7 Ways Heartbreaks Shape You Into A Better Person


Ellen Nguyen

Most of us have experienced heartbreaks and because of this, we commonly regard ourselves as “damaged goods” or “having baggage”, believing we are not worthy of love or don’t deserve happiness. Well, my depression would probably try to convince me of the same.

If you ever think that way, you’re wrong and your depression is definitely wrong. Yes, you have loved, and maybe you have been damaged but it doesn’t mean you’re in any way lessened. You’re only more with all the courage embedded in you and you should be proud of yourself.

Personally, I’m extremely grateful that heartbreaks have ever happened to me, especially in this formative stage of life. Heartbreak has shaped me into a much better person and I wouldn’t want to change a thing in the past.

I will tell you how.

I become mentally strong and emotionally independent.

After every heartbreak, ultimately, I was the one who picked myself up and pushed myself forward. Even if I didn’t want to, I had no other choice. Each time, my limit was tested and stretched a little bit further, and my views on love and life matured a little bit more.

If it wasn’t for the pain, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity and especially the motivation to build myself like that. And more importantly, I wouldn’t have learned to really take care of myself and take responsibility for my own happiness.

Now if I’m with someone, it’s because I want to be with them, not because I need to be with them to be happy. Without them, I can be happy on my own too.

I’m clear of what I want and don’t want, what works for me and what doesn’t.

Whether it is the first time or happened three years ago, yes heartbreaks are tough. But if I take a step back and look at the big picture, I realize all the heartbreaks occurring to me were essentially all part of the learning by trial and error process that helps me understand myself better.

For instance, they have pointed out to me very remarkably that certain decisions would lead to certain endings and certain things were just not going to work out so I could learn to do better next time.

Over time the increasing self-awareness enables me to make better choices and be truly confident. I don’t bullshit myself and other people simply because I don’t have to anymore. I actually know what’s going on with me and once I go for something, I’m sure about it and I give it my all.

I make firm decisions.

It’s a blessing in disguise that heartbreak doesn’t just hurt once but it stings over a prolonged period of time. Because the more it affects me, the more I remember it, the less likely I’m now to be swayed by other people or lapse into my wonky old self when a new situation comes up and a decision is due.

With practice, I’ve changed from being confused and indecisive to be sure and in control. It’s true that people respect you more when you stand up for yourself and stick to your decisions. It’s also attractive in my opinion.

I prioritize my needs.

In retrospect, most of my heartbreaks were the ultimate result of me not doing what was good for me despite knowing what was good for me.

As mentioned above, when I wasn’t as strong and independent and firm as I’m right now, I did not understand myself and my needs well. I cared more about pleasing other people than my own pleasure and happiness. I was insecure and short-sighