Recently I was doing a little research, reading women magazines, in order to be able to provide one of my close friends with decent advice on how to get over her latest break-up. Note to reader: I’ve reading women magazines forever. Seriously, I remember being 13 and buying Lucky.
Anyway, what caught my eye almost immediately was the fact that all of them suggested the same thing: change. I –the possibly heart-broken- was told to rearrange the furniture in my house, re-paint the walls (preferably not blue, so as to avoid depression), cut my hair, buy new clothes, take up a new hobby, buy a dog and change my makeup routine.
And I wonder: If the problem is them, why are we the ones who supposedly have to change? I don’t want to cut my hair just because he liked them that way. I don’t want to hang out in new places just to avoid seeing him, since I’m emotionally connected to the tables, the quality of the coffee and the cute waiter with the hazel blue eyes that works there. And the list goes on.
If whatever is going in my head is turning my life miserable, how will changing its outside influence the situation?
So I came to the following conclusion (or does break-up mantra sound better?)
A broken heart is like a chocolate soufflé.
You have to be very careful and very precise when it comes to matters such as proportions and time. However, the most important clue is something completely different: Not all chocolate soufflés are the same. There isn’t only one recipe. In addition, not all people find the same soufflé equally delicious. We, journalists*, can’t go on giving the same piece of advice to everybody.
They say break-up grief usually consists of five stages: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Since I don’t really believe in denial and bargaining, let me start with anger.
Imagine you and your boyfriend suddenly break up. You fight –or you don’t even talk at all- and then he leaves. You use the F-word (I like the S-word too, yet fcuk seems more natural, so it’s up to you) and decide to adopt a “Whatever” attitude. Then you go to bed.
Next day you wake up and reach out to touch him. Pillow, pillow, pillow, stuffed animal that you stopped taking with you in bed at fifth grade. Then it hits you! You really broke up last night, didn’t you? And this is the point where depression hits in. “All by myseeeeeeeelf” you sing and you whine. You wonder what have gone wrong. You over-analyze it. Call your best friend and whine on the phone, as well. Get sad every time you see a happy couple on the streets. Get sadder while watching romantic movies. If you start listening to Kelly Clarkson, you’ll know that you’ve reached the (sad) point of no return.
Then you call me –your hypothetical best friend- again. In the middle of the night, so just pray that you are lucky enough and I’m only sleeping, and not having sex with a very hot guy. You are about to whine again, but I interrupt you and introduce you to my break-up non-remedy, which consists of the following steps:
Allow yourself to feel and think. The one and only Albus Dumbledore said “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” I believe in choosing our thoughts, but you have to allow yourself to make all kinds of thoughts –negative as well as positive ones, not push them away. Think of him, even if it painful. Negative thoughts are yours, accept them and then put them aside. Ooh, I love it when I sound like “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Take your time. As long as you need in order to feel alright again. Celine Dion once sung “I finished crying in the in the instant that you left/ And I can’t remember where or when or how/ And I banished every memory you and I had ever made … BUT when you touch me like this/ And you hold me like that/ I just have to admit/ That it’s all coming back to me.” If Celine couldn’t erase him from her life of sparkly gowns and award-winning songs, why should you be able? Personal experience has taught me that we eventually forget and forgive. Time heals all the wounds. It might take a month, a year, a new lover. Just wait -it will eventually happen, I promise.
Distance, distance, distance. Don’t pass by the street he lives or his office, unfollow him on twitter and unsubscribe from his Facebook updates. It might sound silly, but you are not really ready to see him exchanging complimentary comments with another girl, right?
Talk, talk, talk. Research reveals that putting feelings into words makes sadness and anger less intense. We can discuss it on the phone, over cocktails, while having our nails done or just strolling around. A little advice: Not in the middle of the night, darling. 😉
*Note to self: You are not a journalist yet, dear. Maybe an aspiring one, but not a true one. Not yet.