What To Do When ‘The One’ Leaves

Manki Kim / Unsplash

Maybe you just got your heart tore out of your chest before someone left you for someone else. Maybe they were nice, or maybe they were cruel about it. Maybe you just got left at the altar. Maybe you’re nervous to see friends and family this holiday season because you’ll have to explain why your marriage failed.

We’re all here with the same pain. The person who we thought was our “one” left.

I’m not going to write around how amazing they were. I’m not going to sit in your heartbreak with you. You will reminisce on how things were and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m also not going to tell you not to. You will also sit with your friends in heartbreak for as long as you need to (and for some of us, a little longer). You don’t need me for that either.

I’m going to tell you what to do next. It’s not to eat a tub of ice cream, it’s not to book an expensive trip. It’s not to go rescue a dog (although… okay, wait, just give it a little bit). It’s not to go make out with a stranger or download some app and “get back out there”. I know you aren’t ready for any of that.

This is for the people who have just had their hearts broken. Who are beyond calling out sick to work but are still crying at their desk, or in the walk-in freezer. I know you aren’t there yet.

Go to your bed. It’s your bed now. Not “our” bed (if it ever was). We’re reclaiming it, it belongs to you now. You deserve this. Go get new sheets and pillows if you need to. Home Goods has plenty for half price and if it’s what you need to carve out a tiny space for yourself in all this heartbreak, it’s worth it.

Lay down on your bed. Take your hands and wrap them around their opposite shoulder, so you’re holding yourself. Feel your hands on your skin, your forearms on your breasts. Rock if you need to a little side to side. Recognize your body. Feel all of it. You are enough to hold yourself.

Recognize it’s okay. In this moment, let it be okay. Just a moment. Even if you don’t want to.

Breathe. Feel your lungs fill your ribs with life again. Close your eyes. Repeat.

No matter what happened, this is your home. This is something they can’t take from you. This is a force of nature that’s experienced some bad weather or may be headed into a drought, but it’s okay. You’re here, breathing, and that’s the first step.

Now think about what you want out of life. Not who do you want, because there’s a very big difference. What do you want? What dreams did you change for them? What things did you stop doing because they didn’t love it too? If no one else was involved, what would your life look like?

Pick one to two things to care about.

Whether it’s reading more, getting your nails done, joining a rock climbing gym, learning to cook, or taking dancing lessons. You deserve that new thing. Pick an activity. You deserve to be committed to it for a while. You deserve to be committed to yourself.

You let that part of yourself go once too, and you were committed to them. They were your “one” in a way, weren’t they? Don’t they deserve to be fought for? To be brought back? To be loved? Make three small goals that pertain to this new thing you’re going to be doing. Make them really small so you can accomplish them in the next week or two.

Let yourself feel proud when you’ve accomplished them. Then, make three more little goals.

Magic happens in heartbreak when we take a moment to love ourselves. It doesn’t have to be all the time, give yourself that one moment. Our worth is not derived from others, our worth is derived from ourselves. Progress happens as we make small goals that allow time to pass. We see worth in ourselves by our accomplishments. And we all know nothing heals pain but time. What we do with that time, is what really matters.

Lay. Hold. Breathe. Plan. Go. Heal. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog