“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” — C.S. Lewis
We all experience that soul-crushing, anxiety-causing emotion called heartbreak at least once in our lives. Research has shown that heartbreak triggers the same parts of our brain as physical pain. And that’s before we’ve considered the emotional suffering, like self-doubt and loneliness that often follows.
What if we could embrace heartbreak rather than fear it? Heartbreak is always going to cause pain, but it doesn’t need to cause suffering. Instead, we can accept it when it comes, experience the pain, and use the journey to grow, better understand ourselves, and give more love of our own. Here’s how we can turn heartbreak upside down, and use it to turn ourselves into more confident, more loving beings.
When your heart’s been broken, it’s important to acknowledge the past and the events that led to this moment — but don’t agonize over what could have been. You are you, and turning yourself into a different person to make a relationship survive is neither sensible nor sustainable. Instead, take this opportunity to get to know yourself. Meditate, spend some quiet time alone, learn what makes you happy, embrace your uniqueness, and shine it out to the world. Learn to love yourself and never doubt your ability to be loved because of who you are.
Use your new loneliness as a chance to deepen other relationships. Be open and vulnerable with your friends. Let them listen and provide advice and support. Socializing may not initially seem like the right option, but you’ll feel better for it. By being honest and open, you’ll be taking your friendships a step further, as you welcome their love into your life.
Channel the Passion
Rather than channeling your angry energy into hatred or self-pity, put it towards an optimistic mindset and intention. Follow Meryl Streep’s advice: “Take your broken heart, turn it into art.” Use your wounded heart to discover and work on something you love. Start writing, painting, reading, running, singing, dancing, swimming, drawing, blogging… — you have the power to transform that anger into positive, creative drive.
Open Your Heart
We react to hurt by becoming more closed-off and introspective. But why? The experience made you stronger and more self-aware, so you could certainly survive it again. Don’t fear heartbreak. Instead, open your heart to the world. It may invite more heartbreak, but it may also invite in deeper, stronger love.
Keep Marianne Williamson’s wise words in mind: “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” Humans are loving beings, and heartbreak is an unavoidable consequence of that. Don’t shy away from this pain, but instead use it, grow from it, and share more love with the world.