“And when I thought ‘I can’t go on,’ the universe expanded, mother earth hummed and the moon whispered, ‘Yes, you can’.” ~Wicked Words
Heartbreak. The feeling that so many of us would pay big (BIG) money to skip through. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard (and heard myself say), “I just want to skip this part and fast forward to when I feel better.”
I fell in love unexpectedly, but when is it ever expected? I had just gotten through an awful breakup and this perfect man for me fell from the heavens. He made me feel safe, loved, and so happy.
We were so alike sometimes, it was scary! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I still had some demons to work through from my previous relationship, and he was nothing but patient with me through it. I finally had my love who also turned out to be my best friend.
He’d call me his “future fiancé” and leave me the sweetest love notes. I thought my heart could explode from feeling so happy.
After some time, the love of my life didn’t want to be in our relationship anymore for various reasons.
This person I thought I was going to marry was sitting next to me on the couch telling me he didn’t want to be with me. He’d rather be alone then be with me. How’s that for a stab at your insecurities?
I felt out of control. I was angry, I tried to negotiate, I cried, I panicked—all the phases of grief. The way I acted, you would think someone was dying, but in fact those who have attachment issues feel like this when someone leaves us—it feels as if someone has died.
We get used to being around this person. Our person, our best friend, our lover who knows us the best is gone, and everything is different. We feel lonely. We feel unworthy.
We feel as if we’re going to go crazy without this person. At one point I was so attached to him that I had several panic attacks over not being able to change his mind. I felt like my world was ending.
I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I later realized I was codependent on my partner (and previous ones). I didn’t know how to be happy without them in my life. This had happened too many times to count, and I was sick of hitting rock bottom every single time.
I remembered how happy I was in my relationship, and I wanted that happiness back and was going to do whatever it took to get it.
After several attempts to convince him to reconsider and being denied multiple times, I fell into a deep depression. I blamed myself for everything that happened and went over every single thing that I did wrong to make him leave.
I remember being in such pain that I would constantly cry on the floor wrapped up in my thoughts; nothing else mattered.
One day, as I was in a state of panic and depression, my family and friends were calling and trying to help me get out of this hole that I had gotten myself into. I heard them, but it wasn’t working. No one could help me, and nothing that anyone could say or do could take my pain away. It was up to me.
I didn’t want to die, but I wanted an escape from the pain. From my mind. I wanted someone else’s life. I would look at other people in the grocery store and think about how normal they looked. If only I could have that, to actually feel normal and have a normal day like everyone else was having.
I felt so alone. Even though many people said they understood, at the time, it didn’t feel it. I constantly asked other people if they could relate. This would help.
I took anxiety medicine just so I could sleep for a while and not think about what was going on. But waking up made it even worse. I would wake up and remember that the love of my life had decided that a life without me was a better one.
After being on the ground multiple times, many phone calls to my ex, and much rejection, I was exhausted. I was out of options and I was tired of feeling out of control, like I was on the verge of losing my mind at any second. I had to make a change. I had to survive. And it was up to me only.
When I was constantly searching for help, I looked for books and articles online that could help me understand myself better and why I kept hitting rock bottom after breakups. I found many insightful things, and my friends and family helped me so much with their wisdom.
Below, I want to share the advice my family and friends gave to me, what resonated with my heart and helped me get through this tough time, and how I not only got back to myself but came back even better.
Know that you are worthy.
When someone leaves us, we feel rejected or abandoned, and we believe it’s because we are unworthy. We believe we are not good enough to be loved, because if we were, our ex would have stayed.
You are worthy before you even take your first breath. Other people’s actions have nothing to do with our worthiness. The most important love we can receive is the love from ourselves. When you are feeling rejected, nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself comfort and love.
Take it hour by hour.
My mom always told me to take it hour by hour. I would tell my friend, I’m going to make it till 9am today and that’s all I’m going to focus on. And I made it. Then I said, next, I’ll make it till 10am, and I made it. I always lost count when it got close to lunch, and before I knew it the day was over!
When we start thinking too far ahead into the future it can be very overwhelming. I love to plan and control, so this is a tough one for me. But I know when I start feeling anxious, it’s because I’m trying to control the future. This is a time to focus on the present and trust that if you take it day by day, you will get through this.
Remind yourself that you will always be okay.
For me, the worst parts about heartbreak were the panic attacks and anxiety. I would begin to think about the fact that I wasn’t with my person anymore and then ask a bunch of questions that only made me feel worse. Why did they leave me? I won’t survive if they date someone else. What if I’m not okay without them? Before I knew it, I was down in a spiraling hole that made me physically sick.
