How to Turn Your Breakup Into Profound Personal Growth



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By Dr. Colleen Amann



Let’s face it - break ups are awful. They’re painful and messy and moving out of something comfortable and familiar is very often frightening. In fact, sometimes fear is the only thing that keeps us in unhealthy relationships. However, moving away from something that we know is not working even when it’s comfortable is the journey of personal growth.

Having gone through my own recent breakup, I’ve found the following to be true, at least for me, and acknowledging these truths has helped me heal and approach things from a more positive perspective.

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes the most profound personal growth comes from periods of hurt, loss and despair. However it is through these emotions and the introspection and healing that can follow that we are able to show up for our next relationship healed and in a way that we want our partners to show up for us.

Marianne Williamson has said that, “relationships are assignments that are part of a vast plan for our enlightenment.” No one enters our lives without reason and no relationship is ever a failure. Instead of beating ourselves up when something doesn’t work out we should congratulate ourselves for taking the first steps in figuring out what does.

Breakups allow us to be introspective in ways that we likely won’t be when in relationships. They allow us to analyze what was and wasn’t working, what we need from a partner and what we can legitimately give to another person. If we take the time to really do this work, our next relationship can only be healthier and stronger.

If we truly believe that no one enters our lives without reason and that the universe (or God or whomever/whatever you choose to believe in) will not support relationships that no longer facilitate personal growth, we can look at a break up as a step that brings us even closer to the life we are meant to have. It’s an opportunity to build a life that better suits us.

Breakups also afford us an incredible opportunity in learning how to self-soothe. While it may be tempting to drown our sorrows with any multitude of substances or jump into a quick rebound with the next available person, if we’re constantly masking our pain and using substances or even other people to make us feel better, we can’t ever learn how to be happy with just ourselves. Expecting someone else to make you happy is a too much pressure to place on somebody else’s shoulders. When we end a relationship it is a chance to practice self-compassion, to be kind and forgiving of ourselves, something most of us are not very good at. We can now reflect on the moments where we could have chosen differently and process them, without judgment so that we forgive ourselves and learn how to choose differently in the future.

So while it may feel like a breakup is the end of your world, it’s also an opportunity to rebuild a healthier, more mature you. Someone who is able to love more completely free of the emotional baggage that we sometimes enter into relationships with. While it’s true, nobody is perfect and everyone has some baggage, entering into a relationship as the best version of yourself is what’s likely to give you the best chance for a healthier, happier love life.

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Dr. Colleen Amann

Dr. Colleen Amann is a board certified naturopathic physician practicing primary care in Portland, OR. Dr. Colleen believes that true healing comes from addressing a person’s entire well-being: physical, mental and spiritual. She is committed to her patients achieve true wellness by combining cutting-edge conventional medical technology with the time-tested traditions of naturopathic medicine.

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