Updated: Sep 15
Is there anything worse than feeling heartbroken? Didn’t think so. Our hearts are capable of loving in so many ways, but there are plenty of times that our love is not reciprocated…and it sucks. Heartbreak - defined as, ‘overwhelming distress’ - comes in so many different forms and whether you are going through a breakup, have lost a loved one, are out of a job, etc. it’s difficult not to get sucked under by the tidal wave of negative feelings and emotions. That said, the way that you handle working through heartbreaking moments makes all the difference and sets the tone for the way you continue to allow yourself to love. Here are some ways to help move through the really tough days, heal your heart & most importantly, open yourself back up.
FEEL TO HEAL
This is potentially the most difficult thing to remember; but the only way to the other side of anything is through. Unfortunately (but actually, fortunately), we can’t skip over parts of our lives so while we’re in it, we need to really feel everything. Sometimes it hurts to think about, and you won’t want to go that deep, but if you’re avoiding something, it's time to deal with it. It’s tempting to numb ourselves with drugs & alcohol, but it is really important to allow yourself to feel everything so that you can heal.
TAKE THE BAD
We can’t experience amazing moments of love & joy without knowing the other side of things. Think about how dull of an experience true love would be if you couldn’t compare it to anything lesser. Again, it’s difficult to get yourself into this headspace, but if you want the great times, you have to be at peace with the bad times.
WRITE IT DOWN
There is a great deal of catharsis in getting things off of your chest. Oftentimes, we don’t want to talk to other people about our grief, but it is important to not let it all sit inside of you. Grab a pen and paper and write whatever is on your mind down. You can burn it afterwards, you can shred it, you can pretend it never existed, but you have to get it out of your system.
When emotions build up inside of us and we don’t release them, they override our system and we literally can’t think straight because our serotonin, dopamine & cortisol levels are all over the place. Physically releasing emotions is hugely beneficial and is necessary. Get outside for a walk, go take a workout class, cry, have sex (solo or not)…do what you gotta do to feel good again.
FORGIVE YOURSELF & OTHERS
There is a lot of guilt and resentment (two of the nastiest emotions) that surround heartbreak. On one hand, you replay situations over and over, wondering if you could have done something differently to affect the outcome. On the other hand, you blame the people around you for not doing something differently to affect the outcome. First of all; go easy on yourself – we all need to stop judging ourselves so harshly (this is something I have to work on daily). We’re not meant to be perfect; own your actions/behavior/thoughts/words and move on. Second of all, you have to forgive – not necessarily for the other parties involved, but for yourself.
Here’s a forgiveness exercise that I do often:
Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting in an empty theater.
It’s pitch black, other than a single spotlight on the stage.
Now picture the person you need to forgive on the stage, under the spotlight.
Picture them happy and smiling and then begin to see them live out everything you know would make them even happier; having money, getting married, having kids, working at their dream job, being in love, losing weight, etc..
Okay, now picture the person leaving the stage, even happier than when they walked on.
Now, picture yourself on the stage, under the spotlight and begin to see all of those same amazing things happening for you: there are you smiling when you get a promotion, there you are meeting the perfect person for you, there you looking healthy and feeling strong, etc..
Hopefully, you find yourself smiling as you open your eyes.
The point of doing this exercise is to A. make you think about someone who wronged you in positive light to release some of the stress from your heart. And B. to remind yourself that we live in a world of abundance. You are never put in a bad situation without the possibilities of great things happening in your future and no one person determines what happens next. Goodness is everywhere, it surrounds us and is always available to us. Even the person that wronged you deserves great things and when they get them, it won’t mean that the universe has run out of blessings. It is not you vs. everyone else, it is you vs. your emotions – radiate love and light, even when people are harsh.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. FOCUS ON YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.
Devyn Penney is a certified life & intimacy coach and the author of, "Mastering the Art of Internal Intimacy". This blog is dedicated to ending small talk by having Big Conversations, "the only way we connect is through love, empathy and an open line of communication".