Five annoying things people will tell you about heartbreak and one useful tip…
Everyone's got an opinion on heartbreak, but what can you actually do about it?
1) “Time is a healer…”
Can you be more specific? How much time?
What they mean: It is physically not possible to maintain the strength of feeling you have at the point of the heartbreak over an infinite time period. And ultimately the sharpness of the pain you feel will diminish as your life moves on.
What you can do: Set a few timeframes. You are going to feel fairly awful for a bit; it’s heartbreak, it sucks! But if you’re still feeling as bad in 6 months time, you are probably not dealing with this in the right way. Don’t rush yourself, but understand that you should start to feel better after a while. Let friends help you work through your emotions and find other things for you to focus on, all this will help shift things along. You need to see the heartbreak as something that is part of your past, rather than something you plan to take with you into your future.
2) “The first cut is the deepest”
Agraah, is there anything more annoying than someone telling you that you only feel so bad now because you’re young and inexperienced. “Believe you me,” they will tell you, “when you’ve had your heart broken as many times as me you’ll hardly even notice…” What do they want? A medal? When you’re in the pits of despair it’s hardly encouraging to hear that going through it all again is the only way you’ll start to feel better about it.
What they mean: Heartbreak first time round can be quite a shock. Many feel physical pain at what’s happened, and if you’ve not experienced that before it can be overwhelming. With no point of reference, it can be difficult to get a sense of the shape of this new feeling or believe that you’ll ever feel better.
What you can do: Talk to people who you actually trust and like who have been through the same thing. Understand that every heartbreak is different, but it is helpful to see people who’ve felt like they’ll never get over it being, well, over it! Look at Katy Perry for example, she has been through a severely dark period recently with her first divorce, but she’s come out fighting.
3) “Try not to think about them…”
Yeah, except whenever I close my eyes they are there, with all the possibilities of what would have happened if I’d said something different, or done something else… It’s like asking me not to think about my leg, not possible.
What they mean: Dwelling on “what ifs” is going to take up a lot of brainspace that could be used for moving yourself on from this situation. It’s easy to blame yourself for what’s happened, but mostly that’s just not the case, it takes two people to break a heart and it wasn’t all down to you!
What you can do: OK, it might be annoying advice, but it is actually possible to train your mind to stop dwelling on this person. When you find yourself thinking about the person that broke your heart, literally tell yourself to stop and then… well stop. Certainly you can forbid yourself from doing any prolonged periods of daydreaming about them. You can train that beautiful brain of yours to do just about anything. Start practicing now.
4) “Just stay away from them…”
The thing is they are still at your school, or living in your road, or generally just THERE whenever you turn round (usually snogging someone else’s face off.) The annoying thing about heartbreakers is that they don’t just disappear in a puff of smoke after they’ve finished shattering your heart into a thousand pieces. In fact, they tend to stick around, popping up at just the right moment to make you feel rubbish.
What they mean: You might not be able to rid your life of this person entirely, but you can do certain things to limit the amount of times you have to deal with them. Don’t stalk this person, especially not online. See this as an opportunity to hang out in some new places with some new people where this person isn’t likely to go.
What you can actually do: In the long term, you can’t avoid this person completely, and if you try to you will never feel like you have dealt with the heartbreak (plus you’ll spend your life leaping to bins and behind trees whenever you see them.) Give yourself a bit of time, but believe that one day you will be able to see this person, and even talk to them, without dissolving into a puddle of shaking regret. Watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film about what it would be like if we could literally remove people from our brains entirely, it doesn’t really work out so well.
5) “Get back out there, tiger!”
So you’re saying that, cos I feel terrible I can pretty much get off with anyone and everyone and tell myself it’s part of the healing process…? Cool. Or is it?
What they mean: There are other people out there who you will probably like as much as the heartbreaker, so don’t lock yourself away with the Twilight box set, get out there and find a good one.
What you can actually do: Getting off with other people is a good form of distraction, but if you’re recently heartbroken twanging towards someone on great big rebound springs is possibly not the smart idea it seems. For starters, you could end up hurting someone else, and that’s a bit mean. And secondly, it’ll almost certainly prove to be a temporary solution. Also, it’s a bit tragic really isn’t it? If everyone knows you’re heartbroken, and you’re going out every night pulling random people, it’s rather clear what’s going on! You are cooler than that.
So do go out, do make a conscious effort to meet new people, but take it slow. You’re vulnerable right now, and you need to wait till you’re feeling a little bit stronger before attempting the love thing again…
Now we promised one useful thought, it is this:
“Own the heartbreak.”
It is now a part of your life, a part of your personality and the pain of it can be useful in some way. Whether you channel it into art, music, or just use the indignation you feel to make yourself prove to this person that you are better than them, see the pain as something you have survived, and something that you will draw on to make yourself stronger.
In truth, there are some heartbreaks that we never get over, but just like grief, you learn to manage the emotion and see it for what it is, an important part of growing up and becoming yourself.
Ever wonder how many Oscar winners are standing on that stage thinking “Yes! I hope Person X is watching this and ruing the day they passed me up.” It’s not entirely the most positive attitude, but hey, they got an Oscar out of it!
One day you will look back on the person that broke your heart, and you will have perspective, a few more battle scars, and probably someone else who is much nicer and less heartbreaky filling that void in your heart. You might still feel a flutter of pain, but then you’ll realise that you’re actually OK.
You’ll turn away, and get on with your brilliant life, and the heartbreak will be just a tiny shadow on your heart, not an eclipse.