What I’ve learned from heartbreak

by rodney on August 25, 2014

heartbreakTwo years ago, my now ex- girlfriend up and left. There was no goodbye, there was no explanation, no closure. She just broke off all contact and left. I had known her for 3 years and we had been through a lot with each other. She had been by my side when I was dying of swine flu, we had shared secrets and our deepest insecurities and not only was she supporting me while my mother was dying of cancer, I was supporting her while her sister was also dying of cancer. Needless to say, when she left, I was heartbroken.

Before her, I was engaged. I had known my fiancée for 5 years. We had lived together for 2 and a half years and there was a lot struggle that we faced. We fought often, we laughed often, and we created dreams and watched them never come to fruition. After five years together, I realised I wanted more. That by staying with her, I would grow to resent my life and her. We both deserved more than that so I moved out and broke up with her. Needless to say, she was heartbroken.

Like many of you, I have been on both sides of heartbreak and it sucks. Having your heart broken leaves a pain that is often unbearable. However, I am grateful for experiencing it. Like every experience, it has taught me some important lessons that have led me to where I am right now. Here are 3 of the most important lessons that I have learned from heartbreak.

Your heart doesn’t break

Despite the name, your heart doesn’t break. It’s not like a plate smashed to little pieces on the floor that can never be put back together again. It’s more like a cut. The cut bleeds for a while, but it eventually stops. When the bleeding stops, the wound begins to close and heal. Once the wound is healed, it is fixed, but there is a scar that stays with you. This is the metaphor I prefer to think of when relating to grief. When a relationship ends, your heart is metaphorically cut. It starts to bleed (pain) but eventually this stops and you’re still left with an open wound (inability to move on).  When the wound closes (you can move on) you’re left with a scar from the experience (lessons).

Heartbreak will help you to find something better

Every time I’ve had my heartbroken, I’ve learned something important from it. I have learned what I want and what I need from a partner. I’ve learned what I don’t want from a partner and what is likely to hurt me. I’ve also learned what I want from a relationship and what I don’t want. Also going through the pain has taught that pain won’t destroy me and that I will get through it and that has helped me to build resilience. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and it has helped me to find my current relationship which is the most satisfying relationship that I have ever had.

The pain is nessercarily

As humans, we are motivated by 2 things; the seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. I understand the avoidance of pain. Pain hurts. This is why so many people spend their lives alone. The thought of experiencing the pain of heartbreak is too much, so they avoid that pain and remain single. Sure, they’re not hurting, but they also don’t find that pleasure in spending their lives with someone.  Worse yet, they’ll stay in an unfulfilling relationship to avoid the pain. Most people will sacrifice pleasure to avoid pain. The pain is nessercary. You need it. You can’t find pleasure or happiness without the pain. Pain, by comparison teaches us what happiness is. You need to risk pain to find pleasure. Life is full of ups and downs. If you sacrifice the ups to avoid the downs, then you’re just flat lining.

If you’re currently experiencing heartbreak, then I’m truly sorry. I know what it’s like. Take these lessons, and run with them. Trust that this is an important part of the human experience and that you are moving towards something better. If you’re currently overwhelmed by the pain you’re feeling, that’s ok. You don’t need to do it alone. Consider seeking some professional help.

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