How to Get Over Someone by Not Getting Over Them

Getting over someone. Ah, yes. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? How desperately we yearn for the day when we will wake up and somehow, magically, our first thought will be about breakfast instead of their stupid face. For that one day when we can function again without feeling like we just took a meteor to our stomach. For that one day when we’ll pour our first cup of coffee, slip into our new undies, take a deep breath and think, okay, that’s done now. Let’s go. 

Except, I don’t think we ever “get over” anyone. Ever. And furthermore, I think we hold ourselves back from the true magnitude and value of heartbreak by believing so. 

When I received the request for this post, I (of course) began to think about my own past heartbreak. And it has been bad. Trust me. In fact, my first soul-splitting, ground-leveling break-up occurred when I was so young and new and shiny that I’m still amazed I fully recovered.

But that relationship wasn’t some boulder I finally cast off of my shoulders and stepped over in my combat boots. I am free from that emotional pain now, yes. It no longer dictates my life, or hangs at the back of my chest, yesBut I’m not over it. It forever lives in me–and happily so, because I have faced it, and in turn, faced myself. I have relearned the truth of my expansiveness, and I have healed. 

Too often, we turn our past lovers into ropes anchoring us to the emotional trauma we experienced. We tell ourselves they owe us something because they hurt us, or we owe them something because we hurt them. So we put on our sweatpants and cry. We yell, break out the tequila, and send drunken angry texts. We sleep with someone else and sneak away in the morning or cling to them for dear life. We try every trick in the book to saw through the rope and run as fast as we can in the opposite direction, all the while watching helplessly as it chafes away at our wrist.

But the emotions are just surface. Pure smoke-and-mirrors-style distraction. Honor them, of course. But if you really want to be free…you’ve gotta go deeper.

Stop struggling. Turn around. Look at that person. See them for who they are…a reflection of you.

Stick with me, here.

Every person we encounter serves as a mirror for ourselves. 

That dude at the grocery store who smiled at you and made you feel bright, that bitch on the phone at work who treated you like dirt. Your closest friend. Your mom. Your one night stand.

All of them serve as teachers and reflectors. They reflect back the pieces of us we’ve buried deep, under schedules and dinner plans and clubs and work. What you see most clearly in them is actually what you need to see in you. 

This is one of the most difficult concepts to wrap my head around. It constantly challenges me. I get frustrated and annoyed trying to apply it to my own life. And of course I do. We don’t like turning the finger around to point at ourselves. We don’t like what we see when we look ourselves square in the eye. We deflect and redirect like a skyscraper-sized-prism because we don’t want to feel our way fully into ourselves…

It’s scary in there. And there are lots of old, creepy doors leading us down hallways we abandoned long ago.

There are girls I work with who irritate me because they have negative attitudes and complain all the time about their work. Well, there’s a part of me who is a big-time, ugly complainer. It’s a part of me I don’t want to admit to, and a part of me I don’t like. Gabby Bernstein calls something like this “a disowned part of our shadow.”

Conversely, these reflections can be positive! I remember this guy I was totally gaga for, who just plain didn’t love me back. I expressed my frustration to a very wise friend, “I look at him and I just see this deep, unbelievable source of love. If he could just see it, too, it would be incredible. But he’s so afraid to express it.”

She looked at me with a new-agey twinkle in her eye and said, “You realize you just described yourself, right? That deep, unexpressed source of love you are seeing in him…is really the love you see in you.”


And it was true. At that time in my life, I was scared to death of feeling or expressing any sort of deep love to anyone. I had just had my heart obliterated, with pieces blown to every corner of the earth. I was still so newly fragile, feeling my way through. I didn’t want anyone else to touch me, for fear that I might actually just dissolve into the wind and never be found again.

That guy showed me a part of myself I wasn’t seeing. An ancient truth I had forgotten. That guy helped me see that all the love I would ever need…was already inside me.

Now, back to my original intention. To help you “get over” someone…

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