Recently read this book “Single on Purpose” by John Kim which I enjoyed as it helped me move forward from my recent breakup and reframed the way I see being single in a positive light.
The author talks of “being single” not just literally, but as the general concept of strengthening one’s relationship with oneself, which one can do even while inside a relationship. In fact those in a relationship possibly have greater need to do this as it’s easier to lose oneself inside a relationship.
I won’t dump all my personal revelations here, but let’s just say I’ve become aware of a lot of unhealthy patterns I’ve had in the past (eg. attachment, addiction), and have worked on rectifying them. Like any form of self development, bettering oneself is an ongoing process that one must actively work at daily rather than a destination.
First I’ll write down some advice for going through a breakup, then on some thoughts for strengthening one’s relationship with onself and with others.
Moving forward from a breakup
“Closure happens right after you accept that letting go and moving on is more important than projecting a fantasy of how the situation could have been.” -Sylvester McNutt III
A breakup entails multiple stages, ultimately culminating in acceptance.
A prerequisite for moving on is to completely stop contacting them and to especially stop checking their social media, no exceptions on the latter. Talking to them and/or seeing their social media posts will keep you tied to the past and prevent you from being able to move forward. Do not look at photos/videos of them. Do not think about them while you masturbate – that kind of thing will keep you attached to them. I don’t recommend porn or fapping – but fapping to porn is way better than fapping to an ex you still haven’t moved on from.
In the beginning there will be a lot of pain and withdrawal symptoms. Love and sex activate the same brain pathways as drugs like heroin, and so a breakup is literally like going through a drug withdrawal. The bright side is that feeling the pain actually releases it from the body, and ultimately you’ll stop feeling it.
There will likely be a period of negative rumination where one constantly thinks about the relationship and what could’ve been done differently, regrets, what ifs, alternative scenarios, fantasies, etc. To be fair there are certain times where analyzing things can result in helpful learnings, but most of the time in this phase it’s useless mental rumination keeping you stuck in the past.
In this stage there will be a tendency to idealize the past. One must recognize that their mind is playing the romance trailer, not the full documentary.
In any case this is like going into a time machine and being stuck in the past. It is entirely unproductive and destructive. One must return to the present moment, and if one is to get on a time machine it should instead be in visualizing and looking forward to one’s future.
What helps with getting out of one’s head and into the present moment is physical exercise and practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness practice could entail something like focusing on one’s physical sensations such as breathing.
As cliche as it sounds, a breakup is the perfect time to focus on onself, and to do all the things you might’ve been putting off on because of the relationship.
As an example, I recently met a lady who we’ll call Jenny who last year went through a divorce. She immediately booked a 1 month AirBnB in her favorite country, Italy, and had an awesome time there. Then she went to another country that was high on her bucket list, fell in love, and has now moved there and is in the process of getting a work visa. She’s also been dating someone, though she’s reluctant to jump back into another relationship because she loves being single.
Most people suck at relationships. Half of marriages end in divorce, and of those that survive I’d imagine that half of them aren’t particularly happy ones.
Relationships too easily devolve into co-dependence and unhealthy attachment, and both parties losing their identities and sense of “self” – slowly dying inside.
Many enter relationships not coming from a healthy place of self-contentment and love, but from a place of loneliness, desperation, and validation seeking. They start hooking up with some person they know isn’t a good fit for them, maybe to fill some void from a previous relationship they haven’t healed from. The dopamine/oxytocin/serotonin chemicals get them addicted, and then when the drug effects wear off they’re left feeling unhappy and trapped in a relationship they don’t want to be in, mad at themselves for betraying themselves.
I’m not going to pretend like I have this all figured out, but it’s clear to me that one should be in a healthy place before entering any relationship. This means not still being broken from some ex, not being lonely or desperate, and being content with oneself. If one is not content with themselves, then they will inevitably dive into another unhealthy co-dependent relationship and repeat the same cycle. If one is content with themselves, then they will be able to use proper judgement, draw boundaries when necessary, and not abandon themselves and their principles. People who lack this self-contentment are the same people who stay in toxic relationships.
Being single is great
Being single is true freedom to be your authentic self.
This is much more complicated to do within a relationship because then you’re also responsible for someone else.
Relationships can be beautiful, but they should be a conscious choice made from a healthy place rather than something rushed into out of desperation. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life or 60+ years with someone, you should definitely be very smart and deliberate about this decision! And never allow the relationship to abandon yourself and your own personal development journey.
Maintain healthy balance in life
This is the “wheel of life”
Notice that “partner + love” is only one of ten things here. Yet when in or out of a relationship, people often live their lives and focus their attention is if that’s taking 80% of the space.
Don’t neglect the rest of the wheel. Recognize that contentment with life is related to many other factors besides just relationships. For example one might think that their life sucks because they don’t have a girlfriend and that getting a girlfriend will solve all their problems, when the reality is that they may be lonely and lacking in friends, fun, fulfillment, and confidence.
As I said before one thing that helped me a lot in coming to this frame of mind was just meeting positive, happily single people.
For example in Paris I met this 34 year old French guy who loved being single. He just radiated positivity and enthusiasm for life. He’d been living in Copenhagen, but now was looking to move to an African island that he loved for a couple years.
It’s easy to look at the glass half empty and feel like there’s some inner void in your life. Feeling like your life is missing a girlfriend, enough money, a home.
Another perspective is to look at the glass half full, to be grateful for what you have, and to see the enormous opportunity and potential out there.
One can change their perspective on life to be more positive and content, and actively practice at it daily until it becomes second nature like this guy.
I’m currently in London, but am planning to fly to India for a few days. I’ve never been to India, and I think it’ll be an interesting experience.
Will be slowly making my way towards Bali while stopping in places I haven’t been along the way.
After this trip maybe I’ll prob get a job in crypto or something, we’ll see.
In any case, excited for what’s to come.
Enjoy life, my friends