From Grieving To Growing: Tips For Moving On After A Heartbreak

Updated January 17, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Breakups can be tough to go through, but they don't have to define us. Many of us experience heartbreak at some point in our lives, and taking the time to grieve and process those emotions before moving on with our lives can be significant.

While grieving is typically a necessary process for healing, self-care and self-compassion can be essential in helping you move forward. We'll examine some tips for understanding the grief process and getting through it while offering self-care strategies to help you begin to heal and grow.

Understanding The Grieving Process

It's generally said that no two people experience heartbreak in the same way, but there are some common stages of grief that many people go through when a relationship ends. It's important to acknowledge these feelings and give yourself permission to feel them.

Often, heartbreak can cause us to feel depressed, angry, and hurt all at the same time. While these feelings can be uncomfortable and challenging, giving yourself the space to feel these emotions is an integral part of the healing process. Being patient and gentle with yourself can also improve your outlook during this time.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross created models of grief to describe the five stages that often come after a significant loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While it isn't necessary to experience all these stages for healing to occur, understanding them can provide some needed clarity during this period of renewal.

When it comes to healing, it's important not to bottle up your emotions but rather express them in a healthy way. Processing your experience and feelings may be best accomplished through talking with friends, getting creative and writing in a journal, or even talking to a therapist.

The grief and healing processes are not linear, so allow yourself to feel everything as you move through them. It's ok if your emotions are up and down or if, at times, you feel like you'll never get over it. In time, you can develop strategies and tools to help you get through it.

Taking Care Of Yourself And Self-Compassion

Self-care is incredibly important while going through a heartbreak. Engaging in self-care activities like getting enough sleep, eating well, staying active, and treating yourself with kindness can make a huge difference during this time.

Recent research shows engaging in self-care can have many health benefits, so it's not just about feeling better in the short term. A consistent self-care routine can also positively impact physical and mental health, enhancing your overall well-being.

Self-compassion is an integral part of self-care, as it allows us to be more understanding and kind to ourselves. It's helpful to remember that you are worthy of love, acceptance, and kindness — especially during a heartbreak.

Treating yourself with compassion can also help build your self-esteem and create a positive environment for healing. Doing so doesn't always come easily, but you can begin to practice by speaking kindly to yourself. Positive self-talk and positive affirmations can be constructive in these moments.

Finding Support After Heartbreak

It often takes a village to get through a heartbreak, so having a solid support system is extremely helpful. Having friends or family you can turn to for emotional support during this time can make all the difference in helping you move through the grieving process.

If you don't have a strong support system, you can reach out and build one. Talking to friends or family is great, but sometimes this isn't an option. A therapist or support group can be valuable in these situations.

Support from loved ones doesn't always come in the form of words — sometimes, it's just having someone there to listen. This sense of safety and comfort can be valuable for emotional healing. If you find it hard to reach out, start by talking with people you trust and know will be there for you unconditionally.

Reaching out for help doesn't mean you're weak or incapable. Instead, you are taking care of yourself and recognizing your need for support during this difficult time. Remember, some people will be happy to listen and offer encouragement.

You may find these people through online communities and forums. These groups can provide a sense of community and belonging, as well as valuable resources and advice from people who have gone through similar experiences.

Don't forget to turn inward during times of hardship. Embrace self-care practices like meditation and yoga, take time for yourself and your mental health and find joy in activities that bring you fulfillment. These forms of self-support can be valuable tools on your journey to emotional healing. 

Redefining Yourself After Heartbreak

It's important to understand that your relationship status does not define your worth. For example, after a heartbreak, it's common for people to feel like they've lost part of their identity or value in the world. But you have inherent worth and value regardless of who you are with.

Here are a few ways you can start to rediscover yourself:

  • Taking time to reflect and reassess what makes you happy

  • Setting achievable goals to help you stay focused on your growth and development

  • Learning about yourself through activities such as reading or engaging in creative pursuits

  • Prioritizing yourself and focusing on what is important to you

Your self-discovery doesn't have to be a whirlwind journey — it can be a gradual process of self-exploration. As you gain perspective and insight, you may recognize new goals and paths for yourself.

Reassessing your priorities and expectations can open up new possibilities. This is not to say that you have to drastically change who you are — it's more about finding a balance between understanding yourself and your needs while also growing into the person you want to be.

Redefining yourself after a heartbreak may also involve letting go of negative beliefs or patterns in your past relationship. It's possible that these negative beliefs and patterns held you back somehow, and now is a great time to let go of them.

Now is the time to focus on yourself — it's an opportunity for personal growth. Take a class, confront new challenges, and build new relationships. Though this might feel like the end in some ways, remember that there are still so many possibilities ahead. Your potential is not confined to your past; instead, you can express it in a new and exciting way. 

Moving Forward After Heartbreak

It can be scary to start over after a heartbreak, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for growth and self-discovery. It's important to remember that healing takes time, and there is no "right" way to move forward.

Focusing on the present moment can keep you grounded when it feels like the future is uncertain. Taking small steps — such as engaging in activities that bring you joy, setting achievable goals, and prioritizing self-care — may also help you move forward in a positive direction.

Taking time to reflect and process your experience can also help you gain insight into your needs, perspectives, and values. You can create a positive environment for healing and growth by better understanding yourself.

Moving on isn't simply about finding someone new but learning to love and care for yourself. With self-compassion, kindness, and patience, you can start to rebuild your life one step at a time. Your journey toward self-discovery may be filled with twists and turns, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for growth.

If you find it challenging to manage the emotions and stress that can come with heartbreak, reach out for help. Online therapy can provide a safe and supportive space to talk through your experiences and explore ways to heal and move on. With the proper support, you can find the courage to face your pain and begin finding joy in life again.

A study of cognitive behavior therapy for grief found this type of treatment helps to clear obstacles that may delay healing. The CBT model may help you learn to manage intrusive thoughts, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and challenge any irrational or negative beliefs about yourself.

Accepting that there is no one way to heal from heartbreak can help you move forward in a meaningful and positive way. Through reflection and therapy, you can gain perspective that may facilitate healing.


Heartbreak can be devastating, but it doesn't have to define who you are or limit what is possible in your life. Instead, grief can be an opportunity to better understand yourself, allowing you to create meaningful goals and paths unique to you.

With effort and self-compassion, you can start to rediscover yourself and find joy again. Online therapy can provide additional support, helping you to manage complicated feelings and process your experiences. If you need help navigating your emotions or building a positive environment for healing, don't hesitate to reach out for support. You can find the strength and courage within yourself to move on and create an even better life after heartbreak.

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