a step-by-step guide to mending your broken heart

February 1, 2008

weird title? well, this was my final paper in Basic College English (a.k.a. English 1). our teacher gave us the freedom to choose any topic we like because she believed we will be able to write about something which we are interested in. that time, about march 2006, i was trying to forget about someone. someone whom i really liked since i was 14. i was really trying hard to get him out of my system that i was able to come up with my own steps toward achieving just that. surprisingly, i got a 1.00 for this final paper; no grammar corrections, no red marks on the margin of the printout, and my draft even had a comment: “great organization”. that was the last thing i expected. i never knew though what my teacher thought of it. what was her opinion on the things i said. i posted this because i want to see how people would react to my ideas. i’d really appreciate it if you’ll leave a comment after reading. here’s the article:

have you ever noticed how people seem to like staying broken-hearted after a break-up or after being rejected by the person they love? they say they have their reasons for this. some say it’s really hard to move on even if they’d like to. others tell you they will never find someone else like the person they have loved (and still love). still others see staying broken-hearted as a sign of undying love. even songs share the same idea. “there’s nothing i can do to keep from loving you,” sings Gloria Estefan. “i’ll just keep my heart in two,” croons Jordan Knight. and Jann Arden asks, “how do you free your soul after you’ve found a friend? how do you teach your heart it’s a crime to fall in love again?” the world seems to like being broken-hearted. or, many find it too hard to get back on their own two feet again after a breakup. this should not be the case however. you should want to move on and get back to living normally again. mending your broken heart is important because it shows that you respect yourself, and you can work on this by following three steps.

first of all, you must do internal cleaning which involves four sub-steps. the first thing to do is to cry that one last cry. yes, you heard it right. cry with all your might. this can be likened to washing a wound. you first have to remove all the impurities with water before putting antiseptic on it and covering it with a band aid. washing a wound can be painful, but it is necessary. by crying that one last cry, you are washing out the pain, the bad memories and everything that needs to be washed out for you not to get an infection from your open wound. the aftermath of this is a feeling of tiredness and helplessness, so you may opt to take a rest first before moving on to the next sub-step. remember that in this process, hurrying will get you nowhere. after all your tears are dried up, it is time to do the next sub-step which is thinking. this involves setting goals of moving on in your life. ideas may not come quickly, but there’s no need to worry. again, hurrying will get you nowhere. try to set simple goals first like making your last cry really a last one. later, you can make intermediate-level goals like not thinking too much of what happened. then you can move on to more advanced goals like forgetting about the person that caused you pain. the third sub-step in internal cleaning is planning. here, arranging of goals and writing them down are the foci. the thinking process brings out many ideas. you need to arrange these ideas and goals according to which you will prioritize more. arranging your goals in this way can help in the successful execution of your plan. another motivation in doing this sub-step is to be aware that disorganized thoughts and goals will just make you frustrated. after organizing your thoughts, you may now write them down as your formal plan. write your plan in printed letters or have it computerized. the appearance of your plan matters. the more clean-looking and formal-looking it is, the better chances it has of being executed and not being forgotten. lastly, do the things you’ve written down in the plan. try to incorporate one step each day in your daily routine. in this way, you will not feel burdened in executing all the ideas you’ve come up with. this can also make you remember your goals easily because you will have one day to learn doing each of them.

the second step in fixing your shattered heart is external cleaning. the goal here is to get rid of every single thing that may remind you of the person who brought damage to your heart. CAUTION: you will get a nagging feeling that suggests, “hey, this is too valuable to get rid of”. do not heed it. this feeling may be hard to shake off, but you will be thankful later if you don’t give in to it. basically, there are two kinds of things you need to get rid of: physical junk and cyber junk. you are now ready to do the actual cleaning. while doing this, i suggest listening to the song “Kwarto” by Sugarfree. the song can help you say goodbye to the things you need to say goodbye to. now, prepare a big plastic bag, garbage bag or a box. do not use the trash bin in your room. the trash bin will stay in your room for quite some time before you take the trash out. this will give you the chance to retrieve the things you have thrown away.

