For many people, breakups are painful and challenging rather than a cause for joy. The grip of heartbreak can be hard to escape, even when you know it was for the best. When you’re going through the grieving process – and that’s what dealing with a breakup often is – rebuilding yourself is the last thing on your mind.
On the other hand, some people are so relieved to be leaving a toxic relationship that they can’t wait to know what lies ahead, eager to embrace their new reality. For them, a breakup can be motivation to move forward and find out what life has to offer that wasn’t available until now.
If you’re the second kind, the process of rebuilding yourself and moving on might come a little easier, but even if your breakup has left you hurt and nursing a broken heart, you’ll see how it’s possible to overcome the pain and find parts of yourself that you forgot about.
A post breakup glow up isn’t an easy task, but by taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically, it’s possible to not only heal but flourish.
Post Breakup Glow Up In 5 Steps
There’s a prerequisite to achieving a post breakup glow up: accept that the breakup is final and remove your ex from your life. Protect your wounded heart and focus on yourself. This is a chance for personal growth and transformation. Remember that you’re better off without this person: adopt a new mindset that’s all about you.
Let’s call this step zero.
Step 0. Remove your ex from your life
Your personal development can’t begin if you’re hung up on your ex – the longer you pay them any attention, the more you’re hurting yourself and delaying the healing process. Don’t let your ex hold you back.
This is going to be hard, but a complete purge is necessary to detox and start the healing process. If you’re constantly reminded of them or seeing what’s going on with them, you’ll keep getting hurt over and over again.
Remove your ex completely from your life. Throw away any gifts they gave you, their stuff lying around, and anything that reminds you of them. Don’t meet up with your ex, and if anyone tries to talk to you about them, politely tell them you’re not interested.
Block and delete their phone number, unfollow and block them on all social media, and do the same to anyone connected to them.
Don’t make yourself look at what they’re up to without you – you’ll only feel horrible, and the memories of how they hurt you in the first place will keep resurfacing. The time you’d use to stalk their social media is better used for self-reflection and thinking about your future goals.
Step 1. Allow yourself to feel your pain
This is the hardest part, but unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. You must go through the whole process and feel all of your complicated and distressing emotions to be able to deal with them. Giving yourself time and permission to feel the pain and grieve is a crucial part of the journey towards a post breakup glow up.
• Feel your feelings
The things you feel will be turbulent and challenging: hurt, betrayal, loneliness, disappointment, shame, anger. You must let yourself feel all of them if you want to be free of them. After you’ve recovered, you’ll realize how empowering it is to deal with your negative emotions in a productive way and transform your pain into something beneficial.
There will be days when it’s going to seem like it’s getting a little easier, only for the anguish to come crashing down the next. You might feel hopeless and desperately want to numb the overwhelming feelings and stop hurting any way you know, but if you hold on just a little longer, the pain will be gone.
• Don’t take shortcuts
You’ll be tempted to engage in self-destructive behavior to cope on those days that seem darker and sweep those feelings under the rug, but you must resist if you don’t want to let the break up leave permanent emotional damage.
Don’t contact your ex under any circumstances. Don’t act like you don’t care and that you’re over your ex before you really feel it. If you want to get over your breakup, you have to actually go through its stages. You’ve experienced the end of a relationship with someone, and your connection with this person can’t immediately disappear.
• Don’t give up
Let yourself feel the whole extent of your sadness. Grieve your loss. Feel the emptiness and allow yourself to miss someone you no longer have in your life. Cry until you have no tears left. Listen to every sad song. Give yourself time and experience your feelings.
Little by little, you’ll feel the growth and change. One day, you’ll notice that the clouds are clearing up and that once again, you feel hope. Now is the time that you can see the path to self improvement and happiness. You’ve reached the stage where a positive change after hardship – also known as traumatic growth – is possible.
When this happens, congratulate yourself because the first and most difficult step of your glow up is complete.
Step 2. Start the healing process
Now that your feelings are easier to handle, you can begin healing. Your heart has been injured, and the worst is over, but it’s still bruised and needs to be treated gently and with care.
• Give yourself time to heal
There might still be some bad days. Be compassionate with yourself and allow yourself to feel and take your time. Right now, you don’t need to dig deep and look for answers – while your wound is still fresh, you need all the self-love you can muster.
Things like meditation, self-love affirmations, and mindfulness can be very helpful. By keeping yourself grounded and surrounding yourself with positivity, you open the way to fully regain your joy.
• Get support
You don’t have to go through it alone. When you’re feeling hurt and heartbroken, rely on your loved ones to help you through it. Spend time with your family and best friends, and don’t be afraid to open up.
