When you have a broken heart all you want is to feel better – quick! You don’t care about anything else. The last thing you want is someone to tell you platitudes, like “You’re better off without him/her.”
Because right now you probably feel like you will die without your beloved, so these well-intentioned words literally feel like a lie. Or a friend who really cares might say: “You’ll find someone better.”
Right now you are stuck in your loss, and this seems impossible to imagine. A wiser elder might even say something like: “This too shall pass.” In time you may see that all these supporters are right. But right now they feel dead wrong to your broken heart.
When your heart is breaking it is very hard to think clearly, to see anything past the cyclone of pain.
It is wise not to make any life-changing decisions until you can see more clearly. If you have the opportunity to uproot your whole life and move away from your heart-breaker – and it is a good move – this may be an opportunity to grow.
But make sure it is a positive move toward something better, and not a reactive move away from pain.
In order to know the difference, you need some stable ground to stand on, so you are not viewing the change from the point of view of the “spin of pain” that surrounds your broken heart. It can be very good to get away for a little while if you have that opportunity, but remember that wherever you go, YOU are still there, and the pain will follow.
The Heart-Break Red Zone
It is important to recognize what stage you are in, in the break-up process. If you just broke up in the last 30 days, you may be in the acute “Red Zone.” This is where you feel like your heart has been ripped out of your chest, and nothing makes sense anymore. Your broken heart feels like it is leaking precious life force, and this can make your thoughts go in very bad directions.
The immediate goal here is to stabilize yourself, so that you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else. It is hard to be objective right now, but you need to try to figure out what elements can cushion this downward spiral. Friends, family, pets, exercise, work, structure and routine, good nutrition and sleep are very important allies. Do not let yourself isolate too much in this stage.
In the Red-Zone you might have more emotions than you think you can handle. This is normal. Allow yourself to have them. Don’t fight or avoid them. Let yourself be truthful about what you are experiencing. Honor the experience.
However, you don’t want to over-indulge where you are wallowing to the point of not going to work or school. You don’t want every conversation with your friends to be dominated by the pain and suffering of your broken heart. In short, you need some balance. Balance time alone processing your emotions with connections to other areas of your life and friends.
The Heart Break Orange Zone
Everyone moves through heartache and break-up at their own pace, and there is no right or wrong. In the orange zone, perhaps 30-90 days after your break-up, you are still very tender, not trusting, feeling weak and frightened. This is not a great time to start a serious relationship. Although for some people starting to date casually can be a good distraction. Be sure to let the person know that you are still healing your broken heart from another relationship.
You don’t want to break someone else’s heart as a way of trying to mend your own. That never works! Finding friends, hobbies and activities that are meaningful to you is a good way to try to structure your energy, and to counteract repetitive thoughts. In this stage you want to start disciplining your brain, and not indulge thoughts about the past too much. Focus on the things that are working in your life. Volunteer – helping others is a great way to find your sense of self again.
The Heart-Break Yellow Zone
You have been broken up for several months, and you are still not ready to truly let go. There is no right way or right time for everyone. Each person heals a broken heart at their unique pace. So the first thing to do is to forgive yourself if you are still hurting. This means do not indulge in negative or obsessive thoughts. You need to begin to push yourself a little more out of the cocoon of suffering. Here you want to go against your impulse to hide. You need to think about re-engaging with life. You should move slowly when it comes to a serious relationship, because you are still healing, but you want to begin to explore life again!
The High Road
If you are suffering from a broken heart, you may be tempted to take actions that hurt your ex. This might be saying things that are just designed to cause pain. You may think the low-road will help you heal your anger and thoughts of revenge. It might give you a temporary sensation of power, to hurt your ex. This is short lived, and the regret and guilt will wash over in a harder wave than you expected. It will also cause your ex to feel that he or she is right to have ended things with you, so it is never a good strategy to hurt the person you used to love.
You need to process your feelings of anger and rage on your own, before you interact with your ex, otherwise it will just make them dislike you more, and you will lose your own respect. There will be many situations presented to you regarding your ex, where you have a choice about how to respond.
Use this simple self-correction test question: “Which action is the high-road?” Taking the high road rebuilds your sense of self respect. This is so important after a break-up, because one of the issues you are dealing with is the deep, deep bruising to your sense of self. The more often you take the high road, the more you build your future on a healthy foundation.
Be Patient With Yourself
Whichever zone you are in, remember that your timeline and pace may be unique. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s timing, especially that of your ex. There are no absolute rules here about how fast you can heal a broken heart. It can be doubly painful if your ex is already in a new relationship, while you are still trying to get out of bed in the morning!
Timing also doesn’t move in one direction. If you have contact with your ex or hear something about them, it can trigger “red-zone” feelings. If you get triggered, and find yourself back in a “Red Zone Moment” because you have seen your former love or spoken to them, or a friend tells you something you aren’t ready to hear. This can happen weeks, months, years later, so don’t beat yourself up if it does.
Be patient with yourself if you have occasional slips into a previous or deeper layer of grieving. Grieving happens in cycles of better and then worse then better again and so on. It is not a straight line. It is not like “Well, I’m done with the Red Zone, I’ll never feel THOSE feelings again.” If you are in a situation where you have a lot of contact with your ex, these feelings are more likely to be triggered.
