Healing from a Broken Heart

Having a broken heart is one of the most painful experiences in life. As humans we tend to avoid pain at all costs, so when a relationship ends, you go into overdrive to avoid the pain. Most often this looks like vices: television, food, alcohol, sleep, shopping, etc... When you feel crappy, it can take a lot of effort to do the healthy thing.

Suneset with Trees If you look closely, you can hear where the pain comes from. Part of it comes from analyzing past memories. What did I say wrong? How could I have been different to make him stay? What exactly did she mean when she said she needed space? And-on-and-on the mind goes in a backward direction trying to control something that has already happened.

The other portion of the pain comes from worries about the future. Will I end up alone with too many cats to count? Will I find someone to love me like he did? Will a find a woman as funny as she was? And-on-and-on the mind goes in a forward direction trying to control something that has already happened.

Essentially, most of this analysis is a distraction between Oreos and episodes of the Real Housewives to avoid feeling the inevitable heartache, which can literally feel like your heart muscle is aching.

While time will help your emotions smooth over, there is a more proactive approach. You could actually consider grieving the loss of the relationship and feeling what it feels like to have a broken heart. Sit silently, by yourself, and watch your body grieve your past love. Let your pain have a voice, without trying to analyze or eat your way out of it. Put yourself right in the middle of exactly what is going on, the fact that something ended and you are sad. If you are nervous about allowing your emotions to go there, this is work that can, and many times should, be done with a licensed mental health professional.

You’ll find that if you make a conscious choice to move through a broken heart, rather than scheme to avoid it, the pain will be less prolonged. Without the constant chatter about fixing the past or worry for the future, you begin to see that in the present moment you are okay.

I utilized this strategy years ago during the first of two painful breakups. It was my high school sweet heart whom I had build lots of misguided future fantasies around. One day, I was taking a long warm bath with dim candles when I realized that, at that moment in the tub, I was okay. I didn’t need to worry about the future, it hadn’t happened yet, and the past, well, that wasn’t in the tub with me. I could just sit by myself in the candlelight and be at peace.

The pain won’t last forever, but it will pass through a lot quicker if you don’t try to avoid it. You’ll know when the time has come to move on. You’ll begin to feel lighter and ready to stand in the sunlight again.


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