At the end of a relationship, it often seems like life is incapable of moving forward. This person is everywhere and moving on right now just isn’t an option. However, that’s not how things have to be. By modifying your environment, taking a hold of your thinking, and busying your life, they can easily be a thing of the past.
Cut off physical contact.
You cannot forget someone if you still see him or her all the time, or constantly hear about his or her activities. Consider these strategies:
Make sure you won’t run into this person during your day-to-day activities. If you go grocery shopping at the same time, or take the same route home from work, tweak your schedule slightly so a chance meeting becomes more unlikely.
For right now, avoid social gatherings where you know he or she will be present. Politely explain to the host that you hope the event goes well, and that you are staying away only because you want to avoid a painful encounter.
Remove him or her from your electronic life.
In today’s day and age, the people we associate with are more often than not through a screen. Even if you don’t see the person, it’s far too easy to see what they’re up to. Though it may seem harsh, remove him or her from all the forms of social media that you use.
Delete his or her contact information from your phone and email account
Block his or her Facebook profile, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Take any other measures to prevent unwanted contact. If necessary, change your email address.
Ask your mutual friends to stop updating you on this person’s doings.
Something terribly interesting might have happened, but you do not need to hear about it. If your friend forgets and accidentally mentions this person to you, gently remind him or her of your request, saying something like, “I’m sorry, Jane, but it’s too upsetting for me to think about Bill. Maybe we could talk about something else.”
However, you may wish to add an addendum to this policy: sometimes learning the right things will help you find closure. Maybe this person has taken up smoking, moved to a different town, or lost their job. Let your friends know that if they think knowing something may help you find closure, they should say something.
Get rid of what reminds you of this person.
Purge your life of anything that brings up painful memories of this person. Not looking at these things every day will help you move on.
If you can’t bear to get rid of certain items, bag them up and ask a family member or close friend if you can store them in their house, away from easy access. Request the items be kept out of your reach for at least 6 months.
Go through your MP3 player and delete any songs that remind you of him or her. Replace them with encouraging, upbeat tracks that encourage you to be confident and forge ahead.
If you have a child or a pet with this person, obviously you cannot just get rid of them. Instead, focus on the things you have done to nurture this being and give it a good life.
Don’t let the desire for revenge consume you.
Recognize that wanting to take revenge on someone (by making him or her jealous, upset, or sorry) still qualifies as thinking about them. You can’t move on and forget if you’re obsessed with vengeance, so learn how to let it go.
If you believe in a higher power, karma, or some form of cosmic justice, reason that he or she will get the appropriate payback eventually.
If you do not believe that someone else will dole out payback on your behalf, make peace with the fact that life is not fair. This person may have hurt you unjustly, but that does not give you the right to act out.
Remember the old George Herbert quote: “Living well is the best revenge.” Going on with your life and refusing to sink to the other person’s level communicates to him or her that you will not be affected by what happened, essentially rendering it insignificant.
Keep your mind distracted.
Luckily enough, you control your thoughts. If you don’t want to think about something, you don’t have to. Busy yourself with school, work, or a project that will keep your mind focused. When you have other things to think about, they’ll fade into the background.
If you do find yourself thinking of them, shift your attention. We all daydream and find ourselves thinking things we’re surprised we’re thinking. The second they creep in your mind, tell yourself you’re not going to think about it, or that you’ll think about it later (hint: you won’t need to). Find someone to talk to, a game to play, or anything else that can keep your attention, even if it’s just for a few minutes – that’s all you’ll need.
Odds are this person you’re trying to forget did you some kind of wrong. In the end, they didn’t value you like they should’ve. This is the type of person that shouldn’t be in your life anyway. By valuing yourself, it’s much easier to realize that. They didn’t treat you right and that’s that. You only surround yourself with people who do.
Keeping in mind your self-worth will make it much easier to get the ball rolling. Remember: you’re awesome! The whole world is in front of you and just bubbling with opportunities. What are you going to do next?
Pursue your passions.
Keep yourself on the right track by replacing the time you would have spent with this person (or would have spent thinking about him or her) with a new activity. Take up a hobby you have always wanted to try, join an intramural sports league, or start a new form of exercise. Whatever it is, it should be so interesting and engrossing that you can’t manage to think of anything else while you’re doing it.
Mastering a new skill and bettering yourself will make you feel good. You may even feel like a new and improved person that’s too good for the person you’re forgetting, improving your self-esteem. Improving yourself is the best thing to do in this situation for you, your self-worth, and your peace of mind.
Surround yourself with friends and family.
The best way to keep your mind busy, your schedule busy, and yourself positive, is to surround yourself with fantastic people that genuinely care about you. Whether that means your mom, your sister, your best friend, a theatre group, or your basketball team, stick with them. They’ll keep you laughing and help you see that you have a million things going for you.
When you feel like you’d rather hole up and hide under the covers, allow yourself to be a homebody for an hour or so and then put a stop to it by saying yes to that invitation and going out and being social. You won’t feel like it initially, but by the end of the night, you’ll be glad you did.
Allow yourself time.
The human brain is wonderfully self-healing. The old adage “time heals all wounds” has always been true and always will be. Naturally, the brain starts focusing on the here and now, forgetting the past and often modifying it how it sees fit. So if it’s been a few weeks, relax. These things take time. Your brain will do the job for you if you’re patient.
The grieving process is natural and, in most cases, has to be gone through. There are 5 stages, and they may take a while to complete. Be patient with yourself – you’ll see progress as times passes.
Forgive and forget.
In the end, forgetting someone is virtually impossible to do if you can’t forgive them. If you’re following all the above steps and still can’t manage to forget, work on forgiving instead. They’re just a human and things happen. Life goes on.
Don’t forget to forgive yourself. For many of us, we hold grudges against ourselves more easily than we hold grudges against others. Remember that at the time, you did what you thought was right. They did, too. No one is to blame or is at fault. The past is in the past and it’s going to stay there. And that is for the best – this way, you’re free to move on.
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