The Healing of a Broken Heart

How to heal a broken heart

Is it ever possible to recover from a broken heart? The short answer is, yes. Yet when the brake is raw and the world has stopped, it is difficult to see how. Trust me, when I say this. Your broken heart will heal. It may happen slowly, but it will heal. How do I know?

Well, I am going to share a little of my own story and the things I did to heal my own broken heart.

Since I left the place of my birth, I have returned on a regular basis to visit my mum. However, those visits only occurred at the weekend. Time was short. There was no opportunity to visit the wild places I had spent discovering when my marriage ended and my broken heart began to heal. I gave little thought to the importance of this period in my life until several years later, I came home for a more extended visit. A desire to walk in the valley and surrounding hills that I spend many solitary hours exploring returned. As I reflected, I put my thoughts on to paper, realising the value that spending so much time in nature had been. Nature had been medicine to my heart.

So, for you with a broken heart, here are my feelings on my recovery in the form of a poem, followed by five practical things I did that helped.

Once upon a lifetime ago
When my heart was repairing,
I would drive these country lanes On early mornings looking for the sunrise
I would wander these hills alone
Exploring the paths
Watching the heather clothe the hills with royalty. 
A tree tread its resolute path to the top of the hill,The river gossip it’s friendly way out of the valley to the sea.
Once upon a lifetime ago
My heart healed in these valleys.
On early mornings when I found the sunrise.
As I wandered the hills alone
The paths led me to new joys.The trees whispered tales of places new And I chattered with my friend the river, 
As we left the valley and headed out to sea.

5 pieces of advice to heal a broken heart

  • One – Face it. Look the whole sad, and it is a sad, event squarely and deal with it. When the first warning signs blasted into my life that my marriage might be over, I crumbled. I was devasted and remember saying quite clearly to a good friend that I could not, ‘do this’. On reflection, it was the label that was more important than the quality of the relationship and the fact that I could not comprehend living on my own. As the relationship stuttered forward, I gradually found my own strength and self-worth, so that it was me, who eventually decided that if the choice were this relationship, or living for the rest of my life on my own, then I would take the second option. I faced it.
  • Two- Get out into the natural world and find a happy place. It will be tough opening the door and venturing out on your own. But a walk in a public park or wood would be a good start. Take something to do.  It was photography that took me into nature. It gave me the ability to focus my attention away from sadness and to on to something else – colour, shape, light.  I bought a book of local walks, a pair of walking shoes and I started to explore. I wandered the hills and valleys of my home county and found happy places by streams and with trees. I discovered people who shared a love of photography, and I learned from them. I made friends with folks who invited me to go walking so that sometimes I wasn’t on my own.

Revisiting the places that healed my broken heart

Watch this Youtube video I made recently of one of the very first walks I discovered on the journey to a healed heart.

  • Three – Find your courage and go on an adventure.  Do something beyond your comfort zone. For me, I bought a plane ticket to New Zealand and spent four weeks driving around the South Island. At the time, I was nearly forty, nearly divorced and didn’t really have a lot to show for my life. I freaked out a few times after the ticket had been purchased. But gradually the pieces of that summer adventure came together, and I relished another me who found it easy to swap stories with people over dinner, sharing similarities and exploring differences.
  • Four – give something back  Get involved in a project that makes a difference. I got involved with a youth group that met weekly. It allowed me to be creative and get to know people from a completely different background to me. A good friend of mine took her broken heart to a stonewalling course in Wales. This year, I was a bridesmaid at her wedding to the man she met repairing walls.
  • Five – Learn to love your independence. This one starts with the word ‘learn’. I learned to take myself to the cinema or out for a meal if I wanted a treat whether  I was with someone or not.  In the early days, I felt as if I was being pitied as a sat on my own. In one cafe, I was overlooked as I waited for a table and when finally the mistake was realised, the waitress asked: ” Is it a table for….one?” It was the excruciating pause that rattled my confidence, followed by the sudden loud exclaim from a friend, who was sat nearby with her husband, “Are you are your own?!”  Sat at a small table in the middle of the cafe I felt I stood out like a pimple, so I drank my coffee rather rapidly and made a hasty escape. That was back in the early days. Now, I regularly eat out on my own and rather enjoy it, but it took a while. 

I hope these words of wisdom and this story help. At the time when my broken heart was raw, I wanted to punch the person who said that time is a great healer. If I had punched the person, I would now be apologising and probably adding and so does spending time in nature!

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