There are lots of titles I could have used for this post, like ‘Why You Should Never Give Everything You Are To One Person’ or ‘How To Know Everything Is Going To Be Okay’, but I settled for the above because it’s a nice summary.
A broken heart doesn’t have to be caused by a failed relationship. We’re talking about anything that crushes your spirit and eats away at who you are. Sure, crappy exs can do it, but you could be reading this right now because you didn’t get the job you applied for, or you’ve told your family and friends something they didn’t know about you and you feel alone, or you’re just exhausted of constantly feeling like you’re fighting to just get by.
I’ve always seen my heart as an ever-growing, completely shattered object. Hang on, don’t worry – I don’t mean that I’m a broken person. I have purposefully shattered my heart into an infinite number of pieces. This metaphor will make sense in a second, stay with me.
I see every relationship I have, every person I interact with as someone who I’ve given a piece of me (or my heart) to. I’m hoping you will do the same. However, in order for this to work, you’re going to need to keep the very core of your heart with you. This piece is who you are as a person. This piece is everything you’re about. It’s important for the fixing-a-broken-heart thing that I’m promising to help you with.
The biggest chunk can be given away to the most important person to you – your partner, your mother, your best friend – anyone. As much as you would like to be tempted to give this person absolutely all of your heart – don’t. This will only end badly. You need to save some, because this whole mending-the-crater-where-your-heart-was thing is going to need those other pieces. Feel like you’ve already given your entire heart away? Don’t worry. We all keep a tiny bit of our heart with us at all times. You’re just going to have to dig around for it a little. You can do it.
The other pieces – the most important part of all of this – need to be given to other people and other things. Give some to each of your friends. You can choose how much you give them, but be generous. You’ll thank me for it. Sometimes you’ll lose touch with friends, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to take that piece of you back, but I recommend you keep it with them. It’s amazing the kind of healing you can do from an old piece of heart. Your friends will be your safety blanket. Since we’ve now decided that our hearts are infinitely growing, you’ll never have to worry about running out. Keep giving pieces away.
Give some to your family, and be patient. You don’t get to choose most of your family members, but you can choose patience and kindness (if you need to learn about patience, I recommend you read this story of patience). I get it, our families can be rubbish most of the time. The trade-off here is that, generally speaking, you will be able to find a semi-unconditional love here. It means the pieces you’re giving away are going to be reliably called upon when you least expect.
Give some to your colleagues, be it at work or school. These pieces are important to give out because most of us spend most of our time with these people. Sure, you may not want to give them pieces close to the core, but give them some nonetheless. When the waves of pain keep rolling in after the major shock, you’re probably going to be surrounded by these people (you can’t keep running forever. Sometimes you just have to get back into your daily life). The more comfortable you are with giving away pieces, the easier it’ll be to sew everything back together.
I want you to make sure you’re giving pieces away, just teeny tiny ones, to strangers you come across day to day. Sometimes you have an awesome chat with someone waiting at an airport terminal. You’ll never remember their name, but y’all have just shared something and that something is valuable. You’ll find a stranger in the street smiling at you before you smile at them. Even those people you share awkward half smiles with can get a piece. Tiny, like I said, but give them some. You’ll never know when the kindness of strangers is going to be needed, and when you’re hurting like you are now, you’re going to need all the love returned as you can get.
Finally, dish out some heart pieces to the things you’re passionate about. A charity. Gardening. Writing. Music. Learning – all of it. Give away pieces to all your passions. These pieces are going to be the ones you can control the most and aren’t dependant on anyone else but you. Sometimes you just need control, and on those days, you’ll thank me for reminding you to invest a little lovin’.
Now that you’ve smashed up your heart, we’re going to fix you. You know that person or thing that hurt you? They obviously owned a huge chunk of your heart. BURN IT. You don’t need it. Forget it, it doesn’t exist. We’re going to build you a new heart, and we’re going to do it with all those pieces you gave away.
Start with your core. This is going to be your foundation to build on. Take the time to remember who and what you are. Has the heart-breaker changed you, made you stray from what you wanted to be as a person? It’s okay, this piece of you is still there. Hold on to it. It may be feeling weak, but it’s going to get support. Deep breaths now.
Call upon your friends and family. They’ve all got chunks of your heart – you’ve let them have pieces of you. Call the pieces back, rely on them. Don’t be shy in asking or accepting help. They want to come and stay with you? Let them. They want to cook and clean for you? That’s okay, let them. They want to hang out with you and cry with you? Excellent! The more pieces you allow back in, the less you’re going to miss that bigger chunk that has just dissolved away. These people are going to help you get better, they’re going to mend you. They are going to bring those massive pieces of your heart back and help you fuse them together. They’re going to help you breathe better. Just let them. You gave them a piece of you for a reason, remember it and cherish it.
You’ve still got massive holes in your heart, I know. Your colleagues and acquaintances are going to help you here. Call back their pieces. Let your boss know that you’re struggling – at the very least, they’ll appreciate the honesty and be able to make up for where you’re not performing 100%. It’s okay, that’s part of their job. I mean, that’s why you’ve given them a piece of you. You’ve invested in them, they’re going to invest in you now. Your colleagues might ask you what’s up. Look, I know it’s hard. You don’t want to be seen as a weakling – you’re not. You’re human. Let them know, let them offer their pieces of your heart back. Remember, we’re healing now. We’re going to need as many pieces as possible and the best thing is that these ones are going to come in waves that match the grief. Embrace them.
It’s getting better, isn’t it? You’re going to need those pieces of your heart that you gave to your hobbies. These are going to be the ones that you’ll use to distract your mind when it tries to take you back to the bad memories. Every now and then your mind will forget that you’re trying to heal and don’t need its crap. When that happens, hold on to something you love doing. Go and donate your time to a worthy cause. Learn to play a new song on your guitar. Catch up on the reading you haven’t done since the thing that hurt you appeared. Pick up a new skill, a new hobby. You’ve got a lot of the pieces of your heart back, you can afford to give a little bit away.
Now, my friend, your heart is back together. That gaping hole is closing up. The longer you let these pieces stay together, the more you’re going to realise that you’ve grown something stronger in the place of what was lost. Take the smiles of strangers. Accept those kind gestures from people you don’t know. They’ll help.
Once you’re healed, you’ll be able to step back and start handing out pieces again. Remember that those pieces will always be there when you need them.
I promise that if you follow this process, you will never be beaten down. Nothing will break you, nothing will destroy you. You will never be alone – you’ll be able to rebuild from even the tiniest bit of heart you can get back. At times it will feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water. Just raise your hand, signal to the lifeguards of your life for help, and they’ll come.
Be sure to safe-guard pieces of other people’s hearts. You’ll never know when you’ll be able to repay the favour.
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