desert girl

No matter how many times your beloved friends and family try to say the right thing and comfort you after a breakup, we all know the only person who feels what you’re feeling is you.

Breakups can absolutely feel lonely, scary, painful and hard, but one can also become the most healing, exciting, new, joyful and even graceful experience in your life depending on how you give yourself space and time to process what’s really underneath it for you.

I’ve worked with a lot of men and women over the years who have gone through divorces, horrible breakups, broken families, challenging work environments and more. How they got to where they are and how they feel are always different, but how we work through the process of healing and moving on is quite similar: It’s about letting go of the “who” in the relationship so we can go deep into the “what” of the feelings that the breakup brings up for the person.

Here is how you can start: And, remember, no matter how long it’s been since the last call, text or communication, a breakup can hurt in new ways all the time. You do not need to feel bad or wrong about having major feelings post breakup, even several years later, but you do get to make choices that can help take those feelings and make them part of your path towards healing and moving on with the joy of your own life.

joshua tree desert

Write a letting go letter.

This is a letter to the other person that you will not send. It’s a way to share your truest, most intense feelings with yourself. Start with “Dear NAME,” and begin to write out all of the things you’ve learned and received from your time together.

Share your sadness, anger, fear, frustration and anything that comes up. Put it all out there and when you feel complete, end the letter with this: “I am so thankful that you came into my life and helped me see and find the following characteristics in myself.” List out every positive thing you see in yourself and have found or rediscovered from this breakup.

Assess the now.

Next, write out another list of what you believe or feel you are missing in your life now without this relationship. If you feel upset, frustrated or angry about the experiences together, write these from the viewpoint of what you are ready to release.

Here are some questions to get you started: What do you feel you want in your life now? How did this relationship make you feel when you were in it? Do you feel bad or carry any lingering weight or energy from the break up? Can you forgive yourself? Are you ready to let go of pain? Can you give yourself permission to live your own life without judgments and expectations? How well do you know YOU right now?

It’s about letting go of the ‘who’ in the relationship so we can go deep into the ‘what’ of the feelings that the breakup brings up …

Evaluate by valuing.

There is no greater gift you can give yourself than valuing who you are right now. No matter what part of you feels anything less than the 100% beauty and worth that you are, you always get to make a new choice to value yourself today and in every new moment of your life. If you feel like you are missing something without this person or relationship, then focus on what that missing thing is and work on bringing it into your life just for you.

Try these tips to get you started:

– Focus your mind on all you are right now. See yourself living a full, beautiful and joy-filled life. Connect with your breath and feel the fullness that you already are.

– Take care of yourself and your body. Make sure that you are getting time for you. Taking care of yourself with your foods, what you’re putting into your body and how you’re using it is such an important part of self-care. Remind yourself that no matter how bad you may have felt in the past, you are directly affecting your future now with every decision you make in the present.

– If you’re a more social person, then schedule time with family and friends to be reminded of all of the love and support in your life. Loved ones are a great help to remind us of who we really are and all the potential we hold. If you prefer more time alone to process your feelings, then try getting outside and connecting yourself to natural beauty. Being outdoors and soaking up the beauty of the world is a great reset for any human’s heart.

As you take all of this in, remember: This is a small time in the overall journey of your life. There is beauty in every mark made on our hearts. Even in the most painful experiences of life, you can still find gratitude and kindness for yourself and welcome the growth and healing that is available to you.

What’s the best “moving on” advice you’ve ever received?

Images via Kristen Wasik



  1. I met my wife in 1991, we got married in 1995. My mother was married six times so i had know skills to be a successful husband. We separated in 2016, My wife tried hard to love me but I was so broken I destroyed the marriage. I still love my wife deeply. I am always in pain , lots of depression, very lonely. I have been going to consoling, very intense learning about why I am the way I am. I am what they call a vacillater. I am so tired of feeling this bad all the time. I am still very sad and lost but i will not give up and I will continue my journey till there is victory in my life

  2. SO much truth in this article-thank you! A relationship I was recently in ended about two months ago and it’s still hard to let go. I beat myself up for not being able to move on quickly but one of the best pieces of advice my friend gave me is that there is no timeline. Everyone processes differently; it may take 3 weeks or 3 months to heal. Regardless, give yourself grace in the process. I have found journaling to really help me process the breakup, writing down things I learned about myself and how He has been shaping me for the better. I also recently re-read “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge and the chapter on healing is so so good and relatable.
    Thank you for this post!

  3. Yes! I was recently broken up with a month ago. I agree with all of the advice and applied each one during the breakup process, so it’s cool to just agree that this has happened and this is how I solved it. It’s so hard letting go, but when you look for the father in the situation you see fruit and you can thank him for this experience and grow from it.

  4. I was in a 5 year relationship from my junior year of high school to right before I graduated college. I broke up with him, and while I acknowledge that it was a really bad relationship (and I’m in a great one now), it’s hard to grasp the idea that someone who meant so much to me for so long really plays no role in my life now! It’s comforting knowing that I don’t have to be ashamed for feeling this way and that it in no way makes me live in the past or keeps me from pursuing my current relationship. I’m glad reflection is being acknowledged as a healthy way to learn from your past and move on!

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