If you rolled your eyes when you read the title of this blog post, hear me out! I’ve got some great breakup advice that will change your whole attitude about newness, getting back in the dating scene, and the unknown. Newsflash: it’s all good!
Why You Should Treat Your Breakup Like A New Year’s Eve by Jackie Pilossoph
It is perhaps the biggest New Year’s Eve tradition out there: Popping open a bottle of champagne, filling our glasses and then making a toast.
What are we drinking to? The new year, of course, which presents us with possibilities of adventure, opportunity, new goals, dreams and lots of other good things. Maybe we are saying goodbye to a year that wasn’t so great, and we are welcoming the first day of a year we hope will be a new beginning, a chance to start over, or an opportunity for a happier life.
The fact that we spend a whole night celebrating the start of a new year, perhaps doing something extravagant or going to a big party or having dinner at an overpriced restaurant with a fixed menu, proves that people not only accept newness, but that they in fact embrace it.
So, if everyone looks at New Year’s so festively, why is it that when it comes to the end of a relationship – whether it’s a divorce or a breakup, people view it so negatively? Why do we fear the change of our relationship status, yet celebrate the change of the calendar year? And why do we have such a dim outlook on being single again, in contrast to a hopeful attitude for the start of a new year?
I’m not saying that if your marriage just ended or if you just got dumped, you should be dancing around your kitchen wearing a sparkling party hat and blowing a noisemaker. But I just can’t understand why divorce and breakups are looked at so differently than New Year’s. While both involve the unknown, one celebrates it while the other dreads it.
Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and certified life coach who said the reason people fear change and view it negatively is because of what they tell themselves.
“I hear my clients say, ‘This is going to be so hard. I don’t want to be alone. The dating scene is awful. There are so many weirdos out there,'” said Kaplin, who has been in practice for 16 years. “They haven’t even validated any of this, but that’s what they are telling themselves.”
Do we talk about the new year with this negativity? Nope.
Kaplin said the best way to turn change into a positive is to have an open, curious attitude and to take action.
“I ask my clients, ‘What are you afraid of?’ and they say, ‘I’m going to be lonely,’ and I say, ‘What will you do if you are lonely?’ They will answer, ‘I’ll call a friend or find a new hobby,'” Kaplin said. “So once you look past the initial fear, you start coming up with a checklist and then it doesn’t seem so scary because you have a plan.”
Here’s the thing about being newly single. It’s new. It’s something different than we are used to that can be scary, which can then lead to anxiety and sadness. I should know because I was there several years ago when I got divorced with two children, who were just ages 3 and 5 at the time.
What I remember about that first year of being newly single were emotions that included anger, anxiety, sadness and the biggest one, fear. But whether or not I admitted it to myself at the time, there was a twinge of excitement inside me, afraid to come out because it was so dominated by fear.
Still, it was there: a tiny slice of hope I now realize I should have embraced much sooner. Why? Because that hope was the Champagne glass waiting for me to grab it, take a big sip and toast to all the positives of change and newness, and the wonderful gifts that were for the taking in the future. Sounds a lot like New Year’s Eve, doesn’t it?
Regardless of your relationship status this New Year’s Eve…(Click here to read the rest of the article, published yesterday in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.)
Like the blog? Read my post, “Finding Happiness After Divorce isn’t a Possibility, It’s a Probability”