Letting go of someone who hurt you

12 Tips for Letting Go of the Past

One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain.

Experts have found that when emotional pain prevents you from healing from a situation, it’s a sign that we aren’t moving forward in a growth-oriented way.

One of the best ways to heal from hurts is to learn lessons from the situation and use those to focus on growth and forward momentum. If we get stuck in thinking about what “should have been,” we can become immobilized in painful feelings and memories.

If you’re trying to move forward from a painful experience, but you’re not sure how to get started, here are 12 tips to help you let go.

1. Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts

How you talk to yourself can either move you forward or keep you stuck. Often, having a mantra that you tell yourself in times of emotional pain can help you reframe your thoughts.

For example, says clinical psychologist Carla Manly, PhD, instead of getting stuck in, “I can’t believe this happened to me!” try a positive mantra such as, “I am fortunate to be able to find a new path in life — one that is good for me.”

2. Create physical distance

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that you should distance yourself from the person or situation that is causing you to be upset.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, that’s not such a bad idea. “Creating physical or psychological distance between ourselves and the person or situation can help with letting go for the simple reason that we are not having to think about it, process it, or being reminded of it as much,” she explains.

3. Do your own work

Focusing on yourself is important. You have to make the choice to address the hurt that you’ve experienced. When you think about a person who caused you pain, bring yourself back to the present. Then, focus on something that you’re grateful for.

4. Practice mindfulness

The more we can bring our focus to the present moment, says Lisa Olivera, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the less impact our past or future has on us.

“When we start practicing being present, our hurts have less control over us, and we have more freedom to choose how we want to respond to our lives,” she adds.

Online meditation options

Read our review of the best online meditation options to find the right fit for you.

5. Be gentle with yourself

If your first response to not being able to let go of a painful situation is to criticize yourself, it’s time to show yourself some kindness and compassion.

Olivera says this looks like treating ourselves like we would treat a friend, offering ourselves self-compassion, and avoiding comparisons between our journey and those of others.

“Hurt is inevitable, and we may not be able to able to avoid pain; however, we can choose to treat ourselves kindly and lovingly when it comes,” Olivera explains.

6. Allow the negative emotions to flow

If you’re fear of feeling negative emotions is causing you to avoid them, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, Durvasula says that many times, people are afraid of feelings such as grief, anger, disappointment, or sadness.

Rather than feeling them, people just try to shut them out, which can disrupt the process of letting go. “These negative emotions are like riptides,” explains Durvasula. “Let them flow out of you… It may require mental health intervention, but fighting them can leave you stuck,” she adds.

7. Accept that the other person may not apologize

Waiting for an apology from the person who hurt you will slow down the process of letting go. If you’re experiencing hurt and pain, it’s important you take care of your own healing, which may mean accepting that the person who hurt you isn’t going to apologize.

8. Engage in self-care

When we are hurting, it often feels like there is nothing but hurt. Olivera says practicing self-care can look like setting boundaries, saying no, doing the things that bring us joy and comfort, and listening to our own needs first.

“The more we can implement self-care into our daily lives, the more empowered we are. From that space, our hurts don’t feel as overwhelming,” she adds.

9. Surround yourself with people who fill you up

This simple yet powerful tip can help carry you through a lot of hurt.

We can’t do life alone, and we can’t expect ourselves to get through our hurts alone, either, explains Manly. “Allowing ourselves to lean on loved ones and their support is such a wonderful way of not only limiting isolation but of reminding us of the good that is in our lives.”

10. Give yourself permission to talk about it

When you’re dealing with painful feelings or a situation that hurt you, it’s important to give yourself permission to talk about it.

Durvasula says sometimes people can’t let go because they feel they aren’t allowed to talk about it. “This may be because the people around them no longer want to hear about it or [the person is] embarrassed or ashamed to keep talking about it,” she explains.

But talking it out is important. That’s why Durvasula recommends finding a friend or therapist who is patient and accepting as well as willing to be your sounding board.

11. Give yourself permission to forgive

Since waiting for the other person to apologize can stall the process of letting go, you may have to work on your own forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to the healing process because it allows you to let go of anger, guilt, shame, sadness, or any other feeling you may be experiencing and move on.

