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I recently wrote an article about the 10 things you’re absolutely allowed to do when you’re brokenhearted.
I wrote it shortly after a rather unexpected breakup, and I was in pain.
I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling. I was also just a big, fat, crying mess, and I felt like I was on the verge of breaking every time I did think about it.
It was too much to “sit with it.” It was too much to process. I wanted to write something that gave the brokenhearted permission to be in whatever we were in. To not feel like we have to rush the healing process. That sometimes, distraction can be healthy.
A few weeks later, and I am in a different place.
The thing is, healing can’t happen from a listicle. I could probably write 10 different pieces about 10 things that will help you get through it, but everyone’s experience is so different. Every day is different. And, there’s no one-way for healing.
What I can tell you is this:
It will be hard.
You will wake up before the sunrise, thinking about what went wrong. What you did. Replaying the moments in your head like you’re watching an old film, trying to spot the hidden messages.
Trying to relive the moments, wondering if it really was that you misread them.
You will work longer hours because you are afraid of what will happen the moment you sign off work and are sitting alone in the silence.
You will reach out to friends and want to talk about nothing but it, but you will also hold back—because you don’t want to be a burden.
You’ll tell yourself you will go for a run. It will help clear your head. And you’ll feel something release in you and you will have to stop and walk, and your favourite song is playing, the one that you first listened to at the beginning of summer when you met.
And you’ll be taken back to that moment for a second. The one when you knew you were falling. And you will wish you could just go back to that.
You will wonder, over and over again, how did it go so wrong? And: how did I let myself fall so easily again?
You will tell yourself:
I am going to put up walls.
I am going to be pickier.
I am going to learn my deal breakers and stick by them earlier on.
I am not going to lose myself in love again.
But then: you will probably do it all over.
Because, in love, it’s too hard to play by the rules. In love, we allow ourselves to fall because there is something beautiful about surrendering to the moment.
And maybe there weren’t any signs. Maybe you couldn’t have prevented this.
But, you won’t think about dating again just yet. Because you’re not ready. You will be tempted to download the apps. You will want to move on fast, because you don’t want to keep thinking about this.
Instead, you call a friend. You’ll go for a walk on a chilly, autumn afternoon, and they will tell you to wait. They will tell you how right now, it sucks. And right now, you are still holding onto the good, which is why it sucks, but to remember that this relationship ended for a reason.
They will remind you of your worth. And they will remind you that you are so worth loving.
And they are crazy for not loving you.
When you go home, and you’re alone, you will begin to wonder what is wrong with you that they couldn’t love you.
It might be hard to fall asleep. You will scroll and scroll and scroll on Instagram. You tell yourself you won’t look at them. You can’t wonder what they are up to, but of course, part of you can’t help it.
You’ll get up early again. And this time, you will write what you’re feeling out. There is something happening now—maybe a kind of catharsis.
You’ll put on a new running playlist; badass workout songs you’ve never heard before, and you’ll go outside even though it’s cold, and this time, you won’t stop.
You’ll feel the hurt shedding off you like a second layer of skin. You’ll come back home, sweaty, tired, and feeling like you’re a little bit lighter than when you left.
You might make yourself a delicious breakfast, coffee with oat milk, and watch a documentary, and you’ll remember that you are smart, and you are interesting, and you care about issues that affect this world, and our planet, and its animals and its people.
And you will think about how maybe this person wasn’t the right one for you.
And you will think about how you are really, like actually alone because you are away from home and we are still in a pandemic.
And you will think about how alone you also felt at the end of the relationship.
And you will remind yourself that it is better to be alone on your own than it is to feel that kind of lonely again.
Maybe you will talk to them. Maybe you will have closure. Maybe you will understand that when two people who aren’t right come together, it can sometimes be cataclysmic.
And neither of you meant to hurt the other person. Neither of you is bad or was intentional—you tried, and it didn’t work out, and that’s sometimes just what happens.
You will move on, slowly but surely. And maybe, soon, you’ll realize you don’t need to find someone else again.
That the love has always been there because the love is right here, within.
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