The Break Up Survival Guide

Heart-Broken

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Today’s Love Topic:

Whenever you love, you run the risk of having your heart broken. How have you healed from a broken heart? How did you master the art of forgiveness and letting go of the pain? How did you learn to love again? 

I know this week’s All You Need is Love Project topic may seem like a departure from the previous ones, but I actually don’t see it that way.  No matter who and how you love, there is never a guarantee that your heart won’t be broken at some point. That’s why love is all about trust. You are literally giving someone your heart in his/her hands and trusting they will cherish it forever.

Sometimes life brings us moments of heartache and sadness. A break up can be a very painful experience. I equate it to somewhat of a death – either of a relationship, the trust, the way you look at that person, or your ability to love freely.

How does one survive a break up and find sunshine and love again?

My short answer to this question is to love yourself.

I know that may sound obvious, but many times after a break up, we can spend so much of our time wallowing and feeling sorry for ourselves crying in bed and, in the process, being self-masochists. Don’t get me wrong. The first step I advise is to immerse yourself in the sadness because suppressing the pain is the worst thing you could do. Oh, and any other flings or shots of alcohol will only temporarily numb you. In the end, you still wake up with a broken heart.

After every break up, I learned something new about myself and my strength. I also realized what was unhealthy behavior and also the importance of letting go at some point.

My break up survival guide is:

Tip One: Cry it Out

Take time to be in the hurt. Immerse yourself in it. Grant yourself the ability to cry when you feel like it and isolate yourself from others, if this is the best way for you to cope with your heartache. There really is not a set time allotted for this first stage, but if you skip this step you never really will begin to move on. The book When Things Fall Apart really helped me a lot at this stage.

Tip Two: Indulge a Little

It’s ok to feel the need to find a distraction from the pain. It’s only natural for our hearts to what to protect themselves. Maybe it’s taking a trip, having your favorite dessert, or going out for a girls’ night. Something to be aware of is although having that one-night stand might temporarily boost your confidence, it will not take away your pain. The key to this is to indulge in moderation and not go overboard with any coping mechanism.

I remember during the aftermath of one of my break ups, I lost almost seven pounds in one week! What? That was so unhealthy and I have since learned to take care of yourself first. Another time, I decided to do a total makeover and I went to my hair stylist and told her to cut my hair off because I wanted a short bob. I don’t know what it was about shedding the “old” me, but it was so liberating. Added bonus: I bonded so much with my hair stylist and we are still good friends to this date.

Now whenever my heart hurts, I Zumba and it feels so good. I’ve also indulged in pilates before and I enjoyed the results of a healthier and fitter me. Why not look really hot in the process!

Tip Three: Seek Therapy if Needed

I am firm believer in seeing a therapist at all stages in your life. I have found it can be the most therapeutic thing you can do for yourself and your relationships. Let’s face it; Sometimes our friends/family don’t give the best advice. At other times, they may get tired of us complaining about how much it hurts for the millionth time. A therapist can act as a mirror to help you gain clarity about your own actions.

Tip Four: Seek out Support from Your Loves

Once you feel the strength to get up out of bed, connect with those people who are still in your life. I’m talking about those who have never left you, who will not judge you, and love you unconditionally. For me, this is a very select group of people, but I credit them with helping me conquer the pain. They really just need to listen to you; advice is optional. Through the support of my loved ones, I was able to see through the fog of my heart ache.

Tip Five: Indulge in your Healthy Passion

I mentioned this above, but find something fun and healthy to do in your spare time! During one of my breakups, I returned to one of my first loves: ballet. During another period, I took a trip to get away from the scene of the crime. I needed breathing space. Maybe you want to buy a new outfit or finally try the latest fitness craze. This is the best time to do it because you deserve to give yourself this gift.

I’m not a chocolate or ice cream lover, but I know a lot of my girlfriends are. I find shopping therapy helps me. There’s nothing like buying a new pair of shoes to bring some happiness to your life!

Tip Six: Seek Closure as Needed

This will vary depending on the circumstances, but if you feel there is unfinished business then do something about it. Don’t just sit there and wonder for the rest of your life. Confront the situation when the time feels right for you. I know it may be difficult to open up old wounds so you’ll have to play this one by ear. I have done this and have felt so much better after I did it. Sometimes emotions are too raw to do it during the initial break up. After taking some time apart, I found that we both had clarity and were able to have a mature conversation about the break up. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have something to say.

Tip Seven: Let it Go

Whether or not you get closure, there comes a time when you need to just let it go. Life and you must move on. Don’t live in the past. Only you can make this choice. This is why I have a firm “no exes as facebook friends” because when I let go, I don’t need any reminders that this person was in my life. That’s just me. I have had exes (friends or partners) contact me after some time and, frankly, I don’t really have much to say once I move on. If you feel otherwise, of course, keep the friendship alive. For me, I like to live in the present and hope for the future without anything from my past pulling me down.