12. Seek professional help

If you’re struggling to let go of a painful experience, you may benefit from talking to a professional. Sometimes it’s difficult to implement these tips on your own, and you need an experienced professional to help guide you through the process.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.

To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as your practice refocusing how you see the situation, and celebrate the small victories you have.

8 Tips to Accept and Release

How to Let Go of the Past: 8 Tips to Accept and Release
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Medically reviewed by Karin Gepp, PsyD — By Sandra Silva Casabianca — Updated on August 29, 2022

Letting go of the past, including people who hurt you, may involve accepting what you can’t control, taking accountability, and focusing on the lessons. Seeking help is also important.

Most people have, at some point, wondered how to let go of a hurtful past. It’s natural to feel that your current emotional pain is forever linked to what you experienced before. But, even if the past caused it, letting go of the pain starts with focusing on today.

How to let go of the past may mean different things to different people. It may also depend on your situation.

Maybe you think letting go is about being able to remember events or people without experiencing the pain. Perhaps you feel it’s about forgetting altogether. Or, it may mean you want to move on despite not having forgotten or forgiven yet.

Whatever it means to you, it’s possible to release what weighs heavy on your heart and mind. You can heal, and these tips may help.

“I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung

Sometimes when you’ve hurt long enough, you may get used to the emotional pain. Maybe it feels safe and familiar. Maybe you’ve internalized it as part of your identity. Perhaps staying angry at that person is comfortable because you can keep a distance.

Growing pains can be real. Getting away from the things you’ve felt and thought about for a long time may be uncomfortable. But healing, joy, and peace of mind may be on the other side of letting go.

It may not be the case for everyone, but if you ask yourself “why can’t I let go?” these questions may help you start releasing your past:

  • Are there any secondary gains from keeping yourself focused on what hurts?
  • Is thinking about the past keeping you from trying new relationships or situations?
  • Do you avoid resolving emotional pain because this would mean facing it first?
  • How would your life be if you left the past in the past?
  • What would happen if you adopted a different role in the situation?

Sometimes, to heal, you first need to feel it. Bottling up your thoughts and emotions may hurt you more in the long run and make it hard to let go, particularly if you keep thinking about the past and what harmed you.

Ruminating on the same negative thoughts may affect your mood, relationships, and even your ability to be productive and creative.

Try to find ways to express how you feel healthily. Releasing the emotional charge may help you stop ruminating.

Consider engaging in activities that provide a safe space for you to let it all out. For example:

  • journaling with prompts
  • writing a letter to the person who hurt you (sending it is optional)
  • expressing your pain through art or play if writing or talking is difficult for you
  • finding a trusted friend, relative, or therapist to share your experiences and feelings

Taking accountability doesn’t mean you have to blame yourself for things that happened to you in the past. It’s more about realizing how much energy you’re spending on remembering or feeling things that are no longer your present. It’s also choosing to focus your attention elsewhere.

When you hold on to your pain, resentment, or hurtful memories, you’re reliving the painful experience again and again. This may keep you stuck in the past, which is something you can no longer change.

Taking accountability is also about claiming your power and deciding others will not control how you feel or live your life.

Maybe you didn’t have a say in what hurt you in the past, but you have a say now. You can choose where you put your mind and heart today.

It’s natural and valid to feel this is a difficult task. Maybe the pain is so intense that you can’t help but focus on it, or perhaps you have to live with the consequences. But healing is still possible.

Consider reaching out to a mental health professional to explore how you can develop effective coping mechanisms that may make releasing the past easier. You deserve it.

Focusing on past events may leave little room in your heart and mind for new experiences, including those that may bring you joy.

Not letting go of the past may make you more prone to miss the good in your life.

Consider these steps to make space for the new and to release the past:

  • set personal and professional short-term goals
  • cultivate gratitude so you can focus on the present good
  • assess the quality of your current relationships and choose those that do you good
  • commit to a new hobby or activity every month
  • clean and organize your spaces, so you give away or discard items that no longer serve you
  • establish new bonds or try to strengthen casual relationships that have the potential to be great friendships
  • practice mindfulness, so you learn how to return to the moment when your mind wanders to the past
  • commit to one self-care activity every week
  • engage in altruistic activities that may boost your mood by helping others
  • identify positive leaders and role models who lead with empathy and compassion

Prioritizing yourself is about being intentional with your decisions. This may start with realizing that choosing what’s good for you doesn’t mean you’re being selfish.

