Two eyes meet. Bodies follow. Instantly, we fall in love. She shows us what we never knew we wanted. He is everything we have ever wanted. They embody the person of our dreams — a reality that seems too good to be true. So, we pinch ourselves to make sure we’re awake. And after self-inflicted pain, we learn that we’ve been awake this whole time — alive and capable of getting hurt.
For someone who has broken a few hearts, I have had my fair share of heartbreaks — all kinds of heartbreaks — like the one that had me in shattered pieces in the middle of the street while cars continued to run over me, or the kind that made me feel like I lost my wallet on a train in a foreign country. I’ve had heartbreaks that felt like little tears on a piece of paper that I could easily tape up or a snag in my favorite sweater that I needed to get rid of anyway. I have experienced all kinds of heartbreak. Yet, whether big or small, long or short, expected or unexpected, each and every heartbreak hurt the same — and every heartbreak that isn’t in the process of healing has already healed.
Unlike my momma who would give my sisters and I Tylenol for every symptom, I will not tell you that there is one way to heal a broken heart. Remember, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to love and relationships. However, I will share three methods of many that will either speed up the process, help ease the pain or possibly get rid of it permanently. Disclaimer: none are guaranteed to work, but all are worth a try.
They say to face your problems, not to runaway from your troubles. I say, “This is different.” When I say runaway, I mean travel—take yourself away from the drama and bring yourself into a space where you can relax, reflect and recalibrate. When we take ourselves off the mountain of what is everyday life, we can look back at the mountain and see our lives as it is as a whole, which isn’t something that we can do when we’re on it.
Traveling forces us to be present. It expands the context of our lives, and we get to discover things that we may have never known about ourselves, what is really important to us and what we truly desire. Running away doesn’t solve problems, but when we travel, we become bigger than we once were giving us the strength to deal with what we will eventually have to confront. And if we’re lucky, we might experience the romantic adventure that has been missing in our lives and relationships all along. (I know from personal experience.)
Before you start planning your swiping strategy, I’m not telling you to download dating apps or to pick the next girl that gives you a double take. When I say rebound, what I really mean is to find something (not someone) to fill that void. Though someone may be a rebound option that might preoccupy or distract your mind, there’s a good chance that he or she is sustainable—possibly leaving one more heart broken.
When I was desperate to get over my ex, I found myself attracted to yoga. Even though I didn’t stop thinking about my ex, I was able to have thoughts about him and have a peace of mind while in downward facing dog. I became obsessed with yoga, which essentially helped me through the healing process. Yoga might not be your thing, but that something could be anything from learning a new sport to developing a new skill. It could be a long embroidery project or a fitness commitment like Cross-Fit or MixxedFit. Whatever you choose, it’ll be better than stalking your ex on social media.
Letting go is much easier said than done, which is why I’m not telling ya’ll to give up anything. Sometimes, temporarily holding onto resentment, anger and fear is necessary because it stops us from going back to the source of our pain. What I mean by relinquishing is to let go of the ego—and one of the best ways to let go of the ego is to serve a purpose greater than ourselves by giving our whole heart to something that matters much more than our personal drama.
Even after breaking up with my ex, we continued to go back and forth. It only got worse every time we hooked up. The vicious cycle went on for two whole years until I made a choice to truly let go and then committed myself to something that I wanted to do for years: host a charity event. For about a month, all of my time, energy and resources were spent on raising money for a charity bike ride across Cambodia to fight human trafficking. While I was consumed in this project, my heart was no longer over there where he was; my heart was over here with me serving a greater purpose and not so much my ego.
When two people fall in love, we never fall in love thinking that there is a possibility that one day the other person would leave us, stop loving us or even betray our love. We assume that they want what we want—a loyal partner who is committed to us just as much as, if not more than, we are committed to them. Just as there are cold winters that follow every beautiful Seattle summer, relationships, like all cycles, have their seasons. And with everything in life, there is an end — sometimes unexpectedly. While it may seem like our hearts may never heal, we must remember that the heart is a muscle — and like all muscles, they must tear and repair to become stronger. What if getting our hearts broken only expands our capacity to love. Would we take more risks that has our hearts at stake? Would we love more?