The Truth About Heartbreak
She said, "My heart is broken,
I feel like I've just died."
Be he said, "You're mistaken,
Pain's proof that we're alive."
Okay, friends. This post is for anyone who went through a breakup or if you know someone who has gone through a breakup and could use a good word. If you are here because you received this post from someone, you have a wonderful friend who cares about you and wants you to know that you are not alone!
Now. I did recently go through a breakup, and by no means has it been a perfect process for me. I think we all have a way of coping– whether it's healthy or not– and I am not here to be like, "Hey! I've perfected this, so you should listen to me!" In no way.
My hope is that this post will more feel like talking to a friend who cares about you and that my sharing will give you some ideas and a fresh perspective to help you in your healing process.
Whether you have broken up with your person or they broke up with you, it's HARD. I have experienced both, and I have to say that personally, being the one to break up with him was much harder.
For my dear ones who broke up with him/her:
Hey, it's gonna be okay. You did what you needed to do. And there is a good future ahead for both of you.
Being the one to call an end to the relationship can be more difficult (in my opinion) partly because it seems that the responsibility for the pain of the breakup is entirely in your hands.
You might feel like the bad person. You might feel like there's something wrong with you for not being able to feel the way you may have felt in the beginning.
It's also hard because you have to have so much courage to NOT turn back. Oh, sometimes it can require a lot of courage, especially when at the time you still love the person and were hoping it would work out.
If that's you, I want to reassure you that you made the right decision and that it will all be okay.
As awesome as you are, one day he will get over you and heal and move on (and if you're a guy, she will get over you).
They may be crying right now, but you have not ruined their life. I assure you.
Be confident in your decision to end something that was no longer the best for you or the other person. Knowing that it's not the right fit and being true to yourself and your partner is the best way you can love your former boyfriend or girlfriend right now. Being true to them. Always.
Even when it hurts.
One thing I never want you to think is that you are not worthy of the same level of grief (if not even more) than the other person. Give yourself the right to feel the pain of loss. It's okay. You have a great wound on your heart. You, too, have lost a friend, someone who you value.
Being the causer of pain was the greatest identity that I had when I broke up with my first relationship. If you are feeling like you are the 'bad guy,' please don't. If anything, you took the brunt of the challenge and did the hardest part, which was to be honest when it was hardest. You did the right thing. Have peace in this.
And know that it will get better.
For my friend who got broken up with:
For those of you who were broken up with, the journey is similar.
Maybe there is more anger. More feelings of hurt. Maybe you feel embarrassment for ever believing in the relationship.
Perhaps you feel like you are not good enough. Like you need to question your sense of self worth when in reality you are just as awesome now as you were even before you started the relationship.
Let me just say.
There is no part of him coming into your life that made you more awesome. And there is no part of him stepping out of your life that makes you less awesome. You have always been immeasurably valuable, lovable, and unrepeatable– before and after. Read that again.
You are brilliant, lovely, beautiful, and whole. You're funny, you're smart, and let's just say that maybe it wasn't because you were not enough that he left, but maybe you were just sooo enough that he couldn't handle how enough you were. Ya know what I'm sayin'?
So now that that's all clear, here are some suggestions for how to get through this pivotal time in your life.
One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself is to get closure. What is closure? It's basically getting all your questions answered so that you can form a narrative in your mind about what the heck happened and why it has to be this way.
It means asking the hard questions.
I recommend taking some time to reflect on all the questions in your heart. Write them down. And find a good time for both of you so that you can have this conversation and have aaaaaaallll your questions answered. Even the stupid ones.
Remember that you have a window of time now to be able to ask everything without reserve.
If you hold onto things because you are too worried it's a stupid question, you may not be able to ask it down the road when things have really moved along, which is not helpful in the healing process.
If the person you were with never gave you closure, sometimes you need to give that closure to yourself. Whether it's seeing a therapist or talking to a trusted friend, you need to come to a conclusion of why you think it ended and why it could never work out.
Talk it out, make sense of the ending.
It can give you that grounding that you need to be able to move forward in this very uncertain time.
You can't get over someone if you're still talking to them. At least, it would make it significantly more difficult. I know some people who try to stay friends, but even then, you need a period of time when you're just not in touch. Maybe that's a few months, maybe it's less... or more. Only you know what you need.
So after you get closure, decide to set some boundaries.
Personally, I decided to stop all communication altogether. I just knew it would be healthier for me, healthier for everyone involved. We decided not to remain "just friends," knowing that would only make things more confusing for both of us.
Sometimes you have to take that healthy step for yourself. The space is so necessary for your healing. Be strong and set the boundaries you need.
