5 Meaningful Lessons From a Broken Heart

by Vishnu on March 30, 2014

Lessons from a broken heart

“Ego says, once everything falls into place, I will find my peace. Spirit says, once I find my peace, everything will fall into place.” ~Marianne Williamson

I fell in love with my best friend last year.

I spent the next 8 months trying to convince him to love me as completely and intensely as I loved him.

I put everything I wanted on the sidelines and was there for him every moment, any time of the day, ditching friends, parties and whatever else may have come along in my life.

All of these things were attempts to insinuate to him that there was no other option than for him to fall madly in love with me.

How could he have not known my desire for him to love and care for me as I did for him?

We were together 24/7, we called each other at the same time, we had this uncanny way of knowing what the other was thinking, we cared about each other a lot, and most of all, my heart was on my sleeve whenever I saw him.

One day, out of the blue, he told me that he had gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend.

Within two short and painful weeks, they had moved back in together, and have recently been talking about marriage.

That’s when it all changed.

This time. I decided it would be the last time: the last time I insert myself into an unhealthy relationship.

This time, things will be different. This time I will not get hurt.

How many times have I said that to myself? Too many to keep track. But this time…this time is different.

Why? Because the best part about this time is that it isn’t about how other people affect me, it’s about me.

This time it is about my friendships, my relationships, my family and my interactions with each of those people.

For the first time, I have taken a holistic approach to healing, incorporating meditation, yoga, the outdoors and journaling, and this time, I think it just may have worked.

Here are 5 life-changing lessons I’ve learned from heartbreak.

1. Find fulfillment and meaning within yourself, not in others.

Often, when you love someone, you put your own needs aside in hopes that making the other person happy will somehow fulfill your own need to be happy.

When they’re happy, you’re happy, so that means you’re happy, right?

That may work for a while, until they’re not in your life anymore.

Then you wake up in the morning, without that person in your life, and you realize that you have no idea what you want to do, where you want to go, or with whom you want to do it, because you now realize that most of your time has been invested in the other person’s wants and needs and in making them happy.

Taking time to check in with your heart and to feel and do what makes you happy is so important.

Because when they are no longer there, you are left empty, and that emptiness cannot be filled with anyone or anything (I’ve tried!).

2. You are responsible for your own emotions.

No one can make you feel anything.

Learn to take responsibility for your own emotions, and allow your friends, family and partner to feel and be responsible for theirs.

You and only you can allow yourself to feel sorrow, hurt, love, or whatever emotion based on your own past experiences.

When you start blaming others for how you are feeling, you get into a real mess.

You may even feel resentful that they’ve moved on, and you are stuck trying to survive the emotional craziness of a break up. How dare they!

You are ultimately responsible for your own happiness, your own sadness, and your ability to heal. And that is an EMPOWERING thought.

3. You have a choice.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker

You can feel however you want. The key to your joy and peace of mind is in your own hands.

Once you’ve realized that happiness begins with you, you get to choose to be happy, and to learn from every emotion you feel.

Isn’t it interesting that when you choose to be happy, others around you also seem happy?

When you no longer blame others for the situation you are in, there is nowhere else to look but inside.

4. Make yourself a priority.

You have to learn to be selfish.

You have to say “no” to friends and “no” to situations that no longer serve you.

You have to look inside yourself to see what you want, which isn’t always easy, but you’ll find the pay-off to be amazing.

Through selfishness, you will be able to reach more people than ever before.

You will feel emotions more deeply than you have in years, have stronger connections with the people around you, and make new friends who support your journey.

The universe opens up when we listen to our hearts.

5. Learn from your mistakes and be more conscious in your relationships.

You don’t have to say, “why me?” or feel crushed by your break up, separation or divorce.

Each relationship is an opportunity to grow.

Despite the pain, tears and heartbreak, your romantic partner is there to be of service to your life.

They will teach you to love more, forgive more, and let go of your ego more readily.

Once you realize the mistakes you’ve made, you have the choice to not make them again.

