Putting Back Together the Pieces of a Broken Heart

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

Losing a loved one through a separation such as a breakup or divorce can feel as devastating as losing someone through death. You will likely feel denial, angst, sadness, loneliness and a whole mix of emotions. Whatever you are feeling, others have likely felt it before. Just as those before you made it through, you can come out on the other side of pain. Here are some suggested steps you can take toward healing:

1. Find forgiveness and meaning.

Forgiveness is often an essential part of the healing process, whether it is for yourself or the partner who may have “wronged” you. Everything ends, including life. Some people spend their lives never having found love.

If you have had love walk into your life at least once, some people would consider you lucky. Of course, if you’re still reeling from the pain of a broken heart, you may feel anything but lucky. However, once the wounds heal and the pain begins to dissipate, you may feel differently.

2. Be your own safe harbor.

As I mentioned above, life is impermanent. So are relationships. Whether through death or a breakup, every relationship will eventually end. Knowing and accepting this harshest of realities—as impossible as it may seem—could serve you well.

Relationships are essential to our well-being. This includes the relationship we have with ourselves. For the rest of your life, the only one who is guaranteed to be there is yourself. Ultimately, learning to be your own safe harbor can help your healing process.

3. Allow yourself to feel.

One of the many injustices of being human is often we can’t heal without pain. Sometimes to get to the good stuff, we have to endure the bad. If you need a box of chocolate, or a night of mindless Netflix binging, you can allow yourself that. This is not to encourage self-destructive behavior. Instead, it is a brief reprieve, a moment of indulgence we all deserve every now and then.

But at some point, allow yourself to feel. You can come home, collapse onto the cold kitchen floor, and bawl your eyes out to the point of exhaustion if that helps. Do what you need to do, but be sure to feel. It may hurt like hell. Do it anyway.

4. Get back up again.

Once you do this, you can pull yourself off that cold kitchen floor. Even if it takes a week or a month, eventually you will be able to get back up and remember your greatness. Not the greatness of ego or arrogance, but the greatness in all of us. Even if you’re unable to see it at times—much like the sun on a foggy day—it doesn’t mean the greatness is not there. It will still be there when you are ready to stand back up and live your life to the fullest. You don’t have to let the fear of pain stop you. Suffering is a part of life, but in the end, it can make you stronger.

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