How to heal a broken heart.

il_570xN.433732644_hlyp (1)I wasn’t going to write about affairs of the heart in this post but the recurring theme in many of my messages this week concerns broken hearts. Anyone who has gone through or is going through the trauma of a broken heart knows that the pain can be unlike any other. It can feel like the agony is never going to end. So how do you heal a broken heart?

We will all experience the end of a special relationship at some point in our lives, whether it’s by death, divorce or other break-up. But you can also have your heart broken by someone who you are currently connected to or want to be with. Whatever the circumstances, the fact that the love you need is missing from your life can keep you trapped in anguish. No matter how you try to hide your hurt from the outside world, you carry your broken heart within you, where ever you go.

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Hippocrates

Whether it’s emotional or physical injury, time can be a great healer. However when it comes to a broken heart, the passing of days can dull the ache a little, but time itself cannot restore you to happiness.

In fact no-one and nothing can mend the wound for you, it is something you have to do for yourself. Good friends can listen and comfort, family can empathise and nurture you. But no-one can heal your heart. How could they? How can they ever reach the depths of your frustration, your fears, your loneliness, your despair?

“All healing is first a healing of the heart.” – Carl Townsend

It’s only when you believe you can heal and you want to move on that the true recovery can begin. Initially you may try to manage the damage with things that gratify you.  Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work  all can help fill the void, numb the pain, and distract you. Yet temporary respite fades and the reality of your raw and vulnerable soul reappears.

When my mother abandoned me as a child it felt like she had taken a piece of my heart with her. Then my father ripped the rest to shreds through his abuse. By the time I reached adulthood I all had were fragments that I sought to protect in the hope that one day someone would love me enough to help me rebuild my brokenness. And along came my first love.

Who doesn’t remember their first love? The passion, intensity and promise of that relationship is what made it so special. But for me it was the fact that someone actually loved me that made me want to hold on to it forever. Of course, it didn’t and when the painful ending arrived it was excruciating.

The loss of my first love reinforced the rejection and worthlessness that I had experienced all my life. It reminded me of the words that had been spoken over me as a child that I was unwanted and unlovable. It made me believe that I would always be discarded and alone. So I put a barrier around the fractured remains of my heart and vowed never to let anyone hurt me ever again.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

When you reach those dark depths of despair that a broken heart brings, it can feel safer to barricade yourself against the world and hide your true feelings, rather than allow yourself to heal. But heal you must because the alternative is to spend the rest of your life trapped in a mental cocoon of distrust and anger, loneliness and grief.

Emotional restoration takes time and courage. And it demands that you use the very entity that wounded you to heal you – love. It starts with giving yourself permission to love yourself unconditionally and in doing so finding forgiveness for yourself and others.

In the beginning I found this almost impossible to even contemplate. The fear of being hurt again was almost overwhelming, but I took my fragile heart and trusted in a faith that healed through unconditional love. It was a process of tears and time, but eventually the wounds were less tender and the sorrow  less severe.

Once the scars formed I was able to move onto what was for me the hardest part – letting go. You have to be able to release yourself from  whoever caused you so much suffering. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting the love you had or dishonouring the memory of a special individual. It does mean accepting that the past is over and can’t be changed.

il_570xN.433008725_hwpuThrough faith I was able trust in the knowledge that season of my life had come to an end and a new beginning awaited. Through love I was able to celebrate my self-worth and reach out to others.

All this and more came from a courage to heal. The courage to heal a broken-heart.

Images thanks to the fabulous talent of Kathleen Tennant at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KathleenTennant

128 thoughts on “How to heal a broken heart.

  1. i am so heartbroken right now..
    It all started by cheating on me one year ago and got that girl pregnant but he did not tell me about the pregnancy when i discovered the truth..he apologized and begged for my forgiveness until i forgave him and continued with the rlationship for another one year(still keeping the secret about the pregnancy) to me until 3months ago he decided to reveal it to me..and is after the baby was born and is now six months old..I was astonished! why would he hide such a secret away from? he said he did not want to lose me..i cldn’t believe he can do that to me..i mean after dating for 4 yrs since highschool and being my first love was too much to handle..and the worst is that he wanted to be with both of us(me and his baby mother) saying he loved us both..i was crushed after hearing those words..he always told me i was the love of his life and now this?..I decided to breakup with him and walked away feeling ashamed,lost,miserable and betrayed..and it happened b4 my 21st birthday..hurts

