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Healing from heartbreak through compassion
Exactly a month and 12 days ago, my ex broke up with me.
Oh boy, did I bawl my eyes out.
For three days, I was paralyzed by heart-crushing pain. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to recover again. Cheesy, I know.
Breakups suck—literally. They suck one’s emotional energy and no amount of logical consolation can keep it away.
As Taylor Swift perfectly puts it:
“The world is a different place for the heartbroken. It moves on a different axis, at a different speed. Time skips backward and forward fleetingly. The heartbroken might go through thousands of micro-emotions a day trying to figure out how to get through it.”
What makes moving on and healing even more difficult is the unsolicited advice given to the heartbroken.
I remember being told that my ex was not worth crying for or that I should just focus my time and energy on something or someone else. And admittedly, I remember saying the same things to my grieving friends, too.
When we easily throw loving self-help tirades to a heartbreak-stricken person, it is aggravating no matter how good our intentions are. When we give out this type of unsolicited advice, it assumes we believe the heartbroken have not already tried what we’ve suggested.
It’s as if we have suddenly slipped into a selective amnesiac state and forgot about those times we also wasted days weeping and trying to make sense of it all.
Compassion is key.
Sometimes, when we’re trying to heal from heartbreak, it is very tempting to find a way to hack the grieving process and get rid of the emotional pain right away.
But there is no skirting around it. It’s called a process for a reason.
A week after my ex and I broke up, I tried so hard to fake how I felt and I claimed to my friends I was better. But, wow, that was far from the truth.
Most of my days—I can honestly say—have been oscillating between anger and bargaining.
It’s easy to be unkind to ourselves, especially if there are things we think we could have done that might have saved the relationship.
We need self-compassion—not self-hostility.
And same goes for our loved ones.
I faked my feelings to my friends initially—mostly because I am afraid to be judged. I am also sick of hearing all the cliché advice that I continue to read over and over again on the internet.
I know I need to be more vulnerable—I’ve been trying to be.
We—the heartbroken—need to be more vulnerable, but our loved ones must also provide us with a safe environment to do so.
We need compassion—not invalidating and judgmental remarks.
They say that after an emotional breakdown comes an emotional breakthrough. In my previous heartbreak experiences, that seems to be true.
The end of a relationship almost always becomes a gateway for us to know ourselves better. It teaches us what we truly need or want from a partner or how we can become better partners to others.
If our hearts still need to grieve, let’s keep on grieving.
We will eventually meet on the other side, I know it.