Love Yourself: What to Read When Your Heart is Broken

Whoever thought I could get hit with a broken heart?  I started off this year all gung ho about my new mission this year: TO LOVE MYSELF.  The first eleven days were fantastic.  I focused on my health, my mind, my body and just doing the things that would bring me joy.  I reminded myself with each change I was making: you are doing this because you love yourself.

Then I got hit with a massive snowball that knocked me flat on my ass in the middle of the snowy dirty sludge of a New York City gutter.  Ok…maybe it wasn’t that bad.  But the fact remained, someone had broken my heart.  And it took me three months to realize that.

First of all, I was being forced to say goodbye to someone I did not want to say goodbye to.  Well, I say forced because that is what it felt like.

We were not in any kind of romantic relationship, but we had a very special bond that people always spoke about.  Everyone said they had never before seen the kind of relationship like we had.  We worked very well together as a team.  He changed me for the better.  Most of all, he inspired and challenged me to be better than I am.

He tapped into that part of me that strives to be better (i.e. the tagline for this site), gave me the tools I needed and guided me to becoming a better version of myself.  This is the only person I’ve met in this lifetime that has done that for me.  He is my perfectionist guru and because of that, I think the world of him.

Unfortunately, all great things have to come to an end.  As we were saying our final goodbyes, he said something to me…a lie.  And for anyone that knows me, they know that they should never lie to me, because the entire truth will come forward.  I will see the truth.

The lie was a little lie.  Nothing bad.  He must have heard my boss say this, because we have this type of relationship he was describing.  I did not have this type of relationship with him.  He tried to use an example and that’s when I saw the truth.  His heart was finishing the story.  I realized he was in love with me.  Then I saw how the universe had been conspiring for the past few months.  I looked at him and asked myself: now that I know how he feels, how do I feel?  I realized I felt the same way.

And just like that, he broke my heart.  You see, he was leaving that day.  Never coming back.  I was left devastated.

Come the next business morning, I had a meeting with my boss.  We got coffee and beignets, sat down and talked about what happened.  He wanted to get to the root of why I was so devastated.  I had absolutely no idea why I felt this way.  So many people come and go in my life.  Why was this one so different?  I mean, I was really messed up!

Sitting there talking to him about this, it seemed like we were in couple’s therapy, trying to improve on our relationship.  We talked about why I was so devastated, but I did not actually tell him what happened.  You will not believe what he did next.

He picked up the pieces of my shattered existence and started putting me back together by inserting himself in the place where the other person had left a hole in my life.  For that, I am lucky I have him.  He is the first person I’ve ever met that refused to let me go through this alone.  We became closer because of it.

Three months later, I realize what happened that day…my heart was broken.  And I was not okay with that.  How can someone just open up the door to my heart, pull on my heart strings and walk right out?  I mean, what did I do to him for him to be so cruel?

I meditated about this and asked God to help me get back to the person I was before this happened.  Help me to heal this broken heart and get me back on track to my goals I planned for myself.

The next day, he let me know that this devastation was about a broken heart.  So while I was perusing the upcoming book release database, I noticed a new release called “How to Fix a Broken Heart” by Guy Winch.  And surprise, surprise, the psychologist works in Manhattan!

When I bought the book, another book popped up in the recommendations called, “This is Me Letting You Go” by Heidi Priebe.  I bought it immediately, because that is exactly what I needed to be able to say.

I binged the books over the weekend and here is what I learned.

[amazon_link asins=’1501120123,1530896657′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’us-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d65cf81e-2631-11e8-aed7-337fcd8eacf4′]

How to Fix a Broken Heart

You may know that feeling when someone leaves that you need to keep in contact with them somehow.  You text, call, email…anything for some recognition from them that they are not completely gone.  Guess what, kiddies?  That is an addiction.  You are going through withdrawal.

While none of the cases mentioned in this book had anything to do with what I was going through, it still explained some of the psychological patterns people experience when they go through a loss.

Here are some points I took from the book:

  • To heal from a broken heart we have to first stop making things worse.
  • What makes letting go so challenging is that we need to let go of far more than mere emotional pain – we need to let go of hope, of the fantasy in which we undo what went wrong, of the psychological presence the person or pet has in our daily thoughts, and thus, in our lives.  We need to truly say goodbye – to turn away from love, even when there is no longer a person or animal there to receive it.  And we need to let go of a part of ourselves, of the person we were when our love still mattered.
  • Numerous studies have found that recovering our sense of self and getting in touch with our core is a crucial variable in our ability to heal from heartbreak.
  • Recovering from heartbreak always starts with a decision, a determination to move on when our mind is fighting to keep us stuck.  The battle ahead requires courage and determination but also knowledge and awareness:
    • We have to fight the addictive tendency to keep those whom we have lost in our lives, whether via memories or reminders.
    • We have to rebuild our self-esteem by practicing self-compassion.
    • We have to recognize the voids that have been created in our lives and take steps to fill them.
    • We have to reconnect to our core so we can get back in touch with the essence of what makes us who we are.
  • Our heart might be broken but we do not have to break with it.

Especially relevant is mention of an interesting study of how devastating a broken heart can be to a person.  They concluded that the pain from a broken heart is just as intense as subjecting your body to extreme pain (10 on a scale of 10).  So that pain you feel in your heart is the equivalent of your body feeling like you are in extreme, excruciating pain.  Interesting study, to say the least.

After I read this book, I felt that I was probably one step closer to healing.  Maybe I was ready to move on towards letting go.

This is Me Letting You Go

Based on the title, you would think this book is about telling someone to fuck off, because you are letting them go.  I am sorry to say…nope.  This is the perfect book to read to get you back to who you are, to really, truly heal.