    • Hi Caroline, So sorry that you are feeling so heartbroken. You invested such a lot into the relationship and trusted that he would return that love. Instead he has lied and cheated, so it’s no wonder that you feel so miserable and betrayed. The fact that he cheated on you in the first place is a huge alarm bell as to his commitment, but then he went even further into the deception by hiding his child from you. It makes it impossible for you to trust him and without trust there is no basis for a relationship. He really has treated you very badly by abusing your trust and taking advantage of your forgiveness. He does not deserve you and you deserve so much better. You deserve someone who will give you the same amount of love, commitment and respect that you give them. You are a caring and precious individual who has a right to honesty and integrity in a relationship. You were given none of these things from this guy. And to be totally honest with you, it would only have got worse. If he hid another relationship from you and hid being the father of a child from you, what else hasn’t he told you?
      I know it feels horrible at the moment, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. You loved someone and they messed up. Not you.
      Surround yourself with people who love you and can help you through this difficult time. This is the end of a bad relationship and now you can look forward to a new love in your life. A love that will be so much better than you dreamed. But in the mean time, make a decision to enjoy being unattached. You have been part of a couple for a long time, so now is a great opportunity to go and do all those things that you want to do, see and achieve. You don’t have to check it out with your other-half first, just go ahead and have some fun.
      When the pain hits hard, remind yourself that you are loved. You are beautiful. You are special. And you are going to enjoy the next season in your life.
      Take care. x

      • thankyou so much Carolyn for your advice i really appreciate it. I know i deserve someone better who will truely love me without deceiving me..But tell me can someone fall in love again even after going through such a heartbreak? am scared i might not love like this again.

      • Hi Caroline,
        How I wish I could give you a great big hug right now and reassure you that everything will be alright. I know it is hard to believe that when your heart is breaking , and it’s natural to have doubts. Your emotional barriers are up right now to help you manage the wounds. Be gentle with yourself and know that you will heal. Yes it will take a little time, but gradually you will feel strong enough to reach out and risk loving and being loved again. And because you have been through this tough time, you will be wiser and clearer about what you want and what you deserve. So yes you can fall in love again. You have so much love to give. Just not right now. xx

  2. Hello Carolyn, your words reached my soul so much. Right now I am going through one of the darkest times I have been in a long time…

    I was basically put, cheated on by my first love. He wasn’t my first boyfriend, I’ve dated many guys but he is the one guy I put my heart down for. I gave so much, I was basically a wife, I loved so much, and I feel so angry… So much resentment… So many words said he never kept. I am only 17, but this love was so real. But in his case, he has never been with anybody except for me, we we’re together for 3 years. I’m a strong enough lady to know when to fight, and when to walk away- and what I did was no contact. I continued on with my life, but it still hurts so much and it’s only been two months since he broke up with me. In the beginning, I asked God often to please give him back to me… Then as time went on, I realized and I am still trying to believe God has better plans for me, and to see the new door instead of the old door, but I feel so weak… I feel like I can never love again, I feel like I can’t find anybody, I feel so embarrassed.

    • Hello Crystal. So sorry that you are going through such heartbreak. You clearly loved your guy very much and that is why it hurts so desperately even after 2 months. Because the more love you invest, the more hurt you feel when it’s over. But you have so much more love to give and believe me when I say that God does indeed have a better plan for you. And the plan includes a love that will be so much deeper than before because they will love you as much as you love them. You deserve that.
      Be kind to yourself Crystal. You have NOTHING to be embarrassed about. Hold on to your faith that God has closed the door to that relationship to save you even greater heartache in the future. God only wants the best for you, not a cheater. The hard part now is waiting for that new door to open. It will open when you are ready to love again. In the meantime let Him comfort and heal you.
      Embrace who you are and learn to enjoy the freedom that comes with being unattached. You have been in a relationship for 3 years, it’s ‘You’ time now.
      Surround yourself with those who can care and nurture you while you are feeling raw, and soon you will learn to laugh and love again.
      Take care. xx

  3. I am so grateful to have found this message that hit exactly in my heart. My husband of 15 yrs told me two months ago he no longer wants a marriage – it hit me out of the blue. I had no idea we even had any problems – he never said a thing. I can’t sleep or eat and I’m not even functioning, it’s like I can’t think. He just wants to work and play his computer games, killing zombies. That game has been his life, more than me, for the past few years. I am in so much pain I’m breathing but I can’t take a breath, if that makes any sense. Part of it, too, is that I am 61. I’m scared to my bones on what will happen with me. I have fibro & some other health issues so I can’t work. I’m scared what will happen to me. I cry all the time and wake up from the little sleep I get actually crying. This man that has been good to me is now so cold and that hurts like hell. Thank you for listening.

