Thought Catalog

Getting Your Heart Broken Isn't So Bad

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If you’re a recent victim of heartbreak (by “heartbreak” I mean, someone left/ betrayed/ dehumanized you and by “recent” I mean, in the past six months-decade because let’s be real, some breakups know no time constraints) you might feel certain about a few things. For example — that getting your heart broken is actually ‘that bad,’ that all of the weight loss and meaningless sex and self-indulgence in the world isn’t going to make things right, and most importantly, that I must have no goddamn idea what I’m talking about if I think otherwise. And you’d be right — until you aren’t.

What I mean is, you’re perfectly justified in thinking that you’re never going to be able to love anyone else, and that this is the worst thing that will ever happen to you. For now. Because for now, you’re thinking — and feeling — with the wounded, disillusioned scope of someone who has lost the person who meant most to them. You’re grieving, and that’s alright. No one blames you. People have gotten away with literal murder because of their impaired mental capacity. Society’s all, “Okay, you’re going through some sh-t right now. We understand.”

But do we trust the instincts of a grieving person? Of a mentally-compromised person? We do not. That’s why the limousine industry exists — to transport grief-stricken passengers who are too emotionally drained to operate heavy machinery. Right now, you are that grief-stricken passenger, that person who can’t drive, that person who believes — with conviction — that their life is over. You are right, for now. You’re right, because you can’t find it within yourself to feel any differently. You don’t have the strength to look at anything with hindsight or foresight. You’re drowning in your own pain, drowning in the present.

If you’ll just humor me for a minute, though. Think back. Think back to your first crush, or the first person you liked, or your first relationship, or your first love, or any of the number of times you were let down by someone, rejected, broken up with. How it felt. How it felt like you couldn’t breathe, or leave bed, or put your laundry away, you couldn’t even do the laundry, you couldn’t answer the phone or go to school or work or anywhere; all you could do was mourn. Where are those people now, the ones who broke your heart? Do you know? Do you care? That life you thought was over, is it? Or are you still alive, crying over someone you didn’t even know existed that one weekend you spent watching reruns of The OC and devouring cartons of Phish Food because your college boyfriend wanted to go on a break?

That was a bad weekend. But look at you now! Entire years of your life have passed since that initial blow. So much time has gone by that you’ve already manage to love — and lose — an entirely different person. Several people, possibly. You never expected to do that, that weekend you wrapped yourself in knit blankets and drank Andre straight from the bottle, but here you are.

Meeting and loving the person you’ve recently lost was an unexpected consequence of the relationship before that failing. Something good — however fleeting — was born out of that heartbreak. As bad as you feel right now, great things do come from breakups. Revenge diets, for one. The courage to leave behind toxic situations that’ve been holding you back. Another chance to find and be with someone you might actually have a future with: someone whose mother is excited to see you, someone who will share the remote. Adele’s 21.

But the best thing about getting your heart broken is that, once everything is said and done, once you regain your sanity, you survived it. You were not defeated. You did not actually die, no matter how much you thought you wanted to. You lost it there for a little while; you gave into your emotions and let them rule you, but there’s no crime in that. There are worse ways to go through life than to feel things passionately. The point is this: life went on. Life goes on. Heartbreak might be a bitch of a visitor, but she always leaves that gift of a reminder behind when she leaves. TC mark

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  • melbell23

    I needed this today

  • delilah

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/iamsubmerged Jordana Bevan

    can it just be said that, even though it gets better, knowing i’ve been through it before and a bajillion other people have been through it before doesn’t mean we should try to force ourselves to get over it/to skip the steps involved in getting over it. sometimes knowing that heartbreak is a passing feeling just makes me feel like i shouldn’t indulge myself on the things i feel like i need to do to get over a breakup (eg ice cream, tequila, etc). and then you/i never get over it because you/i never did the (mostly) necessary steps to feeling not broken anymore

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WQXSSKAMOU4WCHKCWYMUKKKNU Aladin Sane

    Heartbreak is the worst feeling imaginable, and no internet blog is going to tell me otherwise. Sure you get over it, but you could get over a bullet wound to the abdomen as well…

  • Anon

    One of the nicest things I’ve read on Thought Catalog in a while. Heartache sucks, but time heals all wounds if you don’t keep picking at the scabs. Thanks for this, sincerely. 

  • Wastro

    I want to hug this post.

  • http://mason-jar-memories.blogspot.com/ Grace Elizabeth

    “There are worse ways to go through life than to feel things passionately.” This is so true. I’ve been in that exact place you described. The ‘not being able to get out of bed, thinking your whole life was over’ place. It was years ago, and while I’m still beyond words pissed about how that went down, it doesn’t hurt anymore. At all. I channeled the hurt into words and wrote it all down and there are worse ways to go through life than feeling really thoughtful and introspective and aware of why you are who you are and they are who they are. Once the fog of confusion and hurt burns off, it leaves a really beautiful clarity in it’s place. Plus I’m married now, and it’s super bitchin’ :)

  • Anonymous

    AMAZING. 

  • Sapphoozmak

    A must-read for those bitter over Valentine’s.

  • Jana

    Thank you! I needed this so much today. Thanks for making me smile and breathe.

  • Guest

    So true.

  • gela212

    Thank you.

  • smsc

    thank you so much for this.

  • Anon

    haha read this while listening to Adele. cliche much?

  • M.

    But what do you do when its your first love, your first boyfriend, your first everything? 

    • B.Frank

      truthfully, you might always have a place in your heart for that first love, but in a few years you’ll also be grateful that you didn’t end up with that person. Because if you had, you wouldn’t then experience how great it is to love someone else, perhaps many others. And you’ll love better than you did that first time around because you’re older, wiser, know what it’s like to love, and have a better sense of how relationships work. personally, i thank my lucky stars that i didn’t end up with my first love. 

  • BJU

    This is perfect and I really need this right now. Thank you.

  • Sophia

    add me to the list of cliché comments insufficient to explain how much this article was needed right now and how much i loved it.

  • Sirine

    This is an amazing article! Describes exactly what I’ve been trying to tell people, now they can read it :p
    Whenever someone mentions my 1st real heartbreak and then apologizes for bringing back painful memories; I stop them and say ” don’t be sorry. I’m not. it was the best thing that has ever happened to me” and indeed it was. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if not for that heartbreak, I wouldn’t know so much about people if not for that heartbreak, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today if not for that heartbreak. There’s good in every bad situation you just gotta let it unmask itself :)

  • Kaitlyn Clement

    damn i needed this. a lot. <3 you're such an excellent writer

  • http://twitter.com/_grace317 Grace KM Wong

    Add me to the list of people who really needed to read these words! You are a fantastic writer; always so on point. Heartache does suck the big one, but the lessons it brings only makes a person stronger. Thank you. 

  • MARTIN

    “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” Buddah

    • Janis

      Buddha. sorry, had to correct the spelling

  • Yashodharablog

    Thank you.

    I needed to hear this from someone else :)

  • Lainey

    Your writing is great.  If your posts weren’t interspersed with the others, I would have forgotten about TC long ago. 

  • Sara David

    this is exactly what i needed to read today.

    there is nothing so blindingly agonizing as being in a situation where the person who means the most to you can look you in your very pretty face, take full stock of everything you have to offer, and say, no thank you.

    but it’s been a month since then, and sometimes when i try to recall specific details about him or us, i simply can’t. time, and life, are really, really funny that way.

  • agracescarlet

    Did you write this for me, specifically?! I think you did…

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