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For those of you who have been following my blog since its beginning, you all know about the pain of heartbreak that I had been coping with this past year. For those of you who are newer followers, you might not know what I’m talking about. I had a Heartbreak Series where I detailed the story of my first (and hopefully last) heartbreak. I used it as a way to help me cope and process what had happened. I removed the posts recently since I’m finally healed and moved on, and I’d rather not have that negative energy that is no longer needed.
For those of you who are going through heartbreak currently, know that you’re not alone. You will get through it, but only if you’re real with yourself and take the steps to fight it. In the words of Guy Winch, heartbreak isn’t a process, but a fight.
Here is how I healed:
1. I let myself feel the pain. I let myself cry. I didn’t pretend like what happened, the way I got hurt, didn’t affect me. I had to be real with myself, because the longer I wasn’t, the longer the pain would stay locked up. After all, as well as in a physical, visual sense, I had to travel and explore the pain to be able to get through it. Being hurt wasn’t a choice– but I had a choice of how to deal with it. Confronting it was an act of bravery, not a weakness. Whether I liked it or not, the feelings were there. And I’m woman enough– human enough– to admit that.
2. I journaled. I wrote about how I was feeling, how I was going to be helping myself, and what I looked forward to. I noted down how and why things didn’t work out, the good and bad things about the person I was in a relationship with. I wrote about the qualities that I overlooked that I should not have. Writing things out in a private place really helped me gain perspective; it was as if I was a bystander outside of my own body, analyzing the interactions between myself and the other person and taking better notice at things that were oh, so, wrong, but easier to overlook when I was high on love.
3. I wrote letters that I never sent. The first time I heard of this idea was on That’s so Raven— that one episode where Raven’s mom, Tonya, wrote an angry letter to her professor who lost her assignment. She really let herself go; she didn’t hold back. And it was cathartic. Same for me; I wrote many letters in my journal; many angry, sad, unfiltered letters. It allowed me a form of catharsis, and it allowed a means for me to validate how I was feeling. It just helped me process what I was feeling. Were the after-feelings always pleasant? No, especially not when my words revealed how wrong the person I wrote to treated me; more than I realized. But it sure felt relieving. Like I said, it was extremely cathartic.
4. I leaned on my friends. This does not equate to me depending unhealthily on my friends, and expecting them to fix the problem for me. But in such an emotionally vulnerable state, it goes a long way to know that someone cares and that you’re not alone. Sometimes it isn’t even that you need your friends to give you advice or words of encouragement. Sometimes you just need someone to listen– just to show that they care. Heartbreak, especially in the beginning, can feel extremely lonely, and having your friends helps ease that burden.
5. I read books with awesome love interests. These books were a great way of reminding me of the things I was missing in a partner, and the things that I deserved and have the opportunity to have in a future partner. This gave me a sense of freedom from a relationship that wasn’t healthy and didn’t benefit me, and it made the good memories seem faded in color in comparison.
6. I lost respect for the person. Something I often contemplate on is the difference between love and respect, and the relationship between them. Recently, I realized that losing respect helps me lose love for another person. It’s really important to me that a person I’m close to or choose to be close to is respectful and kind toward other human beings, as well as toward myself. When I remembered and found out things that showed otherwise, not only was it a huge turn-off for me, but it also made me feel an aversion toward the person I was in a relationship with. Some of the information you find out can be really disappointing, but that pain is so worth it because it helps. This doesn’t go to say that I wish ill upon the other person, but I definitely don’t want to stay involved with them. And this doesn’t mean that I lose all respect for him— I still admire qualities about him, I put push them to the back of my brain until I’m over enough and ready to face them.
7. Learning to be indifferent toward the person. It’s commonly said that the opposite of love isn’t hatred– it’s indifference. This was especially hard for me, because I’m someone who tends to care about people a lot– especially those who are nearest to me. And honestly speaking, I’m not sure how exactly I made myself indifferent. But I think losing respect for the person, and thus losing love for the person, helped me not care as much anymore. Even recently, I still loved the person as a friend. I had reached out to them a month ago to reconnect, because I still cared. But after our interactions, it was made obvious that this “friendship” was one-sided and wasn’t really a friendship. After that, I had to learn to say my last words of compassion and well-wishes and let go. And honestly speaking, I still care, but not in the same way I did before. I still want good— great, actually— for the person. But it’s in a way that I’m able to box out and store away the pain of feeling for them and worrying for them for the most part. Which connects me to my next point…
8. Learning to separate the fantasy of the person versus the actual person. I had figured out a while back that the guy I fell in love with was different from the man who stood in front of me. Or if he wasn’t, then he was changed from the person I initially fell in love with. At the end of the day, the person I had loved had changed into someone else. If I didn’t feel that way, then I at least had to make myself believe that that was the case.
9. Distancing myself from the person physically. Out of sight, out of mind can help. It can be really hard, but when you’re hundreds of miles away from the other person, and with little to no contact, that connection seems to fade away.
10. Accepting the truth– even when it’s inexplicably hurtful. I think one of the hardest things for me to accept was that the person didn’t care about me the way that he had led me to believe that he did. Actions speak louder than words– that’s a motto I’ve carried for a long time. But in the case of this relationship, I excused so many things, probably because of how much I cared and how badly I didn’t want to give up on the other person and because of how much I wanted this relationship to work. But denial will only get one so far, because an illusion can only be held for so long. The thing is, it’s going to hurt whether you leave a relationship, or whether you stay in it– if that relationship is wrong for you. You’re going to hurt either way. So you might as well pick the option that’s better in the long term. And don’t wait for the other person to prove themself, and don’t keep working on trying to be there for them when they don’t want to be helped. Remember that you can’t help those who doesn’t help themselves. That’s not only good for you, but it’s also respectful of that other person and their boundaries. Besides, if a person really did care, you wouldn’t have to take measures to help them care. They would have already made it clear. Actions make things much more clear than words do, generally speaking.