    • Hi Debbie,
      I’m so glad that you found words that you can relate to. So sorry that you are suffering so much pain. Your description of breathing but not being able to take a breath makes a lot of sense and I’m sure that much of your physical pain is a result of the mental anguish that you are experiencing at the moment. You obviously care for your husband greatly and having no idea that he no longer wanted to be married was a huge shock. And you also describe the fear of the future – that can be overwhelming too. His preoccupation with gaming does sound like avoiding whatever issues are going on for him, and he needs to be willing to open up to reality. And of course you also need to make some decisions for yourself. I’m going to email you with some suggestions on a more personal level. In the meantime, take care and be kind to yourself.

  4. I am going through such a difficult time in my life right now. I am a 28 year old male and my gf of almost a year broke up with me pretty much out of the blue. She said we have different styles of communication and are different people. Yes, we had our differences but I didn’t feel like they were major things. She said I was so good to her but she’s independent and doesn’t need to be looked after and that she’s not good for me. The break up has just completely devastated me. I feel like there is no hope, no future, and nothing to look forward to. Her memory haunts me wherever i go and whatever I do. I loved this girl to the moon and back and did everything for her. I was so proud of the way I treated her and how I took care of her. I gave our relationship 110% effort daily. It just kills me to see this happen. At an age where all my friends are married and are having children, I feel like such a failure. My self esteem is at an all time low. What is so wrong with me that I can’t find my one true love 😦

    I have been having trouble eating and sleeping and feel like my life is in a downward tailspin. I try to look for positive things but it’s really hard. I spent 4 yrs on the girl before this and then it took me 3 yrs to find this one. I’m so scared of being alone. I feel like it’s an impossibility to find someone new based on my profession and where I live. And the thought of putting myself back out there absolutely terrifies me. My heart has been absolutely broken.

    • So sorry that you are hurting so badly Eric. You clearly loved this girl and it is because you invested so much that you hurt so badly now. It’s in the immediate aftermath of a break-up that you feel so raw and vulnerable, especially as it is something that you didn’t want. No surprise then that you are finding it so hard to eat or sleep properly when your emotions are so strong.
      First of all I would stop thinking about ‘putting yourself back out there’. Of course it terrifies you. Because you are not ready to think about moving forward until you have completely let go of the last relationship. That takes time.
      I have no doubt that you will find your one true love. You have proved already that you are caring and committed. So many men are not able to offer that, so you have huge positive qualities. You deserve someone who can love you in the same way that you love, so don’t jump into a relationship because you feel under pressure to be like your married friends. Give yourself time and space to adjust to being single for a while and learn to love your own company and be your own person.
      I realise that you may find it hard at first to be single, but being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. Take this chance to pursue some dreams that you couldn’t do when you were part of a couple; enjoy the freedom to be able to do what you want without having to consider someone else; spend some time developing your spiritual side. This isn’t the end of your life, it’s an end to a season and you hurt. So surround yourself with those who care for you and can give you some support while you move through the transition of an ending into a new beginning. There is so much to live for and so much love waiting for you.
      Take care. x

  5. My heart has been destroyed. I let someone manipulate me time and time again. I feel ashame n hurt. I cry n cry and im tired of crying. I have a huge heart and I am so tired of being mistreated and taken for granted. I pray that God will give me strength to move forward and learn to love and become happy like I once was before. Please keep me in your prayers.

    • So sorry that you are suffering from such heartbreak and I will of course keep you in your prayers. My prayers will be that you will continue to stay close to God and that you will allow the healing to begin. Firstly, that shame you feel comes from your vulnerability. You allowed someone to mistreat and hurt you in the belief that they loved you. You have done nothing wrong other than trust someone who couldn’t be trusted. He has let you down. He has caused you pain.
      Let go of the relationship that you thought you had. That season of your life is over and now a new season awaits. Don’t look back and don’t regret what could have been. Start to focus on what will be. Surround yourself with those that love you for who you are and take time to rediscover the happy and lovable you. You deserve so much more and if you allow God to guide you, He will lead you to something and someone more wonderful than you could ever have dreamt. xx

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