The Positive Effects of Heartbreak
I read with every broken heart, we should become more adventurous. ~ Rilo Kiley
My heart hurts, I would say to others. And that kind of emotional pain is not just specific to me or only relevant to my life circumstances. I consider heartache to be a universal truth that comprises the human experience.
However, every cloud has a silver lining, right? I know, I know. It’s incredibly cliche. Once the dust settles — once we are able to process our feelings accordingly and obtain a bit of distance from that gut-wrenching state — while finding some semblance of closure, we could grasp the benefits of heartbreak as well.
It’s not easy. I attach readily and have trouble letting go, so I’m the first to say that this period is hard. Nonetheless, here is my compilation of heartbreak’s positive components that could be found after the cloud passes.
- Vulnerability yields connection. Author Elizabeth Gilbert said “[T]his is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” Even if the relationship falls apart, at least you can say that you tried. I adhere to the notion that vulnerability sparks connection. Yes, you may get hurt, but when you’re capable of truly letting someone in, of letting love in, the potential for forging a deep connection is present. When emotionally guarded, it becomes difficult to try and express vulnerability.
- Strength stems from resilience. On the other side of heartbreak, there’s strength to be gained. Resilience is fostered; you can feel comforted knowing that you were able to overcome that hurdle — that you’re absolutely capable of bouncing back from immense sadness.
- Learned lessons. When relationships end, self-awareness can flourish and certain questions ignite further introspection. What did I learn from this person? What was his or her impact? How can the experience serve as a steppingstone for future relationships? Is there a personal shortcoming that I’d like to remedy?“As you look over your past relationship, don’t be too hard on yourself for the things you may have done wrong,” Jenn Clark wrote. “Instead, resolve to learn from and change them. When we begin to modify our behavior and create positive adjustments, we gain a sense of hope that our next relationship will be more successful.”
- Gratitude can be cultivated. Looking back, you may feel surges of gratitude toward the person who broke your heart. At one point in time, something real was shared. Maybe he or she opened up a space in your heart; maybe he or she will always be a part of you. And that’s okay. It’s okay to feel grateful that this individual was part of your journey, even if it wasn’t meant to be.
I was in a psychology course during my sophomore year of college when the professor wrote a phrase on the whiteboard with black marker, underlined and all.
Crisis = Growth
We were discussing relationships, and he adamantly suggested that breakups could actually be good for you. (I happened to be sifting through my own heartache and his lecture hit home.)
Now, I realize that heartbreak does provide a light at the end of the tunnel; positive effects could manifest and blossom. And chances are, you’ll be able to ultimately feel thankful that you were let go. This person did you a favor; if nothing else, he or she paved the way for something bigger, greater and more beautiful to come.
Suval, L. (2014). The Positive Effects of Heartbreak. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/06/16/the-positive-effects-of-heartbreak/