You only have to type into the Google Search bar “Overcoming Heartbreak” to produce millions of results online with different ideas and suggestions for how to mend a broken heart, from online articles to songs, to books, audiobooks, courses, programs, YouTube videos, podcasts and more…the main theme in a lot of these publications? That pretty much everyone experiences heartbreak at some point in their lives!
Where Do I Start?
So you may be wondering, where do I start with overcoming a feeling that is all-consuming, suffocating, and at times feels like I may never recover?
The answer lies in understanding the difference between Emotions and Feelings (more on this below), and also being aware that each individual will experience their version of heartbreak differently to the next due to a lot of different factors like beliefs, standards, expectations and attitudes (as well as the circumstances of the heartbreak).
What is the difference between Emotions and Feelings?
Emotions are part of the human condition – they are an automatic response to a stimulus (otherwise known as an external event) – in this case a breakup / other event causing heartbreak.
We then give the emotion meaning (the thought we attach to the emotion) which creates the Feeling.
Feelings are actually a choice – we choose how we feel by the meaning we give our emotions.
But it doesn’t end there…if we let our feelings linger this becomes our experience, and then given enough time, becomes our mood, and staying in the mood often enough or for long enough, this becomes our temperament.
Have you ever heard someone referred to as bitter? This has become their temperament because of holding onto that emotional event that happened and making it mean something, choosing a feeling of bitterness and holding onto it.
You Have To Feel It To Heal It
Feeling emotions of pain, loss, hurt and anger are all common automatic responses to breakups – allowing ourselves the space to let the dust settle after this emotional upset is very important in the healing process.
However, it is also important not to stay there long-term…staying stuck in emotional “dust” may end up taking you down the road to a changed temperament and altered perception of the world as you know it…
What Comes Next?
When you are in the early stages of heartbreak it’s important to reach out for support – whether that is friends, family, or professional help (counselling or coaching) if you feel you need it, allow yourself the space to feel it and process it.
Take some time for reflection and gratitude.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself in the reflection process:
- What did you learn about yourself through that experience?
- What hidden gifts were there?
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- If given the chance, what would you do differently in the future?
- What are you grateful for?
Reflection and gratitude are powerful – they allow you to shift your emotional state from the negative end of the spectrum back to the positive one, and to be able to move forward without the emotional baggage of a past heartbreak to impact on your future.
Reclaiming Your Personal Power
To reclaim your personal power is to understand that your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are yours and yours only. Taking responsibility for your choices after heartbreak is also super important. And my all-time favourite essential ingredient in reclaiming your personal power – forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about the other person or letting them off the hook, forgiveness is for you. Holding on to anger and hurt feelings can weigh you down and have a negative impact on your physical health, your overall happiness, and the quality of your relationships. Forgive your imperfect self and begin to embrace yourself for who you are – warts and all!
Onwards and Upwards
Don’t allow your heartbreak or your healing process turn you into a recluse. Get out and about – meet with friends, take up a new hobby, go for a run – whatever you do, find the moments of joy and appreciate them. Let go of the old and embrace the new. Nurture your mind, body and soul and remember that today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.
If you are struggling and need help now, please use this online registry to find your closest mental health hotline (worldwide): http://www.cocoonais.com/mental-health-hotlines-worldwide/