“Time heals nothing unless you move along with it”
- Have you ever had to give a presentation at work that you were so nervous about you just wanted to hit the fast-forward button so it was over?
- Have you ever had the flu and were counting down the days until your body no longer felt like it had been hit by a truck and your head was going to explode?
- How about wanting to fast forward so your heart could stop hurting after a divorce or a serious breakup?
I think I can say with 99.9% confidence that most people would rather get punched in the face than get their heart broken.
When your heart is broken it can feel like the end of the world as you knew it. (Yes, now R.E.M. is in your head, you are welcome). It’s as if someone took a melon baller and scooped out a piece of your heart that you can’t fill.
Why, Why does it hurt so much?
If you have ever gone through a divorce or serious breakup, or even other significant losses in your life, you might have asked yourself, “Why does it hurt so bad”.
Well, your brain actually thinks you are physically hurt. Studies have shown that when MRI’s are done on patients of recent heartbreak of any kind, the parts of the brain that register physical pain like a broken bone, were active.
And to top it off, humans are emotional creatures. Whether it’s a memory of dancing together, seeing a place you frequented with that person, or the smell of bread baking that triggers you to think about them, memories are tied to our emotions.
How Can I Heal After Heartbreak?
Personally, I hate when people say, “Time heals”.
“Just give it time”
“It will get better with time”
“Time heals all wounds”
No one wants to hear that shit when they are going through shit! And the truth is, there really is only partial truth in those statements because the process requires more than you patiently waiting for the days to pass thinking that things will miraculously get better…you have to also put in the work.
While healing of any kind does take time, sometimes the process requires more than patiently waiting. A broken bone will eventually heal even if you don’t put a cast on it. But if you set it properly and then cast it, it will increase your ability to be able to use that bone again the way you did before it was broken.
Let the Healing Begin
- Get Honest With Yourself: First, feel your feelings. It’s the first step and if you try to hide them, push them under a rug and not acknowledge them, it’s going to take you much longer to start moving on to that next chapter. This is where the stages of grief come in. All of them are normal and necessary and remember, they aren’t linear.
- One-day-at-a time: While you are going through those stages of grief, take it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s one hour at a time or even one minute at a time. Do your best to find something positive in each day. Say something you are grateful for each day, something that has nothing to do with the relationship you lost.
- Connect with yourself: I wrote a blog on your relationship with yourself that discusses the importance of loving yourself. Do the things you love, try new things, and practice self-care. And breathe, lots of deep breaths!
- Don’t isolate yourself: Connecting with yourself and alone time is great, but so are people! There should be a balance between giving yourself time alone and seeking out friends and family to support you.
- Reflect: Reflect on what you have learned. What have you learned from this experience that is going to help you grow? What have you learned that you will take into your next chapter? Write it down. Be grateful for what you gained, that will only benefit you in the future.
One of the first books I read when I was going through my divorce was “Love Warrior”, by Glennon Doyle. There was a powerful quote in her book that still sticks with me and I think of when I’m navigating challenging times, “The warrior journey is staying present with love and pain. Feeling them both, letting them bubble up in my body and come and go without hitting an easy button to escape.”
The way out of your pain is always through, you will get through it. Don’t be afraid of feeling the pain as you are going through it, the pain is going to change you, it’s going to make you stronger.
Remember, You Got This!
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