How to Heal the Pain of a Broken Heart
By Susie and Otto Collins
There's no doubt about it. After a breakup, the pain and
hurt can feel like it dominates your entire life.
Regardless of other events and relationships going on for
you, the experiences you had around the betrayal or breakup
can seem to be the only thing you can think about.
To move past your broken heart pain, toward relief and even
closer to renewed happiness, a key is to widen your view.
Have you ever stood on a beach by the ocean with a storm
brewing in the distance? If so, you've probably felt or
watched the increasing power of the waves, tides and winds.
From where you stand on the beach,
it's usually difficult to notice much else that's going on
except for the strength of those all-encompassing waves and
winds. You probably left the beach before that storm hit--
otherwise you might literally be swept away!
As you probably already know, broken heart pain can
sometimes feel like those ocean waves and winds. You may
feel like you are being pummeled by stormy conditions in
your own life right now and that these are forces far beyond
Your best at this very moment might
just be to keep yourself upright and minimally functioning.
Especially when your hurt feelings are triggered, it may
seem nearly impossible to notice anything but the pain and
your broken heart.
When Jake's 15 year marriage to Kirsten ended abruptly with
her admission of an affair and request for a divorce, he was
floored. Since Kirsten moved out 3 weeks ago, Jake's
existence seems like it will never be the same.
goes through the motions at his job and when interacting
with extended family and friends. Just about anything and
everything reminds him of Kirsten. The way she betrayed him
and then cut him out of her life so completely has sent him
in a tailspin of numbness and pain that seems all-
Jake went to a basketball game with
friends recently but it seemed pointless. All
conversations-- no matter how careful his friends were--
seemed to spark in Jake new waves of heartache.
If Jake's situation resonates with where you are and you'd
like to move beyond this painful, past-oriented place,
consider widening your view.
Start where you are.
In order to widen your view and find some relief from your
broken heart, start right where you are. Find ways to come
back to this very moment and start to look around.
difficult-- or even silly-- as it might seem, pretend that
wherever you are is the first time you've been there.
You might be in your home, at work,
or even filling up your car with gas. Just simply notice
your surroundings. When what you've predominantly been
seeing is the pain of the betrayal or breakup, starting
simple can be an effective first step.
After Jake's miserable experience at the basketball game
with friends, the next evening he decides to visit a park
nearby his house. This has always been a special place for
Jake-- a place for renewal, exercise, and fun. In fact, he
and Kirsten used to walk their dog together here just about
Jake goes to this park even with the bittersweet memories
the place holds for him. He sits on a park bench and makes a
conscious effort to look around him and try to see it for
the "first time."
When an image of he and Kirsten enters his
mind, Jake re-directs his attention back to the moment
filled with buds on trees, squirrels jumping from tree to
tree and the blue of the sky.
For a few moments, Jake actually
widens his view and his energy is not directed on the past
and his breakup with Kirsten.
Find out what brings you relief
Widening his gaze, doesn't necessarily mean that Jake will
no longer feel pain or that his broken heart will
immediately be healed. This is all a process.
But this practice can help Jake-- or
anyone with a broken heart-- to move closer to relief and
even ease. He can learn how to
acknowledge the sadness, anger, fear, and other emotions
that he's experiencing and then release them.
Jake may still feel pain, but he is developing tools, such
as widening his gaze, that help him more easily reach for
With his attention re-directed toward this present
moment, Jake can begin to pay attention to what brings more
ease to his life.
Jake has always been an avid runner
he is starting to feel the urge to dig out his running shoes
that have been neglected the past few weeks. He thinks that
he might even train for a marathon!
You might not be athletically-inclined. Exercise can
truly be a stress-reliever and mood-improver; but you might
look to other activities that could add to your relief.
You might enjoy volunteering,
cooking, reading, dancing, building things or even cleaning
your home. Use these activities as a way to move through the
Don't throw yourself into any reliever-- no matter what it
is-- as a way to numb out or avoid the feelings coming up
Instead, notice and acknowledge your emotions and
then decide what you want to do next. A sense of release and
ease can also come from journaling or creating rituals to
let go of the past.
Remind yourself (and believe it) that you can find relief
from broken heart pain. Make it your intention to move
toward ease, reach for activities that help you feel better
and allow relief to come to you.
Listen to what your inner
self needs and grant those inner requests with love.