This guest article from Psych Central was written by Therese J. Borchard.
Bess Myerson once wrote that “to fall in love is awfully simple, but to fall out of love is simply awful.” Especially if you are the one who wanted the relationship to last.
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Mending a broken heart is never easy. There is no quick way to stop your heart from hurting so much.
To stop loving isn’t an option. Author Henri Nouwen writes, “When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful.”
But how do we get beyond the pain? Here are 10 tips I’ve gathered from experts and from conversations with friends on how they patched up their heart and tried, ever so gradually, to move on.
1. Go through it, not around it.
I realize the most difficult task for a person with a broken heart is to stand still and feel the crack. But that is exactly what she must do. Because no shortcut is without its share of obstructions. Here’s a simple fact: You have to grieve in order to move on. During the 18 months of my severe depression, my therapist repeated almost every visit: “Go through it. Not around it.” Because if I went around some of the issues that were tearing me apart inside, then I would bump into them somewhere down the line, just like being caught in the center of a traffic circle. By going through the intense pain, I eventually surfaced as a stronger person ready to tackle problems head on. Soon the pain lost its stronghold over me.
2. Detach and revel in your independence again.
Attempting to fill the void yourself — without rushing to a new relationship or trying desperately to win your lover back — is essentially what detaching is all about. The Buddha taught that attachment that leads to suffering. So the most direct path to happiness and peace is detachment. In his book, Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds, Victor M. Parachin tells a wonderful story about an old gardener who sought advice from a monk. Writes Parachin:
“Great Monk, let me ask you: How can I attain liberation?” The Great Monk replied: “Who tied you up?” This old gardener answered: “Nobody tied me up.” The Great Monk said: “Then why do you seek liberation?”
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One of the most liberating thoughts I repeat to myself when I’m immersed in grief and sadness is this: I don’t need anyone or anything to make me happy. When I’m experiencing the intense pangs of grief, it is so difficult to trust that I can be whole without that person in my life. But I have learned over and over again that I can. I really can. It is my job to fill the emptiness, and I can do it… creatively, and with the help of my higher power.
3. List your strengths.