Heartbreak is such a unique experience. We all go through it (or most of us anyway!) but it’s indescribably personal. We can turn to Google and devour every self-help book out there to look for ways to get over heartbreak but sometimes, no matter what we read, it still doesn’t seem to cater to what we’re going through.
So I thought I’d share 10 things that heartbreak has taught me. It’s not so much advice but hopefully, it might resonate with you too.
1. Just because it’s love, that doesn’t mean it’s right.
Whilst the idea of love being enough is very romantic and idealistic, sometimes it just doesn’t work like that. Two people can share a love, connection and companionship that seems to capture the epitome of what love is supposed to be, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they they are right for one another. There can be a huge amount of love present in a relationship but that relationship can still be broken, toxic or have cracks that can’t be fixed.
2. Life is about seasons.
Nothing in life is linear. It constantly takes us by surprise and doesn’t go to plan. There are ebbs and flows, highs and lows. We can try and control these all we want and avoid heartbreak at all costs but our life is made up of seasons that each represent a new phase. Some of these seasons will be drenched in happiness, love, momentum and fulfillment, some will be suffocated in heartbreak. Through every heartbreak though, is the evolvement of a new and better season. We just have to be open to that and not resist it.
3. The importance of boundaries.
One of the biggest lessons of the lot. We can take so many lessons from heartbreak but each one offers an opportunity to reassess our boundaries. When you have your boundaries in check, your world changes. Our boundaries impact how we treat ourselves, how others treat us, who we attract into our lives, what we put up with and they’re also a good measure of our self-worth and self-esteem. Boundaries help us to walk away from someone or something that we know in our gut isn’t right for us despite our heart screaming at us to stay because things ‘might’ get better or change.
4. Heartbreak is a universal thing.
No matter your social status, how attractive you are, how wealthy you are, how famous you are, how accomplished you are, no one is immune to heartbreak. It’s the ultimate equalizer.
5. Getting over heartbreak is a choice.
We can stay stuck in heartbreak in pursuit of searching for answers, closure, dwelling, ruminating and obsessing. Choosing to move on doesn’t mean that we can’t feel anything. We can still feel grief, pain, anger and loneliness but we can accept these feelings without over intellectualizing the emotions and getting wrapped up in them and their meaning. When we choose to move on, we feel those things and commit to letting them go no matter how often they come up. Moving on from heartbreak means every day, making the choice to.
6. Heartbreak can be the worst pain we ever feel.
When you break a bone or experience physical pain, there is usually something you can take to ease it. There are pain therapies and treatments. Emotional pain doesn’t work like that and sometimes it can sneak up and hit us like an avalanche. It can fester and suddenly erupt, turning us upside down and inside out. You can’t see emotional pain. You can’t describe it. You can’t take sick leave for it or get a prescription to remedy it. It’s one of the most intense kinds of pain we ever feel.
7. Focusing on your physical health is the best starting point.
Going through heartbreak can be emotionally shattering and if we’re not physically taking care of ourselves, we become more emotionally reactive, our immune system and stress levels are compromised and we can drop our standards of self-care, feeling like giving up on life totally. Whenever I feel in a bad place emotionally, focusing on my health and strength is the foundation for my healing. Every time.
8. Heartbreak is the ultimate fuel for creativity.
Just look at all the millions of books, songs, art, creations and even businesses that have been inspired by heartbreak. The process of creating something out of what you are going through can be incredibly cathartic and give you purpose. A much better way to channel that energy rather than focusing it all on your ex and the past!
9. Heartbreak at the time, feels like the worst, most painful experience we could endure.
Heartbreak leads to the most transformational changes – if we let it heartbreak completely strips us down emotionally. It makes us see ourselves, our faults, weaknesses and flaws head on in all their gory detail. That reality can be harsh to face up to but beautiful, because it teaches us what we need to know (or what we already know deep down but have ignored). It paves the way to transformational self-development. It doesn’t make us immune to future heartbreak but it makes us take more responsibility for ourselves and instills a wisdom that can only come from a heartbreak experience of this kind.
10. No matter how much heartbreak we go through, we have to keep an open heart.
We might feel that we always attract the wrong people, we just have bad luck and that there’s no way love will ever work out for us so what’s the point? We resign ourselves to a life without love or love that deep down, compromises our own boundaries and values. Yes, heartbreak is tough. But if we actually do the work (and it is work!) to learn the lessons and not make it all about ‘us’, we can become comfortable with the fact that we can never fully protect ourselves from future heartbreak.
That’s ok because we start to understand that we have a lot more control over who we let into our lives, who we let go of and that things – good and bad don’t happen ‘to’ us but for us. We’re more able to give ourselves all that we need without the validation of someone else. Keeping an open heart isn’t risky because we know our own value and can approach potential love with intention and openness but minus that needy attachment to the outcome. That type of empowerment isn’t something most of us our born with, it’s something we learn.