Smile Because It Happened

“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.

For more on this, read Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Davastating Loss into the Best Thing that Ever Happened to You

Please share this:

19 replies on “Smile Because It Happened”

THanks for the article, it helps. I’ve been in love with someone, I think, for a couple years. I am more in love with how he makes me feel and his kindness, but he does not want to be with me. That hurts and we’ve been friends, but now he is pushing away, and it’s bringing up a lot of controlling feelings. I do just want to be friends and have always recognized that we can’t be together, but I just miss the closeness we had and the time we spent together. I counted on that. So, just bummed and trying to move on. I am OK for awhile until I see him or hear about what he is doing, and knowing I am not a part of that or invited, just hurts. Oh well, movin on.

Dear Catherine,

Sorry about the late reply. It’s always difficult when we want the closeness more than the other person. As you say, the best that we can do is move on. Someone once said to me that there are friends for a reason, and there are friends for a season. I’ve found it difficult when the “friends for a season” start drifting away, and am learning that instead of wishing for more, I can be grateful for what I did have. I hope for you that the hurt fades away soon, leaving only the smile behind.


Dear Catherine,

Sorry about the late reply. It’s always difficult when we want the closeness more than the other person. As you say, the best that we can do is move on. Someone once said to me that there are friends for a reason, and there are friends for a season. I’ve found it difficult when the “friends for a season” start drifting away, and am learning that instead of wishing for more, I can be grateful for what I did have. I hope for you that the hurt fades away soon, leaving only the smile behind.



Thanks for leaving such a positive comment, especially just after your relationship ended. It is always tough to let go and there will be good days and bad days before full healing takes place, but you seem to be on the fast track to recovery.

Yes it can happen again, and again and again. And even if it doesn’t happen again, we are blessed to have experienced the love, as you say. Many people don’t even get that.

All the best as you move forward with the next exciting phase of your life, with all the new people you will meet!

Thanks for the inspiration. My girlfriend broke up with me last night after a year together. I never really knew what it was to feel love or feel loved. I had experienced a rough patch financially while I was with her. But no matter what I was feeling, once the feeling of love took over, all was right with the world. A lot of times, a simple text message she sent saying “I love you” was something that got me through to the next day. I will always be greatful for those little things. While I have held out hope she’ll come back to me, she has a lot of friends and family where she comes from and I think her heart just wants to go back. In the end, I guess I just can’t compete with that. But I will always smile because it happened. If it happened once, it can happen again, right? Thanks again.

I was just randomly googling as to why is it so tough to let go and I found this blog.
She ended it with me about 2 months ago and since then life hasn’t been the same…I was going to propose to her on her birthday and instead a week ago she decided to tell me that its over..I created a lot of anger in my heart and convinced myself that she was a bad person and I am glad its over but yesterday she sent me an email saying she is sorry and hopes I forgive her some day.
And now everything came back and I dont know how to just GO On with life….


I’m sorry to hear about your troubled emotions. It’s really very hard to let go when deep down you want the relationship. I know it’s not easy, but what I try to focus on is that many people don’t even have a relationship, and at least I had one for a while. I remind myself to be grateful for what I had rather than mourn what I don’t have. Do take care, and wait for your heart to heal and be happy again someday; it will happen.

Oh Caroline, I’m sorry to hear about your break-up. It’s never easy, and at the same time the sun always comes up again. Hang in there, and maybe one day in hindsight, even if it’s years later, you may look back and appreciate the good that will come of this. The album of memories sounds like a wonderful keepsake… no matter what, you will always have had those times.

… all i can say is thanks Daphne!

my breakup happened last night, we both cried because its nothing personal between us but unfortunate timing and external pressures and stress, which make the relationship impossible at the moment. i’m hopeful that maybe somewhere down the line our paths will cross again… and i’m happy to say, as much as my heart is broken, i decided to choose ‘better’ over ‘bitter’. I’m creating an album of photographs of our best memories together and i will give a copy to him for his birthday next month.

love to all in the same boat.


I’ve been there and wanted someone back badly too. Lots of crying as well. Hope things turn out for the best for you in time. Thanks for your kind comment even though you’re going through a difficult time now.

I think that you apply some of these lessons to life in general, not just relationships. Leaving behind a job, a bad situation, anything that involves change.


Very true. Especially these days, we can apply this to losing a job. Easier said than done, yet so powerful to be able to give thanks for the years we had the job, instead of mourning its loss now. Well said.

Thank you, this is helping me with my situation and even though I still have hope that me and my boyfriend are gonna get back together one day, I’m slowly recovering. I especially liked the “These memories are yours and no one elseโ€™s, and they are yours forever.” part. I always think about the good times we had together and I smile, I use to cry about them before but I just smile now.

Hi Kelly,

Welcome, and I appreciate your personal sharing. I totally know the feeling of clinging onto the hope that you’ll get back with your boyfriend. That feeling and I are old friends! I’m happy that you are able to smile at the memory. It’s such a simple life-changing perspective – that we have not lost something, but gained something through the experience. I also find that every relationship is better than the last, so you have a lot to look forward to!

Hi Donna,

Hats off to you! It’s wonderful to see someone living life to the full the way you are doing. It takes courage to change directions at any age, and I certainly hope that when I’ve faced with the same fork in the road, I will choose my path with as much joy and gratitude as you have.

Dear Daphne,
Thank you for your kind words, and for linking to my article.
In my case, I was the one who initiated the divorce. I have to say that now I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m doing things I simply could not have imagined as possible, such as going back to college to finish my degree (I’ll be 51 in December) and writing a personal finance blog.
Real life is SO much better than the movies.

Donna Freedmans last blog post..Now there’s a place to confess about overspending

Catalyst, my heart goes out to you. I’m not sure what else to say. You know where to find me if you need a listening ear.


As I read through this, my eyes couldn’t help but get a bit wet. I’m out of words… Thank you. I know this will resonate with anyone who has gone through a break up.

Letting her go has been the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life, even after I found out. Still, I know for many years we had something really amazing, and I will never forget. In time, I will forgive her. I did wish her the best, and I meant it. I will keep my promises.

First heart break – I guess I had it coming to me eventually ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t think there are any short cuts, but to take it one step at a time.

Thanks again Daphne.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *