Embracing the Lessons of Heartbreak

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When your heart is broken, you feel a slow, steady burning in between your chest. Your head spins, and you feel your mouth is ready to throw up the mix of emotions and emptiness inside you.

These feelings sting, and unfortunately you might face them more than once in your life.

The kind of heartbreak I’m talking about is the one you confront when you realize the person you have chosen to fulfill your emotional needs has decided they have no desire to participate in this fulfillment.

You become aware of this decision through:

  1. Them telling you directly they aren’t willing to care for you or love you the way you need.
  2. Their actions (or lack of actions) are indicating you’re not worth their time or focus.
  3. Thinking about them causes you more anxiety than comfort.
Photo by _Mxsh_ on Unsplash

In the case of romantic relationships, the heartbreak often results from the coexistence of your own unresolved internal issues, and the simple fact that you have chosen the wrong person. One factor may weigh heavier than the other depending on your unique circumstance.

It’s easier to move forward if you understand your role in the heartbreak. It helps you let go much more quickly, and allows you maintain a level respect for the person rejecting you, because just like you, they’re a human being who is facing pain and challenge in their life.

Knowing this, how can you start the healing journey without losing yourself?

Here are three things that have helped me tremendously.

Cry

Allow yourself to feel the negative emotions.

Crying helps you release the anxiety pinned up from your inability to control the other person’s actions. Feeling pity for yourself is the bridge towards self-compassion. Acknowledging your anger about your own mistakes and the missed red flags will make it easier for you to laugh at yourself in the end, because you’ll realize you were silly for trying to make a square peg fit into a circle.

The great thing about embracing your negative emotions is that you’ll be able to figure out how to release them in a healthy way. Unacknowledged emotions may drive you to act in a way you’ll regret later on.

Read about other people’s heartbreaks

At the very moment you perceive the inevitable physical and emotional rupture, it’s so easy to think you’re the unluckiest person in love, and that you will never get over this horrible feeling.

These intrusive thoughts will keep you at the mercy of your pain for longer than necessary.

Trust that others have gone through what you’re going through, or worse, and that they have gotten over it eventually (at least many of them have).

Go to YouTube and you’ll find plenty of brave souls sharing their experiences, lessons, and motivational messages about heartbreak, and how they found the light at the end of the tunnel.

Check out the following video about the 5 stages after a breakup. Its adorable and so relatable!

P.S. Make sure you read the comments section of the YouTube videos — they’re really inspiring and funny!

If you prefer reading, there are numerous online magazines and blogs that recount the same agony and eventual relief. This particular post,“31 Self-Love Quotes to Remind You Of The Passion You’re Worthy Of,” is tremendously heartwarming, and will remind you that you’re worthy of the love you desire.

Books are also helpful and might provide you with a more comprehensive narrative that may comfort you in face of the seemingly unending numbness within.

You’re certain to find a story that resonates with yours, making you feel a bit less lonely in your painful experience. More importantly, you’ll realize that with time you’ll overcome this dark moment.

Start the necessary self-healing journey

If you’re sufficiently self-aware, you’ll understand that heartbreak is a result of our making a mistake or wrong decision in the past. Whether this was you having ignore the red flags, or perhaps having contributed to your partners eventual disinterest in the relationship, it is the perfect time to look within and evaluate what prompted your actions.

This is even more critical if you’ve already suffered through multiple heartbreaks. Suffering through multiple heartbreaks does not mean that you’re unlucky in love, it’s most likely the result of unfinished internal work you must complete.

Working on your self-development — going through books or programs that help you look internally and identify the damaged parts — is a great first step. While going through a recent heartbreak, I picked up the book Insecure in Love by Leslie Becker-Phelps, licensed phycologist. Reading about the different attachment styles and working through the exercises in the book provided me with plenty of clarity about my past behaviors. I highly recommend it!

Therapy might be a great option if you want to supplement your own self work, or if you feel that working through your problems on your own is not sufficient to lift you out of the negative thoughts and patterns.

I turned to therapy when I realized I was making the same mistakes despite my best efforts and increased self-awareness.

Most importantly, be patient with yourself throughout the process, and applaud yourself for the smallest of progress.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In the end, your journey of self-discovery may be the launching pad to not only transforming your relationships in the future, but to also reflect on and make changes in other areas of your life.

Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you find some hope in reading these words. What has your experience been when dealing with heartbreak? What has helped you to overcome emotional pain?

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Angela Martinez

Angela Martinez

Teacher, traveler, and language learner. Writing about productivity, personal finances, life abroad, speaking another language.