How do you get through heartbreak?
Oh, my love. Heartbreak is different for everyone. In my experience, it has phases. The first phase is pure hell. Everything feels wrong. Reality seems different. Your heart feels gigantic because it’s so sad and your head feels gigantic because you’ve been crying so hard and so often. Nothing anyone says to you matters. Nothing makes you feel better. I hate to tell you this, but the only thing that gets you through phase one is time. Bummer, I know.
Phase two is better than phase one, but it still really sucks. It took months for me to get to phase two. Maybe it’ll just be weeks for you. Maybe it’ll be years. Either way, you’ll get there. Phase two is when the pain is no longer at the surface of everything. It’s still there, it’s just subsided a little. Reality starts to come back. Everything no longer reminds you of your ex-loved one. You’re not really moving on, but you’re not terrified of moving on anymore. This is when you have to remind yourself of the breadth and depth of the world, and of your own life. The worst part about heartbreak is how it tricks you into feeling like you and the world are small when you and the world are actually gigantic. You can’t feel or see anything but your own pain, nobody exists but you and your ex-loved one. The key, once you hit phase two, is to undergo an extensive process of reminding yourself who you are and what is fascinating about the world. That’s what helped me most. Learning new things, reading new kinds of books, watching weirdly specific documentaries. Engaging with politics. Becoming better friends with my friends. Starting a blog (I’ve heard this works really well.) Seeking out lots of new music to listen to to ring in this new phase of your life. Expanding your worldview however you can. You are trying to show yourself how much more there is in the world than romantic love, or lack thereof. Another good thing to do in phase two is to re-engage with things that are already a part of you at your very core. For me, this meant re-watching Legally Blonde. I’m kidding…sort of. I re-read some of my favorite books from high school, re-watched lots of favorite movies (that didn’t remind me of my relationship). I read sooooo many memoirs. I started making collages again. I wrote a very long list of the key values in my life and why they are important to me. I fortified my relationship with myself by reminding myself who I already was through the things I already liked, and built on that by showing myself how much more I can still learn, explore, and do. It was the only way.
Phase three is moving on. You’ll know you’re in phase three when you no longer identify with the word “heartbroken.” It’s the best of the phases, though it’s not without pain. The pain comes more from remembering the heartbreak, though, instead of actually feeling it. It still hurts, but remarkably less. Phase three is a Scorpio’s dream – all about shedding skin, all about being reborn. We know all kinds of new things, some we never wanted to know and some we never knew we needed to know. Mostly, we have learned that we are strong as hell. I can’t wait for you to join the phase three club. On Wednesdays we wear pink.