If you’re reading this with a broken heart, whether it’s fresh, old or in the process of breaking, know you are not alone and that everything, despite how it currently feels, will be ok.
I wish I had believed that when I had a freshly broken heart. For I lay sobbing into my duvet convinced no one else had ever felt pain the way I felt it and that nothing, nothing was worth living for anymore.
A freshly broken heart is one of the most painful experiences next to loosing a loved one and it is often sorely over looked by friends, family and colleagues with how damaging it can be.
I was lucky in a sense when I had a freshly broken heart, in that I had a fairly supportive family and very supportive friends and colleagues who told me I was doing well and made me see that life wasn’t over. But I was also fortunate in that despite the crippling pain that soared around my body like a deadly virus, despite the constant ache to run back to my lost love and beg a second go at things and despite the back-stabbing self doubt that crept into my mind and slowly began to take over my self-esteem, I fought against it best I could and rose above the immediate heartache and fear. And I taught myself, (as hardened as this sounds) to not miss him.
The days following a messy break up are (hideous, granted) the most crucial in the sense that how you approach them, how you deal with them, will shape the way you handle the later days to come. It seems such an impossibility, I know from experience, to imagine life without the person who has just parted ways with you, to imagine living a life without their love, without their friendship, and at first it’s all too easy to dismiss the fact that’s happening and that’s how it’s going to stay; but if you can find it within yourself to have a little faith in you, trust that deep down you know you can get yourself through the next few weeks to come, then my dear, you’re doing great and you’re already fighting half the battle, even though it doesn’t feel like it.
So, what does one do in the immediate days following a messy breakup? There’s a few options, some I wouldn’t wholly endorse but will still list for the purpose of shits and giggles; and I’m guessing right now, we could all do with a bit of that! Minus the shits.
- Go out and get completely rat-arsed with your gal friends and declare hatred for all mankind.
- Decide on a total change of style, dye your shortened hair green and go all punk to rebel over how reserved and suppressed you were while you were with that man.
- Quite literally bust the windows out his car because even though it won’t mend your broken heart, he’ll feel lucky that’s all you did. Yeah the piece of steaming poo!
- Run a campaign on being single and promote that women shouldn’t dread it, they should encourage it.
- And lastly (because I don’t want to be responsible for any more anarchy) say “Sod the lot of you” and bugger off to Tibet for 8 months on a “How to be a Tibetan Nun and find your life’s true meaning” course. Then come back 12 months later, head still shaved, married to a man called Yin with a mountain donkey and the mud hut equivalent of an unpaid mortgage.
But in case you’re at all like me (you poor dear) and you just want to take things easy and ‘heal slowly’ like I did, then read on for some sensible ways to cope, that works a tad better than the crap above.
EAT, TREAT, REPEAT
I lost a stone in the two weeks following my breakup and trust me, it was not a good look and it only added to the awful way I was feeling and dealing with things. I suggest, you don’t do the same thing. Hell, you’ve just gone through the most painful, sad and litteralay hideous thing, the least you deserve is a bag of jam donuts every day and a bag of chips every hour, on the hour. And if anyone even so much as tries to intervene, like they did with me; remind them who has the broken heart. I personally recommend tea (because it’s Britain for goodness sakes), chocolate, pasta, Brioche, ice cream (naturally) and anything with a higher calorie average than a deep fried mars bar.
*Disclaimer as the world is reaching morbid obesity lock down* It has to stop at some point but it’s totally fine for like the first month! After that, treat yourself to superfood salads, yummy sugar free smoothies and seeds and nuts which will build you back up to the goddess you always are.
PAMPER YOSELF AND FEEL ALL THE BEAUTIFULS
So you have no one to look beautiful for but yourself. “Tragic”, I hear you scream louder than than the woman off Psycho? No, just because you don’t have a guy to look a million bucks for now, just because no one will be able to feel how smooth your legs are after using that new Gillette for women razor followed by a shea body butter application and just because that one guy won’t be able to see that perfect new shade of lipstick you have on, does not mean you don’t look beautiful. Girl, you’re more beautiful than ever, because you’re you. Just you.
