The phone drops. You bury your face in your hands and the tears roll down your cheeks. It’s over and sweet things just don’t taste the same anymore. Why? The season finale of “This is Us” just aired!
All joking aside, has anyone else had their heart broken and wondered, “What the heck am I supposed to do now?” I’ve got you! As someone who has had her heart broken and lived to tell the story, I’m here to tell you that despite what you feel, your life isn’t over. I’m also here to say that there are healthier ways of dealing with our break-ups than Facebook stalking and glaring at every possible threat or conniving with fellow ex-girlfriends to bring about the demise of our own John Tucker. There is a better way, ladies. Let’s talk this out.
Respond, don’t react. Whether it ended because you were out of line, he was a jerk, or you really weren’t two peas in a pod like you had hoped, none of that has to dictate how you respond. Here I emphasize responding instead of reacting. A reaction is what happens when the doctor hits your knee and your foot pops up—a “knee-jerk reaction”. A response is what we want: to be able to take in the information, assimilate it, and then through actions or words convey your feelings while still maintaining respect for yourself and the other. When someone breaks up with you or you find yourself heartbroken, how you respond tells so much about who you are.
Avoid detraction. I went through a heartbreak recently and friends tried to encourage me by saying things like, “he’s dumb”, “he didn’t deserve you anyway”, “you were too good for him”, etc. But none of that sat right with me because he was genuinely a good guy and didn’t hurt me in any way (besides by being honest). So though our almost natural defense mechanism in this situation is to try to put the person’s character down in order to not find consolation in the memory of him, this is not the healthy way to go. Why? Because first of all, sometimes it’s just not true! Not all break-ups have to do with a cheating or manipulative man. Some break-ups have to do with men who were respectful and good to us. But whether the man was a sweetheart or a jerk, the second reason to avoid detraction is because it actually does more harm to you. You become bitter while he’s straight up chillin’, sippin’ his tea, so to speak, completely unmoved by your posts on Facebook that are obviously intended for him. You are making yourself look like a fool, not him.
Don’t be too quick to move on. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a rebound text? It sucks. Yet, sometimes we women are so quick to do the same. We reach out to our exes or certain guy friends that we think might be able to distract us in our heartbreak. We send out flirtatious texts, have inappropriate conversations, or force ourselves on another man, desperately seeking any form of attention in order to feel attractive, wanted, or understood. That’s not going to help your heartbreak; it’ll make it worse. Put simply: allow time for grieving, don’t look for a rebound, and practice emotional chastity with your male friends.
Stop trying to impress them. Social media can cause a lot of problems in the aftermath of a break up. People will notice you took down the pictures, no longer post about him, or are angrily venting about the male race. But some women also resort to social media in order to try to impress their ex and make them believe they’ve moved on. Come on ladies, we’re better than that. I think the following is a good rule of thumb for life, not just for after break ups: don’t post just to show off.
I have personally experienced the power of binging on chocolate and hilarious YouTube videos with friends and absolutely stand behind the importance of girlfriend time after a break up (especially, being able to unburden your heart with a few close girlfriends whose advice you trust). Going out and enjoying a good time with friends to get your mind off of the situation can add a lot to your healing process during your heartbreak. However, I strongly suggest we check our heart and intentions before posting these things on social media as a form of spite or to show we’ve moved on. If we’re trying to get over someone, we should begin by worrying less about what they think of us—and whether or not they watch our Insta-story or double tap our post.
Take “Killing me softly” off repeat, please. Perusing old messages between your former lover and yourself is like singing the Fugees’ hit and re-enacting it at the same time. If you still have their old messages on your phone, do me a favor: pick up your phone, find their chat/messages, and swipe left. Deleting these messages allows you to be free from the constant temptation and recurring desire to go back, to reminisce, and to feed your memories of him—and don’t forget to delete the pictures while you’re at it! After a break-up, this is not what you need. Let it go.
Starve the lies. As women, we often put ourselves down and compare ourselves to other women. After a break up, self-deprecation may be our go-to. We begin to think that maybe he would have stayed around, “If only I was prettier, better, funnier, sexier, less ‘Churchy’, cooler”—you name it, the list goes on. But that’s just not the case. If he couldn’t see your goodness, as you are, without trying to change you or make you something you’re not, then keep it movin’. It’s better that way. You want to date (and marry) someone that is willing to carve out from your heart every day the lie that you have so often believed. But don’t make him do all the hard work! Help a brother out. Begin today by drowning out within yourself that voice that taunts, “You are not enough”. The truth is you, woman, are wonderfully made and uniquely sculpted.
Believe that you are worthy. You deserve love and to be the object of someone’s love; that’s what you were created for. So just because it didn’t work out with this guy doesn’t mean you will never find “the one”. We often tell ourselves, “No one else can love me like he did” or “I won’t find anyone else”. That can’t be farther from the truth. Look at your life. How many people make you smile, cherish you, and love you well? I pray the answer is many because that’s what you deserve. But in case no one has told you recently…
You, dear one, are beloved.
Despite your past or what you believe about yourself,
you are worthy.
You are worth someone giving his life for you and loving you well, day in and day out, and seeing your beauty even when you don’t. As you navigate the complexities of your particular experience, I hope that the points I’ve written here can help you in dealing with your heartbreak in a healthy way. Heartbreak doesn’t heal with a quick fix. Heartbreak heals with time, truth, and courage—the courage to take the risk to love again.
Rocio Perez is currently a nanny in NYC. She has worked as a missionary in Ethiopia for two years. Prior to this experience, she lived in a discernment house called Casa Guadalupe and served in the chastity ministry, Corazon Puro, as well as other groups within the Catholic Church. Rocio considers herself indebted to John Paul II and hopes to spend the rest of her life sharing the Good News of the Theology of the Body. She loves to dance and enjoys good chocolate and bold sunsets.
Image by: Amauris Hernandez (https://www.amaurishernandez.com/)