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A breakup can leave you feeling lost. You question your choices, the things you said, and run through endless questions of “what went wrong?” Recent research even shows that breaking up with a romantic partner can produce a depression-like state, which might make it difficult to find the energy you need to do the things you enjoy.

But it's important to remember that breakups can also be a good thing — particularly if the relationship was sapping your energy or making it difficult for you to engage in self-love.

So, while it’s only natural to feel at a loss when a relationship ends, you can still take proactive steps to pick yourself up and find yourself again after a breakup.

Get Help

view of two persons hands.

Reaching out to a helping hand

Photo by Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

Life is hard enough even when you’re in a stable relationship. It gets even harder when you go through a bad breakup and are assailed by self-doubt and sadness. Many folks mistakenly believe that it's best to just “get on with it” but this mindset can be incredibly taxing on your mental health.

If your mental health is taking a dive, you should seek out a trusted medical professional who can help you cope with a breakup. Psychologists and therapists can provide you with a safe space and will give you the mental tools you need to move on. Additionally, the right physician can help you manage the stress and negative physical health consequences that come with a difficult breakup.

Getting help might be particularly difficult if your breakup has impacted your friend group and caused you to lose friends. But life after a breakup shouldn’t spell the end of your social life. If anything, you should lean on your friends when you’re at your lowest. So instead of turning your back on people altogether, connect with others through community groups and by joining a sports team or book club.

Change the Scenery

person lying on gray rock.

Taking in the beauty of it all

Photo by Tyler Reynolds on Unsplash

After a breakup, it’s only natural to lament the loss of a person you once loved. You see them wherever you go and are reminded by their absence through silly things like the smell of pizza, the sweater they left behind, and their favorite songs that still play on your Spotify.

But wallowing in the same physical space will only make you feel more isolated and won’t help you make the positive changes you need to rediscover yourself. Instead, consider changing the scenery and plan trips that help you rediscover your identity and create new memories which don’t involve your previous partner.

If you’re really struggling to move on, it might be worth considering a permanent move for your mental health. Plenty of folks around the nation are moving to lakeside towns or slower-paced suburbias to prioritize their mental health and turn over new leaves. But, before you move to a remote cabin in the woods, remember that you still need good access to healthcare and will probably benefit from being around other people — even if they’re strangers to you.

Art for Identity

woman in yellow long sleeve shirt painting.

Painting as a form of therapy

Photo by dusan jovic on Unsplash

There’s no “right way” to rediscover your identity or create a new sense of self. But art can help channel your feelings and find new meaning in life after a breakup.

A lot of folks are put off practicing art due to the pressure they place on themselves. This makes sense, as you may feel as though your artistic production is a reflection of your self-worth. But this isn’t really true: art just gives you a way to channel your thoughts and feelings into a medium of your choice. So, preempt the nerves around artistic production by sticking to low-stakes artistic methods like journaling, doodling, or photographing your neighborhood.

If producing art of your own seems a little too daunting, you can always look for inspiration from other artists, musicians, and writers who have been through similar experiences. You might, for example, explore ideas about identity and relationships through iconic LGTBQ novels like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando or James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.

If you do decide to start practicing art for self-discovery, consider spending time practicing “felt sense”. Felt sense is a low-stakes artistic practice that helps connect your body and mind as you discover new ideas about yourself and your identity. Guidelines for felt sense vary, but, in general, you’ll need to find somewhere you can relax and journal about the way your body feels in a particular moment.

Learning to Move On

Getting past the breakup blues is difficult. When a relationship ends, you might feel like a failure and could experience a genuine loss of identity. But you can find yourself again by consulting with therapists and physicians who understand the trauma that comes with a bad breakup and can help improve your overall health while you rediscover your sense of self. You can also take proactive steps to create a new sense after a breakup by visiting new places or developing a low-stakes artistic practice that gives you space to process the breakup and establish a new identity.

