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11 Things I've Learnt About Moving On
DISCLAIMER: some parts of the text were taken from Tumblr posts/Thought Catalog articles, though I can't remember which.
I wrote this on Day 43 of being single. Never thought I would put this up here, since I'm actually in a relationship again. But Athisha, this one's for you. Paggie, this one's for you. Ming Xuan, it's for you too. And it's also for all the other brokenhearted girls out there, especially those who've been in long-term relationships.
Back then, I've been putting my thoughts out everywhere, on a third Instagram dedicated to moving on, on a second Twitter account dedicated to ranting, on notebooks and on Whatsapp chats to my friends. It really does help, getting it all out. And I've almost forgot how much I loved sitting at the table, typing away for a new blog post.
So far, here are some things I've learned about being single and moving on.
It really is easier said than done.
You see, I was in this relationship for so long, that I had forgotten what it was like to be hurt by an ex-lover. I had forgotten the pain I went through in my last breakup. Doesn't matter if it hurt more/less this time around, the common thing about breakups is that they hurt. And pain is inevitable. You can talk to loads and loads of people about it and you can get tons of different advices, but moving on and letting go - utmostly, it is your choice and your decision. However, even after you made the choice of letting go, it is still hard to implement. After all, how are you so sure that you have let go? Just because you don't check their social media anymore? Just because you stopped crying at night? It really is easier said than done, because the brain knows what is right, but the heart can't control what it feels. Believe me when I tell you, "I understand". I understand because I still wake up every morning thinking about him, and I still cry some nights, thinking about what could've been. And every single day it is just a constant struggle for me to navigate my mindset towards positive things and happier times, just to avoid thinking about him. Which brings me to my second point.
There is no set time limit to when you will start moving on.
Some say it takes half the time of your relationship to move on. i.e. if you dated for a year, you will take 6 months to move on. I don't necessarily believe in this theory. In the weeks following my breakup, I began reading lots of online forums/blogs about break-ups. Some said it took them years, some said they moved on within a month, regardless of the durations of their relationships. As all relationships are individual and different, and people hurt in different ways, I don't think there is a set time period where you will "completely move on". It is all up to you. So be kind to yourself and forgive yourself often, you don't have to get over him today, you just have to get over today. You can be sad and disappointed, but at the same time, remember to get through your day as well. Remember that time stops for nobody, so don't stop hustling.
Temporary bliss is still bliss.
In the present where I am typing this, I had the best night ever two nights ago. I had pre-drinks with friends (and ended up bawling my eyes out thinking of my breakup... shoutout to my friends who had my back), and we headed to a club. On my way there, I started rethinking my decision of going out and was going to take a U-turn to head back home. Thank god I didn't, because I truly had the best night out in WEEKS. The whole of last month had just been dreadful for me, every single day filled with misery. But that night, I danced to good music all night. Although it was only a one night thing, I was still able to swoon over it for the next couple of days, because I truly haven't felt so happy in so long. And even though it is only temporary happiness, at the end of the day - maybe these are the things that really matters most. The small things: like being called pretty, dancing with a cute boy at the club, or someone doing something kind for you, or running an extra 100m at the gym, or catching your bus just in time. At the end of the day, maybe we should just hold on to these little things that give us joy, as trivial as they are.
Self-love is so so important.
When I first broke up, I was completely broken. I kid you not, I couldn't focus in lectures/studies, would cry all the time, couldn't even eat properly. I know it sounds delirious, but it really wasn't easy for me to pick myself up again. I found solace in Tumblr and Thought Catalog (bless you, Internet). I have probably read more than a hundred articles/tumblr posts about moving on, because I just needed someone/some piece of writing to relate to. And I did find it. On Thought Catalog was where I discovered the meaning to self-love. Stop putting yourself through pain. Look at the mirror and tell yourself that its right that it ended. No matter how or why it ended, all that matters is that there was a full stop to it. And maybe its temporary, or maybe its permanent. And maybe you'll never know until you know. But darling you have to be your own hero. Nobody can help you except yourself. It is super hard to accept the reality of things, and I know sometimes it's easier to live off old memories and happier times. But you have to remember that those things were what he was, not what he is. I don't know why we all hang on to something we know we're better off letting go of. It's like we're scared to lose something we don't even really have. They say that having something is better than having absolutely nothing, but the truth is, to have it halfway is harder than not having it at all. So respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.
You cannot force anyone to love you back.
It took me awhile to understand this. For weeks, I was begging for him to come back to me. I tried winning him back by doing things for him, by dedicating time to him, telling him I would change if he would give me another chance. After about a month, I began to realise that doing all this renders no use, and would only cause me more pain in the long run. So i stopped. I began cutting off all contact, for the benefit of myself. And it hurt, seeing him hang out with other people and thinking of the possibility that he will one day love another, hold another in his arms, and do the things we used to do with another. But we have to remember, sometimes love is about letting go. And sometimes, people say forever and don't really mean it. I guess all we can do is forgive them for it, and accept that they are also human beings who make mistakes. Human beings who also have emotions, and also deserve happiness and if you can't give it to them then someone else can. I am still learning this, to not be selfish and accept that he is not mine to hold anymore. You cannot clap with only one hand, so you have to release them. Though it hurts now and it will hurt later, stay strong and stay positive.
