How to heal a broken heart
The feeling of hurt or being “broken hearted” seems like an inevitable part of life. It seems that when your significant other breaks up with you, or insults you, you will automatically feel hurt or a “broken heart”. This feeling is no fun at all. But, no matter how much you don’t want to feel it, and no matter how much you want to escape it, it often seems like an impossible task. It seems that the only thing which can dissolve your hurt is time. But, luckily, that’s not true… and there is a way to stop feeling hurt right now.
FYI: There are generally 2 elements of a “broken heart”: hurt and missing. This post is about how to stop feeling hurt, but if you would like to know how to stop missing someone, please click the following link: How To Stop Thinking About Someone
Why you think your “broken heart” was created by getting rejected
To understand how to heal a broken heart, you first need to understand what is creating your hurt. Well, it seems obvious that your broken heart is created by getting rejected or broken up with. But why do you think that? Because of 2 reasons:
- Everyone you have ever known in your life (including TV and movies) have said that rejection creates a broken heart.
- Since your feeling of being “broken hearted” or hurt begins immediately after the break-up or rejection, you naturally assume that your feeling was created by these words or events.
Why the rejection itself can’t be what’s creating your hurt
If you would like to see why any type of rejection can’t be what’s creating your hurt or “broken heart”, lets do a little exercise. Please take a moment to identify the comment (words) that you think have caused you to feel hurt or broken hearted. For instance, maybe your child said “you’re a terrible mother”, maybe your boyfriend told you “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you”, or maybe your parents told you “I am disappointed in you”. Please stop here for a moment to really locate the comment (words) that you think made you feel hurt. This exercise will only help if you take the time to engage with it.
In order to claim that a specific circumstance creates a specific experience, it must always create that same experience. For example, you could claim that a turned on light bulb creates light because every person that comes into contact with it will experience light. You could claim that a flame creates heat because when anyone comes into contact with a flame, they will experience heat.
What would happen if a stranger said “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you”?
Now, take a moment to imagine a very untrustworthy stranger. Imagine that you’re walking down the street and then this untrustworthy stranger approaches you in the street and says the same comment (words) to you as the person who you think made you feel hurt. For instance, imagine that the untrustworthy stranger said “I don’t want to be in a relationship with you.” How do you think you would feel? You probably wouldn’t feel much of an emotional reaction at all.
If the words themselves created your hurt, then when the stranger spoke those same words to you, you would also feel hurt. So why wouldn’t you feel hurt or broken hearted when the stranger said the same comment to you? It is simply because you wouldn’t believe their words to be true. If you don’t believe what the other person is saying to be true, their words can’t create emotions. Your hurt and “broken heart” can’t be created by what someone said to you, it can only be created by your belief that their words are true.
What creates your feeling of hurt when someone explicitly says something negative to you
Right after you got rejected, you seem to immediately feel hurt. But, something happens in between the rejection and your feeling of hurt.
When someone says something negative to you, you don’t just hear it, then focus on whatever is happening in the next moment. As soon as you hear the negative comment about you, you begin to unconsciously think that their opinion is true. Once you think that someone’s negative opinion about you is true, you feel hurt.
What creates your “broken heart” when you get rejected
When someone rejects you without saying anything negative about you, you will likely begin to immediately think 2 things. First, you decide what the other person thinks about you, and then you believe that their opinion must be right. In other words, you make an assumption about what they think about you, and then you form the conclusion that what they think must be true. Here are a few common examples:
- The assumption about what they think: “He thinks I’m not good enough”, “He thinks something is wrong with me”, or “He doesn’t think I am worthy of love”
- The conclusion that what they think must be true: “If he thinks I’m not good enough, then I must not be good enough”, “If he thinks something is wrong with me, there must be something wrong with me”, or “If he doesn’t think I am worthy of love, then I must not be worthy of love”
You may be aware of these thoughts or you may not be. But if you’re feeling hurt, they are there.
Once we believe these negative thoughts about ourselves, we are essentially worsening our opinion of ourselves. When our opinion of ourselves worsens, we experience the feeling of hurt or being broken hearted. (I won’t get into the details of why this creates hurt in this post).
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How to stop feeling hurt (how to heal a broken heart)
If you want to know how to heal a broken heart, or how to stop feeling hurt by someone else’s rejection, insult, or disapproval, here it is: All you need to do to heal a broken heart is recognize that you don’t actually know whether someone’s opinion about you is true. That just because they have a specific opinion about you, it doesn’t mean that their opinion is correct. It would seem obvious that we can’t know whether someone’s opinion is true, but we very easily lose sight of this as we go through life.
