It can bring us to our knees.
And more than a few years ago, heartbreak is what brought me to Elephant.
I was a few weeks out from a brutal breakup and trying desperately to make sense of things.
How did we end up here?
What about all the plans we made?
Did he ever really love me?
It felt like nothing about my life made sense anymore. And so, in the absence of answers (because some guys are god-awful at ending things with honesty and respect for another person’s feelings), I turned to Elephant to help me wade through my pain and grief.
Since that day, I’ve read and edited hundreds of articles about love and heartbreak, all of them offering sound, mindful advice for those nursing a broken heart. Articles that have helped me learn to accept and honor my feelings, even and especially the ugly, painful, difficult ones. Articles that have walked me through nonattachment and letting go and sitting with the love and the grief.
But yesterday, after 15 straight minutes of binge watching Reels from my new favorite Instagram account, via blogger Hunter Prosper, I came across some bold advice that anyone who’s healing from heartbreak can benefit from.
In a segment called “Advice from a Stranger,” Hunter asks an older woman “What advice do you have for someone who is going through a heartbreak?”
The woman, Helena, responded with three unexpected words:
“Get over it.”
Watch the rest of Helena’s response here:
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“Get over it.
I think that’s pretty much what you have to do. Get over it. And so therefore you open your life to more friends, going more places.
Certainly, before you got lonely because of this other person, there were other people who were in your life. And if you’ve been ignoring them or grieving or you separated yourself, get back with those friends. They can probably give you the best advice going forward.”
Yes, we need to feel our feelings.
Yes, we need to work through all the stages of grief.
Yes, we need to give ourselves time and space to let go.
But at some point (and it’s usually sooner than we think), we need to get over it.
When we’re in a relationship, this person can become our whole world—and not necessarily in a bad way. But sharing our lives with someone requires commitment and change and compromise and letting go of a part of who we were to make room for who we will be with this person.
It only makes sense then that when a relationship ends, we need to redefine our world and the people and places in it. Who will we be without this partnership? What people or places or experiences did we miss out on or move to the side or choose to deprioritize that we now long to embrace?
When we’re in the middle of heartbreak, these questions can feel overwhelming and intrusive and, at times, disrespectful to the love and pain and sadness we’re trying to navigate. But I also know, from experience, that sitting at a bar with a friend and a drink, post-breakup, can be healing. That booking an impromptu vacation and changing our scenery for a bit can be just what our hearts need. That leaning on the people and things that made us feel alive before our relationship are most often what help us find ourselves again after our relationship has ended.
So if you’re drowning in heartbreak and have already devoured all the articles about feeling your feelings and grieving your loss and giving yourself time to heal, take Helena’s advice: call a friend, go someplace new, and get over it.