Last Updated on January 21, 2023 by Angela Vaz

I’ve been through 2 relationships that both ended badly.

One was my marriage to my first ex. When I found out he was cheating on me with our neighbor, I packed my dogs and belongings and left.

The second heartbreak was the end of my relationship with my second ex. He dumped me because his parents couldn’t make peace with me being a divorcee. He chose his parents in the end.

The second breakup really broke me.

Because I had thought I’d finally found true love.

At the same time as the breakup, I lost my mom to cancer.

It was the middle of the pandemic and I was quite literally having a mental breakdown.

I knew that I needed a reset – a reset so I could rediscover who I really was.

I didn’t want to be in so much emotional and mental pain.

I had become a mess.

And I knew that there was so much to live for.

I realized that I needed to fall in love with myself again – and slowly build up that confidence.

This time, I was going to get back on the horse and I was going to take my time with it.

In this post, I’ll teach you how to glow up after a breakup.

This post is long because glowing up isn’t easy. It also includes everything I did to heal and glow up after my breakup.

Let’s begin.

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1. Feel the pain

feel the pain

Every single human being feels pain.

We aren’t machines.

We aren’t happy 24/7 despite what you see on Instagram or Tiktok.

We all:

  • Go through depression
  • Get angry or ugly cry
  • Lose our way in life sometimes
  • Live alone at some point in time
  • Lose something that we’ve been working very hard to keep

All in all, nobody and nothing is perfect.

When we go through a breakup, it can feel like we are all alone – that’s how I felt at least.

I remember my chest hurting from the pain and I couldn’t do anything but cry – I was in intense emotional pain.

And when I started talking to a few friends, they all told me about their painful breakups.

People go through breakups at 13, 45, or 70.

There is no right age – it can happen to anyone and anywhere.

So, know you are not alone in your pain.

This means – cry.

Let it all out.

Some days you are going to want to cry the whole day – do it.

Take an off and sit in bed and cry.

Your entire life’s hopes and dreams were suddenly shattered after the breakup – all of it gone in an instant.

So, yes, you are going to feel incredible loss and pain.

But know this, you will get over it.

It will become ancient history provided you let it all out now.

It’s sort of like losing weight – it doesn’t happen immediately. But with time and dedication, you slowly start shedding the pounds.

Some days you’ll feel numb or angry, and some days you’ll feel heartbroken.

It’s all okay.

There is no right way to grieve so please let it all out.

2. End all contact with your ex

cut off all contact with your ex

Don’t do this to take revenge or show them you’re mad at them.

Do this because you need time and space to heal.

My second ex wanted to be friends – I said no.

He asked if I hated him. I replied I just needed to move on.

Please understand that right now, you need to put your needs first.

You’re healing from emotional and mental trauma – you need time and space to recuperate and get back on your feet.

So, stop thinking about everybody else and for once, think about your needs and your wants.

Give your body and your mind time to heal.

Please unfollow your ex on all social media and don’t communicate with them.

If you have a business or a child together, then keep all communications strictly professional and to the point.

If you keep seeing your ex and talking to them every day – you are never going to heal.

The purpose of this glow-up is for you to get back on your feet.

A little time and space will do wonders for your mental healing and you will be able to focus on yourself.

3. Do this for you

do this for you

I see so many influencers telling people to glow up so that they can make their exes feel bad or to make them realize what they have lost.

NO.

This is not the right way to go about it.

If you want to glow up, do it for you – not for your ex or anyone else.

If you do that, you are basically saying that you don’t value or respect yourself enough to move on.

And you’re still trying to win them over – meaning you are not respecting their decision to end the relationship.

Please understand that the relationship ended for a reason.

Maybe your ex was narcissistic or abusive, or maybe he was a good man who just wanted something different.

It’s not a crime to end a relationship.

It simply means that one or both partners weren’t happy or weren’t getting their needs met.

Respect that – respect their choice and move on.

It’s not easy – but it’s the only way forward.

I remember crying in front of my therapist telling her it wasn’t my ex’s fault, it was because of his parents the breakup happened.

I was distraught. I continued to blame his parents for our breakup.

And after the whole bout of crying, she looked me dead in the eye and asked me, “But didn’t he have a choice?”

That shook me.

And I realized that I had been overlooking so many things in the relationship.

It wasn’t as perfect as I thought it to be.

It was his choice to leave, he made that choice.

And I needed to respect that and move on – I was better off finding someone who actually wanted to be with me.

4. Know that you will find what you are looking for

know that you will find peace

Some people are happy being single.

If this is you, please don’t feel sorry for it.

Everybody has different needs and wants.

So, being single is awesome if that’s what you want.

Spend some time thinking about what you want in life.

Do you want to be single for now or do you want to be in a relationship?

Do not think about how much time you have left or what society is going to say.

I remember thinking I was 29 and I wanted to be in a relationship before I was 30. But I realized that this is not something I could control.

If you want to be single, that’s okay.

But if you want to be in a relationship, know that it will happen when you find the right person who is compatible with you and has similar values and goals.

You also need to be in the right frame of mind for that relationship. You can’t be hurting and missing your ex – that’s just not fair to you or your next partner.

You can meet that person anytime.

That may happen in 6 months or it might happen 10 years later.

You don’t know.

But keep it in the back of your mind.

Know what you want.

Ask yourself what kind of qualities you are looking for in a partner. What kind of goals should they have?

Think about this – take a week or so to make a note of it.

This will help you find the right person in the future.

5. Understand that your self-worth isn’t tied to your relationship status

understand your self worth isn't tied to your relationship status

You need to understand that just because you are single doesn’t mean that you are not lovable or there is something wrong with you.

It simply means that you:

  • Either want to be single
  • Or haven’t found the right person yet

That’s all it is.

Stop listening to society or social media that claims that every single person must be married before 30 and have kids before they’re 35.

The day I made peace with the fact that I am single and I was okay with it, was the day I finally found peace and contentment.

I realized that it’s okay to be single even if I do want to be in a relationship because I was perfectly content and happy waiting.

I wasn’t going to compromise on my values just to be in a relationship with anyone – I was going to wait.

It may take a while to get used to especially if you have a lot of married friends or couples all around you.

But trust me, every situation has pros and cons – so don’t compare.

6. Take a look at your relationship

look at your relationship for what it was

If you gave your last relationship your all, it means that you love with a full heart.

Nobody can take that away from you.

Your last relationship wasn’t a waste of time.

It was what it was.

Take away the good and leave the bad.

Ask yourself what lessons you learned from your last relationship and look at it positively.

Has this relationship taught you something about:

  • Life?
  • People?
  • Yourself?

Think about it from different angles.

I would take long walks and try to see my relationship for what it was. I started noticing several red flags and if I wasn’t so hasty in my second relationship or worn my heart on my sleeve – I never would have entered it.

All the signs were there – I just didn’t want to see them.

Ask yourself what could you have done better:

  • Taken it slower?
  • Spent more time dating to get to know your partner?
  • Worked on yourself more?
  • Not compromising on your values when things were getting bad?

Take a long, hard look at yourself, your ex, and the relationship.

The idea here is to learn from the past and walk away with the lessons.

And at the same time, give yourself that compassion to grow.

Everybody makes mistakes.

Your past need not define your present or future – that’s why it’s so important to take this time to learn from what has happened so you can ensure you make better choices or decisions.

7. Please do not date

do not date

When you just come out from a breakup, everything is skewed.

You will have feelings for your ex or you might be heartbroken or both.

Either way, do not date.

You are vulnerable and you will not make good decisions.

When you are vulnerable, anyone who shows you basic kindness will look like a good partner to you.

Or you may have serious trust issues and turn away good people.

Either way, take some time to heal before you get back on the dating horse.

I feel we owe ourselves at least that much.

Being single isn’t a tragedy.

When I think about my single days now, I only have fond memories of them because I used that time to become the best version of myself.

I never would have met my current partner if I had not worked on myself and healed through all the issues I was going through.

So, please don’t date.

Even if you do find a good person, you will be dumping all your emotional baggage on that partner and they do not deserve that.

Just as you are seeking a kind, confident and positive human being to share your life, that person too is seeking the same.

So, do yourself a huge favor and heal first.

8. Love yourself

love yourself

I’ve been guilty of not doing this for most of my life.

All my life I gave love to others because both my parents had full-time jobs and never got to give me that time and nurturing.

I stayed in an apartment and I didn’t socialize or go out as a child.

I grew up believing that only if I gave and gave and I was kind, I’d get attention.

So, I’d pour even if my cup was empty or my reserves were depleted because I knew the pain of wanting love.

This led me to make very bad decisions.

My insecurity led me to start a relationship with a deeply insecure person.

Please, please know that if you haven’t healed yet – you will attract partners who have the same issues as you do.

If you are emotionally wrecked – that is what you will attract and find attractive.

You need to get your life together and become confident being single – that’s when you will attract a beautiful and emotionally healthy partner.

Only when I took the time to love myself and give myself the same kindness and love I was giving others – did I start to see a difference in my life.