Putting yourself first may also mean reclaiming your power by leaving in the past what hurts you and focusing on healing today. It’s about realizing that you matter.


  • going to therapy to explore how to let go of the past and hurt you’ve experienced
  • setting boundaries with other people who may want to relive or discuss the past when you’re not ready to
  • making life decisions that make you feel safe, at peace, or happy, even if others don’t agree
  • reframing thoughts that may increase your anxiety or sadness to focus on thoughts that may make you feel hopeful
  • engaging in self-compassion and self-respect

Prioritizing yourself may also be about exploring ways to find forgiveness.

Forgiving yourself and others has been associated with higher psychological well-being, including a higher tolerance to uncertainty and a lower tendency to experience anger.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

~ Rumi

What have you learned about relationships, love, yourself, and life from your hurtful past experiences?

Your first response to this question may be to think of the negatives you may have learned. It’s natural and valid. But try to pause if this is your first reaction and consider focusing on a few positive lessons. For example:

  • how strong and resilient you may be
  • who showed up for you and proved you can rely on them
  • the things you now know you don’t want in your life
  • the coping skills you may have developed to face life challenges
  • the sense that everything passes and this too shall pass

This isn’t an all-inclusive list and may not necessarily apply to your situation.

The idea is to try to identify whatever strength, skill, knowledge, or clarity you may have gained from a painful event. Focusing on these lessons may make it easier to let go.

One reason you may be ruminating about past events could be a need to revisit past choices or what could have been.

Focusing on the “what ifs” may lead you to repeatedly engage in the same inner conversations and scenarios. But thinking about what happened isn’t going to change it.

It may be difficult to accept, but learning to identify those things you have no control over may help you let go of the past.

The “should haves” or “what ifs” will not change what happened. The “what coulds” and “what wills” may help you move forward and be intentional in daily decisions that will affect your present and future.

Whether you live with trauma, experience anxiety or another mental health disorder, or may be facing relationship resentment, a mental health professional can help you let go and release your emotional pain.

Learning how to let go may depend on your specific situation and understanding of what letting go is about. But it’s possible and healing can be achieved.

Openly expressing how you feel, reclaiming your power, making room for new experiences, and focusing on the lessons are a few ways to let go of emotional pain.

If you’re having a difficult time letting go, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. They can help you explore the possible causes of your challenges and develop coping skills that work for you.

Last medically reviewed on August 29, 2022

5 sourcescollapsed

  • Flaherty A, et al. (2022). Treatment of overthinking: a multidisciplinary approach to rumination and obsession spectrum. https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/ocd/treatment-of-overthinking-a-multidisciplinary-approach/
  • Jit R, et al. (2017). Healing a broken spirit: Role of servant leadership. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0256090917703754
  • Koc M, et al. (2016). Investigation of the effect of intolerance of uncertainty and the effect of anger control on the relationship between forgiveness and psychological well-being through structural equation modeling. shorturl.at/JTVX0
  • Pliske MM, et al. (2021). Healing from adverse childhood experiences through therapeutic powers of play: “I can do it with my hands.” https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2021-68984-001
  • Watkins ER, et al. (2020). Reflecting on rumination: Consequences, causes, mechanisms, and treatment of rumination. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796720300243


Medically reviewed by Karin Gepp, PsyD — By Sandra Silva Casabianca — Updated on August 29, 2022

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15 ways to let go of a person who hurts you / To love

People don't joke when they say that love hurts. It is, and sometimes love hurts so much that it's just time to put it aside and move on.

Almost everyone has been in a relationship with someone who has hurt them emotionally or physically. The other person could be a parent, a boyfriend, a sister, or even a high school best friend. But there always comes a point where you ask yourself if you'd be better off without that other person in your life.

Learning to let go can be as difficult as staying. It's an unfamiliar change that you'll have to live with for the rest of your life, but you know in your heart that it's the only thing you can do.