Heads up: There will times when you will miss them and be tempted to reach out and break your own boundaries. In these cases, it's good to have a friend or two who you can designate to call whenever you feel this way, just to get the emotions off of your chest.
Which brings me to my next tip...
Find Your Handful
Your handful is what I like to call your handful of people you can trust and be yourself completely around. It's those people you can call up and share all the things you're feeling without being judged. It's those people you can just throw yourself on their bed and cry to.
I say it's good to have a handful of people because breakups can be a lot, and it's nice to disperse your support if possible to avoid letting your whole rollercoaster ride fall onto one person. This is why I highly recommend finding a therapist if you do need that extra support. It can be super helpful to have someone who's trained to help you process things.
But another reason to have your handful is that each friend has a new perspective that they can shed on what you're going through. When we are grieving, it can be a very narrow minded experience of you repeating to yourself that your life is over now.
But your handful can remind you how wonderful you are and how you are still young, beautiful, and talented, and that you have your whole life ahead of you!
Even if it's just two or three people you can count on, having your handful is invaluable in the healing process.
If you don't have a handful, don't be afraid to start reaching out to people. There are some close friendships I have now that I have that blossomed precisely because I reached out during my breakup. You might be surprised at how someone you are not that close to can become one of your best trusted friends for your breakup season.
Oh, the box lol. The good ol' box. You know which one I'm talking about.
The one you stuff all the sentimental gifts he's given you. The letters, the notes, the little trinkets. In order to get through this time, you're going to need to create a box for this relationship.
You will then put the box somewhere where it's out of sight and out of mind... like an attic, or a friend's closet, or the trunk of your car. Anywhere where you don't have to look at it or be aware of it on a daily basis.
It helps to remove anything that reminds you of him and place it in the box. There is no reason for you to torture yourself and leave that last gift he gave you sitting in your room, reminding you of the breakup.
This is your time. Your time for healing. You need to do what you need to do to protect your heart. Because you're worth it.
Just Because This Is the End of Your Relationship Doesn't Mean It's the End of Your Happiness
Something that I've had to get into my heart and mind is that even though it's the end of some of the most wonderful days I've had thus far does not mean that it's the end of my happiness. When we broke up, I was in shock, and I cried for weeks and months. I still cry sometimes. It hurts, but one day that hurt will melt away and a new strength will be in its place.
I know it still might hurt for you. But please believe me when I tell you that he wasn't the source of your happiness.
Anything lovely, anything good, anything beautiful and true comes from God. He is the source of all sacred moments and all awesome experiences.
We each have a certain degree of God inside. God uses each of us in some way.
Last week I had an epiphany.
I was feeling totally sad and like God had left me empty-handed since I no longer have this person in my life. And in my heart, God told me something that just opened up my perspective so much...
In my heart, He said...
"What if I told you that in those moments you felt the most loved, when you felt completely accepted and secure, it was not your boyfriend but me loving you through him? You never lost anything. I'm still here..."
Was that as mind blowing for you as it was for me?
It was like God was telling me that it never was my relationship but God loving me all along. It was God using that person to love me in a very important way, when I needed a very specific kind of healing. Now that that healing is accomplished, that person's purpose in my life is accomplished. And God has moved out of the relationship, preparing to love me in new ways.
What if I told you that if you experienced real love in your relationship, it was really God's love manifested in that person the whole time?
Any true, self-sacrificing love you may have experienced in the relationship was really God.
To go on a little tangent...
I was reading this book about heaven, Inside the Kingdom, which describes what we can expect in heaven based on what the Bible tells us. And it was quite mind blowing to me because it theologically described why we are not depressed in heaven if the case happens that in the end we find that our spouse does not end up there with us. We don't crumble and live the rest of eternity feeling like we will always have something missing. No, in fact, each soul is completely fulfilled and satisfied in God, in all the goodness that He is.
This is because if someone rejects God and chooses hell, they in a way forfeit any goodness He had ever given them and return it back to Him because He is the source of all goodness. All that we had loved about that person returns to God, and we can find it all in Him.
Why am I bringing this up?
Because anything true, anything good and life-affirming you have ever felt in your relationship came from no one else but God working in that person, not the person themselves.
And the end of the relationship doesn't mean the end of you feeling God's love in your life.
God is saying... You have not lost anything. It was me all along. I'm still here...
Your happiness is not over. His love is still with you, and He wants you to experience his tender love in new ways, beyond this relationship. He has exciting and joyful things ahead for you. I know it's hard to believe now. I myself need to believe it sometimes. But it's true.
Every 'No' Is Really a 'Yes' to Something Else
One of the most helpful things for me to see in my past breakups is that every "no" is really a "yes" to something else. Your no to continuing along this path with this person is a yes to a path that's better.