Welcome to Thrive! A weekly advice column for creatives and the generally confused.

Dear Thrive,
My casual relationship just ended and even though we weren’t serious, the end of this still hurts. Not as much as my last serious relationship but enough to put me in a funk. How do I get over yet another rejection?

Signed,
Casually Lost

Dear Casual,
I’m sorry to hear that something with potential fizzled out. Especially if it was one of your first after your last long relationship. It’s easy to let this be a blow to your ego and get you down, but there are ways to heal and move forward. Even if you think you don’t want to or don’t have the strength. Here’s how you dig deep and haul yourself out of this unfortunate hole.

Let Yourself Feel Them Feelings! Often we try to avoid feeling hurt. We hate to admit that we feel sad or wounded by someone else, especially someone who was a more casual relationship (or even friendship) to us. Don’t be ashamed for feeling deep feelings. It’s easier than we all let on to feel a connection with someone early on. When we don’t get to explore how far and deep we can take that connection, it can sometimes feel worse than losing someone we know really well. So set some time aside to feel your feelings. Journal why you’re feeling this way. Cry a little. Take a day off to do some self care. Allow the feelings to flow freely for a little bit.

Then Deadline Those Feelings The above can easily turn into wallowing, so make sure that you put a deadline on feelings your feelings. A day? A week? Set that deadline and then honor it when it comes. Try a meditation session and use one of my favorite quotes or mantras “Let the dead things go” or “I accept the changes of my life” to help you move forward. Really own these words when you’re saying them. After the deadline, you have to let the feelings go and start focusing on something else. What projects do you want to start? What are your friends up to? Who haven’t you called in a long time? Focus on things that will make your life BETTER, not worse.

Don’t be Afraid to Try Again I know. I know you don’t want to keep dating. And no one says you have to. There a lot of very happy people out there who don’t need it. I’m on board. But if you’re the type of person that truly enjoys getting to know people and the process of dating, you’ll have to get back out there eventually. Try taking the next date a little slower. Ask friends to set you up. Explore some new activities where you may meet someone. Don’t push it– you don’t need to be going on a dating crusade– but stay open to possibilities and saying yes to some dates. (When you’ve felt the feelings of course.)

It’s Not a Rejection Oh and PS, rejection is SUCH a harsh word. Re-frame this mindset by seeing it as a relationship, and a person, that were not for you. Just because you didn’t choose it doesn’t mean its not true. Trust me, you don’t want to be with someone who is lukewarm about you and stays around because they’re afraid of hurting your feelings. (Been there, done that, its the worst.) You want someone who’s really burned up about you!

I know this is a tough time and some of this advice might seem way out there for you right now. I can see you saying, “Is she for real? I just want to lay in bed forever!” Take it all with a tiny grain of salt and come back when you’re ready. Love yourself first, take a deep breath, and remember how strong you are.

THRIVE is answered by Amanda Kusek, a poet, blogger, and dog mom living in NYC.