You want a better life, a happier life, and since the person you love won't let you live that better life, you must let go and face a new beginning on your own.

It won't be easy, but nothing in life worth fighting for is ever easy. You will have to make a firm choice to let go and move on.

15 Decide Now

Make a firm decision that now is the right time to take action and let go of this other person. Things are not getting better and, in fact, they are getting worse.

Take some time with yourself and decide on a plan of action. Also, consider why you are removing this person from your life. What has this other person done to you that hurts you so much?

When you have a good, personal understanding of why you are letting someone go, you will be more determined to carry out your plans. It's very easy to keep going back to the person who hurt you, but you have to understand that things aren't going to change anytime soon, no matter how much you want it to. You must take action and it must happen now.

14 It's not your fault

Recognize that the bad things the other person has done to you are not your fault.

Recently I was in a difficult situation. I wasn't sure if I had the strength to let go of the person who was hurting me. I sought counseling and after talking about the situation, I was told to say, "It's not my fault." At first I just repeated the words, but then my adviser made me say the words with confidence. She made me repeat the phrase over and over. I had to believe that what happened was not my fault.

As women, we blame ourselves for many things that are really out of our control. It's how we are set up and how society wants us to feel.

The truth is that we can only accept blame for our own actions. The actions of someone else are not our fault.

13 grieving

Once you've decided it's time to let go, you need to give yourself time to grieve.

Give yourself time for your soul to cry. Be angry, sad or feel what emotions will come into play. Work through your feelings.

It's too easy to tell yourself that you're happy now that you're letting go of the other person. You may even tell yourself that you feel absolutely nothing about what is happening, but you are lying to yourself.

Letting go of someone is hard and deep down you experience a lot of negative emotions. You must express these feelings and express them through tears, writing or art.

Work your way through bad feelings so you can heal faster and be on your way to a better life.

12 Delete reminders

To help ease the feeling of lightness, do a lot of house cleaning. Get some empty boxes and start filling them with memories of the other person. Collect all photos and gifts. Anything that reminds you of the other person should be put in a box.

Decide what you are going to keep, what you will destroy, and what you will donate.

There will always be something you want to keep, but right now you need it out of sight and out of your mind. Collect it and don't look at it again until you're completely healed and out of touch with the other person.

Other things can go. Some of it will be trash, but most of it could probably be donated to clothing and home charities. Let someone else create new memories with the material and put it to good use.

11 Change your phone number

The first way most people communicate is with mobile phones. If you're looking for the first step to letting someone go, this is probably it.

I admit it's a pain in the ass to change your phone number. You will also have to change your number in so many other places, but this makes a huge difference in limiting how the other person contacts you..

Once you've changed your number, you'll also be less likely to break in and contact the other person on the phone. You know that if something doesn't work out, which it probably won't, you'll have to go through the whole process all over again.

After you do this, you will probably feel a little lonely, but that's only because the other person can no longer bother you with calls and texts. You will soon get over it and will be grateful for the quietness.

10 Don't glorify the past

You will have moments of weakness. We all do when we take a big step to let go of another person. But these moments of weakness shouldn't send your plans crashing down around you.

When you think of good or funny times, you need to switch your thoughts back to the reasons you left the other person.

You must remind yourself of all the harm done by another person. You must remember the bad times.

When you start feeling nostalgic, get up and start working on something else. Take a walk or call a friend. Do something else besides sit there and relive the memories.

You don't want to slip in and contact this other person. You don't want to be weak.

Be strong instead. Move on to newer and brighter things. Focus on yourself and set new goals for the future.

9 Get advice

Booking a consultation was one of the best and healthiest decisions I have ever made in my life. I needed not only to talk about what was going on and how I felt in a safe place, but also to get guidance.

My advisor gave me strength and helped me find my way in the dark. The right consultant can do the same for you.

If you're having a hard time letting someone go, find a counselor who can help people in your situation. Get to know her beforehand to see if you are comfortable talking to her. If everything goes well, come to the weekly sessions.

The best counselors will help you clarify your thinking and your actions. They force you to express your feelings and teach you how to manage what you feel. They help you find your inner strength when you feel weak.

