Hint: There’s more to it than getting a revenge body
Breakups can be soul-crushing, right? One minute you’re in love. You merge your lives together. You can’t imagine your life without this person. Then it all comes crashing down. Sometimes I still can’t believe I was able to stand up and walk out of the rubble from my annihilated marriage. But I was. And while my ex was and still is consumed with getting revenge, I have been busy with other things. He may be trying to win some sort of imagined war in his head, but I’m the quiet victor. And he knows it.
Of course, getting revenge can feel good. But not only are those good feelings fleeting, they leave more destruction. And you will likely have to pay the consequences for it down the road. Sure, you might get a momentary rush by getting even. But I encourage you to try these 5 things instead. If you do, you will definitely get the last laugh.
Invest In Yourself
When I left my ex, my self-esteem was in the gutter. I’m still rebuilding it. I had to be honest with myself in order to begin on the path of rebuilding my self worth. I decided my worth would never again be determined by anybody else but me. And I was totally lowballing myself.
I made a list of my good qualities. I decided which of those qualities I wanted to expand on. And that’s where I started investing my time, energy, and resources. I am a mother, a writer, and a filmmaker. I decided to write screenplays, produce my own web series and films, and submit my projects to festivals. And that’s when my belief in myself started manifesting in my environment.
My dramatic screenplay placed in the top 15% at the prestigious Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship, and in the top 20% at the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting competition. My web series won an award at the Broad Humor Film Festival. That outside validation was just a reflection of me finding my inner self worth, not the other way around.
So go back to school! Travel! Make that risky career jump! No one else is going to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself first. You might be surprised at just how capable you are.
Remember, What You Focus On Grows
Of course we don’t want to make the same mistakes again. But stop obsessing about what didn’t work in your last relationship. Stop feeding the negative feelings you may have against your ex. All that resentment will give you cancer. If you want to get over your breakup quickly, wish your ex well and move on. Stop looking in the rear view mirror and put your focus in front of you. When you shift your focus, your life becomes full of possibility rather than regret.
Focus on what you WANT instead of obsessing over what you don’t want. Was your ex selfish and controlling? Shift your focus to inviting people into your life who are kind, generous, and secure enough with themselves to let you be who you are. If your ex betrayed you, focus on inviting people into your inner circle who have shown that they deserve your precious trust. Focus on loyalty, happiness, and freedom.
Love yourself so you can attract people who will love you the way you deserve. Focus on building genuine connections with good people. What you focus on grows. So pretty soon you will have more of the relationships you want, instead of the kind you want to put behind you for good.
Change “Revenge Body” to Body of Dignity and Respect
If you are desperately working out and starving yourself to get back at your ex, he or she is winning while you are likely miserable. Instead of trying to make your ex feel bad because you’ve got washboard abs and zero percent body fat, try a different approach. Treat your body with the utmost respect. Act according to that respect.
I have to be honest, I’m still working on this one. As a mother, it can be easy for me to neglect my own health needs. I put myself on the back burner. I know that needs to change. Some weeks are better than others. But here are a few things I do well when I’m in tune with and respecting my body:
- I do a form of exercise I love, so it doesn’t feel like exercise. I love taking dance class. My boyfriend loves hiking or soul cycling. Find what that is for you and give that to yourself as much as you can. It might just be an early morning walk where you can be alone with your thoughts while you listen to the birds chirp. Whatever it is, find the one that makes you the happiest. Loving yourself should not be torture.
- I feed myself foods that I know will make me feel good. And I’m not talking about immediate gratification foods like ice cream. I’m talking foods that give my body energy, make my skin glow, and help me prevent illnesses from the germ factory that is my kids’ school. Don’t extreme diet yourself right now. Respect the dignity of your body. Give it what it needs to feel strong and healthy.
- Give your body the tools it needs to heal. Your heart, mind, and body are not separate from one another. Your body needs time to heal from the emotional hurt, the same as your heart. So get enough rest. Take long baths when you can. Read good books. Be your own advocate, taking care of yourself first (again, I’m working on this).
Have a Love Affair with Yourself
How cheesy can I get, right? But if you want to love and be loved in return, you have to get to know yourself. You have to teach others how you want to be treated. When I left my marriage, I felt like I had almost disappeared completely. I had to get reacquainted with myself.
Hi, Jamie. What do you want? What makes you happy? How are you going to go out and find those things that make you happy? What will you accept? What will you absolutely NOT accept? It’s so nice to (re)meet you.
I know, I know. It’s so clichéd! But there’s a reason for that. When you get wrapped up with another human being, it can be easy to lose yourself. This is Co-Dependency 101. I vowed to never lose myself again once I found me buried under a mountain of shame. I dug myself out and determined I would never go back under there. I countered the shame with love. I set firm boundaries to protect myself. I nurture myself (when I can) the way I nurture my children.
So give yourself a big old hug. Rub your own cheek and say, “it’s going to be all right.” Take yourself on a date to see a funny movie. Woo yourself! I’m sure you’ll find that you’re pretty great company.
Don’t Be Afraid of Therapy
Painful events can only hold you back if you refuse to deal with them. I know how bad it hurts. I barely survived my divorce process. So trust me when I say, it is 100% possible to recover. But you’re going to need some help. You don’t have to do conventional therapy, though I highly recommend it. If you can’t afford therapy, find a free support group. It doesn’t even have to be in person. Facebook has a ton of support groups you can join. Get out to see friends. Start pet sitting. Pets are an incredible form of therapy. Or laugh.
My Last Laugh Moment (the first of many)
The night my marriage imploded, my friend took me to a comedy show. I don’t know what the hell she was thinking. She had tickets and knew that I couldn’t be left alone to cry on her floor.
I made her promise we could sit in the back because I knew all the comics would look at my tear-stained face and hate me for bringing down the vibe. I thought it would be impossible for me to even crack a smile. But sure enough, one comic got on stage with a joke that was dark enough to make me chuckle. I won’t dare repeat the joke here because it is so inappropriate. But that was the joke I needed to cut through the bleakness of my life in that moment. It was therapy.
If you’re suffering through a breakup, my heart is with you. I know it’s not easy. But remember, you didn’t die! You’re still here. And since you’re still here anyway, you might as well enjoy your time on this beautiful blue ball. So go out there and get the last laugh. It may just be to yourself in the back of a dark comedy club, but it has the potential to change the trajectory of your life if you let it.
Feel free to share the things you’ve done to survive your breakups. Let’s laugh (or cry) together!