One of my dear friends had her heart broken this week. It’s difficult to see her in so much pain because, like most of us, I’ve been there. As I tried to think of ways to comfort her, I thought back to my past breakups. What did my friends do that actually helped?
Bringing real comfort to someone going through a breakup can be a tricky task, but I’ve compiled a list of suggestions that just might help.
Constructive words of encouragement
If you’ve ever experienced a breakup, you’ve also experienced a friend ripping your ex to shreds. “You could do so much better, he/she wasn’t even that attractive, they’re trash…” And while you friend meant well, part of you still loved your ex. Hearing someone you loved talk so poorly about someone else you loved only brought more pain.
When speaking words of encouragement, keep the focus on your heartbroken friend. Use constructive statements such as…
You are enough.
You are wanted, needed, and cared for.
This was not your only chance at a love.
You are beautiful, kind, and worthy of love.
Statements like these take the focus off the ex and put it back on your loved one. A breakup is a sensitive time where self-love and reflection is so very important. Using positive, validating speech will help to combat the self-deprecating ideas that often come from rejection.
A list of guided sleep meditations
Falling asleep after a breakup can feel nearly impossible. Facing the night alone, even if your friend didn’t sleep next to their ex every night, can bring feelings of dread, distress, and intense loneliness.
While guided sleep meditations may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it never hurts to offer them as a suggestion. Having another soothing, affirming voice in the room can help one feel less alone. Most sleep meditations also offer the sound of relaxing music in the background, which can help give the ever-wandering mind something else to focus on.
If you’re not into sleep meditations yourself or just aren’t sure where to start, below are the three links I usually send to my brokenhearted friends.
A daily check-in to make sure they’ve eaten
When my first love and I broke up, I was young, naive, and absolutely devastated. Everyday was absolutely dreadful. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t sleep, and couldn’t eat. And while all my friends were trying their best to facilitate my healing, there was one thing that always stood out to me.
A guy I referred to as my “work brother” texted me everyday around lunch time to make sure I’d eaten that day. Most of the time my answer was, “no,” to which he would suggest I have some crackers, drink some Gatorade, and reach out to him if I wanted to talk.
This small gesture made all the difference for me. It screams, “PEOPLE CARE ABOUT YOU.” When you’re hurting, it’s easy to ignore all the, “you can do better” and “they were trash” comments. It’s hard to tell yourself you’re unlovable when your friends are basically yelling that they care, but with a kind, gentle text.
A soft blanket, stuffed animal, or both
This goes back to my point about the intimidating nights alone. Sure, your friend probably already has a blanket to cry under, but I find the symbolism of a blanket that was gifted makes it that much more healing.
Stuffed animals make great cuddle buddies for the times you can’t physically be there. Even if they’re just sitting on a shelf, they serve as a soft reminder that someone knows their pain is loves them immensely. There are few things as comforting as turning yourself into a blanket burrito and cuddling a fluffy bear on those cold, lonely nights.
It may seem cliche, but I have a friend that brings me flowers every time I get my heart broken. Seeing the beautiful blooms always makes me smile through the tears. I put them in a vase on my dining room table and suddenly everything feels just a little bit warmer.
They serve as a beautiful reminder. While a bouquet of flowers is so lovely to look at, eventually they wither and fade. But what’s left is the memory of what once was. The flowers were not meant to last forever, but that doesn’t make the experience of having them any less meaningful. We don’t regret the warm feelings they brought into our lives. We simply appreciate their season in our lives and move on.
Breakups are never easy. Seeing someone you love experiencing such pain can make you feel helpless. And while none of these things will cure them of their heartbreak, they will offer some relief. Some comfort in knowing that while some people are only in our lives for a season, others will be around to love us for a lifetime.
This post is dedicated to a kind, strong, amazing friend of mine.
Keep your head up, beautiful. Love will always find you.