Healing a Broken Heart When Life Gets Difficult

Healing a Broken Heart

Hating anyone is not in my vocabulary.  Then there are those isolated moments when the boundaries aren’t so clear. I’m suggesting one of those mama bear moments. I think I almost hated those 2nd and 3rd-grade prep school girls who blocked empty seats on the bus, preventing my kindergartener from sitting down next to them. The courage on my small daughter’s face made my heart sink so completely that I waddled up the bus stairs, I was seven months pregnant with twins at the time, and gave those girls a crash lesson on the fine points of social etiquette. Then, I turned to the bus driver and nearly exploded. How could he allow such behavior to go on?

I fled the bus but not before turning to observe what followed. My child fought back tears. I know I embarrassed her not allowing her to save face. I immediately called the school with a solid recommendation; how to prevent mean girl bullying in our schools.

Heartsick I was, as the hours were ticking away, imagining how my daughter was coping. I was waiting for the school day to be over. As soon as she came home, I explained my motivation to protect her that morning and recognized how awkward she must have felt. “You’ll understand when you become a mother one day—and you’ll do just as I did to protect your child.” That small girl is 35 years old today and a mama bear to her own cub. Not a waste of time.

Recommended Reading: What are the Habits of Super Moms & Dads

Tolerance When Life Gets Tough

I have a good heart that doesn’t leave room for hatred. That means I have enormous tolerance and then none. I have no tolerance for meanness, cruelty, abuse, or petty behavior. It’s where I draw the line and how I choose to live my life.

There are times when struggles seem unmanageable or insurmountable, and then I’ll break down and cry. Crying can be healing. For whatever is tormenting me, I know that at the right moment, there will be relief from inconsolable anguish and I’ll begin to heal.

I also know that Scooby doo bandaids don’t cover every hurt. That’s why we have friends. Friends that help to heal a broken heart when time is taking its time. We’re lucky if our friends are like sisters and our sisters are like friends. They understand the comfort that springs from compassion. They hold you steady, wrap you with moral support, and calm you with the warmth of their smile. We learned early on that a hug and a kiss can mend an open wound—at least make it hurt less.

Healing a Broken Heart

Healing a Broken Heart

The night my mother died, I thought I would die too. The pain from the loss was so unbearable; I couldn’t climb my way out of grief. Then a friend of mine took me aside and begged me to consider—“Would you, she asked, have given up one precious moment with your mother, so the pain now would be less intense?” The answer of course was, “No. I wouldn’t have.” My friend found just the right words and sentiments to take me out of my misery so I could feel alive again. But that’s what friends do. They listen, they understand, they think about you, worry about you, pray for you and stand beside you.

Our children give us reason to go on, even when life seems unbearable. My young daughter recognized my sorrow and offered her sweet empathy. Patting my back she said, “Please don’t be sad that your mommy died. After all, everyone else is alive.”  Amazing that somehow this little one knew that there’s life after loss and so much to live for.  I needed to change my focus. I began to write—pouring my emotions into a story about my mother. Seven months later, I became pregnant with my twins. I always held the belief that my mother sent those babies to me. When my twins were small, people would ask me, “What’s it like having twins?” For starters, “There’s always someone crying.”

On occasion there are just no words that can lift us up from despair. That’s when Chocolate Raspberry Truffle ice cream can do its magic– helping us to find our way back to serenity. If we gained a few pounds, in the meantime, well, that’s a crying shame. No use crying over spilled milk. Weeping, wailing, whimpering, sobbing, it’s really OK to cry out for help. It’s more healing than crying alone. Unless, of course, you cry wolf. Then you’re on your own.

Mending a Broken World

It’s been an incredibly long six months of 2020 and one thing has become clear – we live in a broken world. It took a global pandemic to highlight where we’ve gone wrong and to shine a light on inequality, intolerance, and the separation that is our reality. I cannot ever claim to fully understand how those who have been oppressed feel but I’m sure it’s just as instinctive as a mama bear feels when her cub is threatened. An unrelenting need to right wrongs, fight injustices, and speak up for the voiceless. Perhaps this time of global crisis is our wake-up call – a time to take that action to heal a broken world. And just like when healing a broken heart, we need each other to offer comfort, share wisdom, and find compassion. By standing together we strengthen our empathy and have a chance to mend this broken world.

5 Tips for Healing During Difficult Times

The most difficult times are the greatest teachers. Not just individually but collectively. Tough times not only offer us a chance to learn and grow but also to heal past wounds. That is an opportunity we are all being presented with this year – whether you use it or not is up to you. The following tips are sure to help you heal during difficult times. And it’s surely needed, as it seems like the whole of 2020 is a tough time. Whether you’re literally healing a broken heart or just trying to do what you can to mend this broken world, these ideas will help:

Don’t Avoid Your Feelings

Just like healing a broken heart, trying to heal during difficult times means acknowledging the experience and feeling those negative feelings. Trying to avoid negative feelings isn’t healthy and just prolongs your heartbreak. You need to work through your emotions not try to find a way around them. There are numerous ways to face your feelings head-on. I chose journaling which was hugely cathartic to me but meditation helps as well.

Healing a Broken Heart
Talk Therapy

Another way to feel your feelings is to talk about them. There’s a reason therapy involves plenty of talking because bottling up your feelings is not conducive to healing. In fact, keeping things inside during challenging times can make things worse. This often leads to depression and anxiety. Speaking about your problems allows you to process them and allows others to provide feedback and advice as my friend did for me.

