For the Broken-Up, the Mourning, and the Lost
Dear Broken-Hearted Reader,
So, things didn’t turn out the way you wanted to, did they? It’s okay. (Obviously, it’s not okay, but the more you repeat it, the more it may bend things in that direction.)
You’ve got your work cut out for you. A broken heart is a registered grief type. It’s got its own Wikipedia page and everything. This pain has been in human history for thousands of years. It may not help, but you’re not alone in this. It’s something that everyone has to deal with at one point or another.
The first thing to remember is that like any grief, we all experience it differently. You can read all the books for similar symptoms and occurrences, but truly, you need your own guiding hand in this. So be aware of your state. However, I’ve found some solid guidelines that help.
Be Kind to Your Broken Heart
I know this storm. You’re feeling like everything is closing in, and you can’t breathe. You’re inundated by thoughts, hauntings, and memories of them. It all hurts. Or–maybe it’s been a while, and now you’re just tired. Tired of feeling bad. Tired of the pain. Just remember, a broken heart is a wound, and it needs kindness and tending like a physical one.
It’s not an easy thing, especially when you remember how things were before.
But, this is something you can control. Emotions are mercurial, but not entirely out of our hands.
You need to start by being kind and soft to yourself. Your friends and family can be there as much as possible, and that makes a whole world of difference, but that emotional shell of sadness is hard to penetrate. They can’t be there all the time, during all those late night thoughts and memories.
But you can.
Show up for yourself. Be your own champion. Tell yourself you’re not crazy, that you can feel sad. You can rage. Be kind to yourself first and foremost in this process.
This starts with small steps like making your favorite breakfast. You may not want to eat it but do it anyway. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a while? Now is the time to do it.
More than any other time, you need to prove that you’ve got your own back. For more steps, take a look at this list here.
Channel Your Emotions
Whether you want to or not, you have to get the storm outside of your body or mind and into reality. It’s easier that way. Now, I’m not saying to go on a bender or smash up something as an excuse for “dealing,” Remember, hindsight is 20/20, so if you do something in the height of passion, you may regret it later.
Meditation or yoga are great for any type of grief or stress. Remember, your mind is like a muscle, and it can get sore too. Carrying around all of that sadness, anger, shame, anything you’re feeling right now is going to exhaust you if you just cling to it. Of course, everyone processes differently, but please, if you do nothing at all, meditate. You have to set the emotional stuff down for at least 20 minutes a day.
Art has always been an amazing channel for emotions, especially heartbreak. Some of the greatest love stories ever told, perhaps you can think of a few right now, began with the seeds of what you’re carrying.
Plant this garden in yourself. Allow it to be focused into something good, not for anyone else, for you. Use this to become a better person.
Write poetry or songs. Paint something. Dance on a rooftop under a full moon. Sometimes, even just driving to a secluded spot and screaming can help.
Not into art? That’s fine. Find what makes you feel good and lean into it. Work is another good choice. Sure, it won’t erase the pain, but getting a heftier paycheck may destress other parts of your life.
If you can just bear with it, breath by breath sometimes if you have to, it will ease. It sure won’t feel that way at first though, but keep in mind, you won’t have to relive the worst days again. Repeat to yourself, “I’m not just a broken heart. I’m so much more.”
Let Go to Heal Your Broken Heart
I saved this one for last because it is definitely the hardest.
And I know. I know exactly how you feel when you read those words. How could you? How could you ever just set this down and move forward? You don’t have to at first, or even in a week or a month or a year, but at some point, you must.
Life will dance merrily forward around you, even if you’re not dancing too. Regret is something we all live with, but you don’t have to let it rule you. It’s not worth it in the long run.
This is also last because it’s the final step. The love that you had is gone. Take a deep breath. It’s gone. But you’re not. You have your memories and yourself.
When you clutch that last remnant of what was or what might have been, you’re only hurting yourself. But I get it. When you unclench that desperate grip on that feeling, you’re surrendering to the reality that it’s over. It’s the last thing to unsling from your back to the floor, and with that, you’re the one putting an end to it.
And you don’t want it to end. Do you? You want to hold that door open. You wish for something to change–for them to come back, for them to say sorry, for them to be alive again.
The truth is, those are only possibilities, and you, dear reader, live in reality.
Reality is a tough, miserable place right now because of this, and possibility is a sweet, addictive cloud that keeps you bound in painful hope. It’s a place to stay, for a while, but never a place to live.
When anyone comes to the doorstep of grief, it changes them. We have no choice in that, but we do have a choice in how it changes us. Let the actions you take now forge you closer to your best self.
I know I said earlier to let go, but let’s take a trip back down in memory, just for a moment. Remember the first feelings of love? When you first started the relationship? They felt amazing, right?
You deserve those feelings. You’re worth finding that. It may seem dismal now, but it’s true. The storm you’re feeling now is the most beautiful thing because it shows your capacity to love someone. In the shadow of your broken heart, you can see your true strength.
So remember: you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy. Be kind to yourself because you need to be the one to save you right now. Find a way to channel your emotions even if you don’t want to at the time, and let go. Say goodbye and mourn what is lost.
Because you’re worth more.
With all my love,