How to Fix a Broken Heart (2018) Book Summary and Insights
Book Title: How to Fix a Broken Heart
Publication Date: 2018
Author Name: Guy Winch
This is a wonderful read discussing the physical dangers of emotional trauma. It highlights the pain people go through when a loved one leaves or passes away. The fact is; heartbreak is an unpleasant experience. No one wants it. But in the long run, a heartbreak teaches us life’s lessons and fortifies us against upcoming unpleasant events. And although breakups have spiritual benefits, there are physical consequences which you must pay attention to. By understanding the physical implications a breakup has on your health, you will have a reason to show empathy to people who have suffered the same or people who have lost a loved one or pet. We are not telling you to not to love again, but by reading these Insights, you will be able to understanding the physical consequences of an emotional trauma, so you can prepare yourself when it occurs.
Who is the Book For
For anyone faced with a heartbreak or painful loss
Counsellors and therapists engaged in treating emotional trauma
About the Author
Guy Winch, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, author, and keynote speaker whose books have been translated into twenty-three languages. His first TED Talk “Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid” has received over 5 million views and is rated as the fifth most inspiring talk of all time on TED.com. Dr. Winch’s work on the science of emotional health frequently features in national and international media outlets. He also writes the popular Squeaky Wheel Blog for PsychologyToday.com. He maintains a private practice in Manhattan and is a member of the American Psychological Association.
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Societal Lack of Empathy
Our society does not see some emotional loss as a cause for concern.
This is so true. Especially for pets. We keep animals in our homes and love them unconditionally. Our pets follow us when we use the bathroom, snuggle with us on the couch while watching a movie and lay with us as we sleep. Our pets are family even though they are not human. But when we lose our pets society treats the grief we go through lightly. There is a disconnect between the loss of a loved person and losing a pet. They see it like the pet is not worth grieving about and this has caused people to bear their sorrow in silence. We have learnt to downplay certain loss because of the fear of being taken for granted. This makes it harder for us to cope with the emotional pain we feel in our heart. The support given when we lose a person sits on a higher pedestal than the support we receive when we lose our dog. But we forget the pain we feel is the same for both situations, and the pain felt can be just as strong, if not stronger depending on the bond that exist between man and animal. Just because we lose a boyfriend or a cat does not mean the emotional pain is not deep. Because of this lack of empathy which sometimes culminates into irritation or exasperation at the one grieving, we have learned not to share our loss with others putting us in danger of emotional disorders and depression.
Heartbreak really breaks your heart
This may sound as something you see on a Hollywood flick, but the heart literary breaks when we go through a heartbreak. Many of us are not aware of the medical term known as Broken Heart Syndrome. This is a medical complication that results from shock or intense anxiety. There are many mysteries of the heart we are yet to unravel through science and technology such as the reason a strong healthy heart can go suddenly weak from intense emotional trauma. There are many theories trying to explain why this happens. There are doctors who believe adrenaline to be the cause. A huge rush of adrenaline may be too much for the heart to handle. Others believe this hormone causes a narrowing of the arteries cutting off the flow of blood to the heart. But one thing is certain; “heartbreak syndrome” is real.
Beating Ourselves For No Cause
We blame ourselves for heartbreak and do not take breakup reasons in good faith.
Whatever the scenario that may play out, we subconsciously kick ourselves when there is a breakup. This is often so when the breakup happens at the behest of the other party. We ask for reasons they leave and when given; we find it hard to take on face value. Heartbreak nowadays is not just about emotional pain but about a sense of soul searching. We question ourselves deep into the recesses of our minds where we might have failed or what we might have done to make our partners remain by our side. We feel ashamed or insecure. To crawl up in a hole and die. We feel there is a chronic fault trapped in our genes which has made us inherently unlovable. Because if this were not so, why would our partner want to leave us? We claw deeper into our inner self, putting our faults under a magnifying glass to make sense of the loss. We feel like someone has given us a death sentence to a life of loneliness because of our faults. When we pass through this abandonment phase, the neediness we feel may become stronger. Humans are naturally needy creatures who need to give and receive love to thrive under healthy conditions in society. But this need can skyrocket in certain situations and going through a breakup is one of such a situation. The truth is; we need not need. We need not accept the failings of others as our fault.
