How to Feel Less Badly About Yourself After a Breakup

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A breakup is a difficult and painful experience. The end of a relationship can leave you heartbroken, cause your self-esteem to take a hit and leave you feeling rejected. It is important to be gentle with yourself as you pick up the pieces and move on.

1 Exercise Self-Compassion

Extending self-compassion to yourself is an important tool in releasing yourself from the pain of breaking up, says David Sbarra, a psychologist and author of "When Leaving Your Ex, Love Yourself," on the YouBeauty website. If you practice self-compassion, you extend forgiveness to yourself for your mistakes and are able to work through the pain without becoming immobilized by your emotions, says Sbarra. Instead of beating yourself up over the breakup or practicing self-blame, try to accept that breakups happen. Breaking up doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you, just that the relationship wasn't functioning well. Remember, you will feel better over time as you gain perspective and learn from what went wrong.

2 Consider Your Ex an Addiction

Following a breakup, you may feel that the only thing that will alleviate your pain and make you feel better is reaching out to your ex. While contacting your ex may temporarily provide you with a brief feeling of reconnection, in the end, it can leave you feeling even worse, says Suzanne Lachmann, a clinical psychologist and author of "How to Mourn a Breakup to Move Past Grief and Withdrawal" for "Psychology Today." She recommends thinking of your ex as an addiction that you have to stay clear of in order to move forward in your life. She notes that allowing yourself to experience withdrawal from your relationship and grieving the loss will help you to let go and to feel better about yourself. Don't make yourself feel worse by continuing to communicate with your ex. Knowing what he is doing or who he is spending time with can prevent you from moving on with your life and regaining your confidence and happiness with yourself.

3 Restructure Your Thinking

The way you think following a breakup determines how you act and how you feel, says Tyler J. Andreula, a counselor and author of "Surviving Your Breakup" on the PsychCentral website. For example, if you tell yourself, "I am incomplete without so-and-so in my life," you will likely feel bad about yourself, lonely and empty. However, if you tell yourself, "I am complete on my own and don't need so-and-so to move forward with my life," you will likely feel more optimistic about your future. Replacing irrational thoughts that make you feel bad about yourself with rational thoughts can make your loss much more tolerable, says Andreula.

4 Don't Have a Victim Mentality

An important part of feeling less bad about yourself following a breakup is to accept that your relationship is over and to move on. A key part of moving on is to accept your part in the end of the relationship and to avoid thinking of yourself as a victim, says Bruce Derman, a psychologist and author of "How to (Finally) Get Over Your Breakup and Move On" on the YourTango website. According to Derman, having a victim mentality will lengthen the period of time you feel angry and lonely and will slow the healing process because you are unable to take accountability for your part in the breakup and may continue to dwell on your sorrow and anger rather than focusing on moving forward.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.