A breakup, especially if it is unexpected or unwanted, is a destabilizing experience, which can have a significant emotional impact on the people who experience it.
When we undergo an experience of this depth, human beings we have to go through a grieving process, which will help us gradually adapt to our new reality, integrating and accepting the loss suffered. This adaptation period can extend over time and consists of different phases of varying emotional intensity.
Throughout this grieving process, it is not surprising that many people resort to various strategies and inventions in the hope that they will help them through the transition. One of the most common is to make a more or less radical aesthetic change.
Why do so many people decide to change their minds after a breakup?
What drives people to strive for this transformation when we are grieving? It is usually an act that accompanies adaptation to our new reality, helping us to develop and consolidate a new version of ourselves. Colloquially, we would say that physical changes help us “scramble and reconsider”marking a before and after in our life journey.
Also, when there are changes in our environment that we have not chosen and that we feel are beyond our control, we must regain the perception of internal control. For that we focus on things that are below our ability to act, in order to feel that we have regained control of our lives. A haircut would be an example.
Finally, it should be remembered that bereavement is an emotionally intense time when there is often a letting go of self-care. Many people, especially in the advanced stages of this period, decide to put aside this habit of giving up and begin to devote time to their physical appearance, experiencing it as a gesture of self-care that will gradually make them regain their mood. and their personal well-being. -to be.
Can there be a risk in resorting to these practices to overcome bereavement?
In the grieving process, there are usually no actions or decisions that are, in themselves, good or bad.but it will depend on the role they play for each.
Taking the example of a radical change of look, it is not the same thing to operate such a change, understanding it as a help to mark a before and after in our history, than to operate this same change. seeking to escape our reality and claiming that it solves everything that is happening in our present.
As you can see, the change in itself is neither positive nor negative, but depends on the function it performs. In the first case, the person adopts a reflective attitude of acceptance and considers the change of hairstyle as an act that accompanies his transition to his new reality.
However, in the second, the person adopts an attitude of passive coping, avoid connecting with what happened and with the emotions that emanate.
When we feel very uncomfortable, we usually try to run away from it, because we are not comfortable living with that emotion. Because of this, many people are “mistaken” by saying that a superficial change (like a haircut) will solve the problem and save them from having to deal with it. In the short term, this self-deception can be very comforting, but later it will cost us dearly for having left our grieving process in the “blind spot”, because it can take root and last over time.
Ultimately, It is crucial to know which elements help each of us in integrating and accepting the breakup. There is no single formula or recipe, but everyone will have their own tools, which they must use to be aware that a duel is a time-consuming process and that, as the name suggests, it must hurt . before he could heal.
Author: Cristina Aristimuño de las Heras, general health psychologist at the TAP center.