The end of a romantic relationship can lead many of us to think negatively about ourselves. But there are ways to build self-esteem after a breakup. Find out how.

Anyone who has gone through a rough breakup knows that it can seriously impact your self-esteem. During this difficult time, we can end up convincing ourselves that we are the only ones who have done wrong, focusing on – and exaggerating out of proportion – our negative actions and weaknesses. A breakup can lead us to believe that we are without value. In order to avoid this distorted perspective, it’s important to take a reality check and learn how to build self-esteem after a breakup.

How Not to Build Self-Esteem After a Breakup

After an intimate relationship comes to an end, it can be accompanied by strong feelings of loneliness. If you haven’t built up your self-esteem before entering a relationship – or if it becomes unhealthy and imbalanced following a breakup – then losing an intimate partner might leave you feeling unwanted and unloved.

There is a temptation to blame ourselves for the failed relationship, believing that we are a failure. There is also a temptation to counteract this opinion of ourselves by jumping into another relationship or having a series of flings. Doing so may make us feel better about ourselves in the short-term but it is not a reliable way to build self-esteem after a breakup. If we rely on the romantic affection from others – or simply just the intimacy of sex – to value ourselves, then we will always get trapped in a cycle of highs and lows.

Healthy self-esteem means recognizing your worth in spite of the way that others appreciate you. In this way, you can also present yourself authentically and confidently, which will attract the right people in your life.

Spend Time With Friends and Family

You may feel like isolating yourself after a breakup, but this could end up being the worst thing you could do. When your self-esteem is low, you want to find ways to step outside of the negative, distorted beliefs circulating in your head. Practices such as mindfulness meditation can help with this, as the practice allows you to notice thoughts without identifying with them. But your family and friends can also help.

It’s easy to forget that the qualities that our partner was attracted to may be the same qualities that your family and friends like and admire. Speak to a close and trusted friend if you’re feeling particularly negative about yourself. Often, all it takes is a reminder from a friend about what you’re actually like as a person to snap out of a negative thought loop. Simply spending time with family and friends can also let you know that they enjoy your company and that your value is not dependent on being in a relationship.

At the same time, you don’t want to rely on others to build self-esteem after a breakup. Use the time spent together as a reality check, not a crutch for your self-esteem.

Focus on Self-Development

After a breakup, we may end up obsessing about all the mistakes we made and how this reflects on us as a person. But this kind of ruminating can be unhealthy, especially if it keeps us trapped in a state of inaction. A healthier way to view our mistakes is from a place of understanding, self-compassion, and forgiveness. Also, as the psychologist Carl Rogers argued, it is only when we accept ourselves that we can change.

When we fully accept our myriad strengths and weaknesses then we can appreciate the positive qualities we would like to build and the shortcomings we feel we need to address. A breakup can, therefore, be a time where we focus on improving ourselves so we can be better partners in the future.

Furthermore, when we accept who we are, we may also realize that the weaknesses or mistakes we thought ‘ruined’ a relationship did not actually play the pivotal role we thought they did. Indeed, circumstances, a mismatch between you and your partner and the other person’s baggage also play important roles in a breakup.

Breakups can be some of the worst moments in our lives. But the challenge they pose to our self-esteem is a signal that we need to work on ourselves. The end of a relationship can expose our deepest insecurities. So while the process may be painful, it is also fertile ground for self-growth – to build self-esteem that is more secure and less swayed by others.


  1., Sam Woolfe. Why Self-Acceptance and Self-Development Go Hand in Hand.

Source: Self Confidence