How to Start Over

Three Parts:After Divorce or BreakupAfter Death of a Loved OneAfter Losing or Quitting a Job

Starting over again is one of the toughest things a person can be asked to do. But most of us, at one point in our lives, are forced to do exactly that. Whether you're reeling from the loss of a loved one, the estrangement of a partner, or the severance from a job, taking control of your new circumstances is an important part of turning around your life. Here are some tips on how to do exactly that.

Part 1
After Divorce or Breakup

  1. Image titled 29122 01
    Distract yourself. Maybe you're going through a lengthy divorce that's stressful and saps the energy right from you. Or maybe you've simply split with the person you loved. Whatever it is, dwelling on your loss is a recipe for disaster. Your mind is a beautiful tool, but when it dwells on the past it keeps you from enjoying the present. The object isn't to destroy the past — that would be irresponsible — but rather to put the past away until we're healthy enough to deal with what happened.
    • Lean on your friends and family. Your friends, especially, are a great distraction. Maybe schedule an ice-cream and movie night with your girlfriends, where you watch crummy (but awesome, really) movies with the people who understand you best. Or go out camping with your best buds, where you fish and grill your catch over an open fire (kudos to you if you start it without matches!). Whatever you choose to do, involve your friends. They will help you remember that there is more to life than one person.
    • Remove from sight all reminders of the love you lost. You don't have to burn all the pictures of your ex-spouse or former love, but you probably should put them away into safe-keeping. Again, the purpose isn't to deny that the other person existed; it's to keep them out of sight and out of mind until you're in a safe enough place emotionally to deal with the fact maturely and responsibly.
    • It's okay to get away, for a while. If you feel like all of your memories of your former life are tied to one place, consider taking a short vacation. Go someplace that you've always wanted to go but never had the chance to visit: maybe India, maybe Europe, maybe somewhere nearby that still feels foreign. This is about you, so don't be afraid to treat yourself a little. Being in a new place will keep away memories of your former love, at least for a while, and you'll be able to indulge your curiosity like you're a kid in a candy shop. Plan on going back home after at most a month.
  2. Image titled 29122 02
    Understand what went wrong. Hopefully, you still want put yourself out there and eventually find someone you deeply and genuinely connect with. In order to do this, acknowledge that you might need to fix a few things about your habits, your personality, and your reactions. None of us are perfect, but the ones who succeed in relationships are capable of making adjustments when they need to.
    • Consider talking to a relationship expert or psychologist. Relationship experts understand what makes relationships work and what dooms them to die. Talking with a professional will help you understand the aspects of your former relationship that you'll need to change moving forward.
    • Write a letter or email to your ex asking for feedback. Don't be confrontational, or blame them for the failed relationship, whatever you do. Your goal here isn't to settle the score, it's to understand what went wrong. Tell them you're trying to improve as a human being, and want honest feedback from someone who knows you well. Ask him or her politely to list any of the things they believe seriously hurt the relationship, and what you might have done differently in a perfect world. Take the things they say to heart; they're not trying to hurt you, even if it seems that way. A nice, well-meaning letter can go a long way toward healing your relationship with the person. Even if it only means you stay on friendly terms, it's a huge step in the right direction.
    • Forgive yourself and forgive your ex. Separating from someone you love dearly can leave you feeling a lot of things. Don't only blame the other person for what went wrong: the blame-game is a two-way street. Instead of letting that guilt or that resentment fester inside, let go of it. Blame will only make you a bitter person; if you work to fix the problems you had in the past relationship, there's no reason to feel guilty. Try to leave all that ill-will behind, so that the next time you fall in love, you'll give your lover all the trust they deserve and all the confidence you have.
  3. Image titled 29122 03
    Slowly put yourself out there again. Dating after a breakup is a lot like getting back into the job market: if you wait too long in between engagements, people will start wondering if there's something wrong with you (even if it's a totally ridiculous suspicion). It's okay to mourn the loss of a loved one, but the longer you keep yourself away from other people, the harder it'll be to get back on the train when it starts moving again.
    • Ask your friends to set you up. Your friends are great judges of your character. They know what makes you click and what makes you fume. Asking them to set you up with someone could turn out beneficial. You both know the same person or group of people, which means you're more likely than not to get along. Just don't blame your friends if you two don't hit it off; your friends meant well, and couldn't know whether or not you'd click. Go into the date, however, optimistic that you deserve love in life and excited about meeting a new person.
    • Try internet dating. The internet has revolutionized the way we interact and connect with people in the 21st century. Internet dating is low-stress and high-reward; you get to choose the people you want to message without embarrassing the people you want to stay away from. If you do decide to give internet dating a whirl, make sure to fill out your profile in an honest fashion. That means putting up an accurate (but flattering!) picture and being forthright about your likes and dislikes. You wouldn't want to go to a date with someone and find out they're totally different from what their profile suggests, so why do that to another person?
    • It's okay to test the waters, as long as you're honest. Okay, so maybe you don't want anything committed right now, seeing as how you just stepped out of a serious relationship. It's okay to get into low-commitment relationships, just as long as the other person knows that's what is happening. Maybe you shouldn't tell them about your other relationship right away, but tell them — before things get intimate — that you're not looking for a committed relationship. This will help both parties: it'll attract the right type of people to you, and spare the other person the heartbreak that you so recently felt.

