Heartbreak Is When You Can't Get Over It
There is usually no shortage of well-meaning advice being offered when we are dealing with a broken heart. The problem is that most of these suggestions will be just different ways of saying 'get over it'. The assumption here is that heartbreak is similar to a light switch that we can just flick on and off.
The reality is that recovering from a break-up involves a healing process, and while there are definitely things we can do to encourage this process, we can’t just skip over it entirely. Here we offer effective tools that can help you deal with heartbreak.
Self-Compassion is How We Humans Lick Our Wounds
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”
The pain from a relationship breakup can be intense. It often involves not only a sense of loss but also the experience of rejection. These are two of the hardest things we will ever have to deal with in life, so the fact that we feel so bad just means we are human.
Self-compassion is the ability to relate to our painful experiences in a way that is healing. There can an urge to run away from our pain, or try to ignore it, but self-compassion means bravely facing it so we can provide comfort. Some of the ways you might practice this could include:
- Visualize your pain as a wounded puppy or kitten and then imagine yourself holding this pet and offering comfort (alternatively, you could use the image of an upset baby) .
- Write a loving letter to yourself where you express your pain and offer yourself compassion.
- Imagine that you are breathing in and out of your heart area. As you breathe in, you can visualize comfort being sucked into your heart, and as you breathe out, you can then see this comfort being sent to every part of your body.
- Imagine that you are providing comfort to a best friend who is heartbroken. What advice would you give? How would you console this person? Now see yourself as this best friend.
The most important thing with self-compassion is that you allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship.
Don't Allow Your Mind to Fixate On Getting Your Ex Back
It does sometimes happen that couples get back together following a breakup, but becoming fixated on this possibility usually just prolongs our suffering. It is important that you are honest with yourself about the likelihood of a reunion. The thing is that we can’t really begin the healing process until we have accepted the situation. It is usually best if you avoid any unnecessary contact with your ex, and you may want to remove any triggers (e.g. photographs) in your home that reminds you of this person.
Mindfulness Helps Us Deal With The 'What Ifs'
"Taming the mind of heartbreak is just like taming a wild animal. First you have to just hang around it in order to demonstrate your lack of fear and aggression. Only then will the wild creature begin to trust you, and you can approach it to initiate a relationship . Meditations is precisely like this. "
Susan Piver - The Wisdom of a Broken Heart
One of the most difficult things to deal with after a breakup is that our thoughts can become stuck in ‘what if’ loops. This means we can’t stop thinking about what happened and how things could have been different. We can also become fixated on thoughts of getting back together and how this might happen.
Mindfulness is the ability to step back from these thinking loops so that they begin to lose their intensity. As soon as we notice that we are not choosing to have these thoughts, we are able to relate to them in a more objective way. This means that instead of these thoughts tormenting us, they become like clouds just passing through the sky. We also start to notice that the intensity of these thoughts depend on how much attention we give them.
Enjoy the Healing Power of Humor
Humor is probably the quickest and easiest ways of easing the pain of a breakup – at least temporarily. It can be so helpful at this time to be around friends or family who have the ability to make us laugh, or you could watch your favorite comedy show on Netflix etc. Humor works by helping us to see the absurd nature of our human existence, and this means we can take things less seriously.
Find Someone Who Will Listen
Often it is not advice that we are necessarily looking for but just someone to listen to us in a non-judgmental way. Finding such a person can be tricky because not everyone is good with this kind of conversation, and they may just want to offer us advice. This is why speaking to a counsellor or therapist can be the best option if we are struggling to come to terms with our broken heart.
Don't Isolate - Be With People
One of the worst things we can do following a breakup is to isolate for a long time. This just means that we are at the mercy of our thoughts and emotions without any support. It is understandable if we want a day or two to lick our wounds in private, but being around other people is likely to help with the healing process, so we don’t want to put it off too long.
Philosophy is the study of the important questions in life, so it is hardly surprising that heartbreak is one of the concerns of philosophers. Stoicism comes from ancient Greece, and it talks about the ‘art of acquiescence’ which involves not only accepting what happens to us but actually finding a way to fully embrace it. The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche believed that the pain of heartbreak can be highly beneficial because it can move us in a better direction in life. The Buddha believed that it was our resistance to heartbreak (i.e. not wanting to feel it) that was the problem rather than the heartbreak itself.
Other Tips for Dealing with a Broken Heart
- Be extra nice to yourself – pamper yourself a bit.
- Physical exercise is a great way to burn off stress, and it can also significantly improve our mental state.
- Read books, online articles, or visit online forums where you can get advice and hear from other people who have gone through a similar thing.
- Try out some new activities or hobbies.
- Express yourself creatively (e.g. art, music, or poetry). Remember some of the best art has come from people who were going through a difficult time.
- If you have been through a breakup in the past, you will know for yourself that it did get better. One of the benefits of getting older is we are in a much better position to see that time really does heal all wounds.
Sometimes further Support is Needed
Getting over a breakup can be challenging, and it can sometimes trigger further complications such as depression, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, or substance abuse etc. This is why it can be a good idea to spend a few weeks in a supportive environment where you can more effectively begin the healing process, and deal with any issues. Here at 180 Sanctuary, we can provide all the support and resources you need to manage this transition. Our facility is in a stunningly picturesque area of Northern Thailand where you can enjoy being in nature within a tropical climate. Contact us now to find out more.