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More threads by David Baxter

David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
The Only Way to Get Over Heartbreak
by Melissa Karnaze, Mindful Construct
November 12, 2010

With enough time on their side, people usually get over heartbreak. But that doesn’t mean you should count on “time,” or “getting busier” (which makes time go by “faster”) to move on with your life. The only way to get over heartbreak is by letting your heart break — and then putting it back together.

You might figure this out by accident, especially with enough time and support from family and friends. Or you can navigate your way. To ensure that you find the light at the end of the tunnel, and get back to living your life, you need to get mindful about heartbreak.

What’s in heartbreak
What does it mean to get over heartbreak? Does it mean that it no longer hurts? That you no longer love the other person? That what you once shared is no longer important?

It can mean those things, but it doesn’t have to. The point of “getting over it” is that you can successfully continue on with your life — without that person. “Success” is by your own standards.

Getting over heartbreak includes three crucial steps:
  • Grieving your loss
  • Creating a new identity for yourself
  • Committing to your relationship with you
When you do this successfully, it’s a no-brainer to get back to living your life. You’re ready to move on to new things. You feel happy on your own.

Let your heart break
Heartbreak isn’t just something that happens. You have to allow it too. Someone might abandon you — emotionally or physically. But if you don’t let yourself fully feel how bad that hurts — it’s not really heartbreak.

To get over heartbreak, you have to first let your heart break.

If someone breaks your heart but you don’t want to admit it or fully feel it — you won’t be able to heal. And you’ll most likely develop dysfunctional coping mechanisms, personal narratives, or numbing strategies — that will sabotage any future relationships.

In order to let your heart break, you have to be completely honest with yourself, every step of the way. Some days you may cry your eyes out, some days you may get jealous, get angry, or want to stay in bed. Honoring those feelings means honoring your heart.

Be self-centered
As part of the grieving process, or letting your heart break, you’ll be pretty self-centered at times.
  • “Why did he leave me? I’m the only one for him.”
  • How dare she hurt me, after all I’ve done for her!”
  • “He didn’t deserve me — he never deserved me!”
  • “Why can’t something good ever happen for me? Does the universe hate me?”
Being self-centered means getting in touch with your raw feelings — those feelings that you probably didn’t acknowledge or express during the relationship. You’ll probably uncover a lot of unjustified anger, jealousy, guilt, resentment or shame that you would normally stuff down. However, when letting your heart break, it’s not that easy. Your heart speaks loudly, making sure you know when something’s wrong.

Learn how to read your self-centered cries and complaints as valuable clues to what went wrong. It’s only by looking at those problems and conflicts that you can learn how to take response ability for your part, and avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

Find the holes in your heart
Each time you cry out self-centeredly in pain, it points to some wound you haven’t yet healed.

Here are some possible wounds that the previous outcries could potentially point to:

“Why did he leave me? I’m the only one for him.”
Clue: Being the “only one” for someone can validate your existence in an unhealthy, codependent way.
Potential Wound: Inability to feel okay being single; only feeling worthy when validated by a partner; lack of self-confidence.

“How dare she hurt me, after all I’ve done for her!”
Clue: She shouldn’t have left because of “all that was done” for her. There was a breach of some unspoken agreement.
Potential Wound: Lack of setting healthy boundaries in relationships; giving with the expectation of something in return; inability to ask for what’s needed by instead giving so much in hopes that someday needs will be met.

“He didn’t deserve me — he never deserved me!”
Clue: Being with him meant “settling for less.”
Potential Wound: Settling for partners that fail to show respect or appreciation; settling for less-than-deserved treatment; lack of self-respect.

“Why can’t something good ever happen for me? Does the universe hate me?”
Clue: The universe is issuing punishment.
Potential Wound: Unresolved past heartbreaks that led to dysfunctional beliefs about being treated “unfairly” by cosmic forces of fate; an attitude of victimhood rather than response ability.

It’s all about you
A big part of heartbreak is about the other person (who broke your heart). But sometimes you play a part in your own heartbreak. For instance, by accepting less than you deserve.

The other big part of heartbreak is about you. Your unhealed wounds from the past. Your vulnerabilities. Your costly mistakes. Your dysfunctional beliefs about yourself that you’ve picked up along the way. Your lack of self-love and confidence.

Heartbreak is a very personal thing. Your heart has a history. When it’s broken, you have the chance to understand that history. So that ultimately, you can better protect your heart. And learn how to let go. Because in every single moment for the rest of your life — something could happen that shatters your heart to pieces.

Be brave. Accept that. It means you’re human and you dare to live and love — which means risking getting hurt.

Each time you take heartbreak as an opportunity to heal and get to know your past — you create a new and brighter identity for yourself. You create a better future. You have more options to choose from.

Commit to yourself
The final ingredient for getting over heartbreak is committing to yourself.

Yes, this means a long-term relationship with you. You’re stuck with that relationship for life. At some point you have to make the decision to find a way to move on without the other person. You move on from loss through grief. And accepting that your life is now changed because they’re gone. You have to make a conscious commitment to make that new life the best it can be. That’s self-love.

Feel your way through
You can’t control what happens in your life, but you can choose your attitude, and how you love.

But that’s about it.

Nothing more to the show.

Pretty scary? It can be, for a while. Until you realize how powerful your heart is. Your heart might be fragile, she might break at times. But she comes back. She takes risks again, loves again. Endures.


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Aug 5, 2004
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How to Fix a Broken Heart focuses on two types of emotional pain—romantic heartbreak and the heartbreak that results from the loss of a cherished pet. These experiences are both accompanied by severe grief responses, yet they are not deemed as important as, for example, a formal divorce or the loss of a close relative. As a result, we are often deprived of the recognition, support, and compassion afforded to those whose heartbreak is considered more significant.

Heartbreak is a form of grief and loss that can cause insomnia, changes in appetite, depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts and behavior, and as such it should be taken very seriously, as should our efforts to recover. However, to do so, we have to assert control and consciously and willfully prevent ourselves from making mistakes that will set us back (like staying in touch or trying to be friends while we’re still heartbroken) and encourage ourselves to take steps that might feel unpleasant or counterintuitive, but that will ultimately diminish our emotional pain and expedite our recovery.


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