How to get over a break up and emerge a winner

A necessary part of dating is breaking up. Not all relationships are meant to be. If the person you love leaves you, it often feels like the end of the world. But hey, it's not! Did you know that swans mate for life and when they lose their lifetime mate, they become vicious and destructive? It's unbearable to be around them. Fortunately for humans, there's more than one mate out there for us. And we have the intrinsic ability to mend our hearts and get on with our lives.

While initially we may lose sleep and even our appetites over a break up we eventually find a way out of our grief. Time is a natural healer and you can do your part to make the transition to being 'happily single' again easier. Here is a list of things to consider doing to cope with a break up:

I. HEAL YOURSELF

1. Open up your heart to your mom or your closest friend

There's nothing like talking about what happened and why you feel shattered about the break up. Talking is cathartic and those closest to you know exactly how to console you and make you feel better. In fact, they often find it's their chance to tell you exactly what they didn't really like about your mate, something they couldn't ever do before because they didn't want to hurt your feelings. And since they're the people who know you best, you tend to agree with them and before you know it you're wondering what you were ever doing in the relationship! Like Susan, who discovered the guy she thought was her soul mate, was making moves on her friends on the side. She considered herself lucky that she was out of the relationship and began wishing the break up had happened earlier!

2. Make a list of his/her weaknesses

Now that you've heard others' opinions, make your own inventory of all the things you never liked about the person but put up with because you thought he/she was the love of your life. Write it with the passion of one scorned and let out all the bitterness. Paul got this piece of break up advice from a friend who had 'been there, done that'. When he got down to writing about his ex's obsessive jealousy, constant whining and how he needed to pander to her ego all the time, he was left shocked, then relieved, and ultimately wondering why he was ever with her in the first place. Just like Paul, maybe you too deserve someone better.

3. Write down all the negative aspects/ bad memories.

Write a list of all the negative aspects of the relationship you can think of and keep it by your bed. Look at it every morning to start your day feeling glad that you're out of it. We all tend to focus on the fond memories but often, remembering just a couple of the bad ones makes us feel lucky to have escaped. Learn to appreciate being single.... look at friends or colleagues in bad relationships and feel glad that you are in charge of your own destiny. Virginia, a collegian, kept replaying the horrible incident when her boyfriend had abused her in front of her friends. She recalled her feelings of hurt and anguish. She says, "When you lose your respect for the person you're in a relationship with, it's easy to fall out of love".

4. How you got dumped

If you got dumped in a particularly bad way or they gave you a ridiculous reason for the break up, you could still be smarting. Sometimes people don't have the decency to break up or confront the real issues. They just give you some lame excuse or cease contact. That's bad, but what could be worse is the case of Hari who first discovered he'd been dumped when he saw his girl snuggling up to his best friend at a popular club. "I didn't know on what count to feel let down, by someone who I thought loved me or by my best friend who I trusted." And after the feelings of hurt and betrayal came the indignation and the disbelief. "How could I let them treat me like that? Either I was a bad judge of character or they were obviously not the people I thought they were." It's not worth feeling down about someone who can't treat you right.

5. Introspect

Reflect on what went wrong in the relationship without getting consumed by negative emotions. Don't let anger, blame or guilt take over. Use this healing time to forgive, for although you may never be able to forget, forgiveness helps you to feel better about yourself as a person. Learn from the mistakes you may have made in this relationship.

6. Get rid of your hostility

If you're not able to forgive and are still feeling really hostile and angry work it out of your system. Get a punching bag, paste a picture of your ex on it and pummel it good and proper. Or how about joining a kickboxing or martial arts class to work off some of the frustration?

7. Seek help from a counselor

If you're not able to work through your feelings on your own, seek professional help. We often think twice before doing this. But just as you wouldn't hesitate to see a dentist if your teeth were giving you trouble or an ENT for a sore throat, our hearts and minds also need taking care of. Just lie back and freely tell him all your troubles. They have the experience and wisdom of years of problem solving and similar situations, to help guide you.

8. Look for support online

If you're inhibited about sharing your problems face-to-face or can't afford professional help, seek help online. It provides anonymity yet gives you plenty of experiential learning. There are chat rooms and message boards online where people recovering from break ups hang around. Interact with them but protect your identity. You could even write in to an Agony Aunt column in a newspaper for some free advice.

9. Put things in perspective

Ok, you got dumped but don't take it too seriously. These things happen. You're not the first person with a broken heart and you won't be the last. Paste a smile on your face and force yourself to be positive. Don't regret that it's over. Be glad that it happened.

10. Pray

This one's not for atheists! Visit your local church, mosque or temple and find solace in the peace and quiet of a greater power. Pray to the Almighty to give you inner peace and strength to overcome your crisis. If you're lucky, he may even bring new love into your life, like Michelle, who found she was sharing a leaflet with her potential mate at a novena. God really does work in mysterious ways!