Posted in Psychology on July 10, 2014
Last modified on September 23rd, 2015
How to Heal a Broken Heart: 10 Ways to Recover from Rejection
At some point in your life you are going to experience the end of a relationship. But when the choice was not yours, a broken heart can be overwhelming. Here are 10 suggestions to help you let go and move on:
#1 Release your emotions.
Whether it’s rage or disbelief, rejection can result in a wide range of intense emotions. Numbing through substance misuse may appear to bring short-term relief but in the long-term it serves only to suppress, resulting in psychological problems later on. So it’s important to allow your unconscious thoughts to surface and for your conscious feelings to be released.
#2 Be real.
The more you invested in the relationship, the deeper the pain and the harder it will be to accept it has come to an end. Denial can be a façade that tries to persuade you the relationship isn’t finished and give you the false hope of reconciliation. Yet the sooner you are able to face the truth, the sooner you can begin to heal.
#3 Avoid the blame game.
In the aftermath of rejection, it’s tempting to play the blame game. “If only they hadn’t done that. If only that other person had stayed away. If only they hadn’t interfered.” It’s natural to want to know why a relationship ended, but trying to make other people responsible can reinforce your feelings of betrayal. Similarly, you may find you are holding yourself responsible. “I should have done that. It’s my fault.” Blaming won’t change the fact that the relationship is over. Your choice now is how you move on from here.
#4 Never say never.
Rejection can be heart-wrenching and leave you feeling so dejected that you decide to never trust or love someone again. Those emotional walls you put up to protect yourself from future harm are also the walls that will isolate. Don’t allow the painful events of your past to destroy your happiness in the future.
#5 An ending is a new beginning.
Deciding to let go of what you had before and choosing to focus on where you are today can help manage those overwhelming feelings that define a broken heart. Stop chasing the love you thought you had or the love that could have been and open the door to a fresh new start.
#6 Look after yourself.
The end of a relationship can be a significant life event, so it’s vital to look after yourself when you are feeling raw and sensitive. Connect with others and maintain a routine of eating healthy, exercising regularly and resting properly. These may be the last things you feel like doing, but they will aid your sense of well-being and prevent you from choosing self-destructive options.
#7 Practice self-compassion.
Possibly the most damaging impact of rejection is its ability to make you feel unloved and unlovable. What you need now is some self-compassion. Neff says that “Self-compassion is what you’d show a loved one struggling with a similar situation.” So allow yourself to be vulnerable, give yourself the time you need, and be gentle with yourself.
#8 Accept that you are good enough.
When someone else has decided that you are no longer required in their life, it can be easy to think negatively about yourself. But whatever qualities you showed in the past you can still show today. Don’t allow someone else’s actions and words steal your self-worth or cause you to reject yourself. Your broken heart will heal a lot quicker when you declare that you are good enough.
#9 Enjoy being single.
One of the greatest benefits of being single is the freedom to be yourself. No longer having to make the compromises required in a relationship, you can learn to enjoy making your own decisions and pursuing your own passions in life. And remember that alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. When you learn to love your own company, you will find that others will love your company too.
#10 Learn from your past.
Make a decision to stop looking at what went wrong and instead cherish the good memories. Your heart is broken because you are no longer part of something that was special and unique. For whatever reason that season is over, but through your brokenness you can emerge stronger and wiser than before.
Carl Townsend said that “All healing is first a healing of the heart.” And healing takes not just time but also empathy, compassion and courage. A broken heart doesn’t have to mean a broken life. But if you continue to struggle with the issues of rejection, seek counselling to guide you away from your past and into your future. For it’s there that your new life and new love waits.
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