first, start with physical junk. get rid of all the clothes that he/she gave to you; shirts, pants, jackets, whatever they are. they would surely be the bulkiest so they should be at the bottom of the trash bag or box. then, the pictures also have to go. remember to throw all pictures that have him/her on it even if other people such as your friends are also there. think of it this way: saving anything that would remind you of him/her would only get in your way to moving on. so why bother keeping something that would just make the whole process harder? keep in mind that you want to get through this as painlessly as possible so go ahead. throw those pictures. you may also opt to throw the picture frame/s or album/s that contained those pictures. next, get rid of all letters, cards, notes, poems, and every piece of writing that either came from him/her or was made for him/her. i strongly suggest that you shouldn’t read any of them before putting them in the junk container especially if you don’t want to cry anymore. there is a distinct kind of physical junk that you also have to put away. these are the “returnables” which may be trinkets, jewelries, or anything that costs a lot. put them in a bag or box and ask someone to return them to the culprit. however, you may opt to put them also in the trash bag. my list of physical junk ends here but if you still have other things in mind that you should get rid of, then go ahead and throw them away. take all the junk to your backyard and burn them.

the next kind of things to put away is cyber junk. first, open your recycle bin in your computer. retrieve the files that you want to retrieve now. then, empty your recycle bin. next, delete all files which contain anything that has to do with the wound you have: everything from pictures to pieces of writing. finally, empty your recycle bin, so you can’t retrieve those files when the “sayang” feeling nags you again.

the last step is to continue with the clean, fresh start you made. you’ve done well by doing the first two steps. now, reward yourself. go to a salon or spa, watch a favorite movie, eat chocolate (just don’t overeat though), or lose yourself in a sound trip. do things that make you feel good. after rewarding yourself, get back to your everyday life with a new perspective. concentrate on your studies or work, pursue a hobby, spend quality time with your family and yourself, redecorate your room, visit your grandparents. celebrate life and your new-found independence. later, you will come to realize that life is so much more than the world you’ve confined yourself to with that past infatuation or relationship. finally, thank God for helping you move on and ask for your continuous healing until you become perfectly well again.

internal cleaning, external cleaning, starting with a clean slate- they may seem unnecessary and even silly but they can really help a lot. just a little help from yourself and your family and friends is all the push you need. you also do not have to follow each and every detail in this guide. if you feel overwhelmed with all the must-do’s, remember that you have the freedom to choose which to follow and which not to include in your plan. every person recovers in a unique way. the details here are just suggestions to help you come up with your own strategy. remember also that mending your broken heart is for your own good. it will help you do away with that bad part of your past. it can make you see the good in that bad experience by helping you learn lessons. it can also give you a hope of loving again after being healed. more importantly, you can know that next time, your love is wiser and the relationship you can build with someone will be stronger. others may laugh at what you’re doing or may think you are trying the impossible. do not mind them. just go on with the plans and goals you have made earlier. what’s important is you love yourself enough to give yourself another chance of living life fully again.

so that’s it. that’s the whole article. reading it again now, i find it funny that people who have experienced the real thing, real heartbreak that is, will probably find this amusing or even laugh at it. Well, i did awhile ago. while typing the whole thing. it’s just that, after knowing the difference between giving up on an infatuation and letting go of someone who once had reciprocated your love, i now know that this can only be applied to the former. when i wrote this, i haven’t known how it is: being loved by someone you also love. i have only known before of unreciprocated feelings of infatuation. now that i know giving up one-sided feelings and letting go of a relationship are two VERY DIFFERENT things, i can assure you that the steps i have suggested earlier are only applicable to giving up unreciprocated feelings. letting go is very different. there are no tricks or steps to take to escape grieving. you have to go through it. step by step. and if you try to go around one step you’ll find that you’re back to square one. there’s just no other way but to go through it.

grieving is like a tunnel. you know that there is a way out at the other end but you can’t see it. while passing through that tunnel, you just have to keep moving forward until you see the small flicker of light on the other end and soon after be bathed in warm sunshine again. i’m not ashamed to say that i have once loved. i have once grieved. i’m just thankful that i’m one of the blessed few who went through it and came out stronger than before. grieving is not a light thing. some have never gone out of the tunnel all their lives, some chose to never go out, some didn’t have the strength to because they don’t know the true Source of it. i made this article with the intention of solving something which i haven’t experienced only to find out after going through the whole thing that it isn’t applicable. but i guess it served its initial purpose anyway of getting rid of infatuation. and now i also have something to look back to and laugh at when i remember how i once tried to become a problem-solver.


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