Love, in all its forms, is beautiful. The highs can send you soaring to the heavens. And then there are the lows—moments that can drag you through the grueling path of heartbreak.
Understandably, knowing how to get over someone can be daunting. But it’s a necessary step to healing.
“Until you are able to see yourself living the life that you truly want, it will be difficult for you to create it,” says Katherine Woodward Thomas, the best-selling author of Conscious Uncoupling and trainer of the Mindvalley Quest with the same name.
And when you’re able to gracefully let go, you may just find yourself with a renewed spirit and an open heart, ready to embrace the possibilities that lie ahead.
How to Get Over Someone
Heartbreak doesn’t reserve itself for long-term relationships. Oh no, it’s democratic like that, sometimes hitting you hard over a crush or a platonic relationship that took an unexpected turn.
You might find yourself dwelling on “what could have been.” Nursing a broken heart comes with a side of frustration, especially when your well-intentioned friends just chant, “Get over it.”
Let’s face it, letting go and bouncing back isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. And an Eat, Pray, Love kind of journey isn’t on the cards for everyone.
Thankfully, you don’t need to pull an Elizabeth Gilbert to learn how to get over someone with grace and resilience. Instead, Katherine’s advice may just be the thing you need to heal.
Love can leave the most significant imprint. And learning how to get over someone you love requires patience, understanding, and a conscious effort.
Here’s what Katherine recommends doing:
1. Release toxic breakup shame
Heartbreak, unfortunately, comes with an uninvited guest: shame. And it is not the kind that knows when to leave.
Whether from societal pressure to find “the one” or personal internalized beliefs about relationships, the end of a romance can leave you grappling with not-so-rosy feelings. But the reality is, society and age-old fairy tales of “happily ever after” were crafted in very different times and have contributed to this shame over centuries.
It’s these myths that often make people feel like a breakup is a personal failure rather than a normal part of life. And what Katherine points out in her Quest is, “inside of our assumption that we have failed at love, we’ve never actually taken on learning how to do this well.”
The important takeaway here? You’re not defined by the end of your relationship with someone you loved.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “We are the believers in love. And because of this, we understand the value of learning how to make this very difficult transition consciously and in alignment with our true values. And not just those unexamined values that were handed to us by others.”
2. Create your inner sanctuary of safety
“Breakups are one of the most traumatic things that many of us will ever have to go through,” says Katherine. And that’s why she advocates building an “inner sanctuary of safety”—a calm space in your mind where you can escape from the turmoil and stress that come with ending a relationship.We’re not really designed to separate well, and when we do, our brains and our bodies just go a little haywire. — @KatWoodwardThom Click To Tweet
But how do you build this sanctuary? It starts with being able to name what you are feeling. And as a matter of fact, a UCLA study found that recognizing and naming our emotions can actually reduce their impact, helping you maintain control in stressful situations.
So, as you learn how to get over a breakup, remember to give yourself space and time to feel, to breathe, and to heal.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “The very simple act of giving each feeling a name and just witnessing it with love, witnessing the part of you that’s having that feeling with love, you’re going to start to feel more contained and in charge of yourself again.”
3. Set your “breakup to breakthrough” intention
“The shattering of a breakup holds the potential to catalyze huge leaps forward in your development because breakups are crossroads,” explains Katherine. “You’re either going to have the biggest breakthrough of your life or you’re going to be tempted to dim down and begin to live a lesser life.”
Take Elizabeth Gilbert, for example. She transformed a period of heartbreak into a journey of self-discovery and personal evolution. And healing from a breakup is your chance to turn pain into your own version of Eat, Pray, Love.
This process isn’t just about mending a broken heart. It’s an opportunity to turn that pain into a power-up.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “Contrary to popular belief, time doesn’t heal all wounds; we do. You want to set your sights on growing yourself beyond who you have known yourself to be before now.”
4. Commit to your own life
According to Katherine, the pathway on how to get over someone gloriously leads to a committed relationship with none other than fabulous you.Our next relationship will not begin when we meet our next partner, but with how we end with this one. — @KatWoodwardThom Click To Tweet
The thing is, transitioning from grief to self-love involves deep introspection. Reflect on past relationships and understand how you might have mirrored the unsatisfactory behaviors of your partners.
And the groundbreaking part? By committing to treating yourself with the respect, love, and attention you deserve, you break the cycle of attracting partners who don’t value you enough.
So, seize this moment of heartbreak to nurture a romance with yourself. Be your hero, be your biggest fan, and most importantly, be your own reliable partner in crime.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “Until you begin to look at how their disappointing behavior might be reflective of your own, then you’re going to be vulnerable to duplicate this same dynamic with someone new in the future. No one is ever going to be able to fix this for you until you fix this for yourself.”
5. Live from your power center
Remember in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth chooses to immerse herself in the pleasures of food and language simply because they delight her soul? She prioritizes her happiness, tuning into the deeper, blissful core of what Katherine refers to as the “power center.”
This means “living and loving from the deeper truth of who you are.” And when you recognize that you’re spiraling and consciously choose, instead, to operate from your power center, you start to live with grace, wisdom, and strength.
It’s in this space that you embrace your true worth, laying a foundation where you can once again manifest love.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “When these really big feelings come up in your body, you want to turn towards them from this deeper, wider center within you and just extend your love to that younger you that’s suffering.”
…you never dated
Unrequited love or a connection that never blossomed can still cause a broken heart. It’s essential to not undermine your feelings in such situations, as they are as real and valid as in any other relationship.
Here’s Katherine’s advice on how to get over someone you never dated:
1. Let go of a victimized perspective
Letting go of a victimized perspective means rewiring how you narrate your breakup story. It’s going to take you shifting the focus from blaming your ex to understanding your role in the dynamic.
