The last thing you want to hear about after heartbreak is love.
After your heart has been shattered, your life turned upside down and your questioning of humanity begins, you wonder if it’s all worth it.
Is it worth it to put your heart out there?
Is it worth it to trust another person again?
Is love worth all the pain that you’ve gone through?
I didn’t think it was for several years after my divorce. Yes, there were highs in marriage, but the lows after divorce were so low that I didn’t think I ever wanted to return to that place again.
I never again wanted to swim in a place of loss, vulnerability and pain.
On my own journey back from this place of darkness, I realized that love is worth it. I realized that #!*!& cliché about it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is likely true!
I realized that one benefit of your heart breaking is that it breaks open. Your heart has the capacity to love bolder, stronger and deeper after loss.
Heartbreak won’t just open your heart; it can awaken your soul. There are so many parts of you that were sleeping that were likely shaken up.
Can the tsunami of the heart be your solid ground? Can the depths of despair and rejection be the seeds of new love?
I explore this topic below and at greater length in my new book, Love After Heartbreak, available on Amazon here.
Here are 5 ways to bounce back and open your heart again after heartbreak.
1. Process your emotions
You won’t be able to move on until you experience the emotions of heartbreak and loss.
You must let go of the resistance to feeling uncomfortable emotions.
You might feel denial and resistance is the way to go so you won’t feel the pain, but this will only prolong the time it will take you to heal.
If you grew up in a family that refused to experience emotions or denied emotions exist, this is going to be a life-changing process. I’ve found that emotions will not kill you.
To process your emotions, write it out (through journaling or a diary). Speak it out (to a friend or therapist).
Allow yourself to go to the darkest, most painful parts of yourself.
The intensity of your emotions will taper over time. It may feel unbearable in the beginning, but it does get better. Once you experience the emotional overwhelm, you’ll find you can sit with your emotions more easily.
2. Choose love over fear
Your grief and anger about the breakup will turn to fear at some point. You might think that one strategy to avoid this kind of pain is never to be in another relationship again. Brilliant! Except once you realize that, your colorful world turns to a black and white landscape where you’re barely living. Avoiding love is not the recipe for opening your heart to love.
You must choose love each and every time.
You have to choose to see your past relationship through a loving lens. You have to see your ex through the prism of love. You have to see your heartbreak as love.
You also choose love over fear in opening your heart. You realize that you have two choices: you can build walls and hide your heart, or you can venture out. You have a choice in every decision you make.
You can stay home or go out. You can put up a dating profile or take it down. You can speak to the Harvard woman your family wants to introduce you to or you can pretend you missed the email with her contact Information.
3. Take emotional risks
Loving someone takes a lot of emotional risk. You risk being hurt. You risk opening your life up to pain and suffering. You risk a marriage gone wrong, losing your house and splitting your kids with your ex.
Yes, a lot can go wrong with love, but there’s a lot to gain from love, too.
I’m dubious about love at first sight and loving by jumping all in. I prefer love to be more like how I enter a swimming pool. Some people say, who cares if it’s freezing cold? Just cannon ball in. Jump off the side and plunge yourself into the water. It may be freezing, it may be deep, but after 10 seconds in, you’ll adjust. I prefer not to enter a pool this way. I go in one toe at a time, until my body is immersed in the water.
You don’t have to jump all in after a broken heart. You can take it slow. You can share what you’re comfortable with. There aren’t just two degrees of relationships: superficial and committed. Take smaller risks each day.
4. Trust yourself
You are worried that you’ll make the wrong decision when you love again. You’ll wind up with someone else who breaks your confidence, betrays your trust and breaks your heart.
You have no guarantees or certainties when you open your heart to another person. You can’t trust or believe in anyone else; but oh, you can.
You have yourself. If you really think about it, you always know. When you’ve found the right person, you know. When you’ve found the wrong person, you always know.
99% of heartbreak begins before it starts. A sure recipe for disaster is to stay in a relationship with the wrong person.
You don’t have to trust anyone else. You only need to trust your judgment, your heart and your intuition.
5. Use pain as wisdom
Do you believe that your pain keeps you stuck in the past and prevents you from finding love again?
What if your greatest weakness, your pain, can be your superpower?
Your pain can be see through the prism of loss and heartache, or through the prism of wisdom.
If you survived heartbreak, you understand others and yourself better.
If you survived heartbreak, you know who’s right for you and who’s not.
If you survived heartbreak, your heart’s more attuned to what you want.
In the pain is your wisdom. In your wisdom is your strength. In your strength is your ability to love again.
You can do this.
You can read more about how to open your heart to love again in my new book, Love After Heartbreak. Learn how to let go of the past, bounce back emotionally and love again. Pick up the book on Amazon here.