I became happy.

I had never thought I’d be happy single – because I always wanted a relationship – but for the first time, I was happily single.

I loved myself and accepted myself for the single person I was.

So, love yourself.

Please understand you deserve happiness and love.

Show yourself the same kindness you would show a friend who has gone through a breakup.

Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

9. Draft new goals

draft new goals

You have been given a beautiful gift.

The gift of time.

Believe me, when I say that this is something almost everyone in the world craves – it’s not a gift many people get.

You have all the time in the world to do whatever you want.

So, spend some time thinking about who you want to be.

The sky is honestly the limit.

Do you want to work on a skill that you’ve always wanted to do? Do it now.

Do you want to play a musical instrument that you never had the courage to start? Do it now.

Do you want to take an educational course that you’ve never had the time to pursue? Do it now.

Do you want to start your fitness journey but you’ve never been able to be consistent? Start your journey now.

You can do whatever you want to do.

Sit down and draft yourself some beautiful personal goals.

Don’t make it too hard – work on 3-4 at a time.

10. Focus on one day at a time

focus on one day at a time

Whenever I was losing my cool or becoming stressed or anxious, I’d take a deep breath.

I’d ask myself, three important questions:

  • What am I worrying about right now?
  • Is it in my control?

If the answer is yes, I’ll sit down and write down all the steps I need to take to fix the problem.

If the answer is no, I’d tell myself that it is out of my control and there is nothing I can do to fix that.

Some things just aren’t in our control.

We need to be okay with that.

Like waiting patiently for love – it’s something you need to be okay with.

You cannot worry about tomorrow or the next week because you will spoil today.

Today is all you have and right now is all you can control.

So focus on the present moment and try to do the best you can do right now.

Stop worrying about tomorrow, the next year, or ten years after that.

Trust the process.

If you are doing everything you can to move on because you love yourself and you respect yourself – you are doing everything right.

11. Do more things you love

do more things you love

You need to start rediscovering:

  • What you are good at
  • What you love
  • What makes you happy

It’s not easy, I know.

You may lose interest, but I promise you this is temporary.

If you’ve been wanting to take an online course, do it.

If you have always wanted to keep plants in your office, do that.

If you’ve always wanted a pet but your partner wasn’t comfortable, get one.

I recommend fostering before you make a big decision, just to get used to taking care of a pet.

If you wanted to always try cooking, open Instagram or Youtube and try out recipes you’ve been meaning to make yourself.

I remember taking an interest in cooking and I wouldn’t realize how many hours would go by.

Cooking, cutting, and washing the dishes is a full-time job – trust me.

Some days are going to be harder than others, but as long as you take it one day at a time and focus on trying to get back your life – know you are moving in the right direction.

12. Look after yourself

look after yourself

There are 3 areas you need to focus on:

  • Mentally
  • Emotionally
  • Physically

If you’re already making an attempt to do more of the things you love and you are trying to live a beautiful life, then you’re doing great.

Trust me.

If you are feeling like you need to talk to someone, get a therapist or a counselor.

I don’t always recommend talking to friends and family because sometimes they can give you bad advice.

Their hearts are in the right place, but they may suggest things that might not be entirely helpful.

Right after my breakup, my friends suggested that I hook up with random strangers.

I have nothing against people who do that, it’s just not my cup of tea.

I can’t have a physical relationship with anyone I am not connected to emotionally – so this was some bad advice.

I focused more on healing and getting to a place of inner joy and it made me happy.

My therapist suggested focusing more on my needs and I did that.

If you are not comfortable talking – keep a journal and meditate.

Both of these activities brought me intense peace.

I finally got rid of my insomnia and my anxiety almost disappeared.

Meditating gave me a way to let my brain release all the thoughts it wanted to let go of.

Journaling helped me see perspective.

My mind became clear.

Lastly, focus on your physical health.

Heal yourself from the inside out.

Eat right – don’t get too much takeout.

That pizza looks good, but it is going to make you feel groggy and sluggish afterward.

Make your own pizza at home if you are craving pizza – it’s much more healthy!

Start making your own meals.

When you make your own food, it actually fills you up.

It is the first step to start eating more mindfully.

Move your body.

Start small if you are not an active person and slowly work yourself up from there. I started doing Grow With Jo workouts because her beginner workouts are so helpful for women who are at home and don’t have time to go out.

13. Learn from people who have been in your shoes

read books and learn from others

For me, knowledge was always power.

I knew I wasn’t the only one going through pain.

So, I started reading books written by people who have been through intense emotional distress and pain.

I wanted to learn how they came out of it.

