“You can be shattered and then you can put yourself back together piece by piece. But what can happen over time is this: You wake up one day and realize that yo have put yourself back together completely differently. That you are whole, finally, and strong – but you are now a different shape, a different size. This sort of change – the change that occurs when you sit inside your own pain – it’s revolutionary. The you let yourself die, there is suddenly one day: new life. You are different. New. And no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot fit into your old life anymore.” Glennon Doyle
One of the hardest things for any one of us to go through is to have our hearts broken. It is a season in life that no one wants to face and yet at some point that season will come.
Heart break comes in a million different forms. Regardless of the why – a broken heart can rip you open from the inside out leaving you feeling raw and desperately alone.
In truth – it is hard to imagine ever feeling whole again when someone or something has broken your heart. The possibility of putting the shattered pieces of your life back together again can feel out of reach. Panic sets in and a cold raw fear grips you from the inside out. Quite honestly, it can feel as if you cannot breathe.
I have talked to and met with countless people over the years who are suffering from a broken heart. Death, divorce, the end of a relationship, a health crisis and addiction are just a few of the painful things that have led to shattered lives and broken hearts. Sadly, the thing I hear most often is that people believe they will never heal or feel happy again.
A few weeks ago a woman named Kate called me and desperately needed to talk. Kate’s boyfriend had broken up with her after a 3 year relationship. She had no warning and while things were not perfect, she believed he was the one.
Kate felt rejected and could not let him go. Instead of facing the pain she clung to it and believed she could change his mind. In part – Kate was holding on to an idea of what should be versus what was.
But – this is invariably a dangerous path to walk. An inability to face reality robs people of the ability to see clearly and sadly, it prevents people from healing and moving on. I have seen far too many people stay in something far longer than they should or worse yet, sacrifice who they are and settle for less than what they want and deserve in life.
So – what can we do when suffering from a broken heart? How can we heal and put ourselves back together again? Piece by piece and one day at a time. It is not easy and it will be hard but it is possible. And, while you might be different, the changes within you may lead you to a happier and better life. Here are a few things to keep in mind and to be aware of:
Get out of your own way.
When someone is truly stuck in life or cannot let go I challenge them to look at what the barriers are. Sadly, most people cannot get out of their own way. It is important to remember that YOU are the only person that can choose to change, heal and to let go. No one can do that for you.
You are not your thoughts.
Take a few minutes each day and pay attention to the hundreds of thoughts that are drifting in and out of your head. It is amazing how many of our thoughts are negative. Negativity will take control and steal your joy if you allow it. And – especially when you are already in pain. You are NOT your thoughts. You are the master of your own brain and can change the way you think. Pay attention to the negative self-talk and start to shift your thoughts from negative to positive. A positive mind will create a much better environment for healing and change.
The only person you can control is YOU.
Unfortunately, human beings waste far too much energy trying to control everyone and everything around them. It is critical that you remember that you cannot control most of what happens in and around your life. Similarly, you cannot control what another person does or does not do. Focus on those things that you can control and put your time and energy into yourself. It is when you can devote your energy to yourself and what is going to help you to become the person you want to be that you will find change and happiness.
Fear will steal your dreams.
Fear will paralyze you and stand in the way of making the choices that can help you to become stronger and heal. People are often afraid of change, trying new things and fear letting go. Feeling afraid can stand in the way of healing if you allow it to. However, fear can also motivate you and help to propel you towards change and opening your world to new and amazing opportunities. Face your fears instead of running from them and remember – most fears are irrational and a waste of energy.
Stop obsessing over the past.
If you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror and focusing on what is behind you it will be difficult to stay on track and get to where you want to go. We all have potholes that we are vulnerable to falling into and it is much harder to avoid the potholes if we are constantly living in the past. We spend far too much time obsessing about the past and our regrets. If you are constantly trying to relive something that has happened or trying to change it, you are missing out. In order to build something new you must first accept the end of something. Stop living in the past and worrying about what could have been and start focusing on what could be. It might be something amazing.
Acceptance is key.
It is easy to live within the walls of false illusions and to convince ourselves that we are happy even though we are not. It is important that you face the pain and accept what has happened if you want to heal and move on. Ignoring it or refusing to accept it will keep you stuck. Stop focusing on the what if and instead focus on what is in front of you right now.
Take a step back.
Perspective is everything. But – if you are too close to something or someone it can be challenging to have clarity. Sometimes you need to take a step back and create distance. It is hard but it can make the difference in getting stronger and clearing your head. It is when you can clear your mind and shift your perspective that you can then find the strength to do what you need to do to heal and move on.
Nurture your self and fall in love with YOU.
Loss and a broken heart of any kind can lead to feelings of rejection and low self-worth. The hardest part of healing and letting go can depend on believing that you are strong enough to survive and find happiness again. It is hard for others to believe in you if you cannot believe in yourself. Healing and growth begin with you. Take care of yourself and surround yourself with positive people and do things that make you happy. And – if you need to change something in your own life find a way to do it. You cannot be happy with anyone else if you are not first happy within yourself.
Set goals and climb that mountain one step at a time.
Change is hard and healing from a broken heart can put people into a rut fast. Life is full of opportunities and it is when we can identify things that will help us to change and grow that we can set goals and the healing can begin. If you are stuck I would encourage you to set realistic goals and to start working on those things that will bring you happiness in the future. Expand your horizons and take a chance. Try something new and while it might feel easier to just stay in bed, don’t do it. Healing begins with action and there is an entire world out there waiting just for you. It may feel hard and like you cannot make the climb but it begins with one step at a time. You can do it.
Change is hard and life is hard. There will be days when pain is hard to avoid and especially when you are struggling with a broken heart. Sadly, far too many people stay stuck in places they no longer want to be or that will continue to cause them pain. You deserve more than that. You are strong enough to put yourself back together again one piece at a time and yes you might be completely different when you do. But – change is good and emerging as a different person can be a beautiful thing. Especially, if it connects you to the amazing person you have always wanted to be.
Run toward the pain and face it head on. Grieve. Cry. Allow yourself to feel all that you need to feel and then start the healing of your broken heart and put it back together one piece at a time. Your future happiness is waiting for you.
In Peace and With Love,