Getting your heart broken is like skipping stones. It begins with playfulness but ends as the rock hits the water, and suddenly, your entire world flips. You sink further into the dark unknown and it hurts. Heartbreak can be one of the worst pains a person experiences, but you should let it happen to you, at least once.
Though I’m relatively young, I would like to think I’ve felt heartbreak before. Despite the pain, I would never change any of those experiences because they helped shape me into the person I am today. I categorize the post-heartbreak timeline into two parts: despair and regrowth.
Despair is the immediate reaction following heartbreak. When you hear your heartbeat in your ears and the world slows down enough for you to witness every sensation in your body pique. A drop follows. You feel awful for a long time. You ache, you cry until there’s nothing left and you can’t think about anything else. Sometimes you lie in bed hoping to fall asleep because it’s better to dream than to exist in the reality that leaves you feeling trapped.
I’m not going to tell you that you will enjoy this and I’m not going to say that you’ll be okay because time is necessary. You learn to appreciate the despair only after that time passes. Eventually, you stop feeling crushed by 50 foot waves of pain and find the ability to look over the beach after the storm hit. Suddenly you feel empowered because after all that rage, you are still standing. You learn the inevitability of survival.
Despair also forces you to learn about yourself. When we experience emotions that put us through so much pain, we start to appreciate other memories. Friends become so much more sacred, family reaches out and alone time starts becoming more important. When you feel something so dark, the good things in your life become that much brighter.
Next comes the process of regrowth. Eventually, the despair subsides and you feel yourself grow restless. Now begins your big comeback. You’ve fallen far and you feel ready to be better than ever. You splurge on yourself with some self-care and maybe purchase some clothes that make you feel like the attractive socialite you are. You make plans to see friends, flirt at parties and things start feeling normal again. Even if some of these changes are aimed at the ex-lover, these all make you a better person. You start to make new discoveries. You begin to look back on your relationship without bitterness and realize where it went wrong. You start finding new things you enjoy that are only yours and don’t remind you of your past relationship.
The regrowth marks when heartbreak shapes you. You progress as a person and find the ability to hone in on what you enjoy in your life. You take inventory of yourself and peel away what no longer helps you. This also aids you on your quest to find love again, if that is your aim. You look to the future for inspiration to bring out a whole new side of you, a side that is stronger and more substantive.
I believe heartbreaks are essential part of learning what love really is. Pain is demanded when you fall in love. It’s in the contract, but what matters is who you are after it blows over. Your life may be vastly different but it is more yours now. You recognize your ownership and appreciate what makes it unique. Heartbreaks make us fearless. We know that we possess the ability to beat on, eyes bright and ready because whatever uncertainties the future subjects us to, we will survive.