8 block them on social media

Social media can be a huge burden when you're trying to remove a person from your life.

First, you need to delete and block the other person on all your social networks. You may also need to remove the other person's family members or friends from your accounts. It sucks, but it has to be done if you're going to give yourself the opportunity to move on.

You can also take a complete break from social media while you're at it. Think about how much time you spend on it, and then think about what you could be doing instead.

There is also the stress of communicating with other people. You can just walk away from social media for the first few days by turning off all your alerts and resisting the urge to post.

7 find new friends

If the person you are letting go has been in your life for a very long time, you may find that you have many friends in common.

When it's over with this one person, you may have to let go of other people as well. But don't get discouraged by all this. Instead, think of all the new friends you can now have.

Pull yourself together and start talking to other people. Go to events that interest you and connect with people there.

You can really make friends anywhere, from the grocery store to the elevator. Just put yourself there and talk to the women you meet. Make a real effort to meet new people.

In my experience, most people enjoy making new friends. As humans, we need this social interaction. So if you're making huge changes, add new friends to your life to help you refocus on the good that is.

6 Start a journal

It sounds kind of silly, but when you actually experience it, it helps you reorient your life and get rid of the messy past. First of all, it prevents you from posting stupid things on social media. Instead of making your drama public, keep it private and write in your diary..

Second, journaling can help you relieve stress. You can write about whatever you want without judgment and you will feel much better after you are done.

Magazines are also a lesson that your feelings will change. For example, I kept a diary during the end of my marriage. I put away all my worries and fears. Years later, I picked up and read this magazine. I found myself foolishly worrying about things that never happened. It was a light bulb moment that I wouldn't have if I didn't keep a diary.

5 Start a new project

Instead of focusing all your energy on letting someone go, you can focus your energy on starting a new project.

A new project can be anything. It could be a business plan or an educational plan for your new self. It could be a craft project or gardening.

Select a new project that is not related to the person you are letting go. Let it be something that you are seriously interested in doing. Make a step-by-step plan for a new project so you can focus on those steps, not the past.

No matter where you are in life, you should always have a project to work with. It strengthens you and helps you learn to focus on what you are doing.

The more involved you are in your project, the easier it is to move on with your life.

4 Focus on your needs

You are probably letting go of this other person because they would waste so much of your time and energy. It fills your head with negative thoughts, and you are always too distracted to spend time working on yourself..

The moment you decide to remove someone from your life, you need to focus on your needs. You've neglected yourself long enough and now it's time for you to get yourself up and running on the ball.

Focus on your health first. Make an exercise schedule and start planning healthier meals for yourself.

Need a vacation? You can plan it and do it now when you have more time.

Do not neglect your needs and, as often as possible, give them to your needs. Life is too short to live in punishment for something that is not your fault.

3 You deserve better

The person you leave as a long-term boyfriend? Is he the one you wanted to marry??

Leaving him is probably the hardest thing you'll ever do, but you know in your heart that you need to do it. You must do it.

Whatever he tells you, remind yourself that you deserve better. You don't deserve to be abused, treated like rude or cheated on. In fact, you deserve the opposite of all these things.

Write the words "I deserve better" on sticky notes and post them throughout your home. Copy other positive sayings and put them where you will see them every day.

Many women have been in your situation, and those who have been successful in life have found the strength to let go and leave. You may be one of them.

2 Accept changes

Nothing lasts forever. Not love, not family, not childhood friendships. Life is full of change and that's good.

Change helps us grow. It makes us become better people. Without change, we become miserable and stagnant.

Partially letting go of someone is learning to accept change. It's hard in the beginning, but it gets easier the more you accept it and pursue it.

As part of the process of letting go of someone, you will need to actively make changes. These changes will be about how you live your daily life, how you think, and what you do in your spare time.

Make small positive changes first. As you make each change, see it as a building block to make you feel better. Make big changes in your life as you become more and more comfortable with the idea of ​​living a new life.

1 Have faith

Every day you fail to reach this person is a day of victory. This is a victory for your happiness and your future.

If you can let go of the past, you need to have faith. Believe in yourself that you can do it, that you are strong, and that you are taking the right action. Believe that what you are doing is the right thing to do.

