“Hearts are made to be broken.”

Oscar Wilde

In part, there is truth to that claim. Heartache is the most common of all pains, and the most agonising. It refers to emotional anguish or grief, often due to the absence or loss of a loved one. Heartache is not confined to romantic relationships; it extends to friendships, familial ties, and intrapersonal feelings. It is both invisible and universal. In spite of that, heartbreak is often undermined or dismissed.

Healing the heart is no small feat. In the throes of heartbreak, our greatest challenge is often moving on. It might be impossible to escape heartbreak altogether, but there are steps that can be taken to get through it. Make no mistake, I’m no expert. However, I do believe that hearts are meant to be nurtured, not broken. Healing one’s heart can be a long and lonesome process, but it is also beautiful — here’s how to do it.

Embrace It

It is no secret that the first step to moving on is embracing one’s pain. First off, it’s alright to stumble and fall. Your pain is unique, and therefore needs to be healed in a unique manner. You’ll sometimes hear the phrase “How I get through it is how I need to.” In fact, this approach to healing alleviates most of the societal pressure to handle heartbreak and emotional trauma in a “mature” fashion. There’s no one-size-fits-all to healing a heart.

You have decided to forgo self-judgement — great. Now what? For starters, Dr. Martin Seligman’s 3Ps are a great tool. The 3Ps stand for Personal, Pervasive, and Permanent. Most of us do not consider the nature of our pain, and instead spend our time obsessing over our mistakes, or the mistakes of others. Seligman’s method is just this; the next time something hurtful, sad, or disappointing happens, question if the occurrence is personal, pervasive, or permanent.

You might find that it is neither of the three. If something hurtful is not permanent, nor intended as a personal attack, and does not permeate other facets of our life, there is little reason to go on feeling upset. No less, it is important to accept our emotions regardless of the reasoning behind them. Your feelings are valid. You deserve closure. Marshmello and Demi Lovato said it best, it’s OK not to be OK.

Date Yourself

The idea of dating oneself might seem peculiar or straight up pathetic to some, but revelling in our own company is rather liberating. Often, we prioritise the needs of others and compromise in situations, losing our sense of self. Heartbreak gives us the time and space needed to date ourselves, so why not make the most out of it? Dating yourself entails treating yourself like a romantic partner. In essence, all this means is giving yourself some TLC — Tender Loving Care. 

Start small. Hit up that café you have been meaning to try, or indulge in some retail therapy — the possibilities are endless. Dating oneself allows us to rediscover ourselves. It lets us tap into our interest and learn new things about ourselves; our likes, dislikes, and how we would like to be treated. In fact, self-acceptance is an imperative part of healing one’s heart, and dating yourself can lead you there.

You Do You

Heartbreak City often has us taking the blame or feeling like a failure, longing for a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Instead of drowning in a pool of tears, or looking for answers at the bottom of an ice cream pint, one could find fulfillment through a new hobby. It might sound cliché, but hobbies do help soothe one’s sorrow. Be it rediscovering a long-lost talent or picking up a new one, hobbies let us channel our need for fulfillment in a positive manner.

Hobbies replace the time we might have spent in sadness with things that make us come alive. In time, we find ourselves no longer obsessing over matters that once troubled us, with those dreary thoughts replaced with experiences such as meeting like-minded individuals who share our interests. You can even find hobbies to engage in alone. Be it crocheting, or Renegade-ing to become the next Charli, hobbies do help mend a broken heart.

Chicken Soup for the Heart

My mother once said “Food can cure anything, even a broken heart”, as she plated a second serving of rice in an effort to ease my heartache. Shockingly, it did. It is these moments when I savour mom’s home cooked meals, or make myself a sandwich, that I feel content and unworried. Unlike the distorted depictions of emotional eating in movies and TV shows, eating and cooking amidst heartbreak can be comforting and grounding.

In addition, certain foods such as cheese, eggs, and nuts can help boost our levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancing hormone. More serotonin, happier you. It goes to show that food never breaks your heart, and instead helps to put it back together. Thus, don’t push food away when heartbroken, but seek solace in it. You could channel your inner Gordon Ramsay and attempt a new recipe, or tapau a Ramly Burger from down the street. Food helps us heal … especially cheese.

* * *

In short, these tips and tricks exist to help us navigate the minefield that is heartbreak — but remember, none of them are foolproof. Your heartache is distinct and unique, making the approach to healing it different from that of others. You might take less than a week to recover, or much, much longer. Regardless, either approach is equally valid. Remember, time is the most important factor for a heart to heal — take as much of it as needed, and just know that all things eventually get better in time.

By Karran Kumar

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