How to Heal a Broken Heart: Turning Pain Into Power

how to heal a broken heart

The toughest part of letting go is realising that the other person already did. – Unknown

Going through a breakup is tough. Nobody said it would be easy. When you pour your heart into a relationship, giving your warmth and love, thinking about the bright future together, picturing a perfect wedding, lovely kids and happily ever after and then… it all blows up in seconds – it’s hard to comprehend. And the only thing that you are left with is your shattered heart all around you and a deep sense of frightening uncertainty. And you have no idea what the future holds in its pockets for you. And you think that your heart will never be mended or capable of opening up, trusting and loving again.

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It’s especially hard when you are the one who really wanted this relationship to last and evolve and you never even thought about being with someone else… And then what? Single again and open for new chasing games? It’s challenging to snap your fingers and just like that to stop loving that person. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

It takes some time to ease and release pain. It takes courage to stand all alone and then to go out there and see that life has something better for you in store.

How to Heal a Broken Heart

#1. Pain is inevitable. Face it.

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If I knew any shortcuts to avoid the pain, trust me, I would have shared those. I was looking for shortcuts myself. I didn’t want to feel pain. I wanted to numb it, I wanted to shut it up… There is no way to skip around that messy forest, only through.

It is the most challenging thing: to stand still and to actually let emotions flow and experience them to the highest level. Naturally, we try to avoid pain, we try to numb it down by decreasing the volume of pain like you do when a song you don’t like blasts on the radio… but it doesn’t matter how many coats of paint we put on a crack – it’s still there.

When I was going through a breakup I gave myself some time to actually face my feelings after I tried to escape them… I gathered all the things that reminded me of Him, all the presents, and all those little things and I sat there contemplating: the things and time spent together. I cried a lot, I am not going to deny that. I laughed too. And I found it very therapeutic – as the tears were running down naturally the pain was less sharp than before.

Give yourself time, as much as you need. Don’t be afraid to face it all, you can go through it, trust me. It’s not going to be easy, but the only way out is to go through. 

Before I moved into a better place emotionally I went through the 5 stages of grieving that Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced.

And the thought that first you have to go through hell in order to get yourself to a better place emotionally, brought me a sense of peace as I knew that it’s not going to last forever. Everything gets better with time.

#2. Friends Versus Friendly

There is a difference between staying friends and be friendly and nice to each other after the break up especially if you have mutual friends and there is little chance to avoid each other when you go and socialise. It is up to you which route you choose.

I know examples of people who have broken up but still stayed in touch because they were genuinely interested in each other as individuals, but the relationship they had together simply would not give them what they aspired to. And it’s fine.

If you don’t have mutual friends and nothing really links you two together (like a workplace, mutual gym, coffee shop etc.) then again, it’s up to you to decide whether you want that person to be in your life or not.

#3. Massive Cleanse: Mind, Body, Home

Gather together everything that has even the tiniest hint that reminds you of the time spent with your ex. Give it all to charity or chuck it away from your house, from your mind, from your life. Everything that triggers your memories to pop up. Throw everything away that reminds you of your old life, you have a new, a better one to run now and there is no need for keeping all that dusty clutter.

I was hesitant about that… After all, there are so many things we hang on to postcards, presents, photos of travels and discoveries the world together…  especially if you are as sentimental as me who still keeps some of her workbooks from elementary school (no judgements, please). But I did it… I gathered that all together and just let it go. Because there was that sense in me that there was no use in that stuff anyway and that person was never coming back into my life. So there was no need to keep anything that would have reminded me of him anchoring memories from the bottom of my broken heart (back then).

There is such a temptation to go and stuff your face with junk food. To eat buckets of ice cream and demolish pizza, especially when we feel the need to fill the void inside. I was an emotional eater. That’s why the decision to eat healthy, exercise and move more didn’t come to me naturally knocking on my door.

I had to force myself to really make better choices in terms of healthy food and exercising. But when I switched into a new routine, I actually liked it. The more you move – the better and higher your level of Endorphins is, which naturally improves your mood and gives you a self-esteem boost.

Take care of yourself. No one will do it better than you. Clean your mind, body and home paving the way for new positive things that will follow once you leave old things in the past.

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#4. Quality Time With Yourself

When we are in a relationship we dissolve in each other and forget what it’s like to be YOURSELF. It’s a good idea to go for a holiday someplace nice. Plan a holiday with a friend and go away to refresh the surroundings and then come back with new perspectives.

When we have a break up with our “second half”, we don’t feel whole, we feel broken. But the liberating idea is that we don’t need anyone to feel whole or happy. It’s our job and it’s up to us to be whole again and responsible for our own happiness. We need to take that responsibility into our own hands – this way we will not be so attached to anyone. The more we are attached to somebody or something, the more pain in brings when we lose them for any reason. And it’s optional how painful it should be.

If you think about changing your style starting from hair and finishing with a new wardrobe, new attitude and new thoughts – then go for it. It is always a good idea to experiment new things opening your heart and mind to new suggestions that life is always rich with. Take up a new hobby or two. Do something nice for yourself, there are no limitations. Let yourself experience new things and be happy.

Quality time with yourself gives you an understanding of how to take better care of yourself. This is the time when you need to surround yourself with as many positive people and experiences as possible. Show yourself love and attention you deserve.

#5. Turning Pain Into Power

turn your pain into wisdom

Like any emotion, pain has energy. Like any energy, it can be transformed into any form you want and you can turn it into something better that would work for your own good. We can always choose to see things differently if we take a position of an observant who would detach himself emotionally from the experience and see the whole situation for WHAT IT REALLY IS.

#6. It’s a priceless life experience.

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No matter how painful or pleasant it is: it is a life experience that makes you stronger.

Think about all the life lessons you’ve taken out of that relationship. What did you learn? Simple facts with no emotional colouring to them. The more we go through life, the more we turn our wounds into a source of wisdom and power – the stronger and more resistant we become to life challenges. All these life lessons played a big role in your evolutionary development.

You are capable of loving again. You are capable of opening up your heart and love again. But first, you need to learn to love and appreciate yourself for all the strength and courage your heart possesses and for all the kindness your soul is filled with.

There is a reason for you to be here. You learn and teach. You live and go through life lessons. And this world is so much better with your loving heart beating…

Photo from vk.com

Lesya Li

Lesya Li

Founder, Head of Content at HavingTime
Lesya Li is a founder of HavingTime – a digitally native story magazine for people that need to share inspiration and be inspired.
Lesya Li
Lesya Li