Contrary to popular belief, heartbreak does not exist only between couples in relationships. Heartbreak can arise from betrayal in friendships, conflict within families, the passing on of loved ones, or just feeling lost in our lives. Heartbreak not only involves an emotional struggle, but it does have an effect physically as well. Studies have shown that your brain registers the emotional pain of heartbreak in the same way as physical pain — which is why you might feel like your heartbreak also causes actual physical hurt.
All of us have experienced our own versions of heartbreak over the years. Here are some of the ways I have personally dealt with heartbreak:
For a long period of time, I was convinced that crying was showing weakness — and weakness was the last thing I ever wanted to show anyone in my life. For a few years, I was adamant to not show any emotion other than happiness. It was something I became so obsessed with keeping up, that I became proud of it. I would internally snicker when the public was unable to see past my persona. My happiness was not always played up — there were many times where my happiness had been genuine. However, I found myself trying so much harder to upkeep that happiness to the public especially when I was not feeling it. It took me a while to realize how far I went, to the point where I was unable to recognize myself. Allowing myself to cry when I needed to was one of the first steps I had to take. Crying allowed me to tear myself apart and really question what I had been feeling. Crying allowed me to feel emotions other than happiness — crying made me become more human again. Crying signifies a cleanse in a way, to purge pent-up emotions.
2. Talk it out
I wrote about the importance of talking to friends when we struggle, but I also admitted to being one of the biggest hypocrites when it comes to this advice. I was so concerned about burdening my friends with my problems, that I ended up not saying anything at all. I was so concerned that they would worry about my problems, that I made sarcastic jokes about my struggles and moved on. I did a lot of touch-and-go when it came to my personal struggles and was relieved no one seemed to pick up on it.
Yet here I am, telling you that one of the ways I got over heartbreak, was to talk it out. When one is going through heartbreak, it also takes on a physical toll. And this physical toll in some ways saved me. The physical toll allowed me opportunities to talk about what I was feeling because it became obvious to the people in my life that I wasn’t doing fine. But I should not have gone to the extent of my physical self deteriorating to talk about what I was going through. It was not the physical toll that saved me, it was the result of being able to talk about what I was feeling — that was what helped me move forward.
I know, you must be thinking — why? Why is this important? Can’t I just hate the person and move on with my life?
Forgiveness was one of the biggest and most important steps I have ever decided to take. Don’t get me wrong, forgiveness as pure as the idea is, hurts like all hell. Forgiveness isn’t easy. Not to mention that you may be trying to do this in the midst of your own self-worth being torn to shreds. Contrary to the belief that forgiveness allows the other person to get away scot-free, forgiveness was actually the best decision I made for me. I was able to slowly make peace with what had happened, make peace with the people involved, and make peace with myself. I was able to make peace with myself because I knew that I was acting out of genuine love, and I did everything I could to get on with life without saying “if only I did this”. Hatred was never beneficial in the long run, it was Forgiveness that was holding the key to closure I didn’t know I needed.
4. Invest yourself into what you are passionate about
I’m not going to lie, but the time period when I was going through heartbreak was one of the most productive periods of my life. I was joining everything I was interested in, I was putting myself out there, and I became more vocal. It was during this time of my life that I was trying to re-discover who I was again amidst the pain I was going through. When something monumental happens in your life, you may find yourself way above the ground — floating aimlessly and questioning everything you ever believed. You may feel lost, you may wander. However, you can turn around this stage of your life to be the stage you grow the most. I was getting over heartbreak by investing more in finding out who I was and who I wanted to become.
5. Going out with friends and socializing despite not wanting to
When you are going through heartbreak, you will be having a tug-of-war relationship with wanting to isolate yourself. You would be battling between staying home with ice cream and watching YouTube versus going out with your friends for a movie. You would be wanting to avoid people because you didn’t want to show them the version of yourself that isn’t the best. It is okay to wallow and cry over the situation – that is completely valid. But it is not okay to stay in it and avoid addressing the situation. Going out with good friends is not only beneficial as you will be having a genuinely good time, but it is also therapeutic as you would be able to let yourself go and talk through your struggles with them.
6. Work on improving yourself and rebuilding your confidence
It is quite common for people to go through a drastic transformation when they are trying to get out of heartbreak. We are not a stranger to hair transformations with varying hair colors or styles or body transformations through committed training at the gym. As the period of going through heartbreak also works as a period of rediscovery, this is the best time to work on improving yourself. Whether it be a new mindset, new-found passion, new schedule — you do whatever you can to rebuild the confidence that was knocked down from heartbreak.
7. Get your anger out through sports
I had a lot of pent-up anger when I was a teenager. One of my family members gifted me a punching bag for my birthday. Although I was not undertaking any proper physical training, I found comfort in releasing my anger through boxing. Each punch I gave out physically compensated all the words I wished I could have said out loud. As someone who was writing from a young age, I knew the weight my words could carry — and I kept my lips sealed more times than I could count. My anger would subside by the time I released all of my energy onto the punching bag. I would occasionally end up in tears, which helped me to express what I was feeling despite not being able to talk it out. Boxing was a good way to let out aggression. Not boxing alone, but sports, in general, has scientifically been proven to contribute to one’s mental health.
8. Immerse yourself into music
Music has saved me in many ways. From the beat to the lyrics to the emotion in the song, music was my source of comfort. Lying at the heart of our relationships in this way, it makes sense that music would tug at the heartstrings, helping us to create an emotional connection.
I had several playlists constructed based on certain periods in my life. When I was going through a breakup, I had a playlist. When I was trying to motivate myself to get up from the darkness, I had a playlist. When I no longer felt love for what I was pursuing, I stumbled across a new band and created a new playlist for the songs I related to. When I listened to these songs, I felt comforted and that I was not alone. When I look back to these playlists later on, they remind me of the stages of my life that I was able to fight through despite thinking I couldn’t at the time.
9. Having a strong support system and relationship with God
It was during heartbreak that I found myself being more vocal about what I was feeling. I had good friends checking in on me to make sure I was taking care of myself. It was also during the darkest moments of my life where my relationship with God was strengthened. Don’t get me wrong, I have my fair share of blaming God for my circumstances. I have also backslid many a time in my faith. However, at the end of the day, it was my faith that stood the test of time and served as my comfort. Prayer and worship comforted me and aided me in wanting to make peace with my circumstances.
10. Acknowledge the good that came from your relationship with the person
It would be an outright lie to say that nothing good came from your relationship with the other person. In fact, there were many good moments and moments where you were genuinely happy. That is a fact, and something we should accept. We should not blindly accept only the good, but we should acknowledge both the good and the bad. By accepting both sides of the coin, it becomes slightly easier to move forward. Of course, acceptance may not always be agreed by both parties. But acceptance is what helps you move forward — so at least, take that step for yourself.
At the end of the day, know that you will survive heartbreak. Heartbreak may hurt like hell when you go through it, but you have the choice to come out from it stronger, better, and braver. One day, you will be okay again.