The process of rebuilding something is a difficult one. First, there’s the pain of realizing that the old structure no longer works. Usually, this is after unsuccessfully trying to manage or deny the faults therein. Perhaps you patch up a crack here or there.
If you can no longer deny the major problems, then you must decide what kind of new structure is needed. Do you focus only on the areas that need fixing, or do you destroy everything and start fresh? Is the old structure still suitable, or do you need something new entirely?
Once you’ve decided, you finally have to get to work with the rebuild.
Now, when it comes to property and structures, it’s often easier to build afresh. You save a lot of time and energy when you’re not trying to merge the old with the new.
But when you’re trying to reset your life or rebuild a relationship, you don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch. You must go through the arduous process highlighted above.
And the thing is, when it comes to rebuilding, you often have no choice. You simply have to renovate because you feel like a shell of your former self. So, you must change. The old structure, the old you, is doing more harm than good.
What does it mean to rebuild yourself?
Only things that are broken, destroyed, or worn down get rebuilt. Whether through trauma, a tragic loss, or disappointment, something in your life has broken down. And try as you may, you can’t salvage the broken pieces anymore.
It’s time to build a new you. You’ve decided the best thing to do is to focus on starting a new chapter in life.
As you may have already guessed, rebuilding yourself is not easy. It requires introspection, self-reflection, and self-compassion.
Not to mention enormous amounts of inner strength.
That’s because rebuilding yourself isn’t about adopting a new personality. It’s not just about changing what you look like. Rebuilding yourself is about:
Letting go of the past.
You’re carrying around a lot of baggage from your past that you need to put down. Lugging around the heartache, disappointment, and hurt you’ve experienced only weighs you down and keeps you from stepping out of the protective shell you’ve built. Your past is affecting the way you see yourself and interact with other people.
But the thing is, letting go of the past can also be very painful. Especially if that hurt and pain from the past has fueled you for much of your life.
Sometimes our trauma becomes our crutch, almost part of our identity. Letting it go, and moving on from it, can feel confusing. As if we’re losing a bit of ourselves. It hurts to let go of it, but who are we without it?
But if you want to rebuild yourself, you need to let go of that past hurt and trauma. You need to stop using it as a crutch and let yourself heal. You must develop an identity outside of your pain and learn how to cope in a healthy manner.
When you let go of the past, you stop letting it hold you from your future.
Extra reading: How To Let Go Of The Past: 16 No Nonsense Tips!
Letting go of what’s holding you back.
If you want to rebuild yourself, you will need to let go of any negative mindset or relationships that are holding you back. Release any negative emotions, such as anger or resentment, that are making it hard for you to move on.
Maybe you grew up with the mindset that all rich people were thieves. Or perhaps an old boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on you. So whenever you’re in a new relationship and see that your current partner is starting to behave like the boyfriend/girlfriend that cheated, you go into a rage.
Those emotions and mindsets keep you in a place of self-sabotage. When you’re about to step out of your comfort zone, you immediately, subconsciously, start to destroy your advancements.
In order to rebuild yourself, you will need to let go of limiting mindsets—such as fear or imposter syndrome—that may be holding you frozen in one spot. You will need to cut off toxic relationships that don’t serve your mental health and let go of negative emotions.
Note that letting go of your anger or resentment does not mean you’re ignoring the hurt someone, or a situation caused you. It means you’re choosing to not let it hurt you any longer. You’re choosing to stop it from holding you back. It means you’re taking back the power that person or situation had to affect you. You choose to embrace fear and move forward.
Forgiving yourself for your past mistakes.
A critical step to rebuilding involves forgiving yourself for the mistakes made in the past. Do you regret taking your former spouse for granted, which ultimately led to your divorce? Perhaps you mismanaged your finances and are now deeply in debt. Did you skip college for love and now regret it?
We’ve all made bad decisions or mistakes that we regret. When you rebuild yourself, you need to accept the fact that you’re a human being who is prone to messing up… just like everyone else. Rebuilding yourself means deciding to stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. It’s choosing to learn from them.
When you forgive yourself, you confront and accept the mistakes or bad decisions you’ve made. And it’s natural to feel shame or regret when you do that. But insisting on punishing yourself or holding onto negative feelings about your mistakes will only hinder your progress and keep you stuck in the past.
Unless you forgive yourself, you will be unable to rebuild.
Extra reading: How To Forgive Yourself: 17 No Nonsense Tips!
14 Tips To Rebuild Yourself
Life is unpredictable and full of challenges. Through no fault of your own, you got hurt or experienced trauma. And suddenly, the life we once had, the life we were perfectly happy with, feels as though it’s suffocating us with regret and keeping us locked in the past.
It almost feels like you gained 20 pounds in 24 hours and can no longer fit into your clothes. You still like your clothes, they just don’t fit anymore.
So, you’ve decided it’s time for you to change and begin the journey to finding yourself again. It’s time for you to rebuild your life.
While it can be a hard process, rebuilding yourself allows you to take back control of your life and make positive changes that will help you be the best person you can be. It helps you to pick up the broken pieces of yourself and rebuild a new version that is stronger and better able to deal with life’s challenges.
Below are 14 tips to help you rebuild yourself through this process:
1. Identify what it is you want.
As you take steps to rebuild yourself, you need to take time out to reflect on what it is you truly want out of life. Which path do you want to go down? What do you want to do with your life? Who do you want to do it with?
It’ll be tempting to fall back on past habits, desires, and things you would have wanted before. Getting used to your new life takes some adjustments. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
With the new life you want to build in mind, identify what your goals, dreams, and aspirations are. Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be?”
But don’t rush into deciding. Don’t put yourself under that kind of pressure. Instead, give yourself some time to think it over. You may even try a few different paths for a while to see if they fit the direction you want your life to go in.
Enjoy that process of exploration.
When you’ve decided on the answers to the above questions, write them down. Keep them in a place where you can see them daily to remind yourself of where you’re headed.
2. Identify what it is you don’t want.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out what you want, try identifying what it is you don’t want. What about your life no longer serves you?
Is there a relationship you know you need to get rid of? Do you feel stuck in your job and want a new one? Maybe you’re tired of where you live and want to explore a different town, state, or country.
Maybe what you don’t want isn’t physical but mental.
Are there any mindsets or beliefs that seem to you hold back now? Do you want to get rid of your social anxiety so you can feel comfortable in social settings? Are you tired of fighting your inner critic every time you want to try something new or step out of your comfort zone?
By identifying what it is in your life that you no longer want, you can get clarity on what you do want.
Identify what no longer serves you and write it all down. If you notice these things trying to creep back into your life, your notes will serve as a reminder.
3. Visualize the life you want.
Identifying what you do and don’t want in your life is the first part of your rebuilding project. How would you feel if you were able to get rid of everything in your life that wasn’t serving you? How would your life change?
Imagine what your life would look like if there were no limits to what you could be, do, or have.
Think about how the stress and anxiety of your past affects you. How will you feel as you journey on your new path in life?
Be as descriptive as possible so you get a clear picture of what it is you will be working toward. You could even use a vision board or create a Pinterest board with images that represent your dreams and goals. This will help you visualize your new life.
The goal of this exercise is to get you excited about your new path. It’s to get you and keep you motivated to work toward your new goals.
This visualization exercise, when done regularly, will serve as a reminder not to settle for less than what you want.
4. Commit to yourself.
It’s easy for us to commit to a plan, to a new relationship, to a job. But we often fail when it’s time to commit to ourselves or our goals.
For some reason, we find it easier to keep our promises to other people as opposed to keeping our promises to ourselves. We will fight tooth and nail to avoid disappointing somebody else. But we don’t give it a second thought when we fail to keep our commitments to ourselves.
As you start on this journey to rebuild yourself, you need to commit to the work you are doing in and for yourself. You need to commit to never giving up on yourself.
It will be very tempting to get distracted or discouraged. Friends and family members who don’t understand what you’re going through, or what you’re attempting to do, may try to convince you to stop.
Just remember why you started this process. Remember the commitment you made to yourself, and keep pushing forward.
5. Create a new normal.
Your comfort zone is…well, pretty comfortable. That’s why you’re there. It’s familiar. You know how to behave and where everything goes. There are no surprises. It’s safe.