You do not need anyone. You only need yourself.
Getting into a rebound relationship will not fill the void in your heart that your past lover left there. In fact, nobody can fill that void, with the exception of yourself and God. You just need to remember your strength and realise that you can live without him because you already are doing just that. The pain will remain deep for now, but eventually it will subside and one day you will wake up and realise that you are okay again. All you need is yourself, and sometimes that's more than enough. Don't blame love, it's not love's fault. It's just that sometimes life happens and things don't turn out the way we want them to. But that's okay too, because I believe that everyone is strong enough to fight their own demons. God would never give you hurdles that he knows you can't go through. And even if the world comes crashing down on you, you will still have yourself.. And you need to start treating yourself like someone worthy of loving.
Learn to let go when it is time.
They say if it's true love, you'll never stop trying. But that isn't true. Sometimes you need to give up because doing so is the only way to save yourself. I held on for the longest time, wishing he'd come back. Of course, he never did. I always believe that "if it's meant to be, it will be". The more you try to control something, the more it controls you. Free yourself, and let things take their own positive course. Of course, you never really forget someone, and I don't believe that you will truly get over someone if the love was real. But you certainly release them. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see the person you have let go, you will realise that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew existed somewhere, but you are separated by too much time and space to reach them again. So don't fear change, embrace it; and don't go looking for things, things will find you when you least expect it. It is all in God's perfect timing.
Cry when you want to, you deserve to grieve.
I used to hold it in, pretend like everything was okay, when I knew it wasn't. In the end, I just broke down one day while getting high. I just couldn't stop crying even though I wanted to. I didn't give myself the time and love I deserved. So if you want to be sad and depressed and eat tubs of Ben and Jerry's, my advice is: do it. Do whatever makes you feel better. I always feel better after I cry and have a good night's sleep. Remember that it's okay to feel weak, and needy. But you also have to remember that it's okay for people to not want you and be with you the same way you want them to. Let it happen. It will be painful. The next day, it will still be painful. But literally just let yourself feel the pain. Let it hurt until it no longer hurts.
One of the best decisions I made after breaking up was going to the gym regularly and reconnecting with my friends. Going to the gym doesn't make things better, but hey, at least you look good! If you've always wanted to pursue a new hobby but never had the time, now's your opportunity. Although the distraction is only temporary, it'll keep your mind off things, and you'll learn something new in the process of it. Even if you'll never get your boyfriend back, at least you'll learn something about yourself and maybe do something you never knew you were capable of. For me, day in day out I was at my uni library and the gym, and at night I would watch movies. Anything that kept my mind off him.
Positivity is key.
It's going to be hard waking up every single day and forcing yourself NOT to think of him. I get it, I've been through it too. The first few days (weeks, even) after my breakup, I woke up with a numbing feeling in my head and an empty vessel for a heart. You don't have anyone to text anymore as soon as you wake up. You don't tell anyone about how your day went anymore. Your body doesn't react well because it's so used to having this one specific person around. I get it, I really do. But darling, do remember that everything that happens in life will pass and you will find happiness again. Although it's a painstakingly long process and even I don't know how long it'll take, let me promise you that I got through this, and you will too. God has bigger and better plans for us, for you. Slow progress is still progress, so be proud of yourself for trying, and be patient with yourself.
Those who stand by you in this moments, cling on to them.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. I am thoroughly blessed with having the most amazing friends ever. My friendship circles have gotten smaller over the years but honestly, its really quality over quantity. Its not so about who wishes you happy birthday as the clock strikes 12, or who meets up with you the most frequently. It's about those who sees you at your lowest, and decides to bend down to pick you up. In my times of hopelessness, I was lost and didn't know who to turn to. Thankfully, there were people around me who were willing to love me through my brokenness and support me, giving me endless advice no matter how many times I broke down and forever lending me their shoulders to cry on. For taking me out to make sure I was alright. Remember these people in your life, for nothing beats having friends and family you can always rely on. Remember them, and always stay by them This one's for my endless support system : Iza, Johaan, Paggie, Alex, Thejas, Rachel. THANK YOU. I love you all. For my sister who came all the way down from up North to give me better days, you are the best sister in the world. To Zoe who let me soak her sweater with my tears that day in the library, you were the hug I needed. To Jun Sern and Daniel for the pep talk I wanted to hear, and to everyone else who helped me through the tough period I went through. You know who you are, and I love every single one of you.
Labels: Personal, Relationship