What Is the Key to a Better Breakup Recovery?

Why do some people have such a hard time recovering from a breakup, and others seem to cope better? New research says it could be in the difference between a fixed mindset versus growth mindset.

We have a tendency to understand our talents, traits, and abilities as something we’re born with (fixed), or as subject to change if we make an effort to develop and grow them (growth). Carol Dweck is the Stanford researcher whose research has shown the existence of these two mindsets and she recently co-authored a study that examines the way these mindsets impact how people recover from the rejection of a breakup. They did 5 online surveys, with 891 participants answering questions about real and hypothetical breakups, as well as questions designed to figure out each person’s predominant mindset. 

The crux of it? Those with fixed mindsets were more likely to see their breakup as revealing some kind of fatal flaw – something they often feared would repeat in future relationships, leading to understandable anxiety at the prospect of harboring an “unlovable” trait.

On the other hand, people who see their qualities as malleable and subject to growth are better able to recover and flourish in later relationships. While we may be no less heartbroken in the short term, this growth mindset may open us up to the opportunities that come from personal crisis – for growth, for reflection, for character building, and so on.

So if you’re going through a breakup, take a moment to reflect on your mindset and consider how you can harness a growth mindset to make profound changes in your life.

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