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7 Ways to Mend a Broken Heart

The healing process opens your heart to love again.

Key points

  • There's no getting around the healing process for a broken heart. There are no shortcuts.
  • Gaining valuable insight into who you are as a person and how you engage with a significant other is essential for a future long-term relationship.
  • A broken heart can and will heal in time.

The heart is the seat of emotion. The heart is the symbol of love. Our language is full of words and terms that tie the heart to love, or the opposite. You’re all familiar with the term heartthrob, someone who makes your heart beat fast. Or, with one’s heart desire. Or, a sweetheart, a term for one’s darling. Or, warm-hearted, or heartfelt, or, wholeheartedly, terms that imply caring and warmth of feeling.

Then, of course, we’re all very familiar with the opposite. Heartbroken, is often depicted as a heart jaggedly broken into two halves. Similarly, heartache or being heartsick both imply a sort of “disease” where the heart suffers harm from the loss of love.

Many of us have experienced falling in love as well as having our hearts broken. And I guess that at one time in history there was an actual tie of loss of love with a physical expression, meaning that the circulatory system suffered a blow that debilitated the one suffering the loss. So, one whose heart was broken pined for their lost love, fell into sorrow, and felt faint of heart as they mourned their loss.

It’s very safe to say that having one’s heart broken is probably one of the worst experiences of life aside from actual death. In fact, it may feel like a death and as such should be given very careful consideration and treated with great care and tenderness. The sense of being without one’s love is a feeling that encompasses loneliness, despair, and a real sense of being lost.

The good news is that in most instances the heart eventually heals — if you allow it to. It’s essential to allow it to heal because if you don’t allow the healing process to work its magic, you will be left down-hearted and unable to carry on with life in its natural flow. It may take a long time to recover, but there’s no timetable for healing and ultimately, having a whole heart again is completely worth it.

So, here are seven ways to help you mend your broken heart.

Go through the process of loss.

This may take some time. Give yourself the opportunity to process all that has happened to you and every emotion you have experienced. Having your heartstrings, which have been shared with another, severed is traumatic. It literally hurts as if you’ve been physically injured. Don’t try to bypass this process by just jumping back into life, or sleeping all day, or taking drugs and/or alcohol to numb the pain. The hurt will still be there and inevitably, you will have to deal with it somewhere down the line.


This may sound like it belongs as part of the process of loss, and it is. But it is also very uniquely different from all of the other emotions you will feel. Grief is the sorrow you will feel as a result of loss, of a death of a relationship, of what was once but is no longer meant to be. It’s a process of mourning for something you once had which has become part of you. It’s as if a part of you has been cut away. Grief, unacknowledged and unexpressed, may come back to haunt you in many ways — ongoing sadness and depression, bitterness about something taken from you, and an inability to get on with life and loving again.

Don’t rush into anything.

Take your time getting used to the loss and to being alone. Don’t try to fill yourself up or make yourself feel better with other relationships. Try not to focus on the relationship you’ve lost. Don’t obsess over what should have happened but didn’t. Don’t fantasize about getting back together if the relationship is truly over. Don’t be reckless about your life. Don’t rush to get it over with; rather take it day by day. Without thinking things fully through, you may miss the message and the lessons to be learned. As with any death, do nothing of significance for a while until you can sort through and process what has happened.

Get your life back in order.

In other words, take care of your personal affairs. Aside from the breakup where one is physically gone, there are all the things you may have shared together—a home, friends, possessions (furniture, etc.), pets, organizations, and social groups you belonged to together. These will need to be separated. You will need to find a new place for yourself that’s yours alone; a place where you can start fresh and unencumbered by the past.

Create a self-inventory.

How well do you know yourself? Do you know what you really need/want? Have you been in a relationship that you would consider successful (even if it didn’t last)? Do you really know the person you fell in love with? Do you understand why you want to be in a long-term relationship? Did you see the breakup coming? In looking back, were there clues/hints that something was not going well? The point is to get to know yourself first and foremost before you even embark on getting to know someone else.

You also need to get your confidence and self-esteem back on track. What are your strengths, gifts, and talents? Get to know what these are again before you move into another significant relationship. Really get to know what you deserve to have.

Learn how to be alone again.

You need time to understand what happened in the relationship, why it didn’t last and that takes time alone, without distraction. You need the time to become as honest about the person you chose in order to gain insights so that the next relationship is a better one. Did you go into the relationship with eyes wide open or did you just fall into it and kept on going? Did this person fill a void/a gap in your life? Have you ever been truly alone on your own or have you always found someone so that you wouldn’t be alone? Be alone to remember and/or get to know who you are without anyone else, on your own terms.

Take care of yourself daily.

Get up, brush your teeth, take a shower, feed yourself, go for a walk. Don’t succumb to the temptation of feeling sorry for yourself. By getting up every day and establishing a routine, you’re messaging yourself that you’re worth it. Be aware that the feeling of sadness can lead to depression and/or anxiety because of feeling lost on your own. The more you actively engage in life the faster you may gain a sense that life goes on and is definitely worth living.

And, one day, if you care for yourself and what happens to you and strive to be happy whether there’s someone in your life or not, chances are you’ll find love again.

More from Abigail Brenner M.D.
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