Although we often think of a broken heart as the outcome of a failed romantic relationship, the pain of heartbreak runs the gamut of human experience.
Heartbreak most often has to do with loss; whether it’s the loss of a partner through a break-up or death, the passing of a treasured friend, the transition of a beloved pet, the loss of a career. Either one of these situations, as well as other unforeseen and unexpected losses, can create the experience we call heartbreak.
When this happens, as it most assuredly will at some point in our life, how do we best deal with, or release, the pain that accompanies the experience of heartbreak?
In my own life, I have experienced two significant ‘heartbreaks.’ The first one, when my husband told me of his affair, proved to me that Leonard Cohen knew what he was talking about when he sang “there’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”
The second left me with a feeling of tremendous gratitude for the man who had transitioned from a life of honest work, whose life was the expression of a kind and gentle heart and the undying love of a father.
Here are 5 Ways to Release Heartbreak:
Honor your Feelings.
If you are sad, grieve. If you are angry at the ending of the life you shared, be it with a lover, a parent, a child: tell someone. The most self-destructive choice you can make is to deny or avoid your feelings. The pain you feel is yours. Own it or it will eat you up. Maya Angelou said it this way: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Write A Letter.
Write the person a letter in which you tell them what is in your heart. It doesn’t matter whether your heart is full of love or hurt, write it down. No matter what it is. . . but don’t mail that letter. Once everything you’re feeling is on the paper, burn it. Hold a ceremonial fire. Maybe your best friend is there to support you. Watch the letter go up in a fiery blaze and with those flames, the pain you have been feeling can be extinguished.
Once you have grieved the loss and honored all your feelings, tell someone who has earned the right to hear your story (Brene Brown tip), who can hold you and your story close. Let the past be the past. Step into your future with grace and compassion.
Take Time, but Not Too Much.
We are social beings, meant to interact with others. Don’t rush or force your return to society, but don’t hold back either. Healing from heartbreak takes time. Isolate or hibernate as long as you need, but don’t become a hermit. You’ll know when it’s time. Trust that knowing; that pull to see and be seen.
Don’t Let Your Grief or Sadness Define You.
You are so much more than your broken heart. Remember who you were before the heartbreak and how good that felt. Yes, you’re different now; older, wiser. Be aware of any tendency to engage in self-imposed ‘pity parties’ and ask yourself what you really need. Reach out to a close friend . . . although that may feel like the last thing you really want to do. Tell the truth. Ask for support. Be vulnerable.
Heartbreak and grief will come in waves. Allow it to wash over, but not drown you. This, too, will pass.
Do you have any tips to release heartbreak that were not mentioned above? We’d love to hear them! Please share your tips and experiences in the comments section below!