Things I've learned from a Broken Heart
The fairy tale of love that people often have in their heads is a wonderful notion that rarely comes true. I remember my first experience of love where I thought that the person I had met was the "one" and my "soul mate", and the person I was going to marry. I was young, like many are who have this romantic idea. It was my first love and when it finally did end, I was left picking up the pieces of my life. My confidence and identity that I had built around this one person had shattered, and I was left with many months of soul searching to find who I was as I person.
Years later, I would not change that experience that I had. I not only grew as a person, but I had find a new definition of myself and a greater self respect. I knew how I wanted to be treated and realized that the whole thing wasn't what it should have been. Looking back, I was treated far more indifferently than I should have been, but I honestly had no idea how I should be treated. My parents weren't a great example of what love is. It was only after seeing my mentor and friend and his wife that I began to believe in what love should be.
A New Perspective on Love
After having your first heart break, your definition and ideas about love change. I don't think I will ever be able to think that there is a single person that I could belong with anymore. A lot of love has to do with the timing and circumstances and who you are at the moment. You could easily be in the right place at the right time or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is not to say that there isn't a soul mate out there waiting for you, but merely a single perspective. It's up to each individual to come up with their own definition of what love is.
Of course not everyone has the same experience the first time around. You may luck out and end up with someone who is wonderful and good, or you may end up with someone who is indifferent and you're left feeling like there's something lacking in yourself. It all depends on the person and couple themselves.
This mentality toward past relationships is something to aspire to.
How to Re-Define What Love Is
Granted the first few months are going to down right suck. Seriously and horribly be the worst of your life. I've been there and I know what it's like to feel so sad and cry all the time. Lean on the people who love you and give yourself time. I was lucky enough to have friends that I could spill my heart out to, and I'll never forget that help that they offered.
Give yourself time to grieve, but don't completely shut yourself off from people. You may need a year to get over that person, you may need only a few months. It varies by person. A few precautions: don't jump into another relationship without first be okay with being by yourself, and don't give up. There's going to be a day when you feel better, and when you find that person that makes you want to try love again, take the risk. It may end up like the last time, but it may not. You never know if you don't try. Don't automatically assume this person is going to be the same as the last person. It's not fair. Go into the relationship with fresh eyes and an open heart. Don't drag your past experiences into this new fresh relationship.
How to Learn from Past Love Experiences
The most valuable part of a relationship is the hard times. This is where you find out who you are. Everyone can be pleasant and nice when situations are good, money is good, life is good, but what happens when they're not? People show their true character when they are put through difficult circumstances. How do they react to losing a job or having to rely on someone else to support them? How do they treat the other person? Are they angry or hostile or are they supportive and continue to carry on with high hopes and a positive attitude?
Just the same, at the end of a relationship, this is where people's colors will show. If you are the one being broken up with, what was the reason? Is there something that you didn't know about yourself that you need to work on, or was it merely the other person who couldn't deal with the stress of not having the perfect picket white fence scenario.
What have you gained from past love experiences?
Never go away from a relationship without learning something. Even if it's the smallest thing. For me, I learned how I wanted to be treated in a relationship and what I wanted in a partner. I had never before had much self esteem, but afterwards I was forced to reevaluate and think about myself. Who was I without someone else? I had made the mistake of letting that person decide my happiness which should never be the case. You should be able to be happy and content without another person. Love yourself first before you ever try to support and love another. If you don't have any self respect or confidence in yourself, you'll never be able to be an equal person. It's not fair to either person. Your partner for having to always build you up, not yourself for always feeling inferior to that other person.
The best way to learn and grow confidence is just to take a risk. Give off the feeling that you are confident and slowly do things you normally wouldn't do. I thought the world was a big scary place and was always sad that i never felt like I was living my life. It took time to open up and feel confident about myself, and after a year of hard work, I now realize that people are okay if you're honest and shy about what you do and don't understand. People like being able to connect with you and showing even the slightest bit of confidence and vulnerability will win over most people.
How to Know What You Want
This does take some time and you may not know exactly what you want until you find it. But if you have any ideas of what you want in a person, keep them in mind. I had a very short list of what I was looking for in a person (someone who I trusted and could be my best friend, someone who loved to cuddle, someone who share the same creative passion as I did). I realized that I got a lot more that I wanted than I ever knew that I wanted in a person which goes to show you that you should always keep an open mind. You may not know that you want someone who is goofy and spontaneous until you end up with them.
Final Thoughts and Advice
No doubt if you're reading this after your first heart break it's not going to be easy to digest these words. However, trust me when I say that love is a learning experience. Take the time you need to grieve and don't miss out on the opportunity of becoming a better person. If I had never had my first experience with love, I would never have been forced to be more outgoing and get more confidence. It was because I had a broken heart that I started to make friends and be myself more.
It does get better. If you're trying to maintain a relationship with your Ex, I would advise against it. I tried it and it didn't work (there are different people who can handle the situation). The only thing it did for me was make me self conscious and doubt who I was. I constantly was battling thoughts of "How can he not care for me after three years?", "What's wrong with me?", etc.
It's up to you how you handle the situation. Just keep in mind to always holds yourself in high esteem and respect and love yourself. If you don't like how you're being treated, don't put up with it or say something about it. Everyone deserves to be happy.