Moving from Heartbreak to Happiness: How to Work Through the Pain

Lonely Man

“Pain makes you stronger. Fear makes you braver. Heartbreak makes you wiser.” ~Unknown

There I was, sitting in my lounge room, waiting for my girlfriend to return home.

We had just bought our first house together and had been living there for a week. It was a chaotic time, balancing moving, work, study commitments, and an obscene amount of renovations. However, the heartfelt joy of settling into our own place overshadowed the chaos.

Our new home held the dreams of a future life together. The thought of raising a family there filled my heart to the brim.

It was an exciting time in my life, and I felt I was exactly where I was meant to be. I had the house, the girl, and the ring ready to propose with. Life was good.

When she arrived home, she was visibly upset. Clueless as to why, I comforted her and asked her what was wrong. Then came the heartbreaking words I never wanted to hear: “I can’t do this anymore.”

There was no warning, no hint of anything being wrong with our relationship.

As I sat there, overcome with so many emotions and questions, I tried to comprehend what had just happened. I desperately did everything I could to convince her not to throw away what we had.

Yet, the more I talked to her, the more I began to not recognize her. Her assertiveness and aggression grew, and the girl I thought I knew concluded with “I no longer love you.”

With that, our once inseparable connection dwindled to nonexistence. Devastatingly, I lost all hope when she moved into another relationship shortly after leaving me.

If rock bottom was a destination, the heartbreak of losing the relationship and her moving on to someone else seamlessly had sent me there. Not only was I left mourning the loss of love, but I was living with the fact that someone else had taken my place in her heart.

I had to give up the house, along with my dreams of spending our lives together. Even losing her family after they had embraced me as one of their own cut me more deeply than I could express.

All day, every day, I kept picturing her everywhere—even in my sleep, as I dreamed of her constantly.

What was wrong with me? I asked myself over and over again. I wondered, how could someone say they love you and show so much affection for so long, but within an instant turn into a stranger? The relentless analyzing of our time together seemed to never end.

I could see my family and friends were doing everything they could for me, but I couldn’t connect with them, or myself. I constantly felt my heart was being crushed and I thought I was losing my mind, as I would endure a year’s worth of emotions each day.

However, after countless breakdowns, grieving, crying enough tears to fill the Amazon River, and spiralling into depression, I came to realize that some of the greatest answers in life come from the questions we never ask.

These are the answers I found to help reclaim my life back from heartbreak.

The first answer came through forgiveness. Forgiving your heartbreaker is a personal decision. You don’t have to do it face-to-face, nor do you have to condone them for their actions. I found my forgiveness had to happen continually; “forgive over and over again” became my mantra.

One thing that helped me forgive was empathizing with my ex’s decision to leave me. Although this shattered my heart, I came to accept, forgive, and understand her choice, because she wasn’t happy; and that’s something I can understand, because I too would leave a relationship if I were no longer happy.

In the end, she decided what was best for her path in life, and it was up to me how her decision affected my life.

I could either be bitter and angry because she abandoned me, or I could choose to forgive and see her off with love.

It was by far the hardest thing I’ve done. However, choosing love through forgiveness was an essential step to take on my healing journey.

Another step in the right direction for me was writing down everything I was grateful for every morning and night—simple gifts in everyday life, such as the warm sun on my skin, a fresh breeze, or even a smile from a stranger (it’s amazing what a smile from someone does to you).

Taking the time to recognize all the little blessings each day offered completely changed my outlook.

If you feel you are struggling to find gratitude in your life, place your hand over your heart. Can you feel its beat? That alone is the most powerful gift you can be grateful for.

Practicing these lessons has allowed my personal development to grow further than I thought possible.

I still have moments where I break down, cry, and feel as though I’ve been swallowed in a sea of sadness, anxiety, and stress. Nevertheless, I have learned to be watchful when these moments start to overwhelm me. I begin to focus on my breath and mindfully engage with the present moment by acknowledging my senses and focusing on what I can see, hear, and feel.

Once I have bought myself to the present, I recognize and accept my thoughts and feelings with complete self-love. I do not judge or discourage myself for having them. Instead, I embrace and grow through each thought or feeling while it is with me, knowing it shall eventually pass.

Everything passes eventually. The present is all we truly have, and the only permanency in life is impermanence.

When you’re dealing with heartbreak, happiness can feel another world away. However, continue to read, write, create, surround yourself with loved ones, seek professional help, and allow yourself to do the things you enjoy. These are the steps that will help you get through this.

Furthermore, be brave and open up to new ventures. Engaging with people on deeper levels, daily meditation, writing, and finding yoga were some of the greatest gifts my heartbreak welcomed into my life.

So say yes to happiness, to love, to a positive mindset, and continually affirm that you have the strength to handle whatever comes your way. Acknowledging that things are constantly getting better will be a huge turning point in your healing.

While the pain may sit with you as you adjust to this new phase in life, remember, you are growing in these times, and every experience in life offers you a gift. Even heartbreak.

A bad chapter in your story doesn’t mean it’s the end, either. It’s just part of your journey. And everyone’s journey is different, so don’t feel you must rush through your grieving and heal as fast as possible; instead, welcome in all that comes with it. You may be hurt, but you are reading this and taking the steps to gain strength so you can move forward in life.

After all, moving forward is all we can do. How would you do driving a car constantly looking in the rear-view mirror? Don’t allow your past to cause a crash in your present. Continue to look forward and see the world in each moment as it continually comes toward you.

When you are ready, you will open your heart and love again. Even though you may feel your heartbreaker took that love away, they didn’t! They simply helped bring it out of you by reflecting the love you feel eternally within yourself. The beauty of this is that you can feel that love all the time through self-love. No one has the power to take that away.

The more love you give yourself and others, the more you’ll receive in return.

Embrace this time and let your life become full of beauty and love as you move onward from heartbreak to happiness.

Lonely man image via Shutterstock

About Tom Baxter

Tom is a life adventurer, who loves to explore and immerse himself within the world through travel, meditation, and yoga. Creative outlets such as writing and playing music help fuel his passion to help others on their journey of personal development.

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