My heart has been broken so many times. It seems like everything great that has ever happened in my life is always followed by a heartbreak. I know this is a bit dramatic, it’s painting everything with a broad brush. I know that. But I also know that everyone experiences heartbreak. It comes to us because of death, divorce, break-ups, loss of a job, loss of faith, and in dozens of other forms.
When heartbreak hits me, I always search for a light. I try to find something to make myself feel better. I go online and read tons of articles about heartbreak. I listen to Podcasts about break-ups and heartbreaks. I try to find something, anything that will help me feel better.
So, I thought I’d take some time to write about 3 things that I’ve learned recently in hopes that maybe it will help others, or maybe even my future self.
Feel and Heal
When our hearts get broken it feels like the end of the world. Actually, sometimes it is the end of a specific world. That pain is unbearable. In fact, it’s worse than any physical pain we will ever have to endure. It might not be as sharp, as acute, but it’s deeper and usually lasts much longer.
So, we try to get rid of that pain. We try to cover it up or push it away. But this only makes it worse in the long run. If we push the pain down or try to cover it up with alcohol or drugs or Netflix or another relationship, it will only end-up hurting us even more. So, allow yourself to feel the pain.
Feel it. Lean into it. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to take some time to feel sorry for yourself. Tell your friends and family about it. Watch sad movies. Listen to sad music.Music like this:
Listen to this song over and over. Find your own song that rings that heavy bell inside of you and listen to it over and over and over again. Or make a mix – a playlist – of your own songs and listen to them.
Feel the pain.
Read poetry. Read fiction. Read non-fiction books and articles and blogs. Look-up quotes about love and heartbreak. Quotes like this one:
Feel the pain.
And commit to healing the pain. Don’t just try to stop the pain. Heal it!
Turn the focus to yourself. Whether someone or something left your life by choice or they were taken from your life, now is the time to focus on you. Don’t get bogged down on focusing too much on the person who you lost. Your heart and mind will go there sometimes, and when they do don’t judge yourself harshly.
Is there anything I can learn by looking at the other person? And will that knowledge help me to heal?
Then answer the question or realize there isn’t an answer and focus your attention back on yourself.
And know that you’re hurting because you’ve been hurt. It’s not because you’re weak.
Often when we feel so down we feel like we’re being weak. But this is a lie we tell ourselves (you can read more about this here: You’re Stronger Than You Feel.)
You’re not bad either. And you don’t need fixing. You need to heal. So, be compassionate with yourself. Be good to yourself Be tender. Take your time.
Don’t judge yourself for being hurt. Acknowledge the pain and embrace it as much as you can. Then let yourself heal. And know it’s okay if it takes a while. Be patient. The healing won’t happen overnight. That’s okay. It’s going to be okay.
You’re Not Alone But You Are Special
Heartbreak leaves us feeling so alone and lonely. It makes us feel isolated from the rest of the world. That’s the pain of lost love talking. And the greater the love, the sharper the pain will pop and the deeper it will flow.
I remember watching YouTube videos about heartbreak and healing. I also remember listening to Podcasts about the same topics. One of the common themes everyone talked about was the fact that pain was universal. Everyone feels pain. Everyone gets their heartbroken.
The point, of course, was that when we are heartbroken we are part of a community. The island of broken hearts.
I guess I drew some comfort from this idea. But it also pissed me off. I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I was exhausted. I was spent. I felt used and discarded – like an old newspaper blowing around in an empty street Or maybe an empty bottle of wine rolling around in an alley. I wanted to at least be unique. To feel special. I didn’t want to be like everyone else.
But I was misunderstanding the words.
I was unique (still am!). And so was my story.
Just like you’re unique. So is your story. It belongs to you and you alone. And it is special.
But you’re not alone. Neither was I.
And the fact that you and I and every other heartbroken soul isn’t alone, doesn’t take away from the uniqueness of each of our stories.
So don’t be scared to reach out to friends and/or family. If you want to, talk to them about your pain. Cry with them. Rage with them. If you want to. If you don’t, then that’s okay too.It’s up to you. It’s your journey (more on this to come in a bit).
