Nothing I can say will ease any of the pressure in your chest.
I keep thinking, “What would I like to hear?” The answer is: nothing.
It doesn’t make me feel any better to hear about others’ experiences, that it takes time or that I just need to go through it which is all true and we knew that already. No one can tell you when you’ll be able to breathe again or when you’ll start thinking of him/her once in a blue moon instead of once every moment.
But here’s the good part, what I believe with my whole heart: We. Will. Heal.
In the meantime, know it’s okay to:
Give ourselves bad days…but never three in a row.
Sometimes we need a pity party. Sometimes we need to eat an entire cheesecake and watch Gilmore Girls from start to finish. And that’s okay. We are allowed to not take a shower, stay in our Snoopy pajamas and sing to the Titanic soundtrack. We can do these things. But we cannot judge ourselves afterwards. We made the choice, we embraced that so we need to own it yet do not dwell too long. We are better than that. We love ourselves more than that. And if you don’t at this moment, know that I do.
Keep only healthy people around, those that listen and love.
The ones that are patient and can gauge whether we need to be listened to for the 750th time or when we are just being masochistic and need to get motivated.
Stay away from temptation that wouldn’t normally be there when we are emotionally sound.
Anyone or anything we try to use as substitute will not be enough. Other man-cubs will not fill the void. Stay away from texting, social media stalking or saying the words “I miss you” or “maybe someday” to the ex. This is harsh but if they wanted us, nothing would stop them from being with us. “Someday” would be today. And f*ck, we are worth fighting for. If, for whatever reason (often it is his/her own self standing in their own way) they walk away, that is their deficiency and their problem. They may claim they still love us, but what they are really saying is “I want you to still love me.”
“Maybes” and “some days” will halt all healing. And we would wait. Forever. They will find other people to distract them from reaching their potential but we cannot stunt our own.
If you worry that they won’t miss you—don’t. They will miss you. I guarantee it. You are unforgettable, you are special and I know this because you are my friend.
Allow all feelings.
Even the hurtful and shameful ones. Miss the person you broke up with.
If we let the feelings happen and stretch to every part of our bodies, we can let them go. If not, well, I made the mistake of holding on so tight and the result was an uncontrollable emotional outburst in a grocery store weeping over York peppermint patties and potted plants. Yep, don’t ask. But seriously, repression leads to the feelings leaking out all over the place when we really need them not to.
Date your own damn self.
Self-flagellation will only get us in a deeper ditch—be kind to yourself. Learning to be alone again is hard enough when we aren’t calling ourselves names. Besides, those shoes you’ve wanted to buy will arm you in war paint and make your step more powerful. Power is our friend.
Friend, one day someone is going to choose us. Because that’s what real relationships are—a choice. Love may hit us like a ton of bricks or like a slow warmth of a sunrise but the staying power, commitment, trust and loyalty…that is all a choice. A choice we make daily.
A friend once wrote me about a mother telling her daughter’s fiance, “From the moment you put that ring on her finger, there is no one better, brighter, more talented, more beautiful, more caring, more exemplary, more anything than her, because let me tell you, if you look for it, you will find it! And she will find better than you! But the fact that you are committed to each other means that there is no one better, you will help each other become better, you will make each other more than all the other things you see that you might think you want when things get hard.”
So, dear friend, I wish that for you—when all the blood, sweat and tears of this heartbreak become an echo, I pray for that.
I pray for you and me both.
Author: Stacy Lynn Gould
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: L’Orso Sul Monociclo/Flickr