On Heartbreak

Heartbreak is real. It comes in so many different forms; it’s felt in so many different ways; it’s never clear how long it will stay. There is no right answer to how it should be handled and what works for some may not work for you, and what worked last time may not work this time. I get it.

It’s tough. Some stories with the most perfect beginnings, don’t end up the way you expected. Some moments or conversations that you planned to happen one way, happen completely differently. Some narratives that you write in your head (or even ones that are written for you), aren’t actually true. I get it.

And sometimes you put up a really good fight and hold on really tightly and want something so badly, but there’s still no other choice but to let go. I get it.

Moving on is a strange thing. It’s both equally satisfying and life giving as it is sad and as though you have to let a piece of yourself go. There’s a freedom in it, but also a sense of loss. Moving on is something that I found I can never successfully set out to do, and it’s almost always something I realize has happened only after the fact.

And perhaps that’s because moving on looks a lot like acceptance. When, in reality, acceptance is merely the first step.

Can I convince the person I love to love me? Maybe their mind will change if we have one more conversation? Maybe this time is different. Maybe I’m different.

But you already know the answer. At least, your gut knows. Amidst looking for that one loop hole, analyzing a single message, justifying actions, hanging on to that one sliver of hope or conversation to be had, trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t, the truest part of yourself already knows the answer. So why is it so hard to trust ourselves?

Forgiveness, pride, embarrassment, fear, jealousy… the list could go on forever. But I’m not sure that it really matters. What matters is that you recognize and admit to, in its most raw form, the reality it’s covering up. That’s acceptance. Then, you must breathe.

Maybe it’s a long, deep breath. Maybe it’s short. Sometimes it’s breathing through several thoughts a day. Sometimes an hour. With every scroll through your phone. Other times, it takes only one breath, and you’re set for the day. Sometimes those breaths are honest, and sometimes they feel like the most insincere thing you could be doing in that moment. 

But the key here is that you accept the reality over and over again each time you take one of those breaths. And slowly but surely, it will get easier. And your perspective will begin to change along with it.

Because here’s the thing. As bad as it hurts, and as hard as those breaths are — it’s not meant to be this way. You know that. Love is supposed to be given so freely, so effortlessly, so unconditionally. That’s what you deserve. Deep down, that’s what you want and what you know doesn’t exist in the place you hoped. And, dare I say, it’s what the person who broke your heart deserves too. They should also be given the opportunity to love so freely and effortlessly. And if they can’t give that to you… it’s okay.

Because someone can. It may not look exactly as you planned, and it’s almost always never when you planned, but just like heartbreak, love can come in so many different forms and be felt in so many different ways. And along the way, you breathe. Along the way, you grow.

Then, one day, that moment will happen. The feeling of finally understanding that you wouldn’t be where you are had you not walked through everything else - and where you are is somewhere you wouldn’t trade for anything. You’ll learn something about yourself, you’ll have a conversation that brings about a new realization or strengthens what you already believed to be true, or perhaps you’ll meet someone new. It’s in that moment that you might even sign up to go through all of the heartbreak a million more times because where you are now is right.

That’s when you know you’ve moved on.

We’re all walking through life together. It’s messy, it’s complicated. It’s beautiful, it’s full. And it will always be all of those things. It’s a part of becoming. Lean on your people. Trust your gut. Say thank you along the way.

Finally, for those that need to hear it, be honest with yourself. Don’t run. Break habits. Recognize real love where it exists.