There's no one-size-fits-all way to "heal" after a bad relationship.
Toxic and unhealthy relationships can leave you feeling lost, hurt, and ultimately broken. The process of getting to a place where you're OK can take time, and giving yourself that time is crucial to getting there. If you're looking for the best ways to mend a broken heart, POPSUGAR spoke with three relationship experts to find out how to heal and come out of the experience stronger than before.
It's ok to grieve
"We often don't allow ourselves to grieve all loss because it's not acceptable to those around us," couples therapist Dr. Daryl Johnson, LPC, PHD told POPSUGAR. "You are given advice that the person didn't deserve you or you should move on. However, the process is the same." Separating from a partner can hurt just as much as a death, meaning it's OK to grieve their loss in the same way. Being sad, hurt, and heartbroken is normal, and understanding that is important. "Allowing yourself to grieve and go through the process in its entirety, prior to engaging in another intimate relationship or friendship, is how to truly be able to move on."
"Allowing yourself to grieve and go through the process in its entirety, prior to engaging in another intimate relationship or friendship, is how to truly be able to move on." â€” Dr. Daryl Johnson
Therapy is an effective way to learn from past experiences, whether they were good or bad. Understanding unhealthy relationship patterns can help you avoid them in the future, and it can also prepare you to have deeper connections in the long run. "I'm all for accountability, so if it's a bad relationship someone is healing from, then I'd ask them what made it bad?" said Dr. Johnson. "What made them stay? What was their role in the toxicity?" Being asked these questions can help you look inside yourself and see where the problems were and how you can move on from them. In therapy, you'll also get the support you need by being seen and feeling validated. You'll be able to dive into your relationships and figure how to have healthier ones with future partners.
Get to know yourself
If you changed during the relationship and gave up friendships, put aside passions, and didn't have your own identity, now is the time to change that. Get to know yourself again and spend time doing things you like, being around those who support you, and growing back into your own person. Find new things that interest you, try different activities, join groups, and figure out what makes you happy. Take back what you lost from the relationship, and learn from every one of your experiences.
Take the time you need
"Take plenty of time for yourself, nurture yourself, and give yourself time and space to heal. When your cup is full, so to speak . . . everything else will follow," Sangeeta Pillai, founder of Soul Sutras told POPSUGAR. There's no need to rush the healing process. You can take as much time as you need to figure things out, and there's no reason to be quick about it. Feel your emotions, connect with them, and grow through them. Being able to heal fully can only happen if you take time to let yourself.
"Healing is the process of moving from harm towards wellness, so at its simplest, healing is about care." â€” Shadeen Francis
Care for yourself
After a bad relationship, it's essential to care for your mind, body, and heart. "Healing is the process of moving from harm towards wellness, so at its simplest, healing is about care," said marriage and family therapist Shadeen Francis. Recognizing your feelings and addressing them is an intricate way to care for yourself and better understand how you need to heal. "It is a process of being honest about what your needs are and allowing yourself to pursue well-being instead of denying, judging, resigning, or resisting."