5 Steps for Healing Heartache

My first devastating breakup went down like this: “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I spent last night with someone else. The good news is that now I know you’re the only one I want to be with!”

After I pealed myself off the floor, I told my boyfriend that a committed relationship wasn’t like a candy shop where you get to try different flavors to figure out which one you liked the best. If it took infidelity for him to know that he loved me, something wasn’t right.

That summer was the first time I truly understood breakup songs. I remember being in a foreign archive when Phil Collins’ classic “Against All Odds” came on the radio. I nearly broke down right there in the stacks of books.

That’s the thing about a breakup: devastating as it is, it allows you to access registers of emotion that weren’t available to you before. It brings you more fully into the human experience, and the range of joys and sorrows we are meant to feel in this lifetime.

From this perspective, heartbreak is not an obstacle on your path to love. It can actually help you get closer to your goal.

I know this firsthand. After I met my now husband, Darrin, I saw how my past relationships had formed a bridge for me to walk across and find my great love - at the moment my heart was ready.

Here are 5 steps to help you heal heartache and stay on course for true love:

  1. VENT. If your heart feels betrayed, allow your anger to have a voice. Do some angry journaling, write a heated letter to your ex that you will never send, or call a friend who will listen to you rant, and don’t censor yourself! While you don’t want to stay in “blame mode” forever, venting will allow you to uncoil the red energy inside of you so it doesn’t feel so tight.

  2. GO DEEPER. Now that you’ve given voice to your blame, what’s underneath it? Anger is a protective emotion that often shields you from feeling something even more painful, such as deep loss, sadness, disappointment, or unworthiness. Oftentimes, those emotions were already inside of you, and your ex was merely the catalyst to bring them out of hiding. Notice where you feel sensation in your body (like constriction or tension), and then breathe into that area for a few moments as you name all of the emotions that are living there.

  3. INVESTIGATE. After you’ve identified your buried emotions, begin a dialogue with them in your journal. What are they here to teach you? Do they feel similar to emotions you’ve felt before, maybe in your early years? What do they need from you: compassion, understanding, validation, reassurance? It’s only human to hope that a partner will show up to meet these needs for you, but right now the healing work is to meet them for yourself. Do some loving acts for yourself that will give your emotions the healing tonic they need.

  4. RELEASE. Now it’s time to clear your ex from your energy field. Go into meditation, and ask yourself if you are ready to offer forgiveness. If not, can you set an intention that one day you will forgive your ex? Letting go of a grudge will clear up space inside of you for more love to come in. Then bring your ex’s face into your mind’s eye and tell them from your heart, “You were part of my journey but not my destination. I release you with love.” As you repeat this phrase, have a felt sense of cords disconnecting inside of you.

  5. REFILL. To complete your meditation, create a new mantra for yourself that counteracts any old, false stories you may have about love. For example, if you’ve uncovered a deep fear of abandonment, you might say: “I am worthy of infinite love from a partner who truly sees me.” Repeat your new mantra until you feel it filling up your whole body. Then put it on your mirror and say it to yourself often throughout your day.

While your heartache might hurt, it is ultimately here to help. By taking the time to shift your energy inside, you can propel yourself toward your sacred partner, the person who mirrors your soul and will walk through life with you as the ideal partner in your joint healing and awakening.

To listen to this article as a talk and a closing meditation, please visit my audio track Healing from Heartache on the Insight Timer meditation app.

Christina McMahon is a writer, energy healer counselor, and meditation teacher. Her passion is supporting others to open up their hearts to the sacred partnership they desire and deserve. When you subscribe to her blog, you'll receive a free video training series, “The Sacred Love Sequence: A Step-by-Step Guide to Calling in Your Sacred Partner.”