1. Hate them
Yeah. It’s natural. They hurt me. Bad. It’s only human that my natural response is to hate them. In fact, some relationship advice says you should hate your ex, just so you’ll know not to end up in a relationship with someone similar again. But you know what? Other than the fact that hating someone is actually extremely tiring – it takes more effort to hate than to ignore – they really aren’t going to care if I hate them or not. Fact is, it’s over, and being the only person left expending energy hating, is, well, kinda loser-ish. Plus, that’s energy I could better use doing other more productive things than producing hate, which frankly I believe pollutes the world we live in to a much greater degree than how we are already harming our physical environment.
2. Take revenge
Again, better to conserve energy. Also, the problem with revenge is: One, it’s not as good as it looks on the menu. Experience has taught me that after I’ve gone ahead and pulled the most redonkulous crazy shit ass stunt on the planet, it’s not gonna be all that satisfying as revenge is supposedly cut out to be. Two, it’s a dish best served cold. Revenge turns a person into someone else, perhaps someone I never wanted to be, or will not even recognise. Why would I want to do that to myself? Three, it can be a never-ending story. If I take revenge, and they take revenge back, and… *yawn* #aintnobodygottimeforthat
3. Remember only all the bad things
I could hold on to the last nasty things they said, replay that last awful quarrel over and over in my mind, or feel the same hurt feelings again and again thinking about how it ended. Or, I could remember the time we spent together for what it was. Beautiful, and amazing.
4. Wish it never happened
There’s two reasons why I might wish it never happened. One, it might hurt so bad that I just wish I had never met them so that I wouldn’t have to feel this way. But more so for me, it’s the second reason: Sometimes when you get to experience something so beautiful in life, it inevitably sets the bar that much higher. And the probability that I’ll ever get to experience something like that again in my lifetime gets slimmer and slimmer. So I might catch myself thinking, well, I wish I had never experienced it then, that way, I wouldn’t have all these high expectations now and a greater chance of being disappointed in the future. But when I think about imagining never having experienced what I have, I feel somewhat appalled at the thought. It brought me happiness. Why would I ever turn down happiness, even if short-lived? I should be glad for it, even grateful I had the rare opportunity to feel something so amazing, even once. Some people might never. “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” no?
5. Become bitter
Ah, there’s always so much wrong in the world. Here’s just one more thing to make us hate everything, everyone, feel like everything’s against us. I suppose I could turn into one of those bitter old people who sits in a park and throws empty coke cans at couples making out on benches because I just can’t stand seeing people in love. Realistically speaking though, it’s easy to become bitter especially if we feel it was unfair, or when we don’t fully understand or get all the answers we need – or think we need. Sometimes in our search for “closure”, we ask ourselves all these questions, the how’s and why’s of the breakdown/break-up/heartbreak. I know there are times I just want to wring their neck and drown them in a barrage of questions ranging from “How could you?!?!” to “But… but… but… why???” and the best of all, “Didn’t it mean anything to you?” But honestly, I know I’m not going to get any answers that will even begin to satisfy me. In fact, I can already give myself the answers. “Easily.” “Because it had to be done.” “Of course it did.” *shrugs* I don’t know about you, but I definitely do not feel better knowing that. Better off not asking then.
6. Become an emotional booty call
Especially if it was one of those whirlwind romances where we spent days and nights lying breathless in each other’s arms, chances are, I’ve probably been neglecting my friends quite a bit. Now’s not really the time to crawl back and call them up at 3am because I’m suffering from [insert their name here]-withdrawal symptoms and I need someone to listen to my whining and whinging. Also, it’s no one else’s responsibility to clean up after my own shit. I’m not about to make my problem someone else’s problem. No one’s obligated to even listen to me, really. I’m thankful I have friends that care about me, and I’m not gonna try and lose them this way.
7. Kill myself
There really shouldn’t be anything in this world that makes one do this. Not even any of these ‘Just War’ theories. Nothing is worth giving up the life that was bestowed upon me. Trust me, I’ve been to hell and back on plenty occasions in my life – you name it, just ask me – and I’ve never once felt like life wasn’t worth living for. There’s always a solution. There’s always a better way. And there’s always a tomorrow worth looking forward to. Besides, I’ve never believed in choosing the easy way out.