This book is a collection of short essays the author wrote to help her get over the various degrees of letting go.  The most important lesson to learn in all of this is to learn to continue loving that person even though they are no longer in your life.  You were loved and you loved them in return.  It is a wonderful feeling, but you also have to learn to let them go when it is time.

People are in our lives for a reason.  They can be here for a short time or they can be here for the rest of your life.  You don’t know how much time you have with someone, but when the time comes to let them go, you need to let them go.  But let them go with love.

Here are some of the wonderful points I got from this book.  Not everything is just about healing.  Some of the words are just beautiful and loving, including learning to love yourself.

  • To love without expectation, you learn to appreciate what’s there. Other people are not ours to own or rearrange or expect things from and the more anticipation we pit onto others, the more we let ourselves down in the end.  All we can do is appreciate who we have when we have them, and let them go when we do not.  To lend our hearts like vacant hotel rooms: celebrating others when they come in and letting them go when they leave.  Understanding that at the end of the day, all we can do is refuse occupancy.  But we cannot force anyone to stay.
  • To love without expectation you have to be okay with yourself.  Okay with opening your doors, spreading your arms, baring your heart and understanding that not everyone is going to be gentle with it.  You have to know that you can recover from those aches, that you can heal your own wounds, that you can trust yourself to walk away from the situations that do not grow or aid you.
  • Need for others to accept you, to validate you, to tell you that you’re good and worthwhile and strong.  And if you can do that for yourself – if you can live up to your own expectations and desires, then the need for other people to do so disappears.
  • Take a chance on me.  Because the timing’s always going to be wrong and the stars are never going to align but I would break every clock in this city and I’d shut every star down from shining if it meant that for one afternoon we could cast all that aside and give in.
  • Take a chance on me – because tomorrow the Universe could collapse in on itself and this city could disintegrate to ashes and the sun could burst into a thousand disjointed rays and goddammit if I am going to die never knowing what it feels like to have your lips on mine.
  • I have been promised too many forevers to have much faith in them anymore so instead I’d like to offer you right now.
  • Through every twist and bump in the road that threatens to tear us apart I will choose you with the ferocious certainty I’ve felt since the fist time I ever laid eyes on you.  I’m not worried about falling out of love with you baby, because I never fell in.  Loving you was a waking, conscious choice and it’s one that I’m going to keep making until the day my heart stops beating.
  • You have to show up to your new life, your new world and your new way of doing things, no matter how painful and raw it all feels.  You have [to] face forward toward the future you hadn’t planned for and the life you didn’t know that you would lead.  You have to stop showing up to the land of used-to-be’s and could-be-stills and show up to this world.  The one where it hurts.  The one that’s unfair.  The world that is here, because it’s the only one you have left.
  • To learn from people you’ve lost and to embrace the people that you have left.  To embrace the life you have left.
  • And maybe this is the Universe where I learn to not need you anymore.
  • We want to capture it and hold it between our palms forever – not realizing that we have to let it go for it to mean anything at all.
  • Maybe anyone worth loving is worth loving inconclusively…to allow yourself to love someone with everything you’ve got – and then to fully and completely let them go.
  • This is me knowing that we’re going to grow old.  That your life is going to be huge and important and chockfull of love but that it’s all going to transpire without me.
  • I want you to take whatever crooked, twisted path you need to take if it will lead you towards your dreams.  This is me letting you go.

What I Learned

In the second book, “This is Me Letting You Go,” I noticed that there is more than just one love being talked about that I did not consider before.  There is the love from the people around me, helping me get through this.  My friends express their love in their own ways.

Especially my boss, doing something like picking up the pieces from my shattered existence and trying to put me back together again, that is love.  All I wanted to do was yell at him and tell him to leave it.  Let me sweep it up and throw it in the trash.  Except, he would not let me do that.  He picked the pieces up for me and tried to be the person I needed after suffering this loss.  What boss does that?  Most would just tell you to get your shit together.

This one, though, I think he knew what he was dealing with before I even knew.  For that, I am thankful I have such a wonderful person in my life.  That is love.  [I also realize he may read this…just know, I appreciate what you’ve done for me.]

You see, love is not always just romantic love that leads to intimate relationships.  Sometimes it is the love of family, friends, bosses, even complete strangers.  They are all part of the process of helping you to heal.  I am thankful that the Universe has been conspiring all throughout to help me get through this.

Go With Love

As mad as I am that he left the way he did and could not leave like a normal person, I realize maybe I really did need to know I was loved.  And I needed to confront the truth that maybe I loved what he did for me in my life.  He made me into a better person during the short time he was in my life.  Even though I live by the motto that when you find someone that inspires you to be greater than you are, you never let them go.  This time, though, I had no choice but to let him go.

I need to let him go with love.  My life was amazing with him in it, but sometimes you have to let guys like him go so he can go change the world.  You cannot keep him forever.  The world is calling for guys like him to help change our world.  He has a bigger fight to fight.

Right.  Did I mention he is perfect?  Yeah…he is one of those guys out fighting the good fight.  I’m not joking when I say that.  He really is.  That is why he left.  And I am proud of him.  I just kind of wish he left without pulling my heart strings on his way out the door.

These two books helped me to let him go.  The point where my broken heart healed is when I realized I needed to let him go with love.  Letting someone go is never easy, because it creates a finality of the moment.  Sometimes when the moment is so amazing, you don’t want it to end.  That was the case with me.

Letting go with love means that you don’t stop loving them.  You just let them go so they can chase after their dreams.  You can’t stifle someone’s journey in life.  Wish them the best and give yourself fully while they are in your life.  There will always be a part of them you carry inside your heart; and there will always be a part of you that they carry within themselves.  Let that be the love that is carried along in your separate journeys in life.

That is how you let go.