Unfortunately, it’s also boring and no longer a conducive environment for you. You’re not growing in your comfort zone. It’s time to step out of it.
You need to create a new normal. Because your current habits are what got you to where you are now. And they are what is holding you back from moving on. You have to disrupt that familiarity in order to break free from its boundaries.
You have to get out of your safe comfort zone and step into unfamiliar territory. If you want to make significant changes to your life, you cannot do so in the comfort zone that’s holding you in place.
Create a new normal. Make small changes every day that take you out of your comfort zone. You don’t need to make big, sweeping changes all at once. You can make minor adjustments to get yourself used to being in unfamiliar territory.
Maybe take a different way to work. You could try a new restaurant this week. Or check out a new form of exercise. Keep the changes small so you don’t feel overwhelmed by them.
6. Develop a voice in your head that’s louder than your negative voice.
Our inner critic, the negative voice in our head, is our biggest enemy. The worst part is, because it sounds like us, we don’t realize that it’s an imposter, a saboteur, a bully. We’re so used to its negativity that we don’t notice it half the time.
And as you’re standing at the crossroads of the old you and the new version you’re trying to become, your inner critic is getting better at paralyzing you with fear.
Work on developing a voice in your head that’s louder than your inner critic. Silence the negative voice in your head with positivity. You could try positive affirmations to combat the negativity.
Perhaps listen to motivational speakers. Or read motivational books. Try surrounding yourself with people who believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Talk to a friend who will remind you of all your past accomplishments when you’re feeling discouraged.
For every negative thought that comes into your head, have something in place to challenge it and shout it down. Don’t let it go unanswered.
Extra reading: 8 No Nonsense Steps To Silencing Your Inner Critic
7. Change your support system.
Examine your support system. Is it actually supporting you? Or have your relationships become toxic over the years? Maybe you’ve outgrown your friends?
You may be such different people now that maintaining a relationship is detrimental to both of you. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a signal that you need to part ways.
If you don’t feel supported by the people closest to you, it’s time to broaden your social circle. Find people who will support and uplift you. Hang out with people who reflect the values that are most important to you.
Let go of old relationships that have become negative or problematic. Sometimes maintaining our friendships is just not possible and we’re better off apart.
Find people who bring positivity into your life.
8. Take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself is crucial. We know this. Yet it’s one area that we all struggle with. Sometimes it’s because of our busy schedules. There are just so many things we have to do that we “forget” to exercise and put off self-care. Other times, it’s because we don’t want to put in the effort that taking care of ourselves requires.
If you’re going to rebuild yourself, stronger and better than before, one area you need to work on is your overall health. This means your physical, mental, and emotional health. Below are some quick tips you can start implementing now to improve your health:
Clean up your diet. Try following the food guide for a month. Make sure you eat all the recommended servings of the different food groups every day. At the end of the month, check how you feel and look. Evaluate how your body responds to a healthy diet.
Get some exercise. Get your heart rate up and your body moving. Walking is a simple form of exercise you can do no matter where you are in life. And it doesn’t require any fancy equipment either. All you need is a pair of shoes and space to walk around.
Reduce the amount of alcohol or carbonated drinks you have each day and increase your water intake.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t shy away from getting help. Take steps to reduce your anxiety and stress. You can try out mindfulness exercises like meditation or deep breathing to help you with stress management. Journaling is another tool you can use to take care of your mental health.
Don’t bury your negative emotions. Acknowledge them and express them in healthy ways, like talking to a friend or practicing mindfulness. Act in compassionate and loving ways toward yourself and others. If you have toxic people in your life, or if you are in a toxic situation you can’t get out of, protect your emotional well-being by setting clear boundaries.
If possible, completely get rid of your toxic relationships and remove yourself from harmful situations.
Prioritizing self-care activities that bring you joy and happiness can also help boost your emotional health.
9. Stop trying to live up to the expectations of others.
If you’ve been striving to live up to the expectations of other people, it’s no wonder you’re at a point in your life where you feel compelled to rebuild yourself. The life you were living was not true to who you really are. It didn’t reflect what matters most to you. It didn’t reflect you.