You also have the choice to be more responsible for your life, gain more control over your emotions and to choose yourself a little more with each passing relationship.

These are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my last relationship that have helped me become a better and more centered person.

As your heart heals during your journey back to wholeness, you too will have another opportunity to start living a healthier and more heart-centered life.

This time, you’ll have the benefit of these additional insights about yourself to do even better when love comes into your life again.

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? What lessons have you learned from love and heartbreak?

 Melanie is an international teacher, traveler and blogger. You can keep up with her journey in China through her blog here: http://jinhua2012.blogspot.com Photo Credit: wwwchun

{ 24 comments }

Corinne Rodrigues March 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I’m sorry you went through so much pain, Melanie, but how beautifully you have distilled the experience into a learning one! May you continue to heal. Thank you for sharing.
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Wendy Irene March 31, 2014 at 8:48 am

Melanie, I LOVE how you said, “You are ultimately responsible for your own happiness, your own sadness, and your ability to heal. And that is an EMPOWERING thought.” That is such a beautiful quote! It really struck me.
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Melanie March 31, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Wendy Irene, I also love that part of the blog. I think of it often when I am having trouble deciding what to do in a difficult situation, and I remember that I am in control of my reactions, and I choose what will happen next. It feels great. Thank-you for your words. :).

Balroop Singh March 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Hi Melanie,

Welcome to Vishnu’s virtues…your thoughts would resonate with all of us here…we often talk about heart breaks and relationships and it is always a learning experience.

I am glad you have realised that we should never invest all our time into any single person or activity…’you’ as a person is also important, so never give everything and if you are expected to, that relationship is bound to fall apart. Relationships that last always thrive on give and take, if the other person happens to be so selfish, then he is the one who loses eventually. You are not alone…many people make such mistakes as they fail to discern the real motives!

The emotional healing takes time but when it does happen, you feel stronger and wiser.
Thanks for sharing your story. Thanks to Vishnu too for inviting you here.
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Melanie March 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Wow! Thank-you for your kind words and taking the time to write. It fills my heart with love to know that people are reading my words and there is support and love everywhere.

Jody Lamb March 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I love this post, Melanie (and Vishnu!). Congrats on your awakening and your courage through a difficult time. “Through selfishness, you will be able to reach more people than ever before.” – 100% true. For years, I stopped taking good care of myself so that I could focus all of myself on taking care of my family members and scrambling to the fix the problems the came along. In the process of not taking good care of myself, I began to enable the problems. I allowed myself to a human crutch for everyone but myself. When I finally discovered that I’d failed at my number one job – taking good care of myself, I learned that what felt selfish was actually just self care. And everyone around me benefitted from my re-focus onto my own well being. Kudos and high five to you!
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Melanie March 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm

High Five right back! You are amazing! I completely understand about enabling the problems. It is a work in progress for me each day to remember to choose how I react, and be sure to check in with my inner voice and know that I am making the right decisions that will lead to the most happiness. Thank-you so much for sharing your story. And thank-you Vishnu for posting this!

Razwana April 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

Hey Melanie. What a tough but important lesson. Aren’t you grateful for going through that experience knowing it taught you so much?

To your list, I’d add ‘don’t try and change people’ – they feel what they feel by and for themselves. It’s not up to you to convince them to love you – the right person just will, without being asked.
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Melanie April 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

I am grateful for the lessons I have learned! Every experience so far has helped me learn and grow, not without set backs though. As for not trying to convince someone to love us, I think the hardest part is recognizing when we are trying to change someone. Sometimes it is happening right in front of me and I have to step back and remind myself of exactly what you said, the right person will love me without being asked.

Micah April 2, 2014 at 11:35 am

Agree wholeheartedly with each point you make. I think the reason we struggle so much to adopt this kind of approach is because we have unhealthy notions about what it means to care for others, and are indoctrinated by I don’t know what to believe that whenever we take into consideration our own wellbeing we are somehow betraying other people. A lot of the time it’s the opposite. We have more power, responsibility and right to take a hold of ourselves and our actions than we sometimes allow ourselves to believe.
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Melanie April 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I love this! Well said. Thank-you.