Part 2
After Death of a Loved One

  1. Image titled 29122 04
    Don't be afraid to mourn. The death of a loved one is a painful, sometimes sudden occurrence that is part of life. Instead of pretending that the death never happened, acknowledge that a person you loved died, and remind yourself that life is too precious to take for granted. Mourning is a tribute to the loved one as much as it is a tribute to life.
    • If you are religious, take solace in the teachings of your religion. Religious texts offer inspiration to believers the world over. Read about what your religion has to say about death — you might learn something you didn't know before. If you are part of a community of believers, pray and worship with them. Don't be afraid to lean on them in times of need; that's what they're there for.
    • Cry as much as you need to. Don't feel like there's a certain way you need to behave in front of other people. You should behave the way you feel: if you feel sad, then cry. Crying makes most people feel better than they did before crying[1]. Have a shoulder to lean on when you cry, because crying along can make you feel like you're all alone in the world, which you aren't. There are plenty of people out there who not only know what you are going through, but who love you for who you are.
    • Public death rituals, like funerals, are important. However you choose to memorialize the death of your loved one, remember that the ritual of letting go is an important one. Rituals help us intellectually acknowledge the death of an individual, even though we might have denied this fact in our minds in the days leading up to the funeral[2]. The public ceremony helps memorialize the deceased person, and puts us on the path of healing.
  2. Image titled 29122 05
    Reach a state of acceptance. While the loss of your loved one may strike you as incredibly unfair, try not to harbor any resentment or anger. You'll be healthier and happier once you get to a state of acceptance. Acceptance in this case is an acknowledgment that you have limited power and that your life cannot be completely tethered to a person who is deceased, however much you loved them while they were still alive.
    • Try journaling as a means of gaining acceptance over your loss. Spend 15 minutes each day — more than 15 minutes each day might worsen the grief[3] — and write about how you feel, how much the person meant to you and why, and imagine what your life might be like in a year from now. Writing down your thoughts can be a powerful emotional release. It will also serve as a written record of your feelings. This might help deepen your emotional understanding as you look back on your writing.
    • Try meditating or praying. Meditation and praying tap into the same fundamental belief for acceptance: there are things in the world that we don't yet understand (and might never), just as there are things in the world that are greater or larger than us. If meditating, try to reach a state of mindlessness; banish all coherent thoughts from your active imagination, and let the moment wash over you. Only in your complete powerlessness will you achieve power. If praying, call to your higher power to instill understanding in you; acknowledge that you are imperfect, but seek to learn. This prayer is an act of trust as much as it is a reaching out toward your higher power.
  3. Image titled 29122 06
    Be social. The emotional pain and loss suffered from the death of your loved one will never quite leave you, and neither should it. It will, however, diminish over time. With the help of friends and family, your wound will turn into a scar — not painful to the touch, but a memory of former pain, and a message to the rest of the world that you survived.
    • Take support from your family. Regardless of how close you are to your family, know that they love you deeply simply by virtue of who you are. Take comfort in them. Stay with them for a little while if possible. Let them know that you hope to be able to offer support to them in their time of need, because they, too, might very well be grieving. Give a little and you will get a lot. Love between your family is something that even death cannot take away from you.
    • Surround yourself with friends. If your friends haven't already swarmed around you, offering food and company and love, take a page from the book of initiative and go and see them yourself. Like family, good friends will love you and try to understand what you are going through. Distract yourself a little with your friends; you've probably been living a horrific dream-like existence for quite some time. Going out to the movies, seeing nature in all its splendor, or simply talking about fashion, politics, or sports is just what the doctor ordered. Friends will help remind you to take advantage of your time as much as possible.
    • If the person who died was a lover, consider dating again. Ask yourself: Would your lover have wanted you to move on, leading a happy and fulfilling life, or dwell on their nonexistence, punishing yourself with loveless and lonely nights? It may take some time to be ready to date again, especially if you spent decades together. In the end, the decision about whether to date again is a deeply personal one that only you can make. But rest assured that love walks on earth in many forms, and that perhaps the greatest tribute you can give to your former lover is to teach another human being what it means to be truly loved.