I had to ask myself what I really feared. It all boiled down to the same theme: that I wouldn’t be okay; that I would feel extreme pain. I wouldn’t be okay because someone wasn’t there? So that meant my well-being and sense of security was dependent on someone?
If my sense of security was dependent on someone else, that meant I would never truly be secure (no matter who was in my life). I would always have to rely on others for my sense of safety. The reality is I am the only person that can make myself feel secure. I will always be there for myself even when no one else is.
One of the best pieces of advice my mom gave me was to create a solid foundation within myself, as she had done. My stepfather said you have to get to the point that no matter what tragedy comes your way, you know you will be okay. So when my panic would begin to kick in, I would breathe and remind myself that I would be okay no matter what happened.
I had a habit of letting my thoughts take over me, so this took practice. After a little time, I felt a solid foundation within me. I felt resilience and strength that would always remain. I knew that whatever life threw my way, I could handle it.
Believe that good will come from this.
When I would begin to spiral into a hole of overthinking and anxiety over what had happened, I would remind myself that this was happening for a reason. This was very hard to take in, but I kept telling myself this wouldn’t be happening unless something great was going to come out of it.
Thinking back to all of the times that I hit rock bottom, I remembered the good that came out of those situations. My best growth came out of those times. Why would this time be any different? I decided that I would end up with the absolute best, no matter what.
Find an outlet for your pain.
I angry write. I scribble and cry, write in big and small letters, write in gibberish, cry more on the pages and then feel super dramatic when I see teardrops falling on the paper. And if I write really horrific things then sometimes I’ll burn them.
What is your outlet for pain? Running? Boxing? Screaming in a pillow? Punching pillows? Dancing it out? Do whatever your heart desires. Having an outlet for your pain will make you feel so much lighter.
During one of my low points after a breakup, one of my good friends painted my nails for me. It was such a loving act that I didn’t even ask for! Every time I would look down at them, I would feel beautiful and be reminded of how amazing my friend was for doing that.
My other good friend brought me dinner one night. What a blessing! Food is one of the things I neglected during my dark moments. In what areas do you feel you neglect yourself? Could a loved one help you with this from time to time?
Change your thoughts, change your mindset.
Notice when you start to think of your ex, memories, the breakup, etc. How are these thoughts making you feel? Notice when you feel sad or mad, it’s mostly because of a thought you had. How do you change this?
We tend to replay what happened during the breakup or memories of the relationship. Switch your thoughts to something that feels better like a good memory you have with your friends, or visualize a dream coming true every time a negative thought comes up. This will replace the negative feeling with something that brings you joy.
Create new habits.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this and finally I can actually vouch for it: It takes thirty days to create a habit! I began practicing yoga and meditation every day. I listened to podcasts and inspiring videos when I got ready in the morning. (Helpful hint: pre-save podcasts, so you don’t waste time searching in the morning).
I never really believed people when they said exercise makes a difference to your mood, but it actually does! And to my hormones too, bless them. Before you know it, these habits become so easy. It will make you feel in control of your life and you’ll feel amazing.
Gratitude has so many benefits. Gratitude helps me when my head is looping with negative thoughts, when my mind chatter is just too much, and when I’m having a pity party.
I like to write down what I am grateful for every day, no matter how tiny or big. It changes your perspective, it puts you in the present, and it changes your energy! A gratitude journal is also great to have. You’ll start to notice so many things about your day that you can look back and smile on.
This is the best time to learn more about YOU. What do you like? What do you like about yourself? What would you like to improve? What do you like in a partner? What is a deal breaker for you?
How do you act in different situations? What are your thought habits repeating to you? What are some of the activities you do that make you happy right now? What are your dreams? This is your time.
I don’t know about you, but I am a recovering perfectionist. If I haven’t 100% moved on from something, I think I’m not doing enough to get over it. Healing takes time! Give yourself grace because it is the loving thing to do.
Would you keep asking your best friend why she isn’t over her heartbreak yet? No! That would be unloving, she needs grace. Feeling impatient with your progress or beating yourself up? GRACE. Just cried for hours on the couch even though you’ve had two amazing weeks? GRACE. Behaved in a way that you later felt bad about? Those are old habits arising, my friend—GRACE. Even as I write this article, I need to remind myself to have compassion for my healing.
Heartbreaks feel like the worst feeling in the world, but they end up being our biggest opportunities for growth. Heartbreaks make us fall in love with ourselves again after hitting rock bottom.
Instead of wanting to “fast forward” out of this time, take it day by day and remember your heart is expanding, your strength is becoming your foundation, your grace is beautiful, and that you have many wonderful things to look forward to.