Self, Heartbreak

7 Significant Ways Heartbreak Makes You A Better Person

Photo: unsplash / taylor harding
7 Significant Ways Breakups Make You A Better Person

Most of us have experienced breakups and because of this, we commonly regard ourselves as “damaged goods” or “having baggage”, believing we are not worthy of love or don’t deserve happiness.

If you ever think that way, take a step back now. Yes, you have loved and maybe you have been damaged, but it doesn’t mean you’re in any way lessened. You’re only more with all the courage embedded in you and you should be proud of yourself.

Personally, I’m extremely grateful that heartbreak has ever happened to me especially in this formative stage of life. It has shaped me into a much better person and I wouldn’t want to change a thing in the past.

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I will tell you how.

1. I become mentally strong and emotionally independent.

After every heartbreak, ultimately, I was the one who picked myself up and pushed myself forward. Even if I didn’t want to, I had no other choice. Each time, my limit was tested and stretched a little bit further, and my views on love and life matured a little bit more.

If it wasn’t for the pain, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity and especially the motivation to build myself like that. And more importantly, I wouldn’t have learned to really take care of myself and take responsibility for my own happiness.

Now if I’m with someone, it’s because I want to be with them, not because I need to be with them to be happy. Without them, I can be happy on my own too.

2. I’m more clear of what I want and don’t want, what works for me and what doesn’t.

Whether it is the first time or happened three years ago, yes heartbreak is tough. But if I take a step back and look at the big picture, I realize all the heartbreak occurring to me was essentially all part of the learning by trial and error process that helps me understand myself better.

For instance, they have pointed out to me very remarkably that certain decisions would lead to certain endings and certain things were just not going to work out so I could learn to do better next time.

The increasing self-awareness enables me to make better choices and be truly confident. I don’t bullshit myself and other people simply because I don’t have to anymore. I actually know what’s going on with me.

3. I’m more able to make firm decisions.

It’s a blessing in disguise that heartbreak doesn’t just hurt once but it stings over a prolonged period of time. Because the more I’m hurt, the more I remember, the less likely I’m now to be swayed by other people or lapse into my wonky old self when a new situation comes up and a decision is due.

Over time, I’ve changed from being confused and indecisive to being sure and in control. It’s true that people respect you more when you stand up for yourself and stick to your decisions. It’s also damn attractive.

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4. I’ve learned to prioritize my needs.

In retrospect, most of my heartbreak was the ultimate result of me not doing what was good for me despite knowing what was good for me.

I cared more about pleasing other people than my own pleasure and happiness. I was insecure and short-sighted. I would go for instant gratifications while blinding myself to the long-term consequences.

Heartbreak has taught me (the hard way) to prioritize my needs and take action accordingly. The quality of my relationships has definitely improved ever since.

5. I’m less likely to be carried away.

A few years ago, I was a carried away mess. Having a terribly low self-esteem and being rather naive, I wore my heart on my sleeve and was quick to put all my eggs in one basket. Inevitably, when things didn’t turn out the way I’d expected, I was severely broken. It’s true that time heals all wounds but the emotional scars never disappear. Their impact has been internalized into my character.

So now? I’ve seen better. I’ve met all sorts of people and gone through all sorts of endings. Being cautious has become my second nature. Decisions are carefully evaluated. And people are chosen based on core values instead of superficial factors.

6. I’m more compassionate, resilient and level-headed.

Only when you hit your rock bottom and do things you would never imagine yourself doing will you start to really empathize with other people and understand their course of actions. You won’t just stay on your high horse and throw down your sympathy and pity while feeling better about yourself. You will stand on the ground, seeing yourself in other people’s situations and gradually become more forgiving, more accepting, more open-minded and less judgmental.

At least that’s what has happened to me. The best part is that I now know for a fact that I was strong enough to overcome all the pain I’d been caused, and If I’m patient, eventually a better day like this will come.

7. It is harder and takes much longer for me to fall in love but once I do, I fall deep and for the right reasons.

I won’t deny that after all the heartbreak I’ve definitely become more guarded. Nevertheless, there’s one thing I’m sure about: if there is someone special who makes me want to open up about myself and love them, that love will be real and deep and for the right reasons.

It won’t be because I don’t know what I want, I’m lonely, or bored, or too carried away with the idea of love. No. It will be because I understand and love myself, I know what works for me, and I’m sure who I want to be with.

RELATED: 13 Uplifting Facts About Breakups That Will Make You Feel Better About Being Alone

Ellen Nguyen is a Vietnamese writer based in London. She's the founder of - an online publication dedicated to the unfiltered experiences of being human in modern society. She also writes fiction on her personal website.

This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.