Menu

Healing from Heartache: How to Ease the Pain

Woman in a hand

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” ~Max Ehrmann 

If you looked at your broken heart and allowed for tenderness, you would feel better. Maybe not completely better, but there would be a softening. Compassion for yourself is soothing. When our hearts are aching, we need all the soothing we can get.

If you looked at your broken heart from the perspective of the loving mother within you, you would see that the only thing you need right now is gentle care. You need to wrap your arms around yourself and let everything be exactly as it is. When we fight what is, the pain only grows stronger.

When people who seek growth go through heartbreak, we want to fight through it when we just need to let it all go. We need to sob, we need to hold ourselves, and we need to tell ourselves we’re okay. That’s what it means to show up for yourself when you really need it. That’s self-love.

I struggled hard in my last breakup. I reopened the deep wound and falsity that I was worthless without his love.

I am someone who teaches self-love. None of us are immune to our entire realities being transformed with the flip of a switch.

I fell into a deep depression. I was so far away from feeling my own love that my system felt like it was shutting down. And it was. I wasn’t eating, barely sleeping, and I relived everything in my head. Nothing in my life felt good. It was horrible.

You can’t solve the pain of your heartbreak with your mind. The mind wants everything to feel better, and it will do everything it can to figure out a solution that makes the pain end fast. That’s its job. Unfortunately for us, it will do so at the expense of what’s best for us.

You’re going through pain for a reason. We learn our greatest lessons through pain. Do yourself a favor and feel it and be with it, and give yourself compassion to help ease it up until you get through.

Because if you don’t, you’re going to run from it. You’re going to make some decisions that aren’t in alignment with who you are really here to be. You might avoid the pain by jumping back into a relationship, or with food, alcohol, or drugs. And then at some point in the future, this will happen all over again. Because you haven’t learned your lesson. You haven’t truly healed.

This is the biggest thing we forget when we’re in pain:

It’s going to get better if we’re easy on ourselves.

It’s so simple, but it’s the thing I kept forgetting over and over again. I would default to my mind, finding myself analyzing the past or mourning the future. There was some unconscious belief that all my thinking was doing something, benefitting me in someway. Instead, it was perpetuating my suffering.

Eventually I would exhaust myself to depletion. I would sob and think and sob and hope for the pain to go away, and the pain only got worse and worse until it felt inescapable and overwhelming. And from this exhausted and overwhelmed place, something within me rose up. I began to do what I call “mothering myself.”

I told myself, “It’s okay. I’m here. It’s going to be okay. Everything is okay. Just relax. Just lie here and rest. Don’t worry about anything. It’s all okay.” I cradled myself in my own arms. I gave myself exactly what I needed: love.

I could give you a list of additional things to do, acts of self-care to lift you out of your broken spirits, but the truth is that when you’re in the depths of despair, this is the only thing you have to focus on to life yourself up.

When you “mother yourself” enough by being kind and compassionate toward yourself, things begin to get better. It’s really how it happens.

You are allowing it to be okay. You are giving yourself love. And it starts to be okay. Your judgment is gone. Your pain eases, even if just a little. And when you’re in a ton of pain, just a little ease makes all the difference.

From that place you will start to give yourself things you need. You’ll begin to nourish your body more because you will be feeling just slightly better.

You’ll keep telling yourself it’s okay, and you’ll find yourself doing some gentle yoga.

You’ll keep on telling yourself everything is okay, and you’ll be curled up in bed with a good friend, laughing at a funny movie.

The natural process of healing happens when we just keep giving ourselves love.

Once you walk through the most intense part of this painful process, you will have a beautiful opportunity to get to know an amazing soul: you. You will not walk out the other side the same person. I know that’s scary, but trust me, you will like who you are so much more.

I am six months out of a devastating breakup, and I’m taking the time to get to know myself. I’m not the person I was before or during the breakup. I have grieved deeply, gotten myself utterly lost, found some way to give myself compassion through it all, and now I am enjoying getting to know this new me that is emerging. And I love her so much already.

When we’re heartbroken we don’t need our minds to tell us stories to make us feel better. We only need our hearts to open and to show ourselves compassion.

Any time you find yourself in despair, in depression, in immense pain, look within. Are you living in your head or your heart?

When you feel so deeply that the pain is overwhelming and you can see no clear way out, remember this. Write this down. Post it by your bed. Pull your chin up, force your eyes open, and read these words:

It’s okay. I’m here. It’s going to be okay. Everything is okay. Just relax. Just lie here and rest. Don’t worry about anything. It’s all okay. 

Everything always gets better. That is the truth. You are a shining soul deep within a body that is here to do great things. You are here to experience shimmering love, heart-aching laughter, and so much joy.

So it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself. That means you don’t get to bully yourself when you’re in pain. You don’t get to judge yourself for where you’re at. It’s your responsibility to show up for yourself in these moments when you need yourself the most.

And right now, you’re in pain. And that’s okay. Because it will get better if you’re just easy on yourself.