Part 3
After Losing or Quitting a Job

  1. Image titled 29122 07
    Take stock on your goals. What do you want out of life? The answer to this question will probably help you figure out what you want out of your next job. Do you care about being outside, in nature? About helping people? Maybe you want to be very wealthy, and don't mind sacrificing time with family and sleepless nights. Figure out what your goals are, and how the next career journey will help you achieve them.
    • Do you want to stay in the same job field or switch careers? Experts say that the average person will make up to seven career changes during a lifetime of work.[4] Ask yourself how happy you were at your last job. If you weren't happy, try to determine whether that was caused by the circumstances of the job (e.g. bad boss, a good one would have made your job amazing) or the circumstances of the industry.
    • When considering a new field, ask yourself: If money weren't an issue, what would I want to do simply because I love doing it? Whatever the answer, there's a good chance that someone is willing to hire you to do exactly that. If there aren't any jobs available that match your answer, consider offering your own services or starting your own business. The perks of being your boss are many, and maybe the most important thing of all is that you set your own salary.
    • Maybe you don't have the answer to the question above. Maybe you know what you don't want to do, but not what you want to do. Don't fret: a lot of people are in exactly the same boat as you. Pick up a personality test — by some estimates there are over 2,500[5] — or start reading a self-help book. There are tons of informative, engaging, perceptive books for the person who is changing careers and on the lookout for a job. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles, Do What You Are by Barbara Barron-Tieger, and The Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Daniel H. Pink are three excellent choices to start you off with.
  2. Image titled 29122 08
    Network like your life depended on it. Because it does. Many people just apply to jobs they hear about online without ever tapping the power of their human network. Your network is the people around you who work as professionals, and who could possibly help find you a job. (Remember, as well, that networking also means asking how you can help other people.) What people don't realize is that many jobs aren't listed by companies on or, or that many companies will make a job for a person they like.
    • Go on informational interviews. Informational interviews are less formal interviews where you're principally trying to get information, and you don't expect the person you're interviewing to offer you job. Informational interviewing is all about getting great inside information and enlarging the scope of your network. Invite a professional in an interesting field out to lunch or coffee, tell them you'll only keep them for 20 minutes, and ask them a serious of insightful questions about their career and their jobs. At the end of the interview, ask them for three references you might also interview. If you're lucky, and they're impressed with you, they could offer you a job on the spot.
    • Develop your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second story you tell other professionals about who you are and what your goals are. Your elevator pitch is essential for networking events where you meet a bunch of people and need to tell them about yourself. Remember to keep your elevator pitch short and engaging. When someone asks you to tell them a bit about yourself, they don't want to hear a five minute recap of your college days or one job, as dry as the desert in the summer. They want something short, snappy, and memorable. You'll do well to give them what they want!
    • Attend industry and networking events. Maybe you went to college with a big and mobile alumni base, and they hold weekly or bi-monthly networking dinners. Or maybe you've gotten keyed in on an industry event that you attended regularly while you were at your last job. Whatever form it is, remember to get out there and meet people. Meeting other professionals is far and away the best way to land a job. If you're smart, engaging, funny, and likable, people will take notice and want to help you out. Remember to do the same for other people. The beauty of networking is that all parties agree to help each other out.
  3. Image titled 29122 09
    Pound the pavement. Well, then, you probably already knew this. You can't find a job if you're not looking. So get off the couch, stop playing video games, put on a nice suit or skirt, and put yourself out there! The only way you'll get a job is if you reach out to other people instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.
    • Do your research. Make a list of the places and people you'd most want to work for. Then find out as much as you can about them. Research their history, their mission statement, their best practices. Have lunch with one of their employees, if possible. There are few things you control when you're looking for jobs, but how much effort you put into doing your homework is one of them. Work harder at researching the companies you want to work for than any other candidate; if you get an interview, your hard work will have paid off.
    • Cold call. You can do this over the phone or in person. Get together your list of organizations, companies, or people you'd like to work for, and either call them or meet them at their offices. Ask to speak to their Human Resources (HR) representative, and ask the HR rep if they're hiring. If they are, talk about the ways in which you're qualified for the position, demonstrating knowledge of their practices and goals. Hand off your resume or email it to the company at the end of the conversation. If you made an impression on the HR rep, you'll have that feather in your cap when you're called in for an interview.


  • Never say, "I should have done things differently," or "if only I had taken them to the doctor sooner." Blame can be like poison in the body. Accept what has happened and go on with your life because you really cannot change a thing.
  • Never allow a negative thought to remain or linger, reject it and replace it with a positive thought..ex..I'm not qualified for this replace it by saying there is a job that is exactly my fit..or maybe Its too late for me to go to school...replace it by saying there's always room to educate oneself and I can't wait to enroll...always think upward and never downward.
  • You can always move on. Believe in yourself and don't let this one incident bring you down.
  • Rearrange the furniture. Sometimes the memories of a room or a house can be hard to shake. Take an afternoon and rearrange the furniture, pictures, etc. It will start feeling new and fresh and the memories of your new place will be all yours.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Maintaining Relationships