“I like to say, even if it’s 97% the other person’s fault,” explains Katherine, “that you want to be really interested in your 3%.” That means taking a hard yet nurturing look at the choices you made that might not have served you well.
You’re not on a fault-finding mission here. No, you’re on a journey to rediscover your power, understand your true value, and gift yourself a future where love—devoid of resentment and full of self-trust—exists.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “Whenever we’re blaming someone, ourselves included, we’re not actually growing, because shame stunts development. So, to help you move beyond anger and resentment, so that your heart isn’t in danger of healing a little too closed or a little bit too crooked and easily bruised moving forward, we’re going to want you to begin to tell your story from a more nuanced and holistic perspective.”
2. Ask more empowering questions
Getting hurt in a platonic relationship can make you feel bad and start blaming yourself.
Katherine suggests a different approach: asking yourself questions that help you grow and learn instead of making you feel guilty. These are going to be ones like:
- How did I give my power away to this person, and what can I do to reclaim it?
- How do I let myself down in ways that are similar to how I feel let down by my former partner?
- Where was I pulling on my former partner to take care of me in ways that I’ve been unwilling to take care of myself?
- What were the lies I was telling myself in order to stay in the relationship?
- How does it work for me to have chosen someone who is so clearly unavailable?
- What disappointing story from my past is now being repeated?
- How might I have behaved in ways that covertly recreated it?
By adopting this thoughtful and kind approach, you create room for personal growth. And this will allow you to foster healthier relationships in the future.
Katherine Wood Thomas’ insight: “The moment you can tolerate seeing things as they really are and can hold the complexities of your own flawed humanity with a tender, humble heart, that’s when your life can begin to radically change for the better.”
3. See your story clearly
There’s something called a “source fracture story.” It’s the deep-seated narratives developed from past traumas and experiences that dictate your beliefs about love and self-worth.
In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth jumps right into a relationship with David after ending her marriage. This fling, more of a rebound than a real connection, is a prime example of her “source fracture story,” as she seeks someone to fix her rather than cultivating a healthy relationship with herself.
Understanding your own story is not about berating yourself for past choices. It’s more like tidying up a room—you acknowledge what’s there, decide what to keep, and then neatly organize everything to pave the way for a pleasant experience.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “Liberation from your painful patterns in love will begin with identifying exactly what that source fracture story is that you created way back when. Because once you make it conscious, that’s when you get to challenge that story, and then you can finally find the pathway to freedom beyond it.”
4. Make amends to yourself
There’s a consistent theme here when it comes to learning how to get over someone you never dated—and that’s you. And making amends is no different.
After all, research shows that there are benefits to self-forgiveness. The main ones are:
- Boost your mental well-being
- Improve relationships
- Elevate your self-esteem
As you learn to stop giving power to others to determine your worth, you may just find yourself being more transparent about what you really feel, need, and desire.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “If you’ve noticed that you tend to underpresent yourself—pretending to be less than who you are because of some crazy notion that you’re somehow too much and that if you were really just yourself that other people would get overwhelmed—then your amends to yourself are to start giving yourself permission to take up space, to be your big, beautiful self, so that others can see who you really are.”
5. Embrace a growth mindset
A mishap in the romance department is obviously something that no one looks forward to. However, adopting a growth mindset can help you shift from an “I don’t know how” to a “not yet” mindset. That’s the perspective, as Katherine explains, that sees every difficult task that comes our way as “an opportunity to grow ourselves wiser and smarter.”
Going back to Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth’s whole journey is about learning to embrace a growth mindset. It’s something that helps her not only get over a divorce but also find joy and balance in her life.
It’s true that having this perspective opens you up to a vibrant journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. And while you don’t have to take a trip yourself, allow yourself to explore the vibrant “not-yet” potentials of your journey.
Katherine Woodward Thomas’ insight: “All of us here—we’re ever evolving. We are all capable of growing and developing ourselves in extraordinary ways. And we never again need to be held hostage by those things that we do not yet know.”
How Long Does It Take to Get Over Someone?
The journey of getting over someone isn’t linear, and the timeline can vary vastly from person to person. It’s a bit like waiting for a pot to boil—you know it will eventually, but the minutes can feel like hours. If you’re itching for a clearer picture, science offers some interesting insights.
There is research out there that has tried to figure out exactly how long it takes to emotionally recover. A notable study featured in the Journal of Positive Psychology puts the mark at 11 weeks for nonmarital breakups. And when it comes to divorce, another one found that it takes, on average, 17 months and 26 days.
But here’s the reality: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and that’s perfectly okay. The heartache you’re going through deserves the time and space it needs. And the most important thing to remember is, brighter days are on the horizon, no matter how long it takes to get there.
Great Love Starts With You
There’s a beautiful quote from Eat, Pray, Love that goes like this: “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
Heartbreak may have initiated this quest for how to get over someone. However, along the way, you may just find that within you lies the great potential for growth, joy, and love.
The good thing is, you’re not alone on this path; countless others have walked it, and support is readily available. If you desire further guidance and a wealth of resources, consider joining the Mindvalley community.
When you sign up for a free account, you’ll gain exclusive access to the first few lessons of Katherine Woodward Thomas’s Conscious Uncoupling Quest, daily soul-nurturing meditations, and a supportive global network.
In the end, healing isn’t merely about moving on; it’s about emerging as a stronger, more self-aware individual. As Katherine says, “In a nutshell, a breakup is nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a complete spiritual awakening.”
So make it happen and welcome in.
Images generated on Midjourney.