Your best friend moves away, a loved one passes, you lost a job, a child goes off to college, a spouse is unfaithful, you didn’t meet your goals, or perhaps you were burdened with adulthood too early in life. The list is endless as to why hearts break.
How we experience pain is emotionally universal. We long for what we no longer have! It hurts so deep; the pain is indescribable and, at times, unbearable – often leading to shutting down.
At some time in our life, we will all experience the pain of a broken heart!
What is different from person to person is how we handle the loss, the grief, the pain, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. If we get stuck in the process of releasing that which has caused us pain or trauma, we move towards that shutdown. Thus, the healing of a broken heart stops and leaves us the potential for emotional and physical withdrawal, complicated emotional responses, difficulty in future relationships, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and, if left untreated, can last our lifetime.
The good news is that no matter what your circumstance, with some determination to move through the pain, you’ll move towards mending your broken heart.
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies, and best-selling author wrote about her theory on The Five Stages of Grief in her book, On Death and Dying.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are all part of the five stages. They are considered tools to help identify and frame our feelings. They are as varied as we are. Each one of us will move through the various stages on different timelines and in different orders. Some stages will repeat over and over again.
So, allow yourself the time, let criticism and self-judgment go, find kindness towards yourself, stay in the present, be curious to who you are and who you want to be, find time to listen to your internal dialogue, ask yourself, “What’s Next”? Know that time is on your side. You will get through this if you give yourself time, freedom, and grace.
8 Keys to Mending a Broken Heart:
The Gift of Time –
Heartache isn’t going to go away overnight. You may want to hide out and withdraw from life; however, hiding away from the world won’t mend a broken heart. There is an old saying that “time heals all,” and there is some truth to that.
Ride the Wave of Emotions –
Avoid stuffing your emotions. Let them out! Cry when and if you feel like it. Scream into a pillow. Beat a bat against the bed – anything safe to let those emotions out. Don’t hold onto them. It won’t serve you well to keep them!
Get Out & Have Some Fun –
Start a new workout routine – moving your body is fantastic for emotional recovery. Go hiking with some friends, get a new haircut, lose some unwanted pounds, or hang out with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Whatever it is, give yourself the gift of time you need to heal.
Volunteering your time can help you get out of your head, which is not the same as avoiding pain. This one puts you in the mindful zone—what a great way to help yourself by helping others.
Make Yourself a Priority –
Who were you before the heartache began? If you are a mom whose child just went off to college or in my case, a mom whose son moved away to Japan, what do you do next with an empty house? You served your children; now it’s time for you to become the priority.
Maybe it was a breakup – you gave your time to the relationship, the mutual friends, or their friends. How do you get back to you? Set a course of action, schedule it, plan it, prepare for it, most of all, DO it!
You get the point; you are now the priority. Treat yourself like you are!
Be Mindful –
Deep breathing, meditation, movement are all ways you can manage the unpleasantness of heartache. As you move throughout your day, listen to your body, practice taking your time, pay attention to sensations, the taste of food, the colors of the world, stay in the present, relax and find joy in each day. The little things in life can bring us so much joy if we allow ourselves to open up to what is.
Talk it out –
If you find yourself not moving pass the stressors of the heartache, perhaps it’s time to find the help of a professional. Working with a therapist or, in today’s world, coaches are a viable option for professional help. What is important is that you find someone who can listen without giving unsolicited advice, someone who can listen without judgment or criticism of the situation, or you, and if there’s another person involved – no judging them as well.
What’s Next –
While you are working through the five stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, ask yourself:
- What’s next?
- Who do I want to be?
- How do I want to show up in the world?
- How do I want to be treated?
- What are my dreams, my passions, and my values?
Start where you are with yourself and your truth, and as time passes, you’ll have awakened yourself to new possibilities, found a deeper connection with self, and a peace of mind you didn’t have before the heartache began. With clarity comes new opportunities.
You are enough! You are loved!