It seems easier to just bury the sadness, but feelings find their way out eventually. Here’s a better way to handle heartbreak.
When your heart gets broken, the last thing you want to do is revisit those emotions ever again.
The last thing you want is to feel depressed, to feel beaten down, to feel hopeless, to feel anything you felt the second your partner told you it was over.
It’s way easier to just shove those sad feelings away. It’s way easier to just abandon them, to push them as far down into your soul as they’ll go and pretend they don’t exist until you convince yourself they really, truly have disappeared.
But they haven’t. No matter how stubbornly you force those feelings away in an attempt to bury them forever, they haven’t gone anywhere.
Still, you’ll try to suppress them. You refuse to give yourself permission to feel anything at all.
You might feel fine the moment you suppress your emotions, but that moment won’t last long because all of your feelings will find their way out eventually.
It doesn’t matter how much time you spent strategically hiding them, how much energy you spent ignoring them. Feelings will always release themselves.
And the only way to handle your breakup is to allow them to.
In order to get over someone, you have to allow yourself to feel all of the sad emotions that will inevitably plague you during the post-breakup period. You have to feel it all to heal it all.
You need to be honest with yourself about how you feel.
The post-breakup period is filled with some of the heaviest feelings you’ll ever experience in your life.
You’ll feel depressed and broken. You’ll feel desperate and forlorn. You’ll feel empty and hollow.
You’ll feel like your heart has been burnt to a crisp, and instead of pumping blood, it pumps bits of ashes throughout your bloodstream, darkening your thoughts and clouding them with despair, poisoning every crevice of your soul.
You might go through periods of not believing it’s actually over, of questioning reality, of trying to convince yourself this is temporary and you will get back together soon, all of which will make you feel like you’re bat sh*t insane.
But you absolutely must be honest with yourself about these feelings. You must admit you’re sad.
I know nobody likes to admit that. We live in a world in which vulnerability and emotions equal weakness, and it’s the norm to pretend everything in our lives is perfect — or, at least, to display our lives as perfect on social media.
Well, who cares what anyone else thinks about how you’re feeling?
This is your time to be selfish, to take care of yourself, to have your own back. Nobody is going to get you through the healing process but you.
You’re upset. You need to accept the fact that you’re upset.
You need to confront your demons.
You must be your own exorcist.
If you don’t confront the bad feelings once you acknowledge that they exist, your heart will force you to confront them.
Even worse, your heart will manifest the feelings in a variety of unrelated ways.
They will be uncovered from wherever you hid them and catapulted out of your body unexpectedly — at the bar after a few drinks, to a friend at whom you explode in anger, during work hours when you simply can’t find it in yourself to finish an assignment, in the form of anxiety and self-destruction and self-hatred.
If your feelings are trapped, and you refuse to let them out, they will let themselves out.
The best way to prevent all of this from happening is to confront the exact problem. To confront your breakup.
If you don’t, you’ll add a million other problems that you’ll have to address, which will only exacerbate your pain.
Face your breakup. You simply can’t fix what you don’t face.
You need to understand the quicker you deal with it, the quicker you can heal from it.
Once you face the breakup — the exact source of your pain — you need to let yourself feel sad about it.
Purge yourself of your emotions by writing in your journal, making a sad playlist, venting to a friend who will listen, walking alone in the rain, laying in your bed all day or doing anything else that lets your emotions completely and utterly devour you.
Trust that if you give yourself permission to sink this deeply whenever your emotions beg you to let them, you won’t want to do so all the time.
Over time, the need to purge will come less frequently, until one day, you’ll wake up and realize you haven’t done it in awhile.
But if the need comes around again — and, trust me, it will — don’t beat yourself up about it. Just purge. Purge until it’s all gone.
Throughout your healing time, you will purge in varying degrees.
You will do everything from eat a whole pint of ice cream and binge watch “The Bachelorette” for hours to letting yourself shed a single tear on your walk to class or work.
The most important thing is to listen to your emotions. They’re your guide on the healing process.
You need to learn you can’t appreciate the good unless you appreciate the bad.
If you want to know what it’s like to be happy, you have to know what it’s like to be sad.
If you spend your whole life avoiding sadness and simply riding the fleeting happiness you get from little moments in which life goes “your way,” you won’t experience true, unfettered happiness.
Life isn’t about getting your way all the time. Life isn’t about denying your suffering.
Life is about accepting what you can’t change, which is that you will feel really f*cking sad sometimes because that’s just a part of the complex experience of being a human being.
But there’s a silver lining.
If evolution has allowed us to feel this sad, this broken, this battered, imagine how happy it’s capable of making us feel.
Imagine how much happiness we’re destined for.
Dr. Bigelow: So you took a chance on being happy, even though you knew that later on you would be sad.
Dr. Bigelow: And now you’re sad.
Dr. Bigelow: So, what’s the problem?
Louie: I’m too sad. Look, I liked the feeling of being in love with her. I liked it. But now she’s gone, and I miss her, and it sucks. And I didn’t think it was going to be this bad, and I feel like, why even be happy if it’s just going to lead to this, you know? It wasn’t worth it.
Dr. Bigelow: You know, misery is wasted on the miserable.
Dr. Bigelow: You know, I’m not entirely sure what your name is, but you are a classic idiot. You think spending time with her, kissing her, having fun with her, you think that’s what it was all about? That was love?
Dr. Bigelow: THIS is love. Missing her, because she’s gone. Wanting to die. You’re so lucky. You’re like a walking poem. Would you rather be some kind of a fantasy? Some kind of a Disney ride? Is that what you want?
Don’t you see? This is the good part. This is what you’ve been digging for all this time.
Now you finally have it in your hand, this sweet nugget of love, sweet, sad love, and you want to throw it away. You’ve got it all wrong.
Louie: I thought this was the bad part.
Dr. Bigelow: No! The bad part is when you forget her, when you don’t care about her, when you don’t care about anything.
The bad part is coming, so enjoy the heartbreak while you can, for God’s sakes.
Pick up the dog poop, would you please? Lucky son of a bitch. I haven’t had my heart broken since Marilyn walked out on me, since I was 35 years old. What I would give to have that feeling again.
You know, I’m not really sure what your name is, but you may be the single most boring person I have ever met. No offense. Give me my dog. Come here. You…. don’t fall down.
— “Louie,” Season 4, Episode 10
By Alexia LaFata
Originally published at Elite Daily. Reprinted with permission.
Alexia LaFata is a Staff Writer at Elite Daily. She’s a proud New Jersey native and Boston College graduate. When she’s not writing, she’s watching documentaries, practicing her Cher impression, or eating pasta. Stalk her at alexialafata.com.