Heartbreak is inevitable and invaluable

Heartbreak isn’t the villain we make it out to be

A person is holding a red heart-shaped neon light. The neon is the only light in the photo, and the person is mostly obscured by the darkness.
Heartbreak sucks, but it’s not all glum. PHOTO: Designecologist, Pexels

By: Maya Beninteso, SFU Student

Heartbreak sucks — there’s no way to sugarcoat it. It can manifest in not being able to stomach food, hours spent at the gym (physical soreness is decidedly better than emotional turmoil), or days spent in bed. In short — heartbreak is pretty similar to depression. I wish heartbreak was a preventable experience, but it’s inevitable: relationships require vulnerability, and vulnerability leaves us open to harm. Learning what we want from a relationship or a potential love interest often requires a few iterations, and each one of these leaves us susceptible to getting hurt. But this is exactly where the value lies — heartbreak is as constructive as it is painful.

Of course, there’s no one form of heartache. Whether from breakups, unrequited love, or a myriad of other ways, heartbreak comes in many shapes. It need not even be romantic.

As someone who has experienced her fair share of heartache, I can attest to the perspective I’ve gained by having to work through the post-heartbreak difficulties. Although I would not want to relive the emotional pain I have felt in the past, it’s helped me develop a good reference of things not to do, and now have better foundations on which to build future relationships. I can avoid certain behaviours, like ghosting, or accentuate others, like communication, because I can recall the effects they had on the relationship. It’s because of my prior heartbreaks that I’ve adopted the habit of being open, honest, and setting boundaries. The strengthened communication this entails has led to more solid relationships, be they personal or romantic.

The most profound impact of heartbreak is the training in resilience. The experience of getting hurt is — almost paradoxically — a dehumanizing, but profoundly human experience. The way days can blend into one another, it’s easy to feel lost in a haze of misery. But the sincerity of the sadness, and the eventual recovery, can feel incredibly empowering. 

In a particularly rough time, I thought I was living through the end of the world as I knew it. It was — but not in the way I was expecting. I grew, and the world I knew changed with it. I came to realize that the person I was under the dynamics of the relationship was not the person I had to continue to be. As the days passed, my perspective changed, and heartache — while no less painful — grew to be a smaller and smaller part of my life until it was small enough to be outweighed by other forms of happiness.

To those who are currently heartbroken, there is no easy cure. It’s going to suck. But you’ll be fine, you’ll recover, and most likely you’ll do it all over again. The vulnerability. The loving. The hurting. Because we know there is someone out there that will make all of the tears, all of the pain, worth it in the end.