Dan Black April 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm

These are foundational principles to know and remember. I essentially think #2 is important because we have to control our emotions because they can lead to positive or negative results. Great post!

Melanie April 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Thank-you Dan. I have tried to take less control over my emotions in recent weeks. What I mean by this is I found that I have been trying to control my feelings to much, not truly feeling what is going on around me. What I have been practicing since I wrote this post is feeling the emotion that rises in my heart, naming what it is, and where it comes from, feel it whole heartedly and then let it go. This practice has been more healing in recent weeks than I ever thought it would be.

George April 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm

It takes a lot of courage for you to open up and let us in to your emotions, it does seem that we always seem to learn the most about ourselves during those tough times.

Something that I take away from reading this is that before you can truly love someone else you have to be able to love yourself. Most of us tend to look for love so that we can then love ourselves.

I know for myself I spent years searching for love in others and never thinking to go and find it inside myself. It wasn’t until I realized that the only person I need to be with to be happy was myself, that I could really experience the act of living.

You have to willingly accept yourself and love yourself in order to get the most out of your life. You can go your entire life without being with anyone and be perfectly happy.

But you need YOU, cause in the end, that’s all you’ve got. You’re heart may break, but you’re the only one who can mend it.

Awesome article, Melanie!
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Melanie April 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Thank-you George! What a beautiful comment. I have not understood until recently what “love yourself” meant. I couldn’t see exactly what you are saying, that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. What I am learning, and I think I have known all a long, is that I have to feel the love in my own heart and radiate that love to the world. That is happiness.

Wan April 10, 2014 at 3:20 am

“4. Make yourself a priority.”

That resonated with me. People usually think that we are selfish if we make ourself a priority but that’s not true.

For those who are strong and good-hearted, they make themselves a priority because their mind, body, and soul is the only way for them to help others. If they themselves aren’t taken care of, how can they take care of others?

Chris Bailey April 10, 2014 at 7:22 am

Great post Melanie :-) And thank you Vishnu for inviting such wonderful guest bloggers!

The thing I like the most about your lessons isn’t just how courageous they are; it’s how so many of them involve taking ownership of your own happiness. I personally also think that the only person’s happiness you’re responsible for at the end of the day is your own, even though you can contribute to the happiness of other people. Loved these lessons :)
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Melanie April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

:) Thank-you Chris.
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richmiraclefiles April 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

Hi Melanie
I empathise with such a deeply disturbing experience whcih you have gone through.
From my own experiences I have realised that at the time when something untoward transpires we enter a state of turmoil primarily because most of our attention is focused outside.On outer circumstances.

There is little focus how we are responding to the outer situation.

However it’s the inner response that is more important than anything else.When you become more attentive to your own response, instead of exclusively focusing on the outer circumstances,the doorway to growth,and empowerment, gradually opens.
Thanks
Mona
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Melanie April 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

Well said! I have been working on the very words you wrote. Finding the root of what is happening in our hearts is the hardest job of all. But when we find it, it is so empowering to let it go.

Li-ling April 15, 2014 at 4:14 am

How amazing it is to know that the power you hold over yourself and your circumstances lie within! One more thing I would add and share is that, over time, I have learnt that these difficult experiences are truly the most amazing life lessons of all.
Keep going Melanie!
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Melanie April 15, 2014 at 7:39 am

Thanks so much for your reply! I am still doing my best!

Steve April 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

Got back with the old girlfriend…ouch, that had to have hurt. As someone who has been in multiple relationships over the years, I can relate. I’ve been hurt too and it just plain sucks. Thankfully I’m married now so all of that has been put in my past.

I like your first point the most about finding meaning in yourself. That whole idea with checking in with your heart just resonates with me. It’s good to check it out to see if you’re on the right track. Even though we’re in a relationship, you still need to figure out what’s best for you.
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Melanie April 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Thank-you so much Steve! Checking in with our hearts is a constant reminder of exactly how we are feeling in the moment. I strive for the day when I can continuously remember to do this!
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