How to Deal with a Broken Heart
This article was written in partnership with eHarmony.com
I grab at my chest afraid that my heart might somehow explode out of my chest. I feel like I’m dying. I close my eyes and prepare for death. It’s got to be less painful than this.
Even lying on the bed requires too much energy. Somehow I manage to roll onto the floor. I am now literally laying flat on my back. My breath comes in short spurts. I try not to inhale too deeply because if I allow myself to breathe, I know that I will feel the searing pain in my heart.
So I hold my breath, anticipating the next wave of pain.
In a way it’s almost like giving birth.
I think about who I can call. Who will understand?
I texted my friend.
Me: I think I’m having a panic attack.
Her: What’s wrong?
Me: My heart is breaking.
As soon as I send these words my emotional water breaks and the tears came pouring out. I know that I will to have to deal with this. There is nowhere left for me to hide, nothing to distract me. No retail therapy or other men will fill the void and assuage the pain. I brace myself and let it wash over me.
I’m semi functional during the day but only because I don’t allow myself to feel anything. I walk around dead on the inside, almost zombie like. At night, the silence and nothingness of my dark room beckons to all of my repressed emotion. I completely fell apart but am careful enough to sob silently so as not to alert my roommates. I spend the next couple of weeks like this.
I don’t know exactly when the pain begins to subside but gradually I realized my heart isn’t as tender. The healing process has begun.
Though my heart had been broken many times before, this experience was different for several reasons:
1. I consciously altered an entrenched pattern
The morning I woke up and realized that I had deeper feelings for this man was anything but romantic, I decided to do things differently. It was downright terrifying. In the past, whenever I “liked” someone, it had always led to pain. To protect my heart, I stopped allowing myself to fall for anyone too deeply. When someone got too close and my fears and insecurities were triggered, I came up with creative ways to run away from the feelings.
This time, I made the conscious decision to do things differently. Instead of running away from the fear I felt, I found a way to express it; to myself through writing and to him in a way that he could hear.
In my conversation with him, I realized how much I had grown in my ability to communicate the emotions I was experiencing maturely and without judgment. Though he responded by telling me that he was “not ready for a relationship,” I was proud of myself for speaking my truth.
2. I let go of the relationship
The conversation revealed that what I wanted and what this man wanted were not the same. In the past, I would have stuck around, trying to convince him that he should want what I wanted; that he should want me.
Instead, I let him go.
I had the courage to say “no” to an experience that was not in alignment with what I wanted. Though it was emotionally painful, the truth of what I had given myself permission to do was a very powerful feeling.
3. I surrendered to the feelings
Over the next several months, I experienced so many different emotions; rejection, fear, pain and sadness. Instead of resisting or avoiding, I chose to give each of these feelings their space to rise and fall naturally.
I didn’t judge myself for being so “upset over a guy.” I was kind and loving and treated myself like I would a friend going through the same experience.
The feelings didn’t magically disappear. In fact, at times they were so strong it seemed I really would die from my broken heart. I was able to move through the pain and heal by facing my fears, opening my heart and surrendering.
Feelings are meant to be felt.
It’s OK to speak your truth.
Have the courage to let go of someone or something that is not aligned with who you are.