The fact is; many partners leave a relationship – even healthy ones, for the most trivial of reasons which have nothing to do with us.
It is time we stopped feeling unworthy or believe that we are lacking in ways which make us unable to hold on to healthy relationships. Blaming ourselves as the cause of our partner leaving hurts us in more ways than one while preventing us from healing our bodies and mind.
By working towards moving on, we can lead happier lives
No matter what the circumstance of our breakup we need to stop putting ourselves down. We cannot continue to spiral down into a cycle of shame, guilt and need as this could lead to depression, despair and ultimately suicide. But what do we do to heal a broken heart? We can begin the healing process by acceptance. Accepting our loss. We also have to accept the fact we are human and because of this we have faults and insecurity. By accepting our weaknesses we can learn to love ourselves. Self-love is a critical component of moving on and healing a broken heart. We should also not be too critical about our failings. Taking life less seriously will help us heal quicker. Be light and fun. Drop the load of self-doubt and watch your heart soar again. You need no one to validate your existence. This is the importance of self-love. When working towards making a better life for your mind and body, do not do so for the sake of others. Maybe to get one up on the one who left you. To show you have moved on to better prospects than they expect. Doing that keeps a well of poison and bitterness in your mind because you are only doing so to prove a point to them. You must understand the only one responsible for your happiness is yourself.
Find inner peace by practicing meditative techniques
The ideal way to move on after a breakup is closure. But this is not always the case. A partner may up and leave for no reason. They may leave you with no channels to reach out and find out why they left. They could change their mails or block you from their social media feed or both. This can cause deep pain which leaves your heart in turmoil for a long time. If this is the case, you need to find a means to release all that bad energy lingering inside of you.
Introducing meditation. Because breakups can be traumatic, understanding how to master your thoughts and feelings will require techniques which can heal your broken heart. The art of meditation has helped people deal with a loss. Many studies show that people who go through a divorce deal well with loss and separation when they practice meditation techniques like yoga. Because mediating is a skill, you need to dedicate time towards learning it. But once understood, you can apply it in all facets of your life including your emotional health. It takes self-belief to appraise how we think during our grieving phase but it is only by so doing we can let go of the past. Apart from meditative practices like yoga, you can learn to heal your hurt by putting your thoughts in writing. This can be in the form of a diary or a journal. What you write is irrelevant. You could detail your journey towards healing or you could write about the hurt you feel. It does not matter. The important thing is to write whatever comes to your mind. This outpouring from the subconscious unto the written form will drain us of the bitterness pooling deep in our heart. People have reported feeling lighter and less burdened after writing when they are going through an emotional trauma. Do this and watch your heart heal for the better.
Here are some key quotes from the book:
“Too many of us ache with emotional pain only to then criticize ourselves for hurting. We falsely believe we should somehow stay calm and carry on…”
“Unlike real hurricanes, heartbreak has no eye — it offers no reprieve and it leaves no place to take shelter. We thus remain exposed, drenched, and miserable until it passes.”
“Many of the behaviors and habits we typically adopt to cope with heartache are likely to deepen our emotional pain, delay our recovery, and even damage our long-term mental health.”
“Real heartbreak is unmistakable, from the intensity of the emotional pain it causes, to the totality with which it takes over our mind and even our body.”
A heartbreak happens not only when an intimate partner breaks up with you. It can occur where there is family conflict, the death of a loved one, including people and pets, or betrayal by a trusted friend. It is normal to feel hurt inside when this happens. But by following these Insights, you can learn to live a happier, more fulfilling life and learn to love again.
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Content created by: Chima Emenike