I remember having my heart broken once and nearly losing my mind. I couldn’t eat or sleep. My heart felt like a lead anchor in tow. It was all I could think or talk about. I spent months obsessing ⎼ about him, all the what ifs, and how he had ruined my life. I crafted elaborate revenge plans. I wanted to sabotage his new relationship and get him fired from his job. But you know that saying “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die?” Well, it’s true. I was so stuck in my role as the victim in the situation that I failed to see that I was the only one that was still suffering. He had moved on. He was living the life I wanted to be living.
It took me about two years to heal from that relationship. Had I known then what I know now, I would have approached things quite differently. Now, I see our relationship and our breakup though an entirely different lens. When he left, I felt broken and incomplete. I had a hole in my heart full of insecurity, fear, and doubt. And I blamed him for it. But I’ve learned that no one person should be responsible for making me feel whole or worthy of love. I’m accountable for my own happiness. It is my responsibility to make myself whole by developing deep connections with family, friends, a higher power, and most importantly myself.
I once heard that the best way to be happy is to learn to let go of things you tried hard to hold on to that are no longer good for you. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done. Healing from heartbreak isn’t easy, but holding on to anger and resentment can be devastating to your well-being and your recovery. How you handle heartbreak is important, so next time you are faced with a broken heart, I suggest the following:
Let Yourself Grieve
The loss of a relationship involves grief and to deny yourself the full range of feelings and emotions that come with it may be robbing you of being able to fully move through the experience and heal. It is ok to feel sad and angry. We don’t have to act out on our feelings.
Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Do the things you love to do, get a massage, go out with friends, and most importantly, talk to yourself with compassion.
For addicts and alcoholics, the tendency to retreat and isolate during times of pain is all too familiar. This can be very dangerous to you and your recovery. Resist the urge to isolate, pick up the phone, spend time with loved ones, and get to a meeting.
Often, we fall in love with the idea or the “potential” of the other person. Ask yourself:
- Was I fully myself in the relationship, or did I have to change parts of myself to feel accepted by this person?
- Did this person possess most of the characteristics that I want in a partner, or was I willing to overlook some significant shortcomings because I wanted the relationship to work?
- Was there open communication? Could l share openly about by feelings and concerns and be heard by my partner?
Recognize you are powerless in the situation. When we accept that we are powerless over others, we can surrender and win. We stop fighting the fight where only we are getting hurt.
No amount of overthinking has ever fixed a relationship. Holding on to blame and resentment only hurts you. So, don’t give the loss of the relationship any more energy. Your mind might wander back to the what ifs and maybes, but it is important that you make a conscious effort to keep it from going back to that place. Finding a hobby to distract and keep you busy can help.
Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a way of letting go with love. Forgiveness is saying, “You are a good person who hurt me, and I want to forgive you for that so that I may bring joy back into my life.”
My last piece of advice is for you to take the time you need to heal before you jump back into another relationship. If your last breakup left you feeling like you were missing a part of your soul, repair it. It is exponentially worth the work and you owe it to yourself.