The Grace of Grieving
The fact that you are sad, even weeping, is not necessarily a bad thing, unless it is interfering with your normal life and work responsibilities. At all stages of the grief and anger process it may be a really good idea to get some professional help. A good love coach can help you move through this process faster. We have coaches for everything else, and this is when we need it most!
There is a positive aspect of having a broken heart. You probably don’t believe this, and may not be ready to hear this now, but this is a chance to open your heart, clean out old stuck energy, and then become able to love at a healthier level in the future. Many people are better lovers because they have had their heart broken, and have more capability to love in deeper ways in the future. It is a myth that innocent love is the best kind.
The Heart Energy
When you have a broken heart, if you will permit me a metaphor, it is like a gas tank with a leak. You are leaking emotional energy. This is why it feels like you are being drained of the desire to live. The heart is such an important organ physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes we do need to empty the chamber to do a clear-up job, then we can fill it with clean and purer energy. You need to know that this is true, that you can and will heal!
This is a process. You leak some, fill some, leak some more, fill some more, and so on. It goes on like this for your whole life, but it doesn’t have to hurt so much when you trust this process of exchange of energy. It can become a joyous process, like tears of joy when you see something beautiful that really moves you. These tears are making more room in your heart for pure love.
The trick to helping yourself heal from a broken heart is to find the balance of letting go of old energy and pain, and filling up with new gratitude, love, acceptance, joy, contentment and peace. This means directing your energy away from the focus on your missing lover, and putting energy on the things that truly fill you with love and grace.
Anything you love or like will repair this flow of energy. So doing things you love, being with people, or animals you love, helping others, making something, being creative, working out, these are all positive energy direction flow actions. You want to find a balance between taking moments to grieve, allowing the out-flow of energy -- and taking time to feed and nurture with incoming good energy.
Some people are better at taking the time to heal. Others rush, avoid, and distract themselves entirely. This is just delaying the process of healing. And sometimes, this is useful. But if it is in avoidance of dealing with the core pain, it will just re-surface down the road. If you are feeling pain, it is the right time to face it. Get the lesson and value from the experience – and then move on!
If you are trying to mend from a broken heart you need to constantly evaluate balance. How much to run around and be busy. How much to interact with others or date. You need to see if these activities are helping you heal and creating more balance in your heart. Especially if you are in the “Heart Break Red Zone” you need to really be honestly checking in with yourself to see if the choices you are making are moving you toward balance of heart energy, or are causing you to leak further.
For example, staying busy may be good for one person, and impossible for another. This means there is no formula for how to heal a broken heart. Even though this issue is as old as love itself, there is no “one-size fits all” healing method.
The Love Work-Out to Heal a Broken Heart
You need to exercise at least five days a week, physical exercise that you enjoy. Moving the body is very important to the emotional healing process. A strong work out will release positive brain chemistry and endorphins which help you to feel better. If you already have a physical work-out routine, you are lucky! Stick to it even if you don’t feel like doing it. Some emotional energy gets processed through the expenditure of physical and cardio energy.
If you are just starting with a work-out routine, you can walk, or do the treadmill or bicycle. Start SLOWLY. Do not over do this, because you will hurt yourself and that will set you back. Put on music and dance in your room – try to get your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes. It will really help you heal, and feeling better about your body is a great help for faster healing.
You must keep eating, although in the Heart Break Red Zone you will not feel like you have much of an appetite. Eat small, regular meals three or four times a day, with the bigger meal in the middle of the day, and lighter eating at night. Do not skip breakfast! Eat small amounts of protein with each meal, to keep your blood sugar levels even. Avoid too much sugar, energy drinks, overuse of caffeine (especially if you are feeling anxious). To heal a broken heart you must take care of the stomach
You need your sleep when mending from a broken heart. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but try to keep your sleep as regular as before the break-up. If you have been having trouble sleeping for more than 2 weeks, you might want to take something mild to help you sleep, or see your doctor for a prescription if you are seriously sleep deprived. But be careful of dependence on sleeping meds or any medications at this time.
Whatever your spiritual or religious practices, if ever there was a time to pray or practice your spiritual processes, it is now! Ask for the pain and anger to be lifted. Sometimes we need help to move the emotions through. Prayer can help us remember that we are not in this human experience all along. It really helps! Doing it alone is very good, doing it with like-minded others is even better. Get out in nature! Interact with animals, babies, children who are in touch with their life force. Pray for healing. Do not pray that your ex will die! Prayer for revenge just keeps you stuck in your own negative swirl. Pray for love, balance, hope, awakening….you get the idea.
You Will Heal!
The truth is – no matter how bad it feels right now – especially in the acute stage – you will heal. You will love again. Do not do anything to hurt yourself!! Get help if you are having those thoughts! It is just the extreme flood from your heart making you think those thoughts, it is not really you. When it comes to love, it seems we all go through learning how to love the hard way. But hard-earned love is deep, rich, satisfying, honest and enduring. Be patient and gentle with your broken heart, and remember that it is the pathway to your true love. You will get there! You deserve the love you are seeking – just not from the one who broke your heart.
We offer Love 911 coaching sessions by phone or Skype, so this may be a time to reach out and get some help!
We wish you all the best and genuine recovery on your healing journey. Trust your heart, it will heal! And you will love again, better than ever before!
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