Ahh, heartbreak: it's almost inevitable, and it looks different for everyone.
Despite all the different ways someone can get their heart broken, the recovery cycle seems to follow a similar pattern:
1. The "I can't be alone; I need to be with someone" phase.
2. The "I started to date someone new, but I psyched myself out" phase.
3. The "I am going to stay single forever because love sucks" phase.
4. The "I think I'm ready to try again" phase.
Throughout this long and painful process, you learn so much about yourself and about life. You grow when your heart breaks.
Here are a few of those things you find while picking up and mending those pieces back together.
1. You are unbelievably strong.
You invested so much of yourself into someone else, and now that person is gone. Even though that is painful to recognize, please realize how incredibly strong you are for still getting up every single day and living your life. Maybe it's not perfect, maybe sometimes you feel cynical, but you're still here. That alone deserves an applause.
2. There are a lot of people who you've been missing out on spending time with.
Relationships take WORK. They take time, and they take a lot of it. When you were in a relationship, you probably spent most of your time with your significant other; consequently, you couldn't spend as much time with others. Whether you've been neglecting time with friends, family, or even yourself, go spend some quality time with those you're missing.
3. You are one step closer to finding the right one.
Even if you never want to fall in love again, think of it this way: Each relationship teaches you more about the qualities you want (and don't want) in the person you choose to spend forever with. Each relationship teaches you how you show your love to others, and what makes you feel loved. Each mistake helps you grow, and all the hurt reminds you to never settle for less than you deserve again.
4. Actually "getting over" someone is a lot different than you expect.
You're never going to feel the way you felt before you met the one who broke your heart. You were part of each other's lives, and there's no denying that. Your heart looks different now, but that doesn't mean it's still broken.
Imagine that each time you meet someone new, you give them a piece of your heart, and they give you a piece of theirs. From that point on, the way you love has something to do with the way they love or the way someone loved them before they met you.
The one you fell in love with had an impact on your life. The experience becomes part of your story, but it doesn't have to define who you are forever. Stop running from the hurt; learn from it, and grow from it.
5. Some things will always remind you of someone. That doesn't mean you haven't moved on.
There will be a song on the radio that takes you back to a summer drive. You will eat at the restaurant where you had your first date. You'll watch the movie you were watching the first time you kissed.
Just because you remember these times doesn't mean you're not over someone. It just means you have good memories with someone in your past. Moving on means you can smile and appreciate those times for what they "were" without wanting to go back to the one who hurt you.
Remember that just like times change, people change too. You will never be able to be the exact replicas of the happy couple ingrained in your memory; in fact, desperately trying to recreate that will probably do more harm than good.
6. The idea of ever falling in love again seems incredibly taxing.
Those who experience heartbreak all ask themselves this at one point or another: "If it hurts this much when it's over, why would I ever subject myself to falling in love again?"
Then, eventually, you realize something.
You wonder what it will feel like to have someone who doesn't give up on you, someone who is always there to listen, and someone who cheers you on every single day. You imagine what it will be like to fall in love with someone who understands what it means to work hard for what you care about, to talk through the hard times, and to be transparent with you no matter what.
Sure, there's a risk, but there's also a reward. You have to decide what risks you're willing to take. Life gets awfully lonely when you go through it all by yourself.
7. Love doesn't look the same each time you fall again.
After your first love breaks your heart, it's hard to realize that the next time you fall in love with someone, it won't feel the exact same.
It does feel different, though, and that's because people are different. Maybe you fell in love with someone's sense of humor the first time, but the next person you're interested in has a kind heart. Maybe you liked a guitar player, but then you fell for an athlete.
Maybe you fell in love the first time because that person made your heart skip a beat and gave you butterflies when you were near each other. Then, the next time you fell in love, it was because someone made your heart feel safe and being in each other's presence made you feel at home. Maybe the first person you fell in love with gave you a rush, but the next person gave you trust.
No two people are the exact same, so it makes sense that way you feel for them will be different. Remember that just because the feeling is different, doesn't mean it isn't love.
8. Kind hearts break hearts, too.
Maybe your significant other cheated on you, abused you, or took you for granted.
Or, maybe none of those things happened. Maybe the person you fell in love with was incredibly wonderful in almost every way. Maybe you thought the relationship was next to perfect, and you don't understand why things had to end.
That's when you need to realize that something doesn't necessarily have to go wrong for a relationship to end. If you think there always has to be some dramatic and traumatizing event for two people to grow apart, then you're going to end up blaming yourself for the relationship ending when you did nothing wrong. People just decide what they choose to invest in and choose where to put their priorities.
If your relationship wasn't your significant other's priority, that doesn't mean that you are not worthy of being a priority. We are all human, and all of us have hurt people we never intended on hurting. You can't force someone to feel a certain way, no matter how much you try.
9. Someone, someday, is going to appreciate all you do like never before.
You did SO much for the wrong person. Imagine what you'll do for the right one. That person will feel beyond lucky and make sure you know that.
10. You loved someone.
You opened up your heart to someone. You devoted yourself to someone else. You cared for someone on such a deep level. You made memories. You were someone's accountability partner, shoulder to cry on, advice giver, and best friend. You were there for someone, at some point, more than anyone else was. YOU. DID. THAT.
That's pretty amazing that your heart is capable of that.
Don't let your heart become hardened after heartbreak. Don't let your hurt define you. Let it teach you how to love better each time you choose to try again. Give away love like you're made of it, but remember what you deserve.
Refusing to let yourself love will hurt just as much as heartbreak does. You don't have to feel the loneliness you feel now forever.