Relationships are hard. There’s no easy way to end one, whether you’re the partner who wanted to leave or the one who left. But, it’s important to remember that the world isn’t over just because the relationship is, even if it feels like Earth stopped turning. You need comfort during this difficult time, perhaps in the form of reassuring words from your favorite authors.
A 2011 study from the University of Arizona which “examined self-concept reorganization and psychological well-being over an 8-week period in the months following a breakup,” found that after a breakup, one of the best ways to move on is by regaining a clear sense of self. After a relationship ends, it’s easy to forget who you were before you were someone’s significant other. Reading can help guide you back to a better place, and it doesn’t just have to come from self-help books that have titles like “How To Be Happier in Just 153 Steps!”
Bibliotherapy, or the act of reading as therapy, stems from Ancient Greeks who inscribed above a library “a healing place for the soul.” Obviously, the Greeks knew what they were talking about.
Reading books that are reflective of your situation can aid you in realizing that you’re not alone in what you’re going through. Novels like A Single Man, This Is How You Lose Her, and Bridget Jones’ Diary act as a mirror and allow you to see yourself through a different perspective. Even if it isn’t exactly what you’re going through, you can still reflect on the past and start working towards a better future with a better you. Plus, you’ll be entertained in the process!
You don’t only need to read about relationships and breakups. There’s also the option of reading something funny like comedian Julie Klausner’s dating misadventures in I Don’t Care About Your Band or something inspirational like Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I read both of these after a breakup and found that not only were they helping me feel better, but I was starting to feel like myself again. I started wanting to do the things I forgot that I loved to do.
Yes, there will be some crying, a few pints of ice cream, and embarrassing sing-alongs to Taylor Swift; but make the next book you pick off your shelves something that will be a comfort and a guide for you to get your groove back. Books are forever!
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