8. Distract myself with pain
There’s a theory that one pain can distract you from another. I don’t know, usually when I’m in pain television works as a better distraction for me. So no, I’m not going to cut myself up or burn myself or inflict any sort of bodily harm to myself. And if there is any dripping of hot wax on my body, it’d better be, you know, like a kinky thing.
9. Do nothing
I suppose just as easy as it is to do a shit load of nonsensical things that gets you nowhere to actually recovering from the heartache, doing nothing is just as bad. I know most people aren’t going to agree with me because they might think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill for something so “trivial”, but I think heartache should be treated just like any other ache or wound: with medication, proper treatment, time for recovery, and a little TLC. Yes, it actually takes some effort to get over it. I’ve come to realise I actually need to do things to get closer and closer to recovery. The effect of doing nothing is you develop internal coping strategies to otherwise function, usually involving some form of numbing yourself to the pain, and thereby building a wall around yourself that you’ll find very hard to break down later when you need to. I certainly don’t want to be numb. Cuz it means I won’t feel again. And I always want to be open to feeling love.
10. Wallow in self-pity
Why? Why did it happen to me? Why me? Poor me. I’m just going to dig a nice cosy, comfortable hole for myself here, and I’m just going to bury myself under the nice hot sand, and I’m never coming out again, thank you very much. That’s great for a spa idea and all (sand is a great natural exfoliator, as is sea salt), but really, at some point you’ll start to see life passing you by. And I don’t want to be stuck in that hole on a deserted island and watch the rescue ship pass me because they saw no signs of life on the shore. That having been said, it’s again one of those human instincts that’s hard to avoid, so I usually give myself a while to suck on my thumb and sulk, and then I snap out of it. The world doesn’t revolve around me.
11. Listen to soppy love songs that hurt
I remember in my teen years I had the undeniable honour of playing the role of shoulder-to-cry-on for a good friend who went through a most difficult break-up, and she would play the song “Miss You Like Crazy” by The Moffatts over and over and over and over and over again on loop (and welcome fresh tears every time it started again, even more than words can say), it’s a wonder I can even stand listening to that song now without my head hurting (every minute of every day). Listening to all those songs that we shared together is going to hurt. There’s no doubt about it. So of course, if it’s tearing me up inside and causing sixty-nine degrees of hurt to all my offals, then no, I’m going to choose radio silence instead. At least until I’m further along in the heartache-recovery programme.
12. Stop listening to soppy love songs that hurt
But love songs are everywhere. They are going to be on every single radio station, in every mall, at every diner, in every taxi, and on my random Spotify or 8tracks playlists. Unfortunately, some warped kind of selective cognitive disposition means I’m just going to be more attuned to their existence. I really doubt it makes any sense to run from them though. Yeah, it’s sad. Yeah, it reminds me that I’m kinda sad. Big deal. Maybe not immediately, but at some point I’ll start hearing them as “just another sad love song” which doesn’t have to necessarily be “rackin’ my brain like crazy”. (Yeah, I’m old school like that, go Toni!)
13. Not allow myself to enjoy life
Nobody’s worth feeling so miserable for that could ever even begin to justify denying myself the ability to enjoy life or be happy. Life was great before them, it was great with them, there’s no reason why life after them shouldn’t be just as great, just as it was before. Well, yeah, things might have changed, but my life is my own to live the way I want to. I choose to be happy. Being happy doesn’t mean I love them any less, or valued the relationship any less, or that I’m not sad it ended. It’s just my choice to be happy in that particular moment. And the next. And the next. And the next.
14. Not allow myself to cry
Choosing to be happy doesn’t mean I deny myself tears as an outlet and form of expression of my feelings. Just like wallowing in self-pity, this might just be one of those things one needs to do in order to move on, and holding back the tears, trying to be strong, might just make things worse. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but I recognise that crying is part of my grieving process, and that I need to let it all out before I can feel better. It doesn’t make me less tough of a cookie than I am.
