I have had quite a few couples lately in my relationship counselling practice come in looking for help on how to separate amicably. While it is always sad to see a relationship come to an end, I have hope that it means there is opportunity for greater happiness and fulfillment for each of them. In working with these individuals (and couples) a theme has been coming up around who they will be, now that they are no longer in their relationship. Often, the statement made is “I am trying to figure out who this new me is, now that I am no longer with my partner.”
I love when I hear this question asked, largely because I think it demonstrates an eagerness to grow into more of who the individual wants to be. Where I find myself concerned is when the individual tries to find themselves externally instead of internally.
Life changes really drastically when a relationship ends, especially when we have been with that person for some time. Daily routines look differently, where, how and with who we spend our time changes and our plans for the future have to change. It is normal and okay to feel overwhelmed by this but I want to caution you against trying to fill it with things just to not feel the pain. When you are in this place of having to rediscover who you are, instead of searching for things to do, look instead at what kind of person you want to be.
I think it’s great if what you want to do is skydive, or learn to run, or take up knitting, but instead of the focus being on what you can add or “things” that you can do, try to look instead at qualities you want to possess. For example, if you want to have more of an adventurous spirit in this new chapter, aim for that. It is easier to wake up each day and look at how you can specifically incorporate that into your daily life vs forcing yourself to do specific things (for example, encouraging yourself to say yes to trying more things instead of forcing yourself to skydive even if that isn’t something you feel ready or interested in doing).
I believe focusing on who you want to be (and also digging dip to discover who you already are) switches the focus onto building character, instead of building hobbies. Developing who you are as a person not only allows you to process yourself out of the relationship in a healthy way, but it also pushes you towards growth which means you will move into your next relationship healthier and better equipped to ask for what you need, and to give your partner what he/she needs in return.
IF you are finding yourself recently out of a relationship, what are you going to focus on building within yourself? Write it in the comment section below.