Young people dealing with a recent break up often ask me, “How to forget someone I love?”
Breaking up with someone you truly loved will remain one of your most significant life experiences. The process of forgetting someone you loved can break you. Or it can transform you into a stronger, more balanced and more mature version of yourself, with a much higher potential for choosing and creating deeply fulfilling relationships in the future. Here are 7 basic principles you should keep in mind as you strive to forget someone you loved.
How to forget someone – Rule #1. Don’t stay in touch
There are many ways of forgetting someone you love. The one way which will ensure you can’t forget them ever is continuing to “stay in touch” with them. It’s dangerous because human emotions are irrational, and staying friends with someone we have romantic interest in makes us falsely believe – usually in spite of ourselves – that they’re somehow somewhere available when they’re not. It makes us always available to them as a fall back option. (Be honest – if your ex wants you back you’d only be too happy, right?) And most importantly, the cycles of getting your hopes high and disappointment sap all your emotional energy and don’t give you anything to show for it.
How to forget someone – Rule #2. Don’t force-hate them
Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to hate someone you want to forget. Hating someone puts them at the centre of your life, and doesn’t let you forget them. The key is to shift your focus away from them instead. Lies you don’t need to tell yourself if you don’t believe them already include:
“I never loved them.”
“I was too good for them.”
Instead tell yourself, “Everything has its time. I’m happy for the good times I had with a certain individual. The time for that person in my life has now passed and it’s time to look forward.”
How to forget someone – Rule #3. Focus on yourself
The best way to shift your focus from something/somebody you want to forget is to channel it into something you can love with equal passion. Focus on that most neglected but most important guy/girl – yourself. Now is a great time to take a fresh look at your life. Concentrate on the gifts of singlehood.
Re-evaluate your life goals. Is there something you can do differently?
Jump headfirst into that hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue.
Take that short trip you’ve never had time for.
This is a great time to learn to find happiness within yourself – something that can see you through all future emotional challenges.
How to forget someone – Rule #4. Don’t try revenge
Holding on to your dignity at all costs is liberating. Keep those vengeful urges at bay. If you try to take revenge at this moment of emotional upheaval, you’d likely do things you’d regret immensely once you’ve gained your senses back. More importantly, it would tell your ex how important they still are to you – not the kind of ego boost you need to give them.
How to forget someone – Rule #5. Open up
It’s OK to feel shock, pain, anger etc. after a break up. Bottling up all of that can be detrimental to your emotional health. Open up to friends and family. If you don’t want to share this with anyone post your story anonymously in online forums and gather warmth from other members (these communities are usually very supportive). You can even start keeping a journal or a private blog.
How to forget someone – Rule #6. Don’t trust indiscriminately
After a deeply debilitating experience like a break-up, you’d remain in deep shock and pain for a while. You might have tendencies to talk to anyone who’d listen. But this is dangerous, ’cause you’re at your most vulnerable at this point and might unwittingly reveal more than you should to not-so-trustworthy people around you. Make sure you connect only with people who you’re 100% sure of, like family or long-term friends.
How to forget someone – Rule #7. Don’t try rebound
Don’t jump into rebound. You’re emotionally unstable at the moment. If you get into a rebound relationship out of your desperation, the chances of making mistakes are very high. It would also be rather unjust to the person you involve, as you’d be using them as a replacement for someone else. No one deserves that. And most importantly, this would cement your belief that you can’t function without having “someone in your life”. You’d have deprived yourself of an opportunity to find stability and fulfilment within yourself. That’s something which is essential before you can even begin to assess your needs from a future relationship.
As I mentioned, how you forget someone you love will always remain one of your defining experiences. Make sure the process of forgetting someone enriches you, rather than destroying you.