Make Time for Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is important for getting through tough situations such as healing a broken heart or standing up to injustices. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and it sure is the truth. Self-care is a tool that can be used at any time to help you deal with any situation.

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Seek Support

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. You don’t need to deal with tough times on your own and you definitely don’t need to heal alone. Reach out to others and get the support you need when you need it. When we stand together in crisis we strengthen bonds and increase empathy towards one another. Even spending time in the company of animals can offer support and healing.

Don’t Let it Define You

Too often we allow our grief, pain, and despair to cloud our judgment and define our lives. You are not the difficult time you’re experiencing and you are not your broken heart. Challenging situations come and go even though it feels like it will never pass while you’re in the middle of it. Feel it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Then let it go.

Healing a Broken Heart

What ways have you found to heal during this challenging year?


Healing a Broken Heart

Comments 16

  1. I added purpose to my life this year when things became tough. I gave myself a goal to aim towards. It helped to fill my time, thoughts and self-esteem. I love your 5 points. I use them all. Talk therapy is also self-talk therapy for me. I do talk with friends also. Self-care is so important and a lot of people don’t know what they need. Last week I took a mental wellness day and didn’t work (much) and added lovely outdoor activities to the day to let my mind recover from stress I was putting on it. Thanks for a lovely written article. It is very sad to see what is happening in our society as times get more stressful and our actions are less compassionate.

    1. Julie,
      Having a purpose is so very important. It helps give us hope and direction. I love talking to my friends because it’s incredibly supportive and that’s healing right there. My new on line exercise and fitness program has been helpful too along with journaling and meditation.

  2. Ronni, Thank you for writing this heartfelt post. I think you must have been inside my head. I have been thinking many of these thoughts but have figured out how to organize them so they made sense. You did that for me. This is an article to print and post somewhere it can be referred to time and again.

    1. Diane,
      I’m so happy that I was able to help you in some way. This has been an absolutely dreadful year and a half. I’ve lost four dear dear friends, one after the other. And one from COVID-19. That’s hard to take. The only thing to do, because none of it makes sense, is to find a way to heal. It’s a very slow process but we have to find away.

  3. I love that question from your friend as you were freshly grieving the loss of your mother. I’m going to remember that. The pain we feel over loss is also evidence of abundance we once had, right? This has been a challenging time indeed, and some days are harder than others. Some moments, I find distraction to the most helpful tool. Other times, I just need to vent. I’m lucky to have my husband with me, and I think this must be particularly hard for those living alone. I think your advice is “right one,” to talk, care, lean on others, keep looking forward… we need to do it all.

    1. Seana, It’s true. My very special friend knew exactly what to say at a very difficult and painful time. I’ve thought about that often and I know I’ve comforted others with the same sentiment.
      I remember my Rabbi once saying,“the greater the love the greater the loss.” So true.

  4. Ronni- This is a beautiful piece and so much needed. Thank you for opening up about your loss. What amazing wisdom your young daughter gave you when you needed it most- “Please don’t be sad that your mommy died. After all, everyone else is alive.” Of course, it’s also true that we can’t negate our sadness. We need to honor and feel it. But knowing that life includes love and loss is also true.

    It has been a rough year, with so much uncertainty and unrest. For me, healing has included a lot of self-care- meditation, walking, yoga, communicating regularly with friends and family, writing, and being gentle to myself. I’m not happy that the world had the pandemic or is now in turmoil because of all the injustices. However, I appreciated staying-in-place for a while and not always being on the go. The pace feels better.

    1. Linda, I can’t agree with you more. The slower pace was exactly what many people needed. It’s been a time of loss, healing and center. I don’t think it’s over quite yet and I approach life quite differently now.

  5. This is excellent I am going to share this on my FB Widows page. I lost my husband almost 21 months ago, this really hit home for me. Thank you for this post!!


    1. Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sure it’s very painful, still. One of my dearest friends is about to lose her husband of many years. It’s devastating for her and it’s so hard to watch her go through the pain and agony, which cannot be avoided.

  6. Thank you for your recommendation to approach your feelings rather than avoid them. I recommend this book to reinforce that piece of wisdom: The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfillment When Life Hurts by Russ Harris

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I always thought that when tragedy hits,you can’t tiptoe out as though nothing has happened. You really have to mourn to move on. You don’t want the ugly face of despair to prevent you from healing.

  7. Beautiful post, Ronni. I have had my Mama Bear moments over the years too, and felt the same – a line had been crossed and I couldn’t stay quiet. Your daughter was wise from a young age. My condolences on the loss of your mother.

    1. Thank you, Lucy! My daughter certainly had a gift of communication from the time she was very young. She is still like that today… personified.
      We have all had a broken heart at some point and managed in as many ways. Definitely, journaling helped me deal with the loss of my mother.

  8. With so many other activities not available, it’s been all too easy to spend too many hours working. I’ve finally got some side projects that interest me so that’s very helpful. To be honest, I wonder how I’ll fit everything in when the world opens up again!

    1. Janet,
      I can relate to everything you’re saying. It often feels like I’m always working too. So, I’ve recently made appointments to do other activities and create more balance and fun. ( Making the appointment and scheduling the time is key.)

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