About Michelle D'Avella

Michelle D’Avella is a Breathwork teacher and mentor, giving people lifelong tools to free themselves of limitations and create lives with more peace and purpose. Download her FREE guide to heal your heart and follow her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • Aidin

    I am going through the same thing you have described. The pain, the agony and desperation for the pain to goes away. It is a battle that we usually are not prepared for. Funny is, if our close friends are in a situation such as this, we became compassionate and we fill ourselves with empathy but not for ourselves!

    I jumped in a relationship before truly healing from the last and long distance, the pressure and the scars from the past lead this one to an end as well. it was not a long term but felt deep and it is hard to prove the judgmental inner voice that it is what it is, even though if it looks short, it was deep.

    The fear of sleeping because I will dream of her, the fear of future, fear of my past and fear of not being enough is haunting and every morning you wake up with a truck load of emotions, anger, pity, sorrow and… but today I looked at myself in the mirror and cried and I told myself that it is going be okay, that I am sorry that you have to go through this and I feel your pain and then I hugged myself and cried a bit more.

    I love every single article that you are posting here and I believe you are giving people such as myself the greatest gift that we can get at these rough times, “Hope”.

    Thank you again for such a great article.

  • sian e lewis

    wish I’d read this before I used to indulge in retail therapy which is no therapy at all just created more misery and left me wondering why did I ever think t would work. Charity shops benefitted some consolation. .

  • Leadbellie

    Loved this post. Very powerful. It has made a difference in my suffering.

  • nana

    I wish I wasn’t such an analytical person so I could get through this more easily.
    I keep trying to convince myself that everything’s gonna be fine, and that i’ll get through it, but after 7 years I’m starting to convince myself I’m incapable of loving again…
    The only times the pain seems to ease slightly is when I overwhelm myself with work, when I’m drowning and being productive so I can feel I’m “worth something” but when the depression hits back and I’m incapable to be productive, the pain hits back again. Any moment that I don’t keep my brain busy, I go back to that, just keep on revisiting the same thoughts that put me down and leave me in a crippling state where I lack any will to live and where nothing seems to be worth getting out of bed for anymore.
    I’ve been reading about self-compassion for some years now. I wish it was easier to actual put this in practice and cut shut the intrusive self-destructive thoughts. But I’ll keep trying. That’s all I have to this point

  • Nana, please seek professional help if you find yourself suicidal.

    In response to what you’re going through, I want you to know that I am also a very analytical person and this is always how I end up out of depression. However, it sounds like you’re not actually mothering yourself. There is a softness, a compassion, a giving in to the state you’re in that comes with mothering. You soothe yourself. You let it all be ok. It’s not something that comes from the mind, it comes from the heart.

    If you haven’t tried Breathwork yet I highly recommend it as a practice to help you open your heart and get out of your head so you can more deeply begin to experience what I’m speaking about.

  • Thank you. So glad to hear that.

  • Anything reaching outside of ourselves to fill up is not therapeutic. At least you know now. 🙂

  • So beautiful! I am so happy to hear you are giving yourself the love you so deeply deserve. Thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing this. <3

  • Robert Hale

    Thank you.

  • Beautiful and true… I went through a devastating loss, one I thought I would not get through… I did though, however; some of that deep pain is still with me, at least I am not in that deep sadness that I couldn’t see past… I am loving myself through it… I hope… I really hope one day I will be okay and I will understand what I had to learn from this loss… You are right though, I will be okay… maybe not completely but one day I will be able to smile when I think of him… at least I hope…

  • Ramona Flowers

    According to Consumer Health Digest, heart aches can really affect us not just mentally and emotionally but also physically. My long time boyfriend just broke up with me and it is crushing me. I can actually feel physical pain in my heart.. I do hope that your tips will work out. I might not be able to do everything on this list all at once but at least i might just take baby steps

  • Caitlin

    Thank you so much for writing this article. My aspie boyfriend broke up with me because to him, we weren’t compatible and he wasn’t feeling it anymore. It really hurt me as he had been extremely distant in my life within the past month and never made time for me. I thought I needed him when really- he was a negative influence in my life. If someone’s inconsistent with their feelings I’m not the problem, he is. He didn’t understand love, he didn’t understand affection, and was uncomfortable with intimacy. He never made time for me and was terrible at answering my calls and messages. I am young, seventeen, and he, sixteen. I’ve been through a lot in my life and he just has a lot of growing up to do. He doesn’t know who he is as a person at all but that’s not my problem. I deserve to love and be loved in return, not to be mistreated and ignored. Who knows what the future holds for me? Perhaps things will be different between us when I’m older but for now I’ll take your advice and continue doing what I love and striving to achieve my life goals. Thank you- I love this site!

  • Welcome. 🙂

  • Hi Launna! You can heal completely. Begin by believing it. Know in your heart it is possible. If you’d like more information on how to release the pain please feel free to contact me directly.

