1. Don’t let heartbreak turn you into another person.
Generally speaking, I do not handle tragedies well. I bottle up my emotions, get blackout drunk, and then look in the mirror with a complete sense of nonrecognition. While I’ve never technically done this over a breakup, I can completely understand how it’s palpable to have your heart so broken that you want to morph into another person to lessen the pain. You get angry, you get cynical, you turn into this jaded ghost of a person. But the most valuable thing after a breakup is yourself. Your goals, your values, your sense of identity and self — those are what you should treasure most because at the end of the day, that’s all you have. Don’t throw away pieces of yourself just because someone else didn’t want them. Cherish the things that you love most about yourself because somewhere down the line, someone is going to fall head over heels for those very same qualities.
2. Most romances aren’t made to last for a reason.
I hate to be the realistic one (because I’m almost never realistic), but you probably don’t want your current relationship to be your forever relationship. A huge part of life is to evolve and with that, you have to accept the idea that you may outgrow people as they’ve outgrown you. Looking back now, can you imagine yourself with the first person that you ever dated? That’ll be the same feeling with your current heartache. You’re constantly growing into the person that you’re supposed to be and the people who used to fit in your life now may change as time goes on. It’s natural and it sucks so think of it this way: you’re not running away from something special, you’re walking towards something better.
3. True love is worth breaking for.
The official phrase is “true love is worth waiting for,” but I respectfully disagree on the grounds that waiting accomplishes nothing. We’re all leading busy lives, so the image of someone sitting resolutely on the ground to be swept off their feet is just outdated to me. Chances are, you’re going to meet and date plenty of people before meeting the one. You’re going to get your heart stomped on and torn out and ripped into shreds over and over again before it’s done. Just let it happen. Experience a heartbreak so big that you think that there’s not going to be a day when it won’t be broken. It’ll just be that much better when you wake up in love again. There’s something so blindingly optimistic and hopeful about knowing that even in spite of all the pain, we’re all waiting for that grand romance.
4. There is never a shortage of meaningful relationships.
I made the mistake of thinking that in order for a bond to matter, it has to be with a romantic partner. I could have not been more wrong and I used to (still do) think crocs are trendy. We live in a culture that is obsessively hyper sexualized and romanticized so my only piece of sage advice is this: don’t fall for it. There are so many great relationships to be made with your friends, co-workers, family, or anyone who carries a pulse. Don’t limit yourself by placing romantic standards on the beautiful people around you. As long as you’re actively engaging with the folks who look upon you with love, platonic or not, you’re never as alone as you feel.
5. It’s totally acceptable to cry.
I cry all the time. I cried while watching the season teaser of Keeping Up With The Kardashians because I truly thought that Scott was going to pull himself together for his family. I cry at weddings, funerals, and even events where crying really isn’t acceptable. Like, at all. If I can cry in my car at 2am over someone else’s breakup, you can definitely cry over your own.
6. Feeling things isn’t a bad thing.
As a follow up to #5, I actually think that heartbreak is a good thing. You can spend your entire life not feeling anything, or you can feel everything and just embrace the bad. I think that heartbreak shows that you had the courage to open yourself up to someone. I think that heartbreak means you were faithful enough to put your trust in someone else. I think that heartbreak shows that you, whoever you are, had the empathy to allow yourself to fall in love in the first place. We tend to glorify this image of “cool” and “apathy” so I always applaud when someone breaks that trend. Don’t be ashamed for having the guts to fall in love in the first place, when the rest of us are still stupidly struggling to keep ourselves as unattached as possible.
7. There’s more to you than your ex.
Yet another cliché that you can find in just about any romantic comedy (my favorite is 13 Going On 30, for any potential suitors reading this). But as overstated as it is, it does have a point. There are so many great and wonderful things about you that exist outside of your relationship and those things will continue to be there even as you fall in and out of love. Your sense of being should never be attached to someone else and I’m a firm believer in the idea that the best parts of us are made when we’re alone and at our worst. You are not defined by the relationship that you’re in and the things that truly matter about you — the person that you someday want to be — should only exist inside of them. Even if they break your heart, there’s nothing that they can take away from you that you can’t recapture.
8. They’re just a chapter in a novel.
I’ve always loved stories, without hesitation. I love the excitement of starting a story and the warm comforts of finishing a tale. I can reread my favorite novel, Matilda, over and over without skipping a single page. The grand, inescapable joy about story telling is the fluidity of the plot, the constant ease and flow of constant action and growth. Think of it this way: your ex is a single page in hundreds of chapters. Sure, they might have a ton of impact and influence within that one page, but the story — your story — isn’t dependent on them. A couple chapters down the road and they’re going to be something that built you for the grand ending. Happily ever after’s never come without fight and struggle, so think of your breakup as just another bump before reaching the final page.