Yes, it can be scary, especially if you've just let go of a long-term boyfriend, but there's something better for you if you just open your eyes to it.

We are all strong inside, whether we admit it or not. The will to survive is within us all. Stay positive, move forward and take the necessary steps to lead a happier and healthier life.

How to let go of a person if the relationship does not bring joy

Parting with loved ones is always hard. Psychologists of family centers who are ready to help people overcome various periods of crisis tell how to survive a traumatic situation. By contacting the specialists at My Family Center, you will receive comprehensive psychological assistance - individual or family consultations, you will be able to participate in group interactive classes in order to see the situation from a different angle in a supportive environment and get a resource to overcome life's difficulties.

Difficulties of parting

Entering into a relationship, a person consciously or unconsciously seeks to fulfill his basic need for love. But the understanding of love is very different for everyone, our expectations are not always justified and coincide with the vision of a partner.

“When the feeling of dissatisfaction becomes constant, and there is less and less joy from relationships, then it makes sense to think about whether these relationships have a future and whether they are worth saving. Of course, everything here is very individual, and before making a decision, it is important to be honest with yourself and your partner. Most often it happens that in the depths of the soul the decision has already matured, but there is not enough psychological strength to implement it. A person still hopes for something, is in captivity of self-deception, is afraid of the future, or is not ready to take responsibility for his life ", — tells the psychologist of the Vostochnoye Degunino Family Center Svetlana Timchenko .

The main difficulty in parting lies in the emotional attachment to the partner, and it is sometimes much stronger than the arguments of reason. Sometimes, after physically breaking up, people cannot psychologically “pick up” themselves from the relationship. This may take years.

“The fact is that our ego often plays tricks on us. Even at the stage of falling in love, when everything is fine, it automatically, unconsciously tries to appropriate not only the joy from the relationship, but also the person who gives it to us. And then, when natural developmental difficulties arise in a couple and our expectations from a partner are not met, there is a feeling of disappointment, loss. The main pain arises not even from the partner’s actions and his “non-ideal”, but from the collapse of our illusion of expectations from him” , - notes the psychologist.

What is a relationship for us

We invest in relationships mentally, psychologically, physically and financially, and also spend precious time on another person. This is akin to an investment, and we unconsciously expect to receive dividends in the future in the form of stability, security, loyalty. The partner seems to owe us, and if this does not happen, and he does not pay the bills, then the ego feels robbed.

Two paths to a healthy relationship crisis

  1. If a couple has the potential to develop, through open dialogue, partners will be able to clarify their goals, shared values ​​and decide to continue to stay together.
  2. If the inevitability of parting is obvious, then experiencing the pain of loss, letting go of a person and taking yourself out of a relationship is possible only by changing your perception and ceasing to look at relationships from the position of obligations.

How to do it?

Step 1 . First of all, accept and live all the gamut of feelings that will inevitably cover you, since the acceptance of a new reality will require considerable mental strength and time. Here, a healthy supportive environment (close people, psychological support groups, individual psychological consultations) will help you. Allow yourself to accept help from others, because how you live through the trauma will depend on your emotional state in future relationships.

Step 2 . After the first wave of feelings, believe and admit the idea that there is still a lot of interesting and pleasant things ahead in life. Your ability to experience happiness should not depend on anyone, no one is responsible for how much you can extract positive emotions from various events.

Step 3 . Turn towards personal interests, remember if you forgot what you used to love, what attracted attention and what gave you positive emotions. Each of us has a huge potential and extraordinary abilities. Maybe it's time to realize an old dream? We live in a time when a lot is possible. As an internal support, you can choose for yourself the image of some hero who is close to you, who would serve as a motivating force.

If you can't immediately find your bearings in the area of ​​interest, then just switch. Let variety into your life, try different things :

  • Sports, any physical activity will help release the energy of tension. The body is our very grateful friend.
  • Creativity will fill you with positive energy and inspiration, develop your imagination, switch from destructive thoughts.
  • You might think about changing the look or updating the interior.

It is important to work with your self-esteem, it often drops when you break up, since devaluation is a common behavioral strategy between former partners.

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