11. Keeping the negative energy away when and where I could help it and when it was helpful. Like I mentioned earlier, I kept the negative energy of the Heartbreak series away once it stopped benefitting me. It was more like remains of something that I finished struggling with, and I really don’t need to keep all that in my sight anymore. Similarly…
12. Immersing myself in positive energy. Filter out your social media feeds. Watch TV shows, YouTubers that uplift you, and read books that make you happy and hopeful. Also, laughing. Laughing helps… a lot.
13. Listen to others’ stories of love and heartbreak. Nabela and Seth, y’all. Stories like theirs gave me hope and reminded me that good things are to come– and they are living proof of that.
14. Separating what I know from what I feel. It may feel like the pain will never go away, that you will never come past this. But you will. Remember that others have been in your place, and now they’re happily with the love of their life or just in better shape in general, in a relationship or not. Just because you feel one way doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Similarly, remember that just because you might feel like you want to be with the person doesn’t mean that you actually want to be with that person– it’s just your brain, your hormones trying to trick you. Don’t give in. Label those thoughts for what they are– tricks. Having faith in God’s greater, perfect plan for me really, really helped me, too. I knew that even if I felt certain things could have or should have been a certain way, God’s plan was more wise than what my feelings tried to dictate.
15. Knowing that this wasn’t permanent. I know this sounds similar to the last point, but I want to reiterate this: this pain, the extent of it, will not last forever. Not only that, but it will significantly lessen once you meet someone else– the person who deserves you. The memories of the pain may not disappear, but the thing is you’ll be so indifferent to them being there. Because one day, you’re going to meet and be with someone who is deserving of you and who you are deserving of, insha Allah.
16. Remember that I was fine before they were in my life. So you will be fine without them– and better. This one really helped me. I was so used to not being romantically involved with anyone (of course I had crushes and stuff, but never a relationship before this one), that it wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was doing when I was single. I was just back to that initial, “pre-relationship” phase– but with more experience and understanding and a different kind of hurt that I understood know from my experiences. But I was back in familiar– more familiar and more comfortable and more peaceful— territory.
17, Looking at it from a bystander or an outsider perspective. Sometimes I see my friends or other people I know with someone or heartbroken over someone not deserving of them, and I honestly wonder what in the world they see in that person. I don’t understand those friends or other people, but I know how they feel and I know that their feelings are valid, just like mine were. Similarly, I think about how my friends and someone else might look at my situation and be thinking the same thing, wondering what in the world I see in the person I was in a relationship with– I try to take on that perspective. If someone else can be repulsed by someone I was with or a relationship I was in, then I can, too. And to be honest, it really helps.
18. Giving it time. I know it sucks to hear, but unfortunately, there is no way around the pain. You have to feel it to be over it– there is no shortcut. It could take 6 months, it could take over a year. But you’re going to have to accept that the pain isn’t going away overnight. Some times or periods of times it’s going to feel better, other times it’s going to feel worse. And that’s okay. The healing might not be perfectly linear, the moods might not be perfectly linear, but that’s okay. At the end of the day, linear or not, you’re still making progress overall.
19. Spreading love and kindness around you and beyond. Sharing these with others, with animals, with the world really goes a long way. It can feel lonely having so much love and other good energies and wanting to give it to someone but feeling like you can’t. But those energies don’t have to be given in a romantic way. Volunteer, cheer others up, give your friends some pep-talks and hype them up. Giving good energy brings back good energy. It’s like a boomerang effect.
20. Being aware of any inner voids. While I wasn’t in the relationship I was in simply to avoid feelings of sadness and emptiness, it definitely helped me cope with those negative feelings. And now that I didn’t have that love– or that illusion of love from the person– I didn’t have that comfort and escape. Sometimes when I felt that emptiness unrelated to the heartbreak, I would find myself craving the person and the relationship we shared again– just the good parts, at least. Being able to recognize that helped me be more aware of separating actually missing the person and the relationship versus just wanting to avoid negative feelings from negative experiences.
21. I was kind and loving towards myself. This love, of course, also entailed tough love. It was a balance of letting myself feel and not bashing myself for it with telling myself to not go too deep into my feels. For the latter, I would have to recognize when my brain/heart was telling me to go deeper and dwell when I didn’t need to do so, and then I would have to stop myself from doing this unproductive moping. In other words, I let myself have a healthy bit of the feelings in order to process them while avoiding a binge of them which, of course, would not be healthy.
If anyone is going through a heartbreak, similar or not to the one I went through, I honestly, genuinely hope that you overcome it sooner than later and that you find so much of the happiness that you deserve.
I want want you to note that the things that I listed are based on my personal experiences. Just because one thing worked for me doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you, but many things may help you, too. I hope at least some of the things I did helps someone else going through the same, similar or even different things.
I remember initially in my heartbreak process– ahem, fight (thanks again, Guy Winch)– I desperately would search for how to overcome my heartbreak and I would downright get annoyed with posts like this one. They just made it sound so easy, and that didn’t help on top of the denial I was in about how much it was affecting me. For anyone reading this, please know that this was not easy for me. It was one of the biggest challenges in my life to overcome; words cannot do justice to describing what I went through. But I did it– I overcame this pain. And knowing that others had overcome theirs, similar to mine and others way worse than mine, really helped me. And you will overcome, too, insha Allah.