else to do it. Thanks for your input.

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on May 12, 2014:

Great tips. It's easy to fall into a depression after a breakup, but if one can manage to get out there and find the positives, they will be better off.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 12, 2014:

Thanks, Devika. Falling apart will make it seem that the relationship was keeping you alive. Good observation.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 12, 2014:

Great advice here after a break up one can fall apart without even knowing it. With such helpful points mentioned it is all worth considering. Voted up.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 08, 2014:

Faith, may God's favor continue to follow you. You are blessed to have avoided this dilemma. Keep trusting and sharing. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 08, 2014:

Frank, thank you for your kind comment. Hope the person who needs this, finds it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 08, 2014:

Janelle, good judgment is something we do not give ourselves enough credit for; and regret becomes useless after a while. Thank you for weighing in.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 07, 2014:

You are always so wise in giving your advice, MsDora, especially in these type of scenarios. I hope I never find myself in this type of situation, but I will share it with those who are, unfortunately.

This hub will be most helpful to many.

Up and more and away

Blessings

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 07, 2014:

strong powerful, hub, a resource that is not only helpful, but easy to follow and useful, way to go MsDora

Pennington from Africa on May 07, 2014:

Excellent advice for anyone who cannot move on after a bad breakup and just do not know where to go from there. I love the tips on maintain good judgment and lose regret. Thanks for another wonderful Hub.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Dr. Billy Kidd, I apologize; I did not intend to overlook you. I thought I had already responded to you comment.

You make a very interesting observation about not being ready for things to work out until we have learned. That's really something to think about. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Jackie, glad you got through it anyway. We continue to learn as we move forward. Thanks for your kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Flourish, I'm happy for all those who get help from my article. Thank you for your continual support.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Parrster, you're very kind. I thank you. Happy for you that you have not had to experience this dilemma.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Doc, thanks for sharing your insight. I totally agree with you, that it takes time and that the strength comes from God. Thank you for making that plain.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 07, 2014:

Oh how it does hurt and I sure wish I had your advice way back when! Great write as always!

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 07, 2014:

This is a great hub that will help many people, MsDora. Voting up +++ and pinning.

Richard Parr from Australia on May 07, 2014:

Thankfully something I've never had to experience, but if I did, this would be the resource I'd read as a reminder of how to keep on track. Voted up useful and interesting.

Yvette Stupart PhD from Jamaica on May 07, 2014:

It's so difficult move on after a life-changing experience. But we have to dig deep and find the strength to let go and move on. For me, this strength comes through my faith in God.

I am able to forgive myself, forgive those who hurt me, and let go of the pain and move forward. The fact is, this doesn't happen in one day, it takes ... but little by little, I move forward with fresh perspectives.

Thanks MsDora, for an awesome hub.

Dr Billy Kidd from Sydney, Australia on May 07, 2014:

This is a great post! I like the part on maintaining your values and identity, while not focusing on regret. Also, let's remember that in many situations in life, we're simply not ready for it to work out positively--unless we learn from our loss.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Lori, thank you very much. Getting stuck can rob us of valuable time. Getting through is the real challenge, and with effort it can be done.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Excellent commentary, Scorpio. My idea of a breakup is breakup--no waiting, no socializing. I agree with your ideas. Thank you stating them so clearly.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on May 07, 2014:

What a timely and helpful message. I was listening the other day to a Christian call-in counseling show. A man called in whose new wife left him. He wanted to know how he could get over the pain. The counselor's advice was that he should just allow himself to grieve; that's its perfectly natural and appropriated to feel the feelings he was feeling in this new crisis. He went on to give the man much of the same advice you did in this hub. I think when it comes to grieving a loss of any kind, we want to fight the pain, thinking there is something wrong with us for feeling it, especially so intensely. The first step in getting over it is to go through it. But if we don't do many of the other things you mentioned our journey to recovery will get hung up and we can get stuck.

Great topic. Great writing.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on May 07, 2014:

Excellent! Voted up and Awesome!

Two of the biggest challenges people have are:

1. Accepting that it's over. You see tons of articles, hubs, and books on: "How To Get Your Ex Back". People are fond of "romanticizing" the past. They tell themselves; "He/She was "the one".

In order for him or her to be "the one" they'd have to see (you) as being "the one". It makes no sense to want someone who does not want to be with you!

"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

- Oscar Wilde

2. Wanting to be "Instant Friends". It's unrealistic to expect to go from "red hot lovers" to being "platonic friends" being similar to siblings. The best friendships between exes usually occurs after there has been a major gap of time (six months, a year, or longer) where they've haven't seen or been in contact with one another. Generally they've both moved on found love in new relationships and just happen to bump into one other someplace. If you broke up with someone (you) are the last person who can help them get over you. Anyone who offers "instant friendship" as a (consolation prize) does so with the hope that they won't seen as being "the bad guy". In reality they're raising false hope.

On the other hand if you were the person who got dumped you have to avoid creating a prison while waiting for the magical "closure" moment. There is nothing your ex can say that would make you feel better about having your heart broken! It's pointless to try to "fix" yourself for your ex. Be yourself. (know yourself, love yourself, and trust yourself) The reason why someone broke up with you could be the very same reason why the next person falls madly in love with you! Your future lies ahead of you and not behind you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Thank you, Bill. Been there and done that too. Hope I can help some of those millions.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Word, thank you for the glowing commentary on the article, and for including your own experience in support. Glad you also like the magazine article that I linked. All the best going forward.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:

Thank you Jan. This article was inspired by an old love letter I found recently. I started writing and this is what it became--proof that we can learn (even years after) from breakup.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 07, 2014:

Been there and done that and no, it is not easy. Your suggestions are right on as always, Dora! Considering how many divorces happen in this country, this should be a must-read for millions. Well done!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 07, 2014:

Superb is this article. Your reference to the magazine was well on point. You are gratefully appreciated for your work. If everyone (that has felt like a heartache victim after breaking up) would read this article and heed your advice they'd recover immensely and benefit more in life because of going through such an experience. I listen to my oldies music occasionally. The songs remind me (precious memories) of the times when I felt like I was in love (a few times). Every experience of those times are cherished and looked at as a positive relationship that happened in my life as opposed to not happening. I feel that the person that I was in the relationship with should have benefitted from it as well as myself. Life is an experience of lessons to be learned daily and appreciated as we live it. Another voted up for you my sister!

Thank you for such a unique article that anyone can benefit from.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on May 07, 2014:

Good one, MsDora. Nice layout, too. Very important advice to those who stay stuck after a really bad break up. I hope it will help many with their recovery which can sometimes take months or even years. It can be quite challenging to tackle each point successfully. Voted up and useful.

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