Talking about your breakup and your feelings to people who support you will make you feel less alone and hopeless. Being near people who love you will remind you that there are other things besides your breakup that matter in your life. Let them help.
• Forgive yourself
Blaming yourself for your behavior in the relationship, for the things that went wrong, or the breakup is useless. You didn’t ruin your relationship, and you don’t deserve to punish yourself.
It’s not uncommon to do things in a relationship that go against everything you are because you desperately want to hold on to your partner. You might feel like you betrayed yourself, but that’s not true – you did the only thing you could at that moment.
Whatever happened, you must forgive yourself to be able to move on. This is non-negotiable, and it might take some time. As long as you remember that you did the best you could and you deserve love and happiness, you’re on the right path.
• Forgive your ex
When you’re at your lowest, your feelings for your ex might fluctuate between longing and hatred. Neither of these is helpful, and you must learn to let go for your own sake.
At first, it’s normal to want your ex to feel the same pain that you’re feeling, but those feelings will only hurt you further. Hating your ex for the pain they put you through is understandable, but this goes hand in hand with hating yourself as well for letting them treat you that way.
Feeling like this is what makes you want to seek revenge, which won’t make you feel better but only prolong the whole experience. To get rid of your anger and resentment, you must forgive your ex. Realize that their behavior had nothing to do with you, and set yourself free from the past.
Step 3. Focus on your mental health
When you feel like you’re over your breakup enough to be able to make sense of what happened, it’s time to start working on self-growth. It’s vital to first deal with the mental health issues that are holding you back and can cause you problems in future relationships.
• Regain your self-respect
The first step towards getting your life back on track is to work on your self-esteem. If you were in a relationship with a toxic person or simply found your breakup discouraging, your view of yourself might be warped and damaged.
It’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship, to leave behind the things you love and people who mean a lot to you. Remembering who you are can be a long process, but it should start with respecting yourself. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend in the same situation.
Let your breakup be a catalyst for change. Forget about the person who disrespected you and hurt you. Use it to push yourself and find your self-esteem. Open your eyes to what this relationship took from you, and get it back.
• Examine your negative thoughts
Negative thoughts are the things we tell ourselves that stop us from living our lives fully. They’re damaging and limiting, and you’d never say to another person the mean things you tell yourself. Being in an unhealthy relationship can make these thoughts even worse.
Name-calling and insults, telling yourself that you’re not enough, that you don’t deserve something, that there’s no way someone would pick you over anyone else – these ideas can stop you from living your life. When these thoughts go through your head daily, they control you until you withdraw from everything that can give you happiness.
You must change how you think: learn to recognize your negative thoughts and stop them as soon as they come. Most importantly, don’t believe them! Choose self-respect over self-loathing. You’re a person, and therefore, you deserve to be happy.
• Deal with your own toxic traits
This time of self-reflection won’t be used well unless you also examine your own behavior and qualities that contribute to the problems in your relationship. Once you understand where you made mistakes, you can start fixing them.
For instance, what is it that attracts you to people like your ex, or what makes you stay when a relationship doesn’t work? Why did you let your ex treat you poorly, and why did you accept their behavior? What is it that makes you believe you deserve it?
When you’re honest with yourself about these things, you can apply what you’ve learned to your next relationship and avoid going through the same thing again.
• Discover your boundaries
After going through a breakup, you gain a new perspective and are more equipped to decide what you want and what you don’t want in a partner. Think of qualities your ex had that made your relationship difficult, as well as those that you didn’t mind.
Aside from knowing what kind of person you want your future partner to be, you need to determine your own personal boundaries – how you want to be treated and what you won’t accept. Be very serious about these boundaries and be prepared to enforce them.
• Get therapy
Therapy isn’t only for when it’s completely impossible to deal with your problems on your own. It’s especially helpful during transitional periods like breakups.
Talking to someone you don’t know and who listens without prejudice can in itself be transformative, and on top of that, your therapist will guide you and help you reach the seemingly obvious solutions that would otherwise be just out of reach.
Step 4. Get serious about self-care
Self-care doesn’t mean doing what’s most pleasant – it means doing what’s best for you. Sometimes it’s about pampering yourself, and sometimes it’s about making yourself do your chores. Self-care is kindness, but it’s also tough love, and you need to be honest with yourself to know which one it is that you need at the moment.
• Learn to meet your own needs
What did you need from your ex (or anyone else) that made you stay with them? Learning to meet your own needs can set you free from emotionally depending on anyone.
