Healing is ugly. Healing is painful. There’s no other way to put it. Healing means confronting a heartbreak, head on, and feeling the pain and the agony all over again. It means reliving a heartbreak, essentially pouring vinegar in the wounds. It means actually acknowledging the hurt and feeling the hurt, rather than pushing it away with food, alcohol, or running. Healing means continuing to show up for your life, even when you are on the verge of a melt down, and even when you miss the person who means the very most to you. It means putting on a brave face, doing your hair and makeup and dressing presentably, even when you are overcome with the feeling of missing that person. Even when you are grieving. Even when you are an anxious wreck. Healing results in long sleepless nights, bad dreams, and many, many tearful breakdowns in your car. It means facing all of the numbness and all of the pain, all on your own.
And because of this, it makes sense that we are so afraid to heal. We are afraid to heal because healing is a solo journey. Healing is a quiet, undercover experience. We are supposed to heal while we also continue to live. You see, when you heal, you have to grieve a significant loss without your person by our side. Without your person there to wipe away your tears and to tell you that everything is going to be okay. Healing means constantly climbing uphill, constantly putting in extra effort and energy to do the things that used to come second nature to you. It means making small talk with your coworkers without breaking down. Without showing your emotions. It means offering fake smiles and empty laughs. It means trying not to press the send button on that long emotional draft saved in your phone, spilling all of your feelings and questions and thoughts. It means not reaching out, even when every fiber of your being wants to send that text. Healing means continuing to take baby steps forward, even when you feel like your world is crumbling down and your heart is breaking again and again, every single day. And healing means facing all of this pain without knowing when you will find relief. It’s like climbing a mountain, all on your own, without knowing when the peak will come into view. And this is what makes healing so terrifying.
But despite how scary healing can be, and how awful it can feel, please, try not to be so afraid. Try not to be so fearful of getting better. I know you are afraid that getting better means acknowledging and accepting that they are gone, and I know this feels overwhelming to you. It makes the loss real. And I know you’re not ready for it to be real. You don’t want to get over them. You don’t want to know a life without them, or to know what it feels like to be alone. I know how terrified you may feel. But I want you to know that you will get better, and that you absolutely deserve to get better. You deserve to live a life without them, because in the end, they weren’t meant for you. In the end, something was not right. And you deserve for something (and everything) to be right. You are destined for so much more than this heartbroken feeling. You are destined for a life full of the right kind of love; the best kind of love.
So please know that I understand why you are afraid. It’s okay to be afraid. I know this heartbreak is quite possibly one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through. But believe me when I say that one day you will get better. The pit in your stomach will go away. The emptiness will become full again. The brokenness will mend in time. And life will be even more beautiful than it was prior to this heartbreak. You’ll find a kind of love, from yourself or from someone else, that is the right kind of love. A better kind of love. And you’ll find a life that is better for you. One day you’ll actually be stronger and fuller not in spite of, but because of this loss. Take it easy, and mourn the loss, but also make space in your life for goodness. Make space in your life for things to get better. Make space in your life for you to grow in new directions. I know that healing feels rocky and ugly right now, but healing is a beautiful thing. Healing means filling in the broken spaces with gold. Healing means finding happiness in a place that used to only feel empty. Healing means making peace with something hard, and finding the strength within you to move on, to move forward. Healing means acknowledging the beauty that someone brought into your life, but understanding that so much more beauty is still coming for you, just perhaps in a different way than you expected. Healing is good. Healing is positive. Healing is remarkably beautiful. So please, don’t be so afraid to heal. Feel the feelings, face the heartbreak, and know that you are stronger than you think you are.
And when you are healing, know that it’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to admit you wish they were here with you. And it’s more than okay to be sad. It’s more than okay to cry big ugly tears. You lost someone you thought you would never lose. You lost someone who you expected to be a part of your forever story. And a loss that great deserves tears. It deserves heartbreak. It deserves sadness. But it doesn’t deserve you grieving forever. It doesn’t deserve tears everyday for the rest of your life.
You deserve to heal. You deserve to get better. You deserve to know what it feels like to miss them, but to also be okay with missing them. You deserve to continue to grow and to become the best version of yourself, even if, especially if, you are all on your own. You deserve to feel strong and brave and courageous. You deserve to fall back in love with who you are. I know that some days you won’t feel so brave or so ready to heal. You won’t feel prepared to face the pain. On these days, know that it’s okay to take it slow. It’s okay to take your time. It’s okay to heal softly and slowly. Watch your favorite movie, take a car ride at night with your windows down and listen to Drops of Jupiter. Call your sister or your best friend or your mom and cry to them about how much you miss them. Spill your heart out in your journal. Eat caramel filled chocolates or drink hot chocolate. Just don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t try to heal on any given timeline. And don’t beat yourself up if you still feel heartbroken weeks or months in. You are not any weaker for taking time to heal.
And know that there’s not a fixed point at which you get “better.” There may not be a morning where you wake up and when you are completely “okay” again. There’s not a moment when you feel like you are done healing, and when you are finally “fixed.” Healing happens in a long series of moments. Little victories, little baby steps along the way. A series of little wins in which you see a glimmer of lightness in the dark. A series of moments in which you forget completely about your broken heart and just feel alive and present. A series of moments in which you feel like crying, and then remember that maybe you are okay, that you are safe, after all. Healing will happen in all of these very little, but meaningful, moments. And occasionally, you will take one step backwards. It’s okay. Because I know you will then take two steps forward.
In time you’ll start to appreciate the things you used to love again, the things that you have overlooked for far too long. You’ll start to remember what happiness felt like, and you’ll start to feel little pangs of joy once again. You’ll cook pancakes for breakfast, and you’ll enjoy your coffee all on your own, without taking a trip down memory lane when you see the mug they always used to use. You’ll be able to go to your favorite cafe and read a book, without giving all of your attention to your broken heart. You’ll be able to talk to your friends and actually give them a real smile, rather than a smile that doesn’t reach your eyes. You’ll be able to think about the person you lost, without crying. You’ll remember what it feels like to be okay with being on your own and you’ll remember how special life can still feel. And you’ll finally have hope that things are getting better. And somewhere along the way, you’ll begin to find peace with missing them. And then one day you’ll find that you’ve been smiling more than you’ve been crying. You’ll realize that you haven’t thought about them all day. You’ll catch yourself laughing and realize how long it has been since you’ve heard that sweet sound. And you’ll get a feeling deep down in your gut that maybe, after all this time, you are actually going to be okay.