5 Tips to Help Your Heart Heal Faster
“A day will come when you don’t hurt anymore. You won’t even remember what it was like to love him.”
That is what my then mother-in-law told me one day as I sat on her couch sobbing over her son.
I denied the possibility. With all of my heart, I protested her years of wisdom.
“You’ll see.” She smiled at me with intense kindness and acknowledgement that her son was abusing a good thing. I knew she meant well, but I was convinced that she had no idea what was going on in my heart.
But what do ya know?
One morning I woke up and realized she was right.
It seemed so sudden. I wasn’t sad about him. I didn’t hope to hear from him that day. I almost felt bad thinking that if he called, I might hurt his feelings when I honestly admitted I didn’t want him anymore.
Why did I reject what someone much wiser and experienced told me about the healing process?
Because I didn’t know that getting there was a process.
For many months, I had to suffer so I could wake up feeling like I suddenly had a new, healthy view on an old, toxic relationship.
And maybe her comment to me would have made more sense if I had known there were 5 major things I could have done sooner to help my heart heal faster.
1) You have to let go with your hands first. Your heart will follow.
You cannot follow him around, check up on him on Facebook, or listen people tell you what is going on in his life.
We live in a very connected world now, unlike any other time before. The temptation to see what he’s posting, what type of contact he’s keeping with other people close to you, and where he’s “checking-in” online will feel more like breaking a bad addiction than breaking off a relationship.
Your heart wants to hang on, so it’s going to try to tell your hands what to do. But this is one of the few times listening to your heart is a bad idea.
Put your mind in control of your emotions (and more importantly, your actions) so your heart can heal.
2) Surround yourself with a strong support system (if you have one).
More often than not, other people who love you will have insight when heartbreak is tempting you to act irrationally.
If you have someone who has always cared about what is best for you, consider what they have to say. People who love you want to see you happy, not hurting. You might be tempted to think they are just being nosy or jealous, and that might be true from time to time. But if they have been with you through other lows in your life, this time will likely be no exception.
Some people don’t have a strong social support system. If that’s the case for you, you will be ok. Remember that while friends can provide support, they are not your foundation. You can build a foundation with or without others to help.
If you don’t have a lot of friends, or even one friend, to help you through this, try finding comfort in novels, uplifting films, music, art, or anything else that brings you joy.
And what if your support system is also his support system? What if you share mutual friends?
3) Any “friend” who serves as your reporter about what is going on in his life has got to go – at least for now.
Friends accept your boundaries. Friends will not tell you things that upset you. If you have a friend who always disrespects your limits or who intentionally upsets you, that is a different issue that requires different attention. But in a situation where your friend is otherwise good to you, and is now suddenly serving as an informant about his life, there is no room for compromise.
Either the friend accepts that you will hear none of it or you will have to part ways until you can get over your breakup.
Sometimes a friend will mean well. She’ll either tell you things about your ex because you’re asking and she doesn’t want tell you “no,” or she will want to see you back with the person – especially if she is a friend to both you and your ex.
Or maybe she just doesn’t want to see you hurting. Maybe she believes the best way to feel better is to go back to him.
Tell her, very firmly:
“I know you want to see me happy. But I have to get through this to be happy again. It will take me longer to recover if I keep hearing about him. I want our friendship to be about me and you, not about him. If you mention him again, I’ll have stay away until hearing about him doesn’t hurt anymore”
You and those around need to do things and say things that set you free of the things that cause you pain.
The people around you need to encourage you to endure the pain in a healthy way so you can heal, no matter how long it takes.
Which (guess what?) brings me to #4:
4) Feel the pain and accept that this is part of the healing process. But don’t embrace it.
Emotional health requires us to feel appropriate feelings at appropriate times.
Don’t assume, as I did, that you will always feel as bad as you do today.
Take time to grieve. The feeling of loss is real. You’re going to know that person is out there living a life without you. You might feel jealousy, anger, and heartache. And that is all ok and perfectly normal!
Acknowledge how you feel and say to yourself, “Soon, this will all be behind me.”
Write in a journal. Use the journal to say positive things to yourself. When you write in your journal, write to yourself that it is ok and that things will get better. At the end of every entry, remind yourself that your pain is temporary.
When you feel like you’re going through hell, keep going. Eventually you’ll get through to the other side.
Remember: If you feel like you’re not healing or that the pain is too much to bear, seek help from a trained professional. There is no shame in needing help!
5) Remember: A bad relationship is a lot like sour milk. Each time you go back for more, it is more rotten than the time before.
If you think the next time will be better, be careful.
Each time you get back together with your ex, there will be more baggage than the last time. There will be one more split with more hurt to forgive.
Just like the rotten milk, every time you put it back on the shelf, it becomes more and more rotten. Each drink you take will taste worse than the last. And the more rotten the drink, the longer it will take to get rid of the aftertaste.
Each time you go back and split again, it will feel like a setback. You will feel like all of the progress you made during the time apart is lost and wasted. Just when you’re about to make a breakthrough, you revert, and lose all of the progress it took to get to this point. When you deal with the next split, you’ll need to start the mourning process all over again. You will know that all of the progress, all of the time it took to get that bad taste out of your mouth, all of the hurt you suffered and almost overcame, is lost.
You will be left feeling more helpless. And sometimes more embarrassed when you tell everyone, “We broke up” and they say, “Again?”
So keep all of this in mind. Read it. And read it again. And again. Because…
“A day will come when you don’t hurt anymore.”
There will not be some point in time when your life suddenly divides into B.H. and A.H. (Before Him and After Him).
There will be some vague, gray area in the middle that you may never quite be able to define. But it is always a very vulnerable time where you must guard yourself and decide you love yourself more than anyone else. You must stay on guard in that gray time so you do not slip into the delusion that “this time will be different.”
When you finally decide to let go once and for all, it’s going to hurt.
But every day that passes, even though you don’t realize it at the time, wisdom and knowledge are replacing pain. Each passing day, you’re developing an understanding of yourself that you can never find as long as you are occupying your energies with the stress that comes with trying to fix another broken person.
And one morning, when the pain subsides, “you won’t even remember what it was like to love him.”
Have you been through a breakup and know this advice to be true? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
Or do you know someone going through a breakup who could use some help with a broken heart? Share this with them.
Or just share it with everyone! You never know who might need help with a healing heart.