1. Love comes pouring out from those who matter.
This is one of my favorite parts of the human experience: a desire to make others feel better. Working on the internet – there are times I’ve doubted if this really is a universal thing. But the overwhelming answer is yes, it is. When you have your heart broken and you’re hurting, the people who matter will surround you with love. It’s a bizarre thing to think about, but horrible sadness can actually remind you how loved you truly are. And how many people genuinely care about you. And it’s a chance to remember how appreciative you are for those people.
2. You are forced to be honest with yourself.
When we’re in love, we have a tendency to put up blinders. We accept certain behaviors we otherwise wouldn’t, or sometimes choose to ignore situations altogether. A broken heart is like a sudden magnifying glass on everything. It hurts like hell and you might not even think you’re prepared to do it, but it’s unavoidable. Truths will spill out and you’ll realize how much more freeing it is to live authentically.
3. You discover an inner strength you didn’t know you had.
I’ve always gone back and forth on the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” saying because on one hand, sure. I get it. On the other, the idea of strength and weakness are so polarized and phrases like that continue to perpetuate the whole strong = good — weak = bad. And in my opinion, that’s a bit damaging. So I think the strength you discover isn’t the slamming the door with Aretha Franklin playing in the background as you ride into a new freedom (but if you do, kudos, that sounds dope), but it’s accepting your own vulnerability. Being able to look at yourself and say, “Wow. I let someone in and now I’m hurt. And this sucks. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.” I think THAT is inner strength. It’s assessing how you feel and not covering it up. Strength comes in so many forms. And what others perceive as weakness might be YOUR strength.
4. You learn the power in distinguishing “lonely” and “alone.”
You can be lonely in a room full of people, and completely at peace alone. Humans are social creatures, so even introverts crave some interaction. BUT you don’t need a person around just for the sake of it. I didn’t realize how absolutely lonely I felt WITHIN a relationship until I had been alone for a while and thought, “hm, maybe that strange, dull ache was…loneliness?” Doesn’t mean you can’t miss that person. Doesn’t mean you won’t rethink and play some sort of what-if game some nights, but you might have the opportunity to quality spend time with yourself. And that’s really all we have at the end of the day. So cherish it.
5. You are richer from the overall experience.
Regret has such a bitter taste. It will stick with you for years if you let it. Perhaps you would have changed things if you could. Or maybe things didn’t end in the way you hoped. But nobody can take the experience from you. Unless you undergo some soap opera-esque brainwashing process, you’ve got those memories. And there’s something really beautiful about that. You can move forward while still having bits of the past imprinted on your heart.
6. You see firsthand just how deeply you can feel.
It’s not ideal. SURE. We’d all rather be in love and happy and floating around fields of daisies or whatever, but life is an ebb and flow. You’re GOING to be hurt at some point. Even if it’s your own doing. And being invested in someone, something is actually evidence of being a very evolved human being. You took a chance. You said, “Hey, here’s my heart. I trust you with it.” And that is true bravery.
7. You (in time) will be ready and open to a new chapter.
Don’t rush yourself. Do what you need to. Cry it out. Watch funny movies. Be a total cliche and eat ice cream straight out the tub. Go for a walk and listen to cleansing music. Allow yourself TIME. That’s all you can really do. But when the time comes (and it will), you will be ready for a new person. A new chapter. A new chance at loving. I can’t promise your heart won’t break again. But it’s not the worst thing that can happen in this world. Trust me. You’ll be okay.