How to talk about transgender issues

So how do we talk about transgender issues (even if you're not transgender)? There are three main things to remember when discussing transgender issues today, so before getting into the meat and potatoes of it all, let's keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not a political discussion, it is a human rights discussion.
  2. There is a rich history rooted in transgender rights that must be considered when discussing these issues.
  3. Humanization should always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Before going into any conversation, no matter who it's with, try to keep these things in mind before you say something that may be inappropriate, misguided, or just plain wrong. Even those with the best intentions can mess up; remember that it is always ok to admit when you do not know something or when you are wrong. That being said, let's get into it.

sign with a 'friendly for all genders' image showing a person in a wheelchair, and a person with half a dress and pants on.

Transgender bathroom bills

commons.wikimedia.org

So whether you choose to become a transgender activist or if you just want to be a better ally, this easy talking point will generally keep you in line and on the safe side of conversations while still putting forth the effort to encourage and better represent transgender rights.

Easy, all-around approach: This will work for almost all transgender issues and expand on the previous three rules; firstly, trans issues are not a debate. When discussing with someone, do not indulge in hypotheticals and always remember that transgender people are the exact same as anyone else, with the exact same feelings. Keeping this in mind, let's use the bathroom bill as an example. When discussing this issue, one should humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation. How does one employ this, though? Here is an example of how the conversation may go.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restroom, they will rape my daughters.

So this statement is clearly based on reactionary conversation perpetuated by anti-transgender ideals. This means that the person probably has a misconception of the history and oppression of transgender people. They also show concern for their family, which is a step towards humanization, despite the misconception. Here would be an appropriate response that helps to humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation.

Person 2: I don't want men in the women's restroom, either, which is why we need to make sure people who identify as women are using the women's restroom. There has never been a documented case where a transgender person has raped either a man or woman in a public restroom. And by forcing people to use a restroom that does not match their gender identity, it is promoting violence, as there is a strong history of physical violence against transgender people.

By only saying about three sentences, you are able to do the previous steps while discussing the issue in a civil manner without opening it up to debate. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, stating both the truth and an ally's stance to support the transgender community. It's critical to make sure that what you say is backed with confidence, though, which is why this second approach is more encouraged as it gives the person speaking more confidence in their opinion.

gif of a man in a suit talking about number 1. Number 1 GIF by PragerU Giphy

The second approach: backed by facts and history, is the exact same as before, but this approach leaves the other person with more questions about their stance and gives them something to consider. Before going into this approach, however, it is important to keep in mind that you are not debating the existence of trans people, nor are you trying to change someone's mind. That is not the goal; the goal is simply to get your opinion across in a way that honors both the trans community and their ideas. Let's take the same example as before but add the new sentiments.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restrooms, they will rape my daughters.

Person 2: There has never been a documented case of a transgender person raping anyone in a public restroom, and the only published cases of such were proven to be false. Further, when people say things like this, they are perpetuating violence against transgender people, which has historically (and still does) oppressed and insight further physical violence against them. And honestly, the most common reason there is this stance is because the person typically does not know a trans person and may not even know a person who does know a trans person. But the truth is, they probably do. The probability is more likely that the transgender people around them are just not comfortable enough in the environment to come out and speak up about their gender identity. And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite sad that some people's opinion does not invite civil discussion but instead incites violence.

This approach is more confrontational, which requires more confidence when using it in a conversation, but it still holds true to all of the previous rules and sentiments. It adds truth based on history, which is an important aspect of trans rights as it reminds people of where we were/ where we are currently with human rights. These ideas can be transferred to most all trans issues and will honor the transgender movement and your allyship. The last thing to keep in mind is the person or reason you are standing up for/with trans rights. The passion -the compassion will shine through in conversation if you keep your reasoning close to heart. Whether it is because of a transgender friend, family member, or just because of your moral values, if you put your emotions into your reasoning, it will create more compelling statements, especially if the statement is well versed with the facts.

Tips to Remember When Discussing Transgender Issues

  1. Transgender issues are not political, they are human rights issues
  2. There is a rich history behind transgender issues
  3. Humanize transgender people through our words and ideas and don't forget to include:
    • 3(b). The facts
    • 3(c).The confidence
    • 3(d). The inspiration behind the support for transgender rights

Transgender Sign in Pride Parade



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