One thing which is important to remember: Don’t let this experience ruin your chances at trusting and loving again. You never know when love and friendship will once again come into your life. If I had let my past relationships stymie my growth, I would have never met Mr. ShuGar.

What do others have to say about surviving a break up? I enlisted the help of a few friends to share their experiences. 

My Girlfriends:

  • “Based on my experience I would say that a breakup sometimes feels like you are mourning the death of your best friend. In many ways you are because you are mourning countless hours, days, years you spent with that person. All the celebrations, arguments, laughs, hugs/kisses now belong to a time that no longer exists. I would say that it is healthy to give yourself time to mourn. It’s ok to take time to mourn the death of a close family member or friend, so why not take time to mourn the end of a significant relationship? Spend time with friends, enjoy the outdoors, journal… find other activities that bring you peace in hopes of healing your broken heart. Time heals all wounds.”
  • “I used [a] distraction and kept very busy. I really focused on myself and accomplished goals to make myself feel better about me. I focused on kids, education, and fitness.”
  • “It depends on the breakup. It can be liberating, or it can be wrenching. Mine have been on both ends. But, each one taught me something different about myself and who I want to be and not be. I guess during my worst breakup I needed time to feel– sadness, rage, loneliness. No amount of ice cream, tequila, or sex with strangers made it go away. It just did when I was ready to love myself again.”
  • “I watch comedies to cheer me up. Bridget Jones diary. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate x”
  • “I would say the hardest break up[s] are the back and forth ones that always end up setting you back. I feel like we trick ourselves into thinking that we owe them something. But we don’t – we don’t owe the time, or compassion, or caring. We need to take care of us. I remember when I was finally done I had a no contact rule. I wrote myself a note and put in in my wallet so that I would see it constantly – even if I didn’t open it and read it, I knew what was in it. It said don’t call him, don’t e-mail, don’t text. Don’t respond to his emails (even if he makes you mad – he’s doing it on purpose to start a dialogue). It was the best thing that I could have done for myself be proactive, foreseeing his played ass actions. lol That man called me for YEARS… He isn’t even a thought anymore. When it’s happening it feels like it will never end, like it can’t hurt anymore, like that love was “thee” love. But it’s not true. Life gets good again. We love ourselves again. Also, something I remind myself and friends of ever since that experience is to love ourselves as much as we love others. If I had a sister or a friend or a daughter going through that what advice would I give them? What would I want them to do for themselves in that situation? And then I took my own advice.
  • “Always have a back up just in case one doesn’t work out! You have to be prepared just in case.”
  • “The best advice i would give to get over a break up that has proven to work for me is: to forgive the other person and to wish them well in their journey of love. No amount of anger, resentment or hate towards the other person will heal you but forgiveness and taking responsibility for your own actions will.”

My Bloggy Pals:

    • If I’m being honest, I’d have to say you just give it time and trust the process. Here is my process:
      1.) Really take the time to see where things went wrong and why. If these are valid reasons that inflicted harm and destress then I honor that. I allow myself to feel that feeling because we forgive and make up for all the wrong reasons. (Cuz we’re lonely and we all want a bestie.) We force ourselves to ignore and/or forget the bad and go running back. When you know it was wrong and honor that you deserved to be treated better you’re less likely to repeat the pains. And you WILL repeat if the relationship was inflicting the harm and destress I mentioned above. Some people are just not meant to be friends.
      2.) Erase! Erase! Erase! I get rid of their phone numbers and delete them from email contact lists and such. Out of sight, out of mind.
      3.) Acknowledge and embrace the good in your life. Be grateful for the good you do have and really focus on that. Focus on the friendships and relationships that do bring you joy and happiness.
      4.) Where I am currently: Be patient with yourself and know that you may not “get over it” quickly. Sometimes it will take awhile to fully let go of the pain. Don’t beat yourself over that!
      5.) My favorite: Whenever someone’s really peeved me or a loved one off I think about farting in their face. lol…I don’t know why but it totally works. Laughing is great. Laughing at someone else’s pain and suffering is not great. You really have to distance yourself from bad energy and pain body (my hippity dippity moment). Farting on someone is therefore genius. It’s defintely not a fun thing to experience if you’re on the receiving end, but boy is it a hoot for the person pushing out the poof. 🙂 (plus no one ever died or had their life ruined by sniffing someone else’s toot.)”

Want to know more about Tish at Luv and Kiwi? From Tish: Luv and Kiwi has nothing at all to do with the bird, New Zealand or the color green although I love all of those things oodles. I write about my odd little personal adventures. Between being an aspiring actor in Los Angeles, writing for a fitness blog, being a newly wed, living as a self-proclaimed tomboy and dancing in my overall nuttiness; I always have a story up my sleeve.

    • “I’ve never understood the obsession with eating ice cream or chocolate and getting sad after a breakup, I always believe that putting together a cute outfit and going out for a coffee with some friends is a better way to get rid of that awful feeling. My little sister is the opposite, she kind of looks for those dramatic breakups as an excuse to stay in pajamas and eat tons of brownies with vanilla ice cream, she actually admitted to that. But all of us are different and we have different ways to deal with life. A new haircut and/or trying a new nail color also has helped me in the past 🙂 It’s all about not focusing on the negative things and thinking about the new opportunities and adventures, plus enjoying that extra personal time.”

