I’ve made all my best decisions hurt. I’ve bounced back from heartbreak with stunning results. My whole career is based on the processing of grief and the wisdom within it. I know what you are thinking as you sit there with your broken heart, “Go blow it out your ass, braggy!” Ha. I get it.
You are in no mood for yet another think piece about the virtues of being crushed by love. It sucks, that’s it, goodbye! Ok, I don’t disagree but you started reading so some part of you must want what I have to offer.
You want to know why heartbreak is good for you.
To be fair, rejection in the form of removed love is a sting like no other. All that was valuable about us now seems gone. The world as we know it seems cruel and unyielding and all we want is to feel love again. The hours drag by as we replay every mistake we made, blaming ourselves relentlessly for things we couldn’t have helped. We pummel ourselves with unanswerable questions.
“Why would they say this if they meant that?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
We wait for messages or texts that never come, our value dropping with each passing moment. We are debilitated.
We can’t outrun it. It’s interminable.
I remember sleepless nights and dragging days just wondering how I was going to fill the hours before trying to not sleep again.
I remember being very hurt by the world as though this thing had been done to me as some sort of karmic retaliation.
I remember someone telling me that this was all cathartic, that “heartbreak is good for you, it’s character building.” Only to think, “I don’t want my character built I want my girlfriend back.”
Platitudes about the benefits of a broken heart were lost on me in those early days of heartbreak. I couldn’t see the good in all of the bad.
But then, something happens when we finally (and truly) let go.
We take a shower. A good one with a loofa. We clean the dishes and we put them away. We show up on time for work. We remember what music we like. We smile at that person at the laundromat. We have a conversation with a friend and can actually hear them when they say we are great.
Some time goes by before we check our messages and hope pokes its head in. Not all at once, but piece by piece.
We start to see that maybe they weren’t as great as we’d made them out to be.
This is where the pain of being heartbroken suddenly goes from adversary to ally.
We push ourselves harder at the gym. We think about the things we put on hold while we were in the relationship and we move on them. Hell, we try things we never thought we would.
More days go by without constantly scouring social media. We begin to fantasize about other possibilities. Whole new vistas open up where there were none before.
We start improving on the us from before because this us is going to choose better this time.
We are growing. We are benefitting from our former heartbreak in ways we didn’t know where possible.
Because we’ve accepted the premise that this is what life had in store for us and if we’d only be patient, we’d see that life has something even better planned, better than we thought possible. When we let go of what we have planned and let life unfold we experience the benefits of a broken heart.
This post was written by Greg Behrendt
Greg is not just a dear friend of mine. He is a New York Times bestselling author, comedian, musician, life coach, and positivity trainer. Greg has sold over 4 million books. Most notably, the co-authored He’s Just Not That Into You and It’s Called A Breakup Because It’s Broken. Greg has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey show multiple times as well the Today Show and The View. He was a consultant for three consecutive seasons on Sex and the City. I could keep going on and on. You can learn more about him here.
Greg just launched his personal site and is offering coaching services. He has helped clients of mine with relationship issues, breakups, and self-improvement more than my words could ever express. Greg gets it, he’s been there, and he genuinely cares.