Everyone at one point or another has experienced heartbreak, whether it is with friends, family, or an intimate partner. A broken heart can feel like the end of the world; an invisible pain felt throughout your being. You lose your appetite or over-indulge. You cannot sleep or sleep too much. You go from being outgoing to closed-off or from closed-off to binge drinking/partying. Your body feels weak, and your look haggard. You develop fears around the heartbreak and methods to protect yourself. Your wall is high, and you are on guard for any red flags. You lose hope, and your ideal image of love dissipates. Some people lose their way through the heartache and allow the experience and pain to decapitate them because healing can seem harder than living in misery.
That is how powerful a heartbreak can be. Everyone has a different reaction, interaction, and response to a broken heart, but no one can escape it, and it will leave scars. No matter what your behavior is with a heartbreak, here are my strategies to help you through any heartbreak and not lose your way.
1. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions.
It is so important that whatever feelings come up that you allow yourself to feel it. It can be anger, shame, resentment, love, sadness, bitterness, desperation, fear, unworthiness, disrespect, loneliness, longing, stupid, happiness, sensual, and used. Permit yourself to feel any or all those feelings. Write down what made you happy, sad, angry, shameful, and missing them. Allow yourself to fantasize about them, especially if you have been intimate with the person. Shaming your desire to want to be with them sexually will only hurt you more. In this phase, it is so important not to judge yourself based on these emotions. Journal about the feelings, talk to someone you trust, or a counselor about the emotions, but like how you would sit with a best friend with no judgment, sit with yourself with no bias and be a great witness to your feelings. In this phase, you want to observe and get good at noticing things. I like to call this phase The Observer.
2. Intentional reminiscing.
Intentional reminiscing is a fancy word for reflectively remembering. What this means is that you are allowing yourself to remember the good, fun, bad, and ugly while taking note of the lessons and blessings. For example, You will, throughout your day, reminisce about your experiences with the person you loved, and it will spark many feelings. Do not fight it, allow it, or distract yourself if it is too much. What is significant about this step is reflection. You remember the experience to learn, heal, and grow. Write down what you like about your experiences and what you did not like about them. During heartbreak, your mind may block out the bad things because your longing for the person is a more dominant feeling, but writing down the lessons from the relationship will allow you to remember and see there were issues. When you reflect, you learn, and when you learn, you change, and you grow. Intentional reminiscing is an essential process of not losing your way in the heartbreak.
Acceptance is our ability to acknowledge everything from the good experiences we had to the bad and our contribution to the problem and solution. We must accept our situation for what it is; two people no longer together. We must admit that we contributed to the issue, whether we did something or did nothing, we played a part in it. We must accept that the person may have moved on. We must recognize that the person may no longer love us. Acceptance is not saying that it is okay. Acceptance is not forgiveness; we will discuss forgiveness in a different step. Acceptance is merely acknowledging the facts or reality of the situation. It is coming to terms with things as it is.
Forgiveness is about humanity and mercy. It is seeing the human in us and thus seeing the human in others. Forgiveness is compassion and unconditional love for ourselves. Forgiveness is not saying that the person’s behavior is okay, nor is it saying we are releasing the other person’s pain or accountability. Forgiveness is seeing that we are all having human experiences. Forgiveness is allowing us to be imperfect, accountable, and to grow. When we forgive, we do it for ourselves. It is our act of love towards ourselves and our way of taking back our power to no longer exist in the same playing field as the other person.
5. Be gentle with yourself
Healing is not a linear process. If you think it is, you are wrong. Healing is like your lifeline, up and down, and at times, all over the place. It is essential to take care of yourself and not be attached to a timeline. You may think you have healed and then see the person in public and feel the pain all over again. It is normal. You do the same thing, analyze the experience to see what feelings and thoughts came up for you. If you reencounter the person, how would you think, feel, and act? Practice the scenarios in your head.
6. Use 1a if the experience is intoxicating.
1a is the process before number one. It is the block, deletes, and cut-off all contacts with the person if it is healthier for you. You know your heart, emotions, tolerance, and behaviors. Sometimes, a person cannot even pull themselves together to process the heartbreak unless they have stopped all contact and energy with the other person. I would recommend this step for any toxic relationships or if you are anxious and quickly pulled into the other person’s energy.
You will know when you have moved on or heal the wound (scar will be there) when you feel peace around the person or recall them in your thoughts.
Other strategies while going through healing:
Use distraction constructively to give you space and time not obsess about the heartbreak.
Have a “to-go-to” person for times you feel the temptation to call your ex or the heartbreaker back.
Take a trip
Pray for the person when you feel any emotions come up (good, bad, etc.)
Get healing done
Ask others to pray for you
Get into nature
Do things that give you energy
Sending everyone love. Let me know this helps you.