I wrote this in November 2014 and recently revisited it because the world can be a crazy, heartbreaking place, and sometimes we need a reminder that we can do it, whatever it may be.
Dealing with heartbreak can be a huge obstacle.
When I speak about heartbreak, I’m pretty sure I’m not talking about what probably immediately comes to mind. Life hands us all kinds of surprises--some are wonderful and unexpected and others are devastating, challenging, maddening (and, yes, unexpected). Some are big deals, some are little deals that feel like big deals at the time, and others… Well, they just are, because that’s part of life.
Sometimes we’re heartbroken because we want to change things for the better, but it doesn’t seem to work out. Plans don’t fall into place; minds aren’t open to change; perhaps you’re not in a place to enact change. So what do you do? Every person is different…
Sometimes we’re heartbroken because of a loss. This can be the loss of a loved one, the loss of someone we didn’t necessarily know but was someone we looked up to and felt hope because of their existence. This can be the loss of an imagined outcome, the “if only” situations, the idea of something. All of these describe grief…
Sometimes we’re heartbroken because we’re frustrated. Maybe it’s a lack of control, maybe fear, maybe that we just can’t change circumstances.
Sometimes we’re heartbroken because we’ve closed ourselves off to something that we want (but apparently not enough to change from within to open up).
Sometimes we’re heartbroken by time. It either goes too quickly during a time we want to cherish, or moves too slowly during a time we’d rather forget. Sometimes we don’t know how quickly or slowly we want time to go because of the unknown: how will this illness progress; how will my child develop; how will I handle this big responsibility; what if I screw up; what does the future hold and how am I supposed to prepare for that?
I certainly don’t have the answers, but I’ve found sometimes the following things help:
- Find strength in others (and yourself), talk to a good friend.
- Look for hope.
- Believe in yourself.
- Take a break and a breath.
- Have a good cry.
- Go for a walk - engage those endorphins.
- Take time to feel whatever it is you need to feel - give yourself permission.
- Give yourself permission to move on, too.
- Step away from a situation if need be.
- Assess the situation - can you change it? No? Yes? Accept what you can do or change, and accept what you can't.
- Make it manageable - rather than be overwhelmed, break it down into more manageable pieces.
- Know that no two people react/feel/grieve the same, and that's ok.
- Seek help beyond friends if you need to.
Remember you’re more capable than you think you are. You can handle heartbreak and challenges, and you don’t have to do it alone.
If your feelings are more than you can bear, please seek out professional help immediately. Resources can be found here: http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help/