If our partner insults us or breaks up with us, we tend to think that there’s something “wrong” with us. If our boss insults us or fires us, we are likely to believe that we aren’t “good enough”. If our parents disapprove of us, we might believe that we’re unworthy or insufficient. In other words, when someone else believes that we aren’t “perfect”, we often believe them.
An analogy to help you see why rejection doesn’t mean that you aren’t “good enough”
To understand the flaw in this logic, let’s look at a quick analogy. Imagine you are with your four-year-old son as he plays one of his games at home. He has several wooden shapes that he is trying to place in matching holes on a wooden board. Now imagine that your son picks up a square shape and tries to put it in a triangle-shaped hole, and then says to you, “Mommy (or Daddy), the square isn’t good enough for this hole”. What would you say to him? Probably something like, “Sweetie, just because the square doesn’t fit, it doesn’t mean that the square isn’t good enough or that there is something wrong with it”.
The same is true with all of our relationships in life. If someone breaks up with you, fires you, or disapproves of you, that doesn’t mean that you are not “perfect”. That simply means you don’t fit their definition of “perfect”. To go back to the analogy, this means you don’t fit in the shape of their hole. Just because you don’t fit the shape of their hole, that doesn’t mean you aren’t “good enough” for them.
You can’t be “not good enough”
You can’t be “not good enough” and there can’t be something “wrong” with you because there is no such thing as “good enough” or “wrong”. These concepts don’t exist as facts. They only exists as thoughts in each person’s mind. But it’s not as though everyone has the same concept about what is “not good enough” and “perfect”. Each of us has completely different definitions of what we think is “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”, “helpful” and “harmful”, “beautiful” and “ugly”, “funny” and “boring”.
What one guy finds unattractive, another one may find attractive. What one girl thinks is annoying, another girl may love. What one boss believes is a “bad” trait, another boss may value. What one mom thinks is a ridiculous career choice, another mom may be proud of. What one dad may think is a disappointing house, another dad may be proud of.
Is one person’s definition of “right”, “good”, or “attractive” somehow more correct or more true than others’ definitions? If someone thinks one of our characteristics is “bad” or “not good enough”, this just means we fit that person’s concept of those words. It doesn’t mean we are these concepts.
How to heal a broken heart? Here is the exercise to do it
How to heal a broken heart… how to stop feeling hurt… all you need to do is ask yourself a few questions in order to help you discover that you aren’t “not good enough”. Here are some questions, but it is by no means an exhaustive list of questions. Take a moment now to ask yourself the following questions.
- Am I absolutely certain of why they broke up with me or rejected me? Is is possible that they broke up with me because of a different reason? If so, then can I be sure that they really have the negative opinion that I think they have about me?
- Am I absolutely sure that their opinion about me is true? Could someone else have a different perspective than theirs? If so, can I really be sure that their perspective is true?
- Is their opinion somehow more true than other people’s opinions? Is it true that just because I care about this person, or they spent a lot of time with me, that their opinion is somehow more valid than other people’s opinions?
- Am I sure that something about me isn’t “good enough”, or is it just that I happen to fit their specific definition of this word? If they don’t want to be in a relationship with me, am I sure that means that “there’s something wrong with me”, or does it just mean that we aren’t the right fit for each other? When two things don’t fit together, is one of them inherently “worse” and “not good enough”, or is it just not the right fit?
- Where does “something is wrong with me” or “I’m not good enough” exist? Can I locate it, touch it, pinpoint it, see it, hold it, show it to others? Does “not good enough” exist as a fact, or is it just a thought about a fact? If I can’t physically locate “wrong” or “not good enough”, then can I admit that these concepts only exists as thoughts in my mind? If so, can I admit that it’s not true that “I am not good enough” or “I have something wrong with me”, but rather that I just have a thought that says “I am not good enough” or “there is something wrong with me”?
- Can I think of any reasons or examples as to why the opposite of their opinion might be true? If so, then can I know with absolute certainty that their opinion about me is true?
There is nothing wrong with you
When you truly discover this for yourself, your broken heart will just dissolve.
Thank you for reading and engaging with this post about how to heal a broken heart! Please let me know how it went for you in the comments area or send me a message. Or, feel free to contact me if you want some extra support in your specific situation.