You need respect, so start by respecting yourself. You need love, so love yourself. Do you need to feel like you matter? Prove it to yourself. To achieve these and more, start with small things. Show yourself love in small gestures, and respect yourself by being honest about how you feel. Find ways to meet your own needs in the best way that works for you.
This will make it much easier to ask for what you want from others. When you’re confident that if you don’t get it from someone else, it’s not the end of the world because you know how to do it for yourself.
• Date only yourself for a while
Until your heart has healed and you’re at peace with the breakup and happy with yourself, it’s important not to get into another relationship. You’ll miss your ex and repeat old patterns, which will hurt both you and the other person.
This is another part of learning how to meet your own needs. Take yourself out and do fun stuff on your own. Spend time with your friends and the people you might have neglected while you were in your relationship. Expand your social circle, and make it a habit to hang out with various people.
Date yourself – do whatever it is that you want to do.
• Prioritize your well-being
Be diligent about keeping yourself healthy. We underestimate how much our emotional and mental health depends on our physical health. Eat well, get enough sleep, and learn to manage stress, and you’ll be shocked at how much easier it is to deal with everything life throws at you.
Your physical and emotional well-being should be your priority. Don’t compromise them for anyone. Learn to say no and have your own back. This will boost your health, your confidence, and your resilience.
• External glow up is optional
Does your glow up have to show on the outside? No. You can use your physical appearance to symbolize all the work you’ve done on the inside, but if you don’t want to do it, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t improve.
Eat healthy and exercise, but forget about ‘revenge body.’ If your desire for change is an impetus that gets you to develop a healthy habit, it’s a good thing, but the idea that you have to become more attractive after a breakup is harmful and will only make things more difficult if you don’t achieve it.
The real meaning of a post breakup glow up is to take your time to heal and take care of yourself. You’re enough. You’re doing the best you can, and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Your ex and your breakup don’t get any credit for whatever you manage to achieve.
Sometimes a physical change is a good way to help you move forward from the past and start a new chapter. You don’t have to get a makeover, but if it makes you happy, go for it. Get a new hairstyle, step up your skincare routine and focus on wellness, but do it to take care of yourself, not because it’s expected of you.
Step 5. Step into your future
You spent your relationship helping your ex reach their goals, or you went with the flow and lived your life passively. Changing this isn’t about having to be enthusiastic about every day of your life but doing what makes you happy and eager to see what the future brings.
• Focus on yourself
If you were used to going along and adjusting to your partner’s way of life, it might be hard to figure out how to put yourself first. How do you do it?
Focusing on yourself is all about embracing your own life and following your own wants and needs. If you’ve been following the tips to achieve your glow up, you already have a clear idea of what they are.
With your ex gone, no one will hold you back from doing the things you want. Travel to the spot you’ve been dreaming about, get that tattoo without someone nagging you about it, party with your friends, or stay in the whole day.
You’re the only one who has a say about how you live your life.
• Learn things and achieve goals
Use your time wisely. When you want to spend time on your phone, instead of scrolling through TikTok, watch a YouTube tutorial. Listen to a foreign language podcast or finally learn to draw or make your own clothes.
The reason why it’s a good idea to learn new things and do them is because achieving goals gives you a sense of accomplishment, which is necessary for happiness. If you love your job, you can get your accomplishment there or find hobbies to expand your interests.
By feeling like you’re advancing, you’re moving forward in life rather than staying in one place while time passes. Whatever you choose, find something that makes you feel this way.
• Discover your joy
This is the most important step of the whole post breakup glow up process: find what makes you happy.
This is almost one of those important existential questions, but finding the answer to it isn’t as complicated as in some other cases. It comes to you as you try things and discover how you feel about them.
You don’t have to have a passion to be happy, but it helps because doing something you’re passionate about is a shortcut to happiness. This can be anything: a creative pursuit, hanging out with friends, helping people, or something like doing your makeup.
Find things that put a smile on your face, and do as many of them as you can.
The Glow Comes From The Inside
After a breakup, there comes pain but also freedom. The relationship that was hurting you is finally over, and you’re free to be yourself. After you take your time to feel your sadness and anger, you’ll see that this is the opportunity to live your life the way you want, with no one holding you back.
The best relationship advice you can get at this point is to learn from your breakup. Reflect and find out things about yourself – how you want to be treated and how you should move on. This is where your post breakup glow up begins.
Get your life back on track by doing what you want and learning to meet your own needs. Become the best version of yourself. If you focus on your recovery and not on what you’ve lost, for the first time in a while, you’ll feel like nothing is impossible.