Living up to the expectations of others can be a heavy burden that weighs down on you. You must recognize that you can’t please everyone. It’s okay to prioritize your own needs and desires.
Accept yourself. Be yourself. Learn to set boundaries and say “no” to requests or expectations that don’t align with your values or goals.
You only have one life to live. Stop trying to live up to the expectations of others and start living for yourself. Make decisions that make you happy and fulfilled.
Remember, you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. It’s essential you live a life that’s authentic and true to yourself. Stop constantly seeking validation or approval from others.
Extra reading: 7 Highly Effective Ways To Be True To Yourself
10. Take a step toward your new life.
Take deliberate steps toward your new life every day, even if they’re small. A small step every day is still progress. And it’s better than no progress at all.
Break whatever dream you have, no matter how big, into small steps. Take a small step every day that will move you closer to your goal. If the step is too big to finish in a day, break it down further.
Work on your dream life daily until it becomes a reality.
By working on it every day, you ensure you don’t forget about it. You maintain your motivation because every day you’re striking something off your to-do list. You strengthen your confidence because your desired future is a little bit closer.
11. Practice self-compassion.
Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion.
It’s easy to be critical when no one else can hear the way we speak to ourselves. If they could, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to beat ourselves up or talk to ourselves in such vile ways.
We need to treat ourselves with the same love, kindness, and compassion we show to others.
Even when you’re struggling, make it a habit to treat yourself with kindness, understanding, and empathy. Pretend you’re talking to your best friend or a small child if you need to. So when your inner critic is blasting you for your mistake, pause and take a deep breath. Ask yourself what you would say if someone was talking to your best friend or a small child this way.
Talk to yourself in the same supportive and encouraging way you’d talk to a friend or someone who was vulnerable. Focus on cultivating a mindset of acceptance and treating yourself with gentleness.
Take time to develop a kind and nurturing relationship with yourself.
12. Change your appearance.
Maybe it’s time to change your appearance to match how you feel on the inside. Sometimes, the solution is actually a new outfit. Or a makeover.
Don’t underestimate how big of a confidence boost looking your best is.
Get a new look for the new you, a fresh appearance for your fresh start. Experiment with a new hairstyle—and if it doesn’t look great at first, it can always grow back!
Update your wardrobe. Do you still dress the same way you did in high school? Maybe it’s time to change it up and get a new outfit.
Making changes to your physical appearance can help you feel more confident and empowered. Especially when you have a new outfit that you know you look good in.
A change in your appearance can also serve as a visual reminder of your progress and growth. It can help you let go of any negative associations with your past self so you can reclaim your sense of identity, fully express your authentic self, and embrace your uniqueness.
You might be surprised at how much confidence it can give you.
13. Get therapy.
When you’re dealing with trauma, sometimes it’s better to do so under the guidance of a licensed therapist. Dealing with it on your own may do more harm than good.
A trained therapist can provide you with a safe and supportive space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Going to therapy regularly can help you process unresolved emotions or trauma while facilitating the healing and growth process.
You’ll learn coping strategies to help you manage any triggers that may arise in the future. Your therapist can also help you identify negative and destructive patterns of thinking or behavior.
As you go to therapy, you develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your needs. Therapy can support you in setting and achieving goals for your new life.
14. Declutter: Get rid of what you don’t like.
Declutter your life. Not just your physical space, but everything in your life that you don’t like, need, or want.
Physical clutter, and even mental clutter, can be a source of stress and overwhelm. Get rid of the junk that no longer serves you so you can have space for calm in your life.
Decluttering can also be a symbolic act of letting go of the past and making room for the new. It can help you identify what’s truly important to you and create a space that reflects your values and priorities.
So, declutter physical items you no longer need and try to eliminate negative relationships, habits, or beliefs that are holding you back. By letting go of these things, you create a more positive and supportive environment for yourself.
Throw out what you don’t need and make space for the things and people that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Rebuilding ourselves is rarely something we choose to do. It’s usually something we have to do. Rebuilding your life after such a traumatic event can be a long and painful process, but it is possible. You may feel overwhelmed, scared, or uncertain about the future, but know that you’re not alone.
Many people have been through similar experiences and have come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever before. And you will too.