And I knew it would give me the hope and courage to do the same.

Reading these books gave me the confidence to know that I would be able to do the same someday.

I’ve made a list of all the books every person going through a breakup should read – this made the biggest difference in my healing and really sped it up.

And in my case, getting over this breakup took me 6 months.

It varies for different people and there is no right answer as to how long you need to get over a breakup.

But the best way to glow up after a breakup is to focus on yourself.

14. Cut out all toxic habits and people

cut out toxic people from your life

As you start getting healthier both emotionally and physically, you’ll automatically be able to identify anything that drains you.

Can you think of someone who drains you emotionally after talking to them?

Like you feel some sort of emotional weariness and tiredness after speaking to them? Or you just don’t feel good about yourself?

That person is an energy vampire.

They’re more common than you think.

I had a friend who continuously badmouthed her partner and talked about her relationship woes.

I am all for people healing but for 2 years at a stretch she only talked about her relationship – she never wanted to talk about anything else.

She’d only call me to complain about her partner or her relationship and not once did she take anyone’s advice or try to make it better.

She was an energy vampire.

And eventually, I slowly let the friendship fade. It was not easy but I started noticing that my life became so much more positive and better after she left.

So, if there are people in your life who don’t make you feel good – slowly cut them out.

Make new friends.

I talk about how to let friends go in this post.

15. Stop putting off things you want to do today

stop putting off things you want to do today

There are so many people I see who put off things they really want to do because time is never perfect.

If you want to travel to Paris, do it now.

Stop putting it off for someday.

I learned this from my current partner who taught me so much about seizing the moment.

I would always postpone travel plans and it would just never end up happening.

But with him, he pushed me to travel and go out.

We’d book the tickets a month in advance and go no matter what – and it made me feel good.

Doing things when you want to do them is how life should be.

Life is fleeting and you should seize the moment when you have the opportunity.

I had always wanted to start a drawing blog. And last year, I stopped putting it off, I just started it!

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made because it allows me to be super creative and happy.

I draw and teach people to draw on that blog.

So, please take this as a sign to do the things you want to do.

16. Become more mindful

become more mindful

The best part about coming out from a painful breakup is how wise you become if you let that pain change you.

Pain is what helps you evolve.

There is more room for growth when you struggle and you feel pain.

Now that you are wiser, use this emotional maturity to make very conscious decisions.

You will value your time even more now because this relationship that you are building with yourself has taught you so much.

Learning to love yourself is a beautiful journey everyone should take.

So, be mindful no matter where you are and what you’re doing.

Your life will be so much more peaceful and sweeter.

17. Identify your role as a human being

identify your roles as a person

Just because you no longer have a partner, doesn’t mean you should crawl into a cave.

There is so much more to live for.

Look at your other roles as a:

  • Parent
  • Caretaker of your pets
  • Sibling
  • Child to your parents
  • Neighbor
  • Person in society
  • Friend

You have so many roles to play apart from being a partner to someone – and when you start to see that there are so many people in this world who will benefit from you being here – you start to love yourself even more.

You are such a beautiful human being and you deserve the very best.

18. Put yourself out there

put yourself out there

Don’t throw yourself pity parties.

The best way to glow up after a breakup is to focus on all the other relationships you ignored while you were in a relationship.

Focus on making new friends.

I remember joining MeetUp and I would go to different events just to make new friends.

I went to a comedy club and made lots of friends.

I took my dogs for walks in the dog park and connected with other pet parents.

I started making friends and going out for coffee with them!

I realized my world was so much bigger than I thought it to be and it gave me hope.

19. Be patient

be patient

It takes time to glow up after a breakup.

Your happiness and peace are the biggest glow-up you can ask for.

It will show in your face and your personality and people will be attracted to it from a mile away.

My current partner told me that he saw a light in me when he started dating me and strangely enough, I saw that light in him too.

He had been hurt in relationships and had been single for a long time focusing on healing.

We both connected talking about our past pain and we realized that we both had a strong passion for life.

We’ve been together for more than a year and I can honestly say, I’m glad I went through such painful breakups – because they helped me find love – both within myself and in another person.

You will be okay.

You will find love someday if that’s what you truly desire and want.

But know that you need to cross this dark tunnel first and it will take some time.

Be patient and focus on healing – you’ll get there.

Takeaway

I hope this post helped you in some way.

If you have to take something away, just know that you will get through this.

Time heals all wounds – it sounds cringy but it’s true.

With time, the pain will get less and you will become a brand new person – stronger, more resilient and more beautiful.

Here are a few more posts that will help:

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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