“If you feel like you’re losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.” ~Unknown
For a big lover like me, heartbreak has always gotten the best of me. I have felt heavy pain from the ending of a relationship, the ghosting of a situationship, and the loss of what could have been with someone I never dated. And I’ve experienced the sting of friendships leaving my life.
It’s all heartbreaking.
It starts with a crippling, piercing full-body agony. And eventually it grows into a dull ache and lethargy toward anything.
That’s because heartbreak can throw you into a type of withdrawal. And it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I was going through my last breakup, I felt like I lost a piece of myself. I felt like this person had taken my heart and ripped it apart. I was in a confused state, wanting them badly back in my life and yet wanting nothing to do with them ever again. I had to teach myself how to process my day without communicating with my ex.
As it turns out, this is all a very normal part of going through heartbreak.
Breakups, whether romantic or platonic, are like a death. In fact, we process the stages of grief during a breakup similarly to losing someone who dies. And sometimes that makes it feel even more cutting, because we know that person is still living and existing. Just without us.
While it’s important to feel all the feelings that come with heartbreak, it’s equally crucial to plant seeds of hope, as there is something better waiting for you on the other side.
Going through a breakup is a transformative experience of shedding old layers and welcoming new ones. You are growing and learning from these emotions.
While I was going through this particular breakup, I developed deeper emotional resilience and empowerment. The weight on my heart gradually lifted as I alchemized the lessons and self-reflection to remind myself of the following things.
1. You are not alone.
When you’re in the heat of heartbreak, it can feel as though everyone else around you is doing just fine and you’re the only one who is suffering. And the sudden absence of someone you cared about heightens the loneliness.
But I know without a doubt that you are not alone. Everyone has dealt with what you’re going through right now (just take me as an example!). And there are likely people in your networks who are currently going through it. Take some time to reach out to people you trust or seek out events that will help foster connection. It’s okay to ask for help.
2. You broke up for a good reason.
When my heart was aching for my ex and any sign of him coming back, I had to remind myself that we broke up for a good reason.
He wasn’t prioritizing or respecting me consistently. I had to stop romanticizing the moments of brief happiness and look at the longer-term picture. We were fundamentally incompatible and not bringing out the best in each other. If we continued to try to make it work, it would feel as if we were dragging our feet in the mud.
All relationships will bring up their own unique challenges, but I want to be with someone who I can feel safe to tackle them with.
If you feel the urge to get back together or if they are trying to get back into your life right away, write down the positive reasons for this breakup to give you a healthy perspective.
3. They never completed you. You are whole and complete as you are.
Even if you don’t feel okay right now, you are still whole and complete. The people that come into our lives, whether as friends or romantic partners, complement us. But they never complete us.
Thinking that we need someone to complete us or be our better half is a fairy tale misconception. And it convinces us that we’re not enough, especially if someone leaves us behind.
But the fact is, you are enough. You might want a romantic relationship, and that’s natural because we all need connection to thrive. But you can live a full, satisfying life even if you’re single right now.
While deep love can be experienced between you and other people, the deepest love will first come from you. Take the driver’s seat of your life and steer it. Anyone else that comes along is joining the road trip.
4. This relationship was not a waste of time.
When we’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into relationships, it makes the breakups that much more painful. You might think that you’re back at square one, but it’s the opposite.
And often this investment makes us stay longer than we should.
There’s a term in psychology called “sunk-cost fallacy,” which perfectly describes this phenomenon. It’s when you are reluctant to walk away from a course of action after heavily investing in it, so you continue to invest even though there’s a more desirable option.
Ultimately, the most desirable option in my situation was to walk away so I could stop trying to prove my worth to someone who didn’t see it.
I could have looked at my relationship as a waste of time, but instead I saw it as an important example of what I didn’t want in my next relationship. I’m now grateful toward my ex for the growth and experiences gained, even though the relationship ended.
It also helped me look at my relationship with myself so that I can show up for my life with more self-esteem and confidence. And I believe that has gotten me further ahead rather than behind.
5. You will feel your sparkle again.
Happiness doesn’t start and end with your past relationship. You can feel happiness after them. As you heal and focus on new things that excite you, your life will become more vibrant and abundant. And I promise, you will feel like yourself again.
Give it some time and pour back into yourself. Invest in new skills or hobbies, spend time with your community, and reconnect to your future goals.
Breakups are often a portal for our next highest chapter. Walk through this door believing the best is yet to come—because if you believe amazing possibilities are ahead of you, you’ll do your part to help create them.
Feeling heavy emotions after a heartbreak is a part of the healing process. And it will ebb and flow. Even though healing isn’t linear, it’s always happening.
Get curious and show yourself more love and reverence. You owe it to yourself to heal from this. Because there’s something more painful than a broken heart. And it’s a closed heart. I would rather continue to love big and get hurt at times than not love at all.