“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr Seuss
Getting over a broken relationship is hard. You torture yourself with ‘what if’s and wonder if you will ever trust again. And the pain that never seems to go away. The loneliness you feel at nights is followed by emptiness when you wake up in the morning.
I’m not here to give any answers, just to share this quote which once helped me to get over a relationship as well. Each of the 4 parts of the quote helps us to accept, and move on.
How to smile because it happened
1. “…it’s over”
This is the reality you have to accept. Disbelief and denial are a natural part of the grieving process. Your mind knows the facts, but your emotions take time to catch up. It’s not just the person you have to let go of, it’s also your hopes and dreams for the future.
In the early days of a break-up, there is always a small, unspoken hope that somehow you’ll patch things up and get back together again. You cling on to this hope, and that makes it very hard to let go completely and start healing.
Life is a process of letting go. Treat this painful period as practice. Let go of that niggling hope and start the grieving process.
2. “Don’t cry…”
Some say the grieving period is roughly one month for every year of your relationship. I’m not sure emotions obey the laws of mathematics though. Let the healing happen at your own pace. Basically you have to cry until you stop crying.
My way of crying was to run whenever it hurt. I ran everyday for months. Then one day as I was pounding the track, I realised that I wasn’t running to work off negative energy anymore. I was there because I enjoyed it. In that moment, I knew I had healed.
You too will know when the sun comes out again for you.
3. “…it happened”
Once you have healed, you will be able to look back on the relationship with some objectivity. Remember the places you went to together, the people you hung out with, the words you said to each other. Remember especially the fun times, the encouraging words, and all the little things that affirmed you.
This is important because the fact that these things are not happening now does not change the fact that they happened. Recall these experiences not with regret, but with gratitude. Some people have never had the blessing of a relationship, but you have.
Now these memories are yours forever. No one can take them from you. Treasure them, and whisper a word of thanks to God or the universe for sending them your way. If you can bring yourself to, nod a brief ‘thank you’ to your ex as well.
4. Smile (because it happened)
I find that those who go through painful break-ups usually end up in one of two camps. The first group builds a wall of fear around themselves, promising that no one will ever hurt them this way again. They sigh when a friend enters a relationship, shaking their head and warning that love is not what it’s cut out to be.
The other group gains strength from knowing that if they recovered once, they can recover again. This allows them to push fear aside and dare to once again love like it’s never going to hurt. Their willingness to be vulnerable endears them to others. They still childishly believe in love and encourage others to do the same.
You have to decide which camp to join. There is no right or wrong here. Maybe you can do what I did and join each camp for a little while to see which you prefer.
So smile because it happened
Smile because you had the relationship, even if only for a while. Just because it didn’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. The end of every chapter in your life is the beginning of a new one, and the next chapter could be even better. So smile with gratitude for the past, appreciation of the present, and anticipation of the future.