Want to know more about Elba at Live Colorful? From Elba:  Live Colorful is a happy space on the internet created to  inspire others to live colorfully and be happy.

Thank you to all for contributing to today’s All You Need is Love Project! I find it so amazing that although we may have different experiences, surviving a broken heart is universal.

TODAY’S DISCUSSION TOPIC:

How have you survived a break up, whether it be a friendship or a romantic relationship? Do you have any coping mechanisms you suggest? How did you learn to open your heart again?

NEXT WEEK’S ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE PROJECT SUGGESTED TOPIC:

Complete the following sentence: I love me because…This may be hard for some of us, but we have to love ourselves before we give love, dontcha think? Share something physical you heart about yourself and another non-physical characteristic which you admire about yourself.

Interested in spreading more lovin’ today? You can linkup your love post below. Post a pic on facebook/instagram/twitter/google + about today’s love topic or anything that inspires your heart. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #allyouneedisloveproject so we can follow you! You can also post any lovely pins to the pinterest board All You Need is Love Project.

Join the love revolution below. Ready, set, love!

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Photo credit: Heart Broken

  • Julie

    These are great tips! I especially like the tip to love yourself. It’ll be harder to heal from a break up if you don’t love yourself first.

    • Exactly! Then you just do things to harm yourself and not heal. Sometimes this stage is the hardest part because wallowing is easier.

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  • Thanks for inviting me to be part of this post. I love reading tips and stories from other bloggers friends 😉 I am also a big fan of indulging a healthy passion and a makeover almost always works. Thanks for sharing these great tips, you are amazing.

    • Thank you for accepting my invite! I really love what you had to say. I like hearing from others’ experiences and realizing how much we have in common. A gal can never do wrong with a makeover! You are amazing, too. Love ya!

  • Kate Hardy

    I’m a large proponent of the “cry it out” tactic…for a little while at least. I think a good healthy cry helps a lot of issues: heartbreak, stress, relationship issues, even just an off day. You always gain composure with a clear head. I may not cry often but when I do, I let it all out and I never regret it.

    • So am I! There’s nothing like a good cry and you feel like a huge weight has been lifted once you get it all out. I actually like crying in the shower because it makes me feel like I am in a safe space to finally let it all out. I never regret it either =) Thank you for visiting!

  • Carmen, this is such an awesome post. I love, love, love it.
    When I sat down to write this week’s topic I was full of emotions that I probably didn’t make any sense in my post because I just didn’t know how to word everything right.. but you did such a great job. Thanks for this, I really love it. xxo

    • Thanks, sweet Kristy! So glad you like it. I loved your post! You spoke from your heart and that is beautiful. Your blog is always full of love and that is why I keep going for more!

  • PrincessMouseyCards

    Lots of great advice. No sitting around feeling sorry. lots of get up & make yourself feel better and look better. I love it. I have a few single friends, I will have to send them this way next time they go through a break up, but hopefully I will not have to… Love you friend!
    Oh, with my brain injury & memory problems, I could not remember a break up, the only moment that coming to memory was my dads passing & that was a deep heart break. I waited to put it up, so I could remember at least one break up, but could not. I just kept thinking of my dad & whenever I force memory, my episodes come on. So sorry.

    • I love that you will forward this to your single gals. Yes! Hopefully they won’t need it, but I hope it can help if they experience a heartbreak. Please do not apologize for not remembering any romantic heart breaks. I read the one about your dad’s passing and it made me so sad. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Please take care of yourself so that you do not experience any episodes. I would hate for this to provoke any. Thank you for sharing how you did. You are amazing and love ya too!

  • Yeah! What a treat to finally plop into bed with my laptop and FINALLY get caught up on my blogs and see this. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share my words. I like to think of myself as a breakup aficionado. I totally forgot to include a movie that I make all of my heart broken friends watch after their ordeal! Watch Something’s Gotta Give. It works every time! You’ll relate and laugh your butt off.

    • Yours was awesome and so are you! I laughed when you mentioned this movie. I always watch it when it comes on tbs. Gets to me every time! That Keanu makes me swoon! Thank you for sharing about friendship break ups. Those are sometimes more tough because a lot of times you think you’ll be friends forever and then you get blind-sided. You rock, friend!

      • I love the parts where she cries..then laughs…then cries some more because that’s exactly how it is lol…

        • Oh, most definitely. Your emotions fluctuate so much. I love the dancing “Harrys!”

  • Erin

    Lots of beach walks, journaling, and movies. And then, a trip out of town to see an old friend.

    • Yes, yes, and yes! Taking any sort of walk always helps me breathe better. Getting away to a new place helps you think better and realize that the world is a bigger place than your heartbreak. Thanks for sharing, sweet Erin!

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