Every toxic relationship is different, but the effect they have on you is very much the same.

You feel as though your entire life has been swept from under you, like your very sense of self has been stripped away and discarded, lost in an unimaginably barren sea without rhyme or meaning.

But once you let go of a toxic relationship, your world opens up and you’re left with nothing but limitless possibilities. The pain still lingers, though, so you’re both lost as to where you should go next and apprehensive to step back onto the dating scene.woman-black-dress-looking-desert

That’s why, in order to get ready for a new– healthy– relationship after ridding yourself of the old toxic one, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare yourself.

This is to not just to make sure the same thing never happens again but so that you don’t end up pushing the next person away. After all, getting into a serious relationship before you’re ready rarely ends well, and you don’t want to screw up something with someone really special.

It’s often said that you’re the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you allow even one of those five people to be toxic, you’ll soon find out how capable he or she is of holding you back.

– Travis Bradberry

Here are a few steps to help you get ready for a healthy relationship after a toxic one:

1. Reconnect with friends and family

First, even if your next relationship is a healthy one, you need a strong support group to guide you.

After a toxic relationship, we’re often left reeling for some time and that can affect how we behave with a new partner, even if it’s some time afterward. As soon as we get back into a relationship and things start to get serious, we have flashbacks of the old toxic one and can sometimes kickback or become hard to reach emotionally.

That’s where a great support network comes in handy. Friends and family can help guide you along the way and tell you when you’re screwing up, offer general advice, or just offer an ear.

And, while you’d hope the next relationship would be a healthy one, this support network also helps keep you from falling into another toxic partnership as well, which has its own value all in itself.

2. Then, get your own thing goingAre you in energetic alignment with your goals?

A toxic relationship can starve you of all your drive and creativity, leaving your professional life in disarray.

So, before getting into another relationship, you need to focus on yourself for a while.

The first way to do that is to get your own thing going again. Whatever that is– whether it’s your career or craft, business, or a passion project you had all but quit on because of their influence– take the necessary time to at least get yourself back to where you were before.

However, I’d suggest allowing yourself time to make good progress in addition to that so you have a sense of momentum in your life before ever considering another relationship.

This isn’t just for your professional life– which you need to hold as a priority anyway– it’s also because this will give you a sense of confidence going into this new relationship, knowing that you have your own life in order and your sense of self-worth restored.

3. Finally, get back in touch with your inner self

The second part of focusing on yourself is related to your “inner world.” By that I mean you need to take some time to get back in touch with yourself on an intimate level.

Like everything else we’ve talked about thus far, your inner life gets thrown out of whack the most in a toxic relationship, with your very self-worth having been subjected to repeated attacks.

So, take some time to get back in touch with yourself. Pick something that works well for you, such as meditation, a creative task such as painting, a morning run, or yoga. Certain activities will work better for you than others, so take the time to find what is most effective for you.

The idea is that you want to come deeply in touch with what’s going on inside of you emotionally.

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you afraid of? What are you stressed about? What gives your life meaning? What is that you really want to do with your life? These are all things you can discover by getting in touch with your inner self– and all things which will help you navigate your next relationship with strength, certainty, and wisdom.