Have you had your heart broken recently?
What can I say, it sucks.
Heartbreak is one of the most painful human experiences we all have to endure. But despite its common occurrence, the pain of losing someone you love still, and always will sting.
There’s only one thing to do:
Move on, you must.
But how exactly do you heal? In this guide, we’ll guide you through navigating your heartbreak and how to get over someone for good.
Why losing someone you love hurts so much
Why is it so painful when you get your heart broken?
The pain is so intense, it goes beyond emotional.
Mark Manson, bestselling author The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck explains:
“Relationships form the basis of meaning in our lives. And not just your interpersonal relationships, but even the relationships you have with your job or your identity or your possessions.
“Therefore, when you lose a relationship, especially one that was so important and central to your everyday life, you lose that associated meaning. And to lose meaning is to lose a part of yourself.”
Loving someone means giving them a big part of your life – your time, identity, effort. In turn love gives you meaning.
When you lose it, you lose all of the things attached to it as well.
So how do you cope with such a huge loss? Here are 10 ways that can help:
1. Allow yourself to feel the hurt.
“The hard pill to swallow here is this: part of you is now dead and gone. It’s time to accept that and start rebuilding your life so you can move on.”
Many people make the mistake of suppressing their emotions when they’re feeling pain.
But the first step in fixing the problem is to accept that it’s normal for you to hurt. Rather than suppress your emotions, take this opportunity as a part of a healing process.
Cry if you have to. Wallow in your pain when it feels too much. Give yourself a chance to grieve.
You’ll feel ready to move on one day. But while the wound still stings, feel the pain.
2. But don’t let the breakup consume you
Yes, you need to grieve. But don’t let your heartbreak consume everything else in your life.
Humans have the amazing capacity to compartmentalize. Sure, you’ve lost a big part of yourself, but you still have a life.
This is not denial – it’s just being realistic.
Barton Goldsmith, author and psychotherapist, says:
“Compartmentalization is not about being in denial; it’s about putting things where they belong and not letting them get in the way of the rest of your life.
“You can’t just ignore your issues and expect them to go away, but obsessing on them won’t help either.”
So don’t neglect your work. Continue your studies. Spend time with your family.
A breakup might be the end of a relationship. But it isn’t the end of your whole world.
3. Yes, you need to give it time.
As cliche as it sounds, time does heal.
It won’t feel like it right now. In fact, time seems to be going slow. But as days go by, the pain will ease.
According to research published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes approximately 11 weeks to feel better after a relationship has ended.
But every relationship is unique, with its own set of memories and shared experiences. So don’t give yourself a timeline. Instead, just give yourself all the time you need.
4. Take this time to reflect and reconnect to yourself.
We all feel like we’ve lost our identity after a breakup. And in a way, we have.
The question, “who am I?” tends to pop up.
Tell yourself it’s natural. In fact, it’s inevitable.
According to author Melissa Dahl, this is actually the perfect opportunity to reflect and reconnect with yourself.
“Focus on restoring your self-concept, either by doing the things you loved and lost sight of during your relationship, or by trying out brand-new hobbies.
“This is common-sense breakup advice, but typically it’s a tactic meant to distract yourself from your heartbreak.
“And it will probably do that, and that can help.
“But when you drag your brokenhearted self to the guitar lessons (or whatever) that you’ve secretly always wanted to take, you’re also rebuilding the you you just lost.“
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
5. Reach out to loved ones.
Some people tend to close themselves off when they’re hurt. However, if you do this, you’re only alienating yourself from the people who can comfort you and help you heal.
Author Preston Ni suggests:
“As you heal, the support and encouragement of loved ones are essential to your regeneration. Embrace the affection of friends, family, or a beloved pet (the power of healing from animals is well documented).”
Right now, relying on a solid support system is more crucial than ever.
6. There’s no such thing as closure.
Modern dating culture is caught up with the idea of “closure.”
We are told that we need to look for answers from our ex-partners to help us move on.
But closure is almost impossible to find from someone else. But you can surely find it from yourself.
Monique Judge of The Root explains:
“Closure is something that you will often have to create for yourself and view as a part of the process of moving on.
“Think of it as ending a chapter in a book. You have to decide that you want to be done, and then be resolute about it.”
“Figure out what it is about the ending of the situation or relationship that is lingering with you and work your way back from there. How can you resolve your own feelings about the issue? Is there work you can do on yourself to make you grow from this?”
In fact, if you’ve recently broken up with someone, then check out our recent article on what to do after a breakup. We share 11 no bullsh*t tips for moving on.
7. Recognize the lessons you’ve learned.
Eventually, you’ll be able to get some key takeaways from this breakup.
You’re going to unravel why you two didn’t work out.
Regardless of who dumped who, you’ll find yourself learning a thing or two about relationships and what you now want for the future. Now you have a clearer view of what works for you and what doesn’t.
And perhaps the one thing you can take away from this is – relationships don’t end because two people did something wrong.
Ultimately, relationships end because they need to and because at the core of it, two people are just wrong for each other.
8. Don’t fall back to that old habit.
Maybe the old habit is your ex. Maybe it’s your habit of jumping too fast to the next relationship. Or maybe it’s your penchant for avoiding to deal with your emotions.
No matter what it is, don’t fall back to it.
Instead, do something different for once. Explore your next options. Choose something that is healthy for you.
Toxic habits are difficult to shake off but you have to stop doing them. Or else you’ll find yourself going through the same cycle again.
9. You are not alone.
Find solace in the fact that breakups and heartbreak are actually quite common.
If you’re hurt because you feel like you’ve been rejected, but remember everyone gets rejected.
Author and psychologist Dr. Melanie Greenberg says:
“You aren’t the only person to be rejected. Rejection is one of the most common human experiences. Sometimes people don’t let on they’ve been rejected, so you can’t always tell.”
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Even the smartest most beautiful person gets their heart broken. So there’s no need to be too hard on yourself.
10. Choose yourself.
Don’t waste any more time thinking about anyone or anything other than your own.
You need to love yourself now more than ever.
Ni has a thing or two to say about being selfish after a breakup:
“It’s easy to feel sorry for oneself after separation, and in doing so neglect one’s own well-being. Some people self-blame, while others go into victimhood.
“There may be an urge to mope endlessly and wallow negatively. Some punish themselves consciously or unconsciously.”
“The more difficult the separation, the more important it is to take good care of yourself.
“Eat well and exercise. Do something to pamper yourself everyday—be it a hot bath, fragrant tea, fresh flowers, or massage at a spa. Be your own best friend. You absolutely deserve it!”
Reading this far, you know for sure it’s not going to be easy. And I’m not going to lie and say that the steps I’ve listed above are all black and white. At the end of the day, your instincts are your best friend. And only you can allow yourself to move on completely.
But here’s a piece of advice I could give you that has worked for me – the healthiest way to get over someone is to try to find new sources of meaning.
Rediscover yourself. Date yourself. Do what you are passionate about. Be busy with things you enjoy. And make this about you.
You can find new sources of meaning by reconnecting with people, taking up a new hobby, or by simply allowing yourself to get through this journey.
You may feel that you’ve lost a lot of things. That you’ve made mistakes and wasted time you can’t take back.
But you are still capable of healing. And no matter what, you are still worthy of love.
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