And if you don’t have anyone to talk to and you want to share, then you can reach to a counselor or therapist, call a hotline, journal, blog, or comment below.
Know that no matter what, across the world there are countless numbers of hearts that are broken too. Not exactly like you. But broken just the same.
And remember it’s still your own story. It’s your own heartbreak too.
Now it’s time for you to decide how you want to put your heart back together. You might not feel like doing it right now. And maybe not tomorrow or the next day or even next month. But you will feel like starting again. You will rise. You will put your heart back together. And you will feel love again. How you do it and when, is completely up to you. It’s unique to you too.
Embrace Your Journey
Not long after after my heartbreak I was listening to Dear Sugars radio show and they had on a guest that said something like people should take a month to mope around and talk to their friends and family about their broken heart and then they should either move on or act like they’ve moved on.
When I heard this I didn’t think there was anyway I would get over my heartbreak within a month. That felt way too fast for me. And of course it was.
Luckily, not long after that, I read an article that said getting over a broken heart usually takes about half the time that the relationship lasted. So, if it was a 2 year relationship then it might take as long as a year to get over it.
This sounded much better to me. It gave me a lot more time. But that article was wrong too.
The correct answer to how long your heartbreak will last is: It will last until it’s gone.
That’s it. Nobody can or should put a time limit on how long it will take to heal. For me, setting a time limit will only result in one of two outcomes:
- I’ll end-up not being completely over the heartbreak and beat myself up for being too weak and small to heal like everyone else.
- I’ll force myself to do things to cover the pain – maybe get into a rebound relationship or perhaps develop an unhealthy addition.
#1 is the one that’s most likely to happen. But there’s no need to beat myself up for not healing fast enough. Time limits are ridiculous to me.
But maybe they make sense to you, Maybe you can say “okay, I’ll give myself 4 weeks and then I’ll be done and I’ll go on with my life.” And if that is who you are and how you deal with heartbreak in a healthy way, then that’s perfect.Remember, it’s your journey. So, whatever works for you works for you. And what works for someone else might not work for you and that should never be a cause for judgment.
The only thing you need to be careful of is being stuck. If after several months you don’t feel at least somewhat better, if you can’t feel yourself moving in a positive direction, then you may very well be stuck. And you might need to begin pushing yourself forward. So, do be mindful of your progress. Just don’t measure it in days or weeks. Measure it in months. The progress could be slow. And that’s okay.
Speaking of progress… reach out and try new things. Journal, use breathing techniques, meditate, exercise, read, write, do whatever you want. Find out what helps you and use it.
And know that what works right now might not work as well tomorrow or next week or next month. And what doesn’t work right now might work better sometime in the future. As you take your journey what you need and what feels right will change. So, keep trying different things along the way. Just keep moving forward.
Know this too: Right after a heart is broken, there is a storm that’s raging, or has just passed. It will take time for all the dust to settle. And when it does, you’ll see things differently. You’ll see things more honestly. Right now anger and/or love is clouding your perception. In time it won’t. And you’ll see thing differently. More clearly. Know that. Trust it.
But Just like joy, pain should be honored. In fact, the greatest teacher of human beings is pain. And nobody is immune to it. No one.
So allow yourself to feel it. And take the time to heal it.
Know you’re not alone and also know that your story and who you are is special and unique.
And always remember this is your journey. And while you can get lots of great advice from tons of different sources, at the end of the day it’s up to you to do what you have to do to heal. How you choose to do it and how long it takes is perfectly okay. As long as it eventually culminates with healing.
And know that you will heal.
You will love again.
And truly feel happiness again. Trust that.
And healing and loving again and feeling happiness will never be disrespectful to the person you lost or the relationship that ended. The sacredness of that is preserved in the past and will continue forever. It will always be there. Always.
You moving on and living a good life will never change it. It will only help you be able to embrace the full truth of it.
Someday. When your broken heart has healed.