  • Hi Ramona. You’re right. I’ve read a variety of studies that show the heart weakens when we’re in emotional pain like heartbreaks. Start where you can and show compassion for yourself. I have a lot of Heartbreak Healing resources over on my site if you need additional support. xo

  • You’re welcome, Caitlin. Keep focusing on yourself and release him. Give yourself the love you deserve. xo

  • Ed

    I seem to be the guy your talking about, nearly word for word. I lost all emotion recently not just for my girlfriend, and I haven’t given her what she deserved so much. Now that she’s tried moving on, because were best friend i wanted her to tell me what she did with the guy etc. And emotions came back, but not good ones, just pain, sadness, depression and an urge to run away and cry and puke, as my heart and stomach were ripping apart. Losing someone like my best-friend/girlfriend may have been my biggest mistake of my life, so far. But I know she deserves someone who loves her and can show her again a better life. She described what she liked in the guy and how fun it was, i used to do those things, but one day i became emotionless and depressed, I barely have the strength to look after myself, let alone give all the love in the world this person deserved. I feel weak, and horrible, sad, depressed and just dying inside. The reason why i think I’ve become emotionless is 1 of 2 or both things, I’ve fallen into depression due to my past, or i started just forgetting my feelings and forgetting all emotion just shutting everything off when i thought about my past, and I may have associated that with my girlfriend, as that when it seems to have started, or likely both. Please, if the guy is in deep pain, don’t just tell him to fuck off more or less. If he’s your friend, don’t forget him, help him if the problem isn’t you, but something outside his control, even if you don’t date him. I’m sad beyond what i can describe that my GF could move on, but It’s understandable as i Haven’t given her happiness in a long time and she must of been craving for what she deserved, I’m happy for her.

  • Ed

    I lost all emotion recently not just for my girlfriend but for everything, and I haven’t given her what she deserved so much. Now that she’s tried moving on, because were
    best friend i wanted her to tell me what she did with the guy etc. And
    emotions came back, but not good ones, just pain, sadness, depression
    and an urge to run away and cry and puke, as my heart and stomach were
    ripping apart. Losing someone like my best-friend/girlfriend may have
    been my biggest mistake of my life, so far. But I know she deserves
    someone who loves her and can show her again a better life. She
    described what she liked in the guy and how fun it was, i used to do
    those things, but one day i became emotionless and depressed, I barely
    have the strength to look after myself, let alone give all the love in
    the world this person deserved. I feel weak, and horrible, sad,
    depressed and just dying inside. The reason why i think I’ve become
    emotionless is 1 of 2 or both things, I’ve fallen into depression due to
    my past, or i started just forgetting my feelings and forgetting all
    emotion just shutting everything off when i thought about my past, and I
    may have associated that with my girlfriend, as that when it seems to
    have started, or likely both. I’m sad beyond what i can describe
    that my GF could move on, but It’s understandable as i Haven’t given
    her happiness in a long time and she must of been craving for what she
    deserved, I’m happy for her, I wish i could change the outcome, and i hope i may be able to one day, but that’s selfish of me right now.

  • Frankie

    I adore my mom and am blaming myself that things recently went non existent between us. Not sure how to cope. I gave my all to my family, helped with the bills, the housing, their meds and the cooking. Still there has been complaining from them and a whole bunch of nonsense. Many adult children would not have done half of what I have for them. Even despite chronic respiratory health problems I have been having all year. I am torn, alone and at a complete loss with no one to turn to. And I swear if someone else tells me that ‘God understands’ I will punch the wall. For he is nothing but a giant tester. Thanks for this, makes a good read.

  • Rebeca

    I think for some reason God allowed me to find your post, to hear what I needed, to read to myself those words, as I cry them with my eyes & soul.
    You have given me light, now I must pursue it with my heart.

  • LovenoLimit

    I believe it. I can literally feel my heart aching. It’s not a easy feeling. 🙁

  • LovenoLimit

    “When we’re heartbroken we don’t need our minds to tell us stories to make us feel better. We only need our hearts to open and to show ourselves compassion.”

    My mind doesn’t tell me stories to make me feel better, it convinces me of the worst…I’m my own worst enemy and I’m guilty of living in my head and picking at my wounds

  • Supong

    Thank you so much D’Avilla, I was heartbroken since the last 4 months but after reading your post almost 25 percent of my pain has eased.

  • Mikael Bülow

    Wow, I have to say, you are really a beautiful soul Michelle! I am about a month into a break-up from marriage and the pain is intense. I have read several of your posts, and your words touched me and helped ease my pain and find tools to work through it. Thank you so much! Love Mikael

  • Lislorien

    Oh my gosh it really does hurt. I hope you are feeling a little bit better now. x

  • Sam Guchu Ngugi

    It’s it okay to think that I will find love again?

  • Ramona Flowers

    According to Consumer Health Digest, heart aches can really affect us
    not just mentally and emotionally but also physically. My long time
    boyfriend just broke up with me and it is crushing me. I can actually
    feel physical pain in my heart.. I do hope that your tips will work out.
    I might not be able to do everything on this list all at once but at
    least i might just take baby steps