Personal Development,  Self Help

How to: Ease the Pain of a Broken Heart

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If you found this page it’s probably because you’ve been Googling “how to heal a broken heart” or something to that effect. I just want to say I’m glad your here and I hope what you’re about to read will help.

Steps to Easing the pain of a broken heart

I’m going to start by telling you a story because I want you to understand I’ve been there too. The important thing to remember is I got through it and so will you.

My Heartbreak

When I was 8 years old, Josh *not his real name* got down on one knee, presented a ring pop and asked me to marry him. Like any self-respecting 8-year-old, I said yes. I was one of those cool ring pops, the kind with two colours. After a strenuous 4 hours of planning, we were married one crisp fall day during afternoon recess.

Our ring pop marriage lasted longer than most adult relationships. We were inseparable during elementary school. Every high school first was celebrated together. Childhood sweethearts in every sense of the word. Everything was perfect, amazing really. I woke to the sound of unicorns singing every morning. I was happy. There wasn’t a single thing about my life that I wanted to change.

Eight years after our initial marriage, at 16 years old, he asked me again, this time with a real ring. It was beautiful. Exactly what I wanted in an engagement ring. It had a big pink stone in the middle, some smaller blue stones, no diamonds because I thought they were cruel and over priced. He knew me.

Fast forward two years later, we were 4 months away from our wedding. Our senior year was winding down. We had our whole life planned out – university, traveling for the summers, teaching English over seas. The future was exciting and full of promise.

Then the unthinkable happened. The relationship ended. His decision, not mine. I was devastated. I was angry, heart-broken, generally broken. For several days I felt like there was no life without him in it. My plans were our plans. It had been so long since I had an identity outside of the relationship.

I didn’t know how to stand on my own. How could I stand, much less move forward when my pillar of support was holding someone else up?

Why did I tell you that story? It’s certainly not a story I enjoy telling, it’s been 12 years and although it doesn’t hurt anymore, it’s hardly a fun memory. I thought it was necessary because I want to talk a little bit about getting over a break up. When I think about recovering from a broken heart it’s through the lens of that experience.

So here we go, are you ready?

How to Get Over a Broken Heart Quickly

The first thing you’re going to do is grab a pen and notebook and find a quiet safe place. Somewhere you can be alone for a couple of hours without worrying about interruptions. This is an intimate and emotional process, you’re going to want to be alone for it.

Explore and Acknowledge your Feelings

Take stock of your feelings. Label them. Write those feelings down and go with it. Don’t worry about whether you think the feelings are appropriate or what you should be feeling. No one is going to see this, and lying to yourself is a really bad idea.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Come on Sawyer. I just got dumped, I’m devastated and angry. That’s it. 

You’re not wrong those are perfectly reasonable feelings. They were at the top of my list too all those years ago.

Do you want to know what else was on that list?

  • Embarrassed
  • Disappointed
  • Relieved
  • Free

Certainly much more positive feelings at that end than the beginning. There was a notable change when I moved from feeling what I thought I should to embracing the feelings I actually had.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized my ego was broken more so than my heart. My heart was just fine, beating away, waiting for someone else to love. My ego on the other hand was a mess.

It’s a lot easier to deal with being embarrassed and disappointed than being worthless and unlovable.

Express Your Feelings

You should have a list of your feelings at this point. In the comfort and privacy of your safe place, explore the reasons behind your feelings.

I’m embarrassed because I didn’t see the signs. I had no idea he was having doubts.

I’m relieved I found out before the wedding. Before I moved to my third choice school for him.

I’m angry because I wasted years on him.

Take another moment to review your list. Realize these things all have to do with your ego, not your heart.

Now that we’ve acknowledged our feelings, put meaning to them we’re going to step away and do the last thing you want to do right now…

Laugh

I know, at this very moment laughing is the absolute last thing you want to do. Heck, you probably don’t feel capable of it even if you wanted to.

Brainstorm for a couple of seconds. What is something that always makes you laugh?

There might be a funny movie, a comic book, a YouTube clip.

This one always does it for me. I don’t know why, but I can’t even think about it without laughing. Weird, huh?

When you’re ready, you might even laugh at some of the things on your list. I was absolutely livid about having to give his hoodie back. It was cozy and comfortable, I didn’t know where I would find another one. Looking back, it’s a bit telling that I was more upset about losing a shirt than I was about losing him.

Reframe

Absolutely nothing about this process is fun, but this is the part I enjoy the most. Perhaps it’s because I just had a laugh at my favorite YouTube video ever, but it’s a very optimistic step. One that should leave you feeling better about your self and the situation. Dare I even say excited for the future with our without him.

Break-ups, even if you’re the dumped, don’t need to tear you down. If we take a good look at what happened and why we’re upset we can find the silver lining. There is always a positive, even if it’s hard to see.

Instead of being angry that I wasted years with him, I found myself excited to find my strength, test my resilience and really figure out what I was on my own, outside of a relationship.

Instead of being embarrassed I didn’t see it coming, I choose to be grateful that my teenage years were spent in a relationship with someone who respected me and treated me well. I knew what I wanted in future relationships.

Suddenly, and it was very sudden for me, the break up stopped being devastating. It was an opportunity, a new beginning, a chance to stand on my own to feet, a chance to make decisions for me without worrying about how it would affect someone else.

Change the Ending

When a relationship ends, especially when you don’t have a say in the matter it’s easy, if not natural to feel powerless. Not only is the dumper responsible for deciding that the relationship is over, but they also determine the story of why the relationship ended.

Who wouldn’t see themselves as a victim in that situation? The key is to find a way to make the ending of your relationship empowering. There’s often more to the break up than there appears at first glance. He might have left you for someone else, but in all likelihood that’s not all there was too it. Perhaps you made some positive life changes, or started enforcing boundaries you hadn’t previously enforced.

What ever happened, there will come a time when you can see you’re better off without the relationship. That will be a joyous occasion.

Conclusion

As difficult as it is to see in the moment, a broken heart, and failed relationship might be a blessing in disguise. It is only once we allow ourselves to truly embrace and acknowledge those painful feelings that we can move on to reframing that loss as an opportunity.

If you’re a hopeless romantic like I am you just might enjoy reading some of my favorite love stories. In so many of them one of the lead characters has to move past their heart-break as well.

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