How to make it through a break-up

Going through a break-up is painful. It's strange how a broken heart can literally make you feel sick. I should know -- I'm in the midst of going through one right now. And it feels like this constant searing pain within my chest.

I know my ex will probably be mad that I'm writing the blog post equivalent of a Taylor Swift song. But what is the point of pain if you can't use it to help others?

And that's one of the most important lessons I've learned through this. So many wonderful people have been there for me through this difficult time in my life. While in the midst of it, it's easy to feel like no one else in the world has felt this way. But the truth is, except for those who were lucky enough to marry their first love, most people have felt this way -- probably more than once too.

Here are some more things I've learned this week from the people in my life:

1. Never be ashamed to ask for help. We were not meant to go through things like this alone. Asking for help does not make you weak. It makes you strong.

2. The day after the break-up, I found myself thinking, "Please, have a car hit me!" I felt so ashamed -- after all, I'm the suicide awareness girl, yet this is what I was thinking. When I got home from work, I called a Common Ground volunteer. And she told me, "Do you really want to end your life or do you just want the pain to go away?" And I told her that I wanted the pain to go away. She told me that this isn't crazy. That this is the way most people feel after a break-up. And instead of looking so far into the future, take each day just trying to get through minute by minute, hour by hour, and, soon, things will start to feel better.

3. You are not overreacting, and you are not crazy.  In a break-up or divorce, you go through the same steps of grieving as a death. You are grieving over the loss of someone you thought you knew.

4. Life is a rollercoaster. It has it's ups and downs. Do you really want someone in your life who will bail when times get hard? You deserve someone who loves you and is there for you no matter what. And that person is out there.

5. At least it happened now and not years down the road. At least you didn't have to waste any more time.

6. Stop thinking, "He or she will come back to me." I know it's easier said than done, but stop replaying the good memories the two of you had over and over in your mind like a movie reel.  Instead, let yourself get mad. It feels way better than being sad.

7. Take this time to be selfish and reestablish your relationship with yourself. While you were with the other person, you put that person before yourself. This is the time when you can put yourself first.

8. Stop thinking about the proverbial clock. Some of the most successful people didn't find "the one" until later in life. Diane Sawyer, who is my personal role model, didn't get married until she was 40.

9. I know it's hard to imagine now, but someday, you will look back at this moment, and you will have a wonderful husband or wife, and you won't even remember why it hurt so badly.

 Let me end with what my friend Lauren Strzepek-Navarro, who recently found the love of her life, described love as. This is the kind of love that is worth waiting for. And I will no longer settle for less.

"Love should be healthy. What does that mean? You and your significant other have a mutual respect for each other and a dedication to health. Health comes in many different forms mind, body, spirit. Through action you support each other and thus show each other love on a daily basis. You can't have one aspect of love. You have to be able to have all categories met to be satisfied. That one prayer love is patient, love is kind, love is understanding. That is true, love is action to make sure you are healthy each day. Now I break it down even farther so I'm not over whelmed. Love is him walking the dog and me doing the laundry and each other giving the space to love ourself first as well! I am never made to feel guilty or sad or remorseful or any negativity for being myself!"

"We are both becoming better people each day we know each other. Do we fight and get annoyed etc... Of course!!! Expressing feelings is part of being healthy! But we don't put undue expectations on each other either. We are communicating them and we acknowledge when we can't meet them. ... Sure love is an emotion but it's also a choice! A choice to back up words with action!"

If you need help, call Common Ground's 24-hour tip line at 800-231-1127 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK.

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