Ways To Cowboy Up and Heal Oneself of a Broken Heart
(in semi-chronological order)
1. Cry. A lot. Even if it makes the other people in the bathroom or movie theater or ethnic grocery store (true story!) uncomfortable. Cry as much as you like. Try to believe that one day you will be able to experience a trigger memory that will not make you cry again. Even if it seems unlikely.
2. Spend time alone. Go on walks, read scriptures, all that introspective stuff you see broken-hearted characters do in movies. DO NOT read old emails or journal entries initially. Build up to that gradually, starting with easy stuff like looking up his name in the phone book.
3. Spend time with people who love you. People who will either listen to you without being too pushy, or who will find other interesting things to discuss. Go shopping with someone who walks at a slow pace. Discuss movies with people who have the same taste as you. If you absolutely have to go to some sort of wedding, do not go alone. Take someone who will crack jokes the entire time and maybe help you steal some centerpieces.
4. Write stuff down. You might want to destroy it afterwards. Makes lists of his physical and personality-related flaws. Write him hateful letters. G-chat with your ever-patient friends and ask them if they had any inkling your relationship was a ticking time bomb of misery and despair. If they did feel that way and just didn't tell you, write them angry, confrontational letters, and destroy those too. Write about things you may have learned or may not have learned. Write until you feel like writing about something unrelated. That's a good sign.
5. Take everything that reminds you of him and put it in a box. Then write a date for at least a few months (I like six) in the future for the box to be re-opened. Hide the box. Open it later, and then decide what you want to get rid of, and what you want to keep around. Do not get rid of your phone, car, bedsheets (except maybe the pillowcase), infant child, or can opener (another true story). No seriously, don't.
6. Do a Google Image Search for "brown recluse spider bite." Say this out loud to yourself while staring at the aforementioned images: "It could be worse." Say it thirty times or until you believe it, whichever comes first.
7. Read the Song of Solomon in the Bible. If anyone tries to convince you it's not worth reading, tell them to shut up. Picture in your mind someone existing who sincerely believes your breasts are like two young roes that are twins. Then picture that handsome person beating up your previous paramour. Repeat as many times as necessary.
8. Research weird stuff. Whatever makes you feel human again. Cheap flights to London. Turkish food. I like to look at online memorials of people who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Don't attempt to explain why you are interested in the weird things you are interested in. I never do.
9. This last one is Choose Your Own Adventure! First, pick how you are feeling right now. Are you filled with rage? This is usually me. Or are you moping about your lost love despite all the bad stuff he did?
Rage is A. Moping is B.
You are right to be angry. Even if you contributed in some way to the end of the relationship, and you almost certainly did, it is perfectly normal to feel angry when someone hurts you. However, an unnamed (because I can't remember) Holocaust survivor once wrote something along the lines of:
"I choose to forgive Hitler for what he has done to me and my family, because I do not wish to bring Hitler with me to America."
If you spend too much time being angry and plotting revenge, and going over every interaction you ever had and poisoning it with your newfound poor opinion of your ex-lover ("That time he was texting while we watched X-Men? I'll bet he was texting HER!!! Also, who texts during the greatest movie of the year 2000? What a douche.") one or more of several things will happen.
1. You will become so boring and scary that no one who loves you will want to spend time with you anymore.
2. You will become a vengeance-crazed vigilante and potentially end up in prison.
3. You will go on a date with someone great and ruin your chances with him/her by unloading about your past failed relationships. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City refers to it as being "emotionally slutty," and it's not cute.
So, let go of your anger. Pray. Snuggle with a puppy. Give it some time. However, because I brought Hitler into the argument, this entire paragraph has become, in a small but important way, completely unreliable, so you must now proceed to item B, anyway. Ha!
First of all, you are a better person than I am, or at least a more forgiving one. I'm going to stick with better. A lot of blog articles, magazine quizzes, etc. focus on the idea of STOPPING your love for someone as part of the healing process, as if continuing to love someone who has hurt you is somehow neurotic. It's not. In fact, I would say that the ultimate goal in life is to love everyone despite--perhaps even because of--how they have mistreated you.
I know this sounds like talk-show infused Buddhism, and maybe a little stupid, but hear me out.
First of all, without suffering there can be no compassion, so when push comes to shove, we can be grateful for all those who have caused us suffering, because it provides us with the incomparable gift of sympathy for others and compassion for ourselves.
Secondly, if you can love someone for all the good experiences you had together without allowing other events to render them inconsequential, that is very, very good. Also, I would love to hear your secret.
Lastly, recognize that perhaps you will always love the person who hurt you, and that's OK, and you care still able to move on with your life without purging yourself of that emotion. You probably shouldn't hang out with him on a regular basis, but concern for his welfare and a genuine hope for his well-being in the future is exactly what Jesus would want for both of you.
10. Consider moving to another city, or at least another neighborhood. Even if starting over isn't in fact the best idea for you, realizing that it is POSSIBLE is good for your soul.
So that's a