It may take a while to shine on the inside, but we must still take care of ourselves even when we’re hurting. Don’t stop shaving, washing, painting your nails and wearing eyeshadow just because you’ll be the only one to notice it and think it looks great. It’s time to stop doing those things for someone else, and start doing them for you.
They say the best way to get over a broken heart is to fall in love with someone else. Fall in love with yourself. It’ll be the best relationship you ever have.
MAKE A GIRL POWER PLAYLIST AND DOWNLOAD FEEL GOOD SONGS
One of the things which seriously helped me stop feeling mopey and sorry for my unrequited self, was listening to the likes of Beyonce and Gloria Gaynor. I created my own playlist (called Girl Power) and played it on repeat for a good few months. Here’s a few songs to get you going.
- I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
- Single Ladies – Beyonce
- Survivor – Destiny’s Child
- I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
- Single – Natasha Beddingfield
- Bulletproof – La Roux
- I’m On My Way – The Proclaimers
- Respect – Aretha Franklin
- Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves – Girl Power
- Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life – Monty Python
All at their best when sung along to 😉
VISIT SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
I swear to this day, the main reason I coped as well as I did after my break up, was being able to escape the clutches of everything and abscond down south and take refuge with my hilarious and supportive friends. Before then, I had never really embraced spontaneous solo travel, but as soon as it was suggested, I packed a rucksack, announced I was off to the seaside and boarded a train all by myself. Proudest moment ever! It was very empowering actually; suddenly going from thinking “I can’t function and don’t want to live without this man” to “I’m leaving town and don’t know when I’ll return and I’m doing it by my self.” And while you’re away, let your friends help you. Let them take you out, make you laugh, make you see that you have a wonderful life still to lead. Not all is lost because someone has broken up with you. I didn’t believe them at that point of course; I still believed that my love would be waiting for me on the platform when I arrived back in town, but of course he wasn’t and that was a huge wake up call.
Being away is also a great time to write down some feelings. Take a journal, sit by yourself (either in your room, or by the sea or in a summery meadow if you’re really that cliché) and let the words just pour out. When you’re somewhere different or new, you take notice of many things around you, and you may just find yourself more aware of feelings you didn’t know you had.
REMOVE ALL PHOTOS & KEEPSAKES OF THE RELATIONSHIP
And in other words, don’t do what I did. Do yourself a favour and take down every single last picture of you two together and put them in a box in the wardrobe or in the spare room. Box away everything related to him away and revamp the areas he’s been in. I don’t mean get in pest control and fumigate the place, I just mean spray Oust, burn some sage and hire an exorcist for a few hours…
BUY FEEL GOOD BOOKS AND READ THEM
When you’re confused and hurting and feeling like the worlds most despised girl, it’s important you surround yourself with people or things which tell you otherwise. Best friends are perfect for this, but they’re not always on tap 24/7 for words of reassurance and wisdom. Therefore, buying books on how to deal with breakups and self help books are great to carry with you and have by your side, for the times you’re by your lonesome and need reminding that you’re not alone, that there are things you can do to help yourself and that everything, in the end, will be OK.
I picked up It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt whilst having a minor self-pity attack in town, a couple of weeks after my breakup. Standing there, sniffling loudly into a tissue, convinced I would never laugh again, I saw a colourful book and pounced on it and read the back…
“From how to put yourself through ‘He-tox’ to how to throw yourself a kick-ass pity party, Greg and Amiira share their hilarious and helpful roadmap for getting past the heartache and back into the game.”
And I smiled. Chuckled and did a victory punch. Right in the middle of Waterstones.
JOIN A GYM OR FITNESS CLASS
So you’ve stuffed your face with necessary crap, binge-watched Pretty Little Liars to your hearts content, and bulk bought baggy clothing to hide the yards of fat-rolls you’re happily donning. Girl, it’s time to get yourself to the gym!
One of the first things I did the week after I was dumped, despite loosing pounds of weight by the second and not eating an awful lot, was re-join my local fitness group. Ok, so it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do in my unwell state, but it worked wonders for my mental state and meant I wasn’t moping around my parents house every single night feeling sorry for my situation whilst getting hideously fat.
So get yourself to a gym or better still, a local fitness class like Jazzercise or Zumba to make new friends who you can feel great with and to boost your mental and physical state out of Miss Self-Pity At Your Disposal.
Under note, it’s also very satisfying, whilst you’re punching the shit out of the air in front of you to “I’m Sexy And I Know It”, to think you’re going to look a damn sight fitter than and a damn sight stronger than you were when you with that guy. And, should he ever accidentally bump in to you in town, then whoops, he’s going to see just how bloody gorgeous you are and he’ll walk away realising what a complete and utter knob he’s been. But do it for you, mostly!
KEEP REMINDING YOURSELF IT’S NOT THE END OF YOU
Let’s be honest with ourselves. When someone we’ve loved with all our hearts and whom we assumed loved us just as much back, breaks up with you and breaks your heart too, the rest of our lives may feel like an impending sense of doom with nothing but loneliness and a bunch of cats to look forward to. (I thought that).
And whilst the cats aren’t a bad part of that, the loneliness aspect of it might be. At first I felt lonely as hell despite being around my parents. Now, I can’t wait to embrace being single and have a place of my own, by myself. See, there are plenty of great points to living by one’s self; Being able to decorate how you want, having your posessions where you want, being able to eat what you want, when you want, the list is endless. But one very important aspect which I am certainly looking forward to when I live by myself, is learning about me. Understanding how I work when I’m by myself, enjoying the peace of my surroundings and feeling comfortable in them, having the chance to grow and develop, uninterrupted by someone else’s perceived idea of how I should be.
And to travel to the hidden places of the world, to learn something new, take a course in something. The possibilities now you’re single are my dear, endless. And yes, that’s scary at first, but trust me, soon they will become an exciting prospect you can’t wait to get those kitten paws on!
DON’T HOLD ON TO TOO MUCH HATE AND ANGER
You’re hurting, you’re broken and you might be having flashes or mad. Fair enough. The man’s broken your heart, and whether or not he’s got a good enough explanation, it’s just not sitting well. As previously mentioned above, in my not so top tips, you may have feelings of wanting to bust the windows out his car and declare mutiny on his existence, but holding on to that kind of hatred and ill feeling is going to not only damage you short term, but it may leave an unpleasant taste for a long time to come.
After a few compulsory weeks of hating his guts, calling him every name under the sun and listening to “O Fortuna” on repeat, day dreaming about the revenge you could reap, have a cleansing evening and decide to leave all ill feelings you have towards him and the break up at the ‘hate door’. Light a few white candles, have a long and scrumptious bath and play some relaxing music (sounds a bit chliched but girl, does it work), and meditate your way out of hate. Visualise as you deep breathe, the hateful feelings inside you leaving your body in a dark mass and in replacement, calm waves of bright light shining down into you, filling you with peace and closure. Acceptance is key to moving on, and creating a little under stated ceremony like this will enable you to calmly and peacefully leave behind the hurt and welcome in the new, cleansed and positive you.
Only do this when you feel ready. Forcing closure is never a good idea and will never properly work. But feel happy and proud of yourself when you do achieve it.
PLAN NEW DREAMS
So, you’ve eaten you’re own body weight in mac & cheese, traveled to see friends, joined the gym, read books and sang songs; What more could there be to do on your journey?
Make new dreams. It’s highly likely you’ll have made a ton of dreams and wishes with the person you were in a relationship with and now you’re not with them it may feel like there is nothing else to dream for. I thought this, but it wasn’t until I sat down on the beach with the sea washing in and out, that I realised I had a myriad of dreams I could make come true by myself, and in fact, would be much more enjoyable done by myself.
Re-Decorate, move to a cute chic city apartment, go on holiday, get a cat, dye your hair, take that course you’ve had you eye on, volunteer, see your friends more, take that promotion, try new hobbies, write that book… So much is now waiting at your door, and you can do it by yourself because you’re smart and beautiful and you never needed anyone but yourself to get you to the places you truly deserve and want to be in life.
Leave behind hating, regretting and forgetting and move on with grieving, accepting and healing…
Go get em girl! And don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being happy.