15. Be afraid to be alone
Some people like to surround themselves with busy activities and the bustle of people to distract themselves and avoid being alone with their thoughts and grief and questions and… well there’s just so many things to run away from, aren’t there. I’ve found it actually quite refreshing to just sit for a while in a quiet place and let all these thoughts overwhelm me, and then chase them away. I think they call this meditation, but I don’t want to scare myself with big spiritual-sounding words. But of course, it takes time to go from hugging my knees to my chest in the dark and feeling alone and unloved and lonely and depressed, to hugging my knees to my chest in the dark and feeling like I love myself and happy and glad to be alive no matter what. But I know it’s just a matter of time.
16. Avoid meeting new people
When the hurt is this raw, it’s hard to even think about starting anything new with someone else, like, WTF?! But meeting new people is not thinking about getting into a new relationship. It is exactly what it is: Meeting. New. People. And what’s great about that is it distracts you for a while – you have to be nice and cheerful (or at least non-depressive) and force yourself out of your heartache-stupor when meeting new people. Well, at least that’s the way it is with me (I don’t know what crazy things you do when you meet new people). I think anything that forces me out of my comfort zone, or that comfortable hole it’s easy to dig for myself as I do a bit of wallowing, is a good idea. In fact, doing anything that doesn’t feel comfortable, sounds like a good idea.
17. Avoid thinking of them
I’m only human. They are going to come to mind. When I see things that remind me of conversations we’ve had. When I hear songs that we shared. When I am on the toilet and doing absolutely nothing but staring at the splinter in the door. There’s almost no way I’m going to beat them (thoughts of them), so why not just join them? I try and embrace them. And when I do, I don’t…
18. Avoid smiling when thinking of them
I don’t see why I can’t allow myself to feel happy about the happy times we had together. I don’t see why I shouldn’t remember all the wonderful moments we shared. I don’t see why I can’t smile to myself like a goofy idiot just recalling all those moments and how much joy they once brought me. If they’re powerful enough, I might even be able to conjure up my Patronus.
19. Learn from my mistakes
If you have friends like mine, you’re probably going to hear a lot of this one. “Ah well, tough luck, it didn’t work, just learn from it then.” Learn what, exactly, pray tell? Sure, I’m all from learning from relationships and becoming a better, more mature, better-developed person. But I have a few issues with this piece of advice. One, that’s like saying that the relationship was a mistake; I don’t believe in any relationship ever being a mistake. Two, learning why this failed has almost no bearing on preventing the next one from failing. Three, there just isn’t any right or wrong when it comes to love. There is no standard answer sheet from which to mark against.
20. Guard my heart more
This piece of advice goes hand-in-hand with the above one. Don’t let yourself be so vulnerable. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t invest all of yourself into something next time. Yeah, well, then what? Hold back from loving utterly and completely? Don’t give a 100% of myself to the next person or next relationship? I’m sorry, but isn’t it quite unfair that the next person hasn’t even come into my life and already they’re being punished for the ‘crimes’ of the person before them? They’re being deprived the full experience of receiving all my love because I need to be wary of getting my heart broken again and therefore should give less love? I think that’s absolute bollocks. It doesn’t mean that if you invest only 30% of your heart and keep 70% for yourself, that you will only experience 30% of hurt when it doesn’t work out. If I’m going to experience 100% heartache anyway, I bloody well love a full 100%, thoroughly and truthfully. Sort of like getting my heartache’s worth, eh?
21. Stop loving them
I suppose this all boils down to what love means to you. I’ve met people for whom love means what they get out of the relationship, or how they feel when they are “in love”. Love to me means a lot of things, but mostly it means feeling a sense of deep affection for someone. It also means it’s easier for me to love someone than it is to actually “fall in love” with them. It just means I will care about them greatly and want them to be happy (ideally, be the one that makes them happy, but ah well, obviously that didn’t go as planned). Okay, maybe I shouldn’t even call it love. Maybe affection might be a better word. Whatever it is, I don’t plan to ever stop feeling that way for them. It’s what makes my heart sing, it’s what makes me want to be a better person, it’s what makes me want to reach out and touch someone else’s heart. I don’t see a lost relationship as losing love, I see it as gaining love. Just when you thought you couldn’t feel more love for another person, you do. And your heart grows just that little bit more. And it gets filled with more loving feelings. And makes you a more loving, giving, kinder person. And so, lucky be the next person to experience my love. Cuz that’s a whole lot of loving I have to give. M