How to Deal with the Unbearable Pain of Heartbreak
Are you hurting?
Do you feel trapped inside your own head, desperate for some relief, and anxious for the time to come when you will finally feel better?
If so, this video is required watching…
You’re Going to Feel Better. Promise.
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During a difficult time, whether it’s a breakup, whether it’s a pandemic, whatever it may be, we are, on one hand, told to stay busy, and, on the other hand, we’re told, “Do the work. Don’t distract yourself from actually doing the work and processing your thoughts and feelings.”
I find that, for a lot of people, must be very confusing. To sort of figure out, “Well, what constitutes ‘being busy’ and what constitutes me distracting myself from the feelings that I need to process in order to get over something?” What do you say is the right balance?
The danger with heartbreak is that you can drop into rumination. Rumination means that you’re spinning around the same kind of thought in an unproductive way.
The goal of thinking things through is to gain insight about yourself, about the other person, about the mistakes you might have made. The things you might want to do differently, the things you might want to keep the same. What you’ve gained from your relationship, what you didn’t. What you might want to avoid next time, et cetera. It’s an endless list of things you can learn from it.
If you’re still learning in that self-examination, go ahead and do it. If that self-examination is very depressing to you, then decide when you want to do it, and by all means, use distraction and other kinds of things to not dwell on it too much.
It’s when we’re stewing, when we just keep repeating the same… People typically go back to the breakup talk, or to the contradiction: The thing they said the week before the breakup talk that contradicted. “How could they say that? And then that? I don’t understand it.” You’ve asked yourself that question 50 times. You’ve asked your friends 20. There’s no more information to be gained there. Certainly not by asking it in that way. That’s just rumination. That’s just you stewing. That’s just in an emotional hamster wheel, that’s not useful.
It’s important to try and distinguish between when your thinking is being useful, and when it’s not. If it’s useful, it eases your feeling after you’re done. You feel a little easing, a little relief, because you figured something out. If it’s not useful, you just feel crappier afterwards. Because you just took your spoon, stirred all the muck, took a nice big whiff of it, and then, that’s what you’re left with.
So make the distinction between the thought process that’s productive, that teaches you something, that gains something, and one that’s not. You know the one that’s not, because we’ve been having that same line of thinking, literally dozens of times.