Having your heart broken is just as bad as it sounds. In fact, it’s worse. It’s not like your heart breaks and you take medicine, wait a few weeks and you’re fine.
The pain lingers. The disappointment can still hit you years later at the strangest times.
But there are traits that help strong people survive a broken heart and keep their hope in life.
If you’re in the position I know how you feel and I’ve been where you are. Here are the traits that are going to see you through.
1) They stay busy
When your world has been turned upside and there’s a big gap in your life, it’s easy to get sucked into complete depression and lethargy.
There will be grieving and sadness, tears and shouting at the wall.
But for those who stay strong and find a way to move on, they find a way to put one foot in front of the other and do something productive.
That usually means work and even taking extra hours and finding more work. It can also mean hobbies, a passionate project, or a trip somewhere.
You’re going to be hurting no matter what. But being busy will make it survivable.
2) They avoid nostalgic triggers
In the aftermath of a broken relationship, there are nostalgic triggers all over the place.
I’m talking about things like:
- Songs that you used to listen to together.
- Scenic drives that remind you of them.
- Movies and shows that were loved by the two of you.
- Cafes, restaurants, and local spots that were your special places.
The person who survives and thrives after a broken heart does themselves a favor and avoids these nostalgic triggers.
Now clearly they are still going to be triggered by nostalgia or remember a song that used to be the soundtrack to their love affair.
But they don’t make it any harder on themselves than it has to be.
And neither should you.
3) They appreciate the good times
The kind of person who gets past a broken heart appreciates the good times that happen even though they are hurting badly.
They are in pain and may feel like crying, but that doesn’t mean that their friend and his cute ten-year-old son saying hi when they walk past in the mall isn’t worth a smile!
Good things still happen even when your heart is broken.
This relates back to staying busy as well because there’s a much higher chance of having good times if you still do things.
This could be a drop-in volleyball group or going to poker night with your old friends.
Whatever it is, you can take a page from those who survive a broken heart by still keeping their life’s window a bit open for bits of goodness to shine in.
4) They strengthen their body and mind
A healthy body and mind are the keys to everything in life and are the one thing in your control in the aftermath of a breakup.
The person who gets past a breakup with their sanity intact is able to focus on bodily and mental well-being.
This isn’t easy when your heart is broken and you may be feeling like you have low self-worth or have lost your shot at real love.
On the bodily side, it starts with exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep.
Mentally it can involve meditation, finding your purpose, and going to therapy.
The key is to take steps, even if they’re small, and to not give up on yourself.
5) They practice emotional self-discipline
Emotional self-discipline is another key tool in the toolbox of the individual who finds a way through a broken heart.
You can’t help feeling shattered, let down, angry, frustrated…
But emotional self-discipline is a matter of learning how to express these emotions in a healthy way and not to take them out on other people or yourself.
When a narrative starts coming into your mind that make these emotions part of your negative story or your low value, this is when you need to have self-discipline and turn away.
“I know I have value. These feelings of pain don’t change my value.”
You learn to feel what you feel without believing or buying into mental stories that surround it.
6) They enjoy their own company and thoughts
After having your heart broken, your own company and thoughts can feel like torture.
But those who find a way through the pain learn to enjoy their own company at some level even when they feel terrible.
This means that they find things to do and ways to exist with themselves in order to build an even stronger self-love or rebuild a self-love that may have been fading.
The goal is to become more and more comfortable being alone, including during some of the tough times.
Feeling lonely is a natural consequence of a broken heart, but it doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself and do things on your own, too.
7) They stay at least a bit social and cultivate friendships
Being sociable when your heart is broken can feel like the hardest thing in the world.
But there’s a secret to this:
It’s to take the pressure off yourself and let others do the work for you.
Take small steps and go out to small gatherings or with a friend one on one. Let them do most of the talking. You don’t need to smile a lot or even put in much effort.
Just get out there and have some conversation around you and hear the clack of the billiard balls or music of the cafe.
You don’t need to be the most sociable person on earth, but by still getting out you will ensure that you don’t go too far towards self-isolation.
Learning to truly love your own company is key, as I wrote, but doing this at the expense of seeing anyone else can be risky.
8) They ignore the hopeless voice inside their head
A big part of what I’ve emphasized in this article is to not buy into the narrative and thoughts when your heart is broken.
The pain can’t be helped, which is why staying busy and still seeing friends is so important.
What you do have some control over is your rational mind and the thoughts you choose to believe or not.
That negative inner critic that tells you about your low value or about how the future is hopeless is not someone you have to listen to. You can believe in yourself and forge ahead in life without giving into the narrative.
You’re hurting and broken, but it doesn’t mean this is your permanent identity.
9) They focus on real life instead of social media posts
Social media is one of the worst traps after a breakup when your heart is hurting badly.
You go on there and one of three things (or all three) happens:
- You see happy couples who make you feel terrible about your broken heart and even more hopeless about your romantic future
- You see your ex and miss him or her even worse, beginning a pattern of their posts controlling your life
- You waste a lot of time and start posting very happy or sad posts trying to get the attention of your ex but ending up just feeling more upset and fixated on how bad you feel.
This is why social media is best to mostly avoid in the wake of a breakup.
Do yourself a favor and stay as far away as possible other than necessities or the occasional post.
10) They find a way to live in the present even when it hurts
Living in the present is something every guru and self-help person now recommends, but it’s different than just some cliche.
People don’t want to live in the present for many reasons, and sometimes they are good reasons.
Being broken hearted is a good reason to want to escape and not feel what you’re feeling.
But if you sit with that pain and acknowledge it and live in the present, you’ll grow much more as a person and also begin to heal as much as you can in a healthier way.
There’s no need to be ashamed, to hate yourself or your ex. Let the pain be what it is, even when it’s overwhelming, and you’ll find that you’re stronger than you think.