Therapist Sarah McLaughlin On Taking Space From Exes Post-Breakup


Kate Paguinto

Sarah McLaughlin is a San Francisco-based therapist specializing in women's mental health, co-founder of Havn Collective, and she is also a certified yoga instructor. We asked Sarah a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about her journey with self-love.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Time will heal. Sometimes clients will ask me what it’s going to take for them to feel better, and one very important ingredient to healing is time. I would have told my younger self to trust in that as well."

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

"My friends are a huge part of my life, during breakups they are the ones I’ve always leaned on. Rituals might include a major closet clean and a flight purchased to some random place."

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

"The best love can come to you when you truly love yourself. Our culture is so focused on finding the love of your life, finding a partner, or that person to complete you. There is very little focus on the journey to loving yourself, but I’ve learned that self-love is the basis for all other great love."

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

"One thing I truly believe in is space after a breakup. I definitely took a lot of time (sometimes years) with no contact before re-connecting in real life or via social media with exes, but I am still friends with a couple of them."

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

"It may be in part because of my occupation...but, I have so much faith in human beings. They truly blow me away. The hardships some people endure, and they are able to stay open and happy and enjoy life. Stories like those inspire me to no end, and it challenges me to keep my heart open and be grateful to be alive every day."

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

"Oh this is easy, 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor. Nothing like blasting this at full volume and singing along while cry-dancing. I promise it’s empowering."

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

"Every episode of Sex and the City. Does that count? Whether you like the show or not, it definitely covers SO many difficult dating and break-up scenarios. It’s alarming how many times in life I think to myself 'oh, there’s a Sex and the City episode about that.'"

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

"I’m lucky enough to have a full-time therapy practice in San Francisco - that’s my main focus right now. My clients are amazing women who are typically their own worst critics. They are so great, they just need help believing that. It’s an honor to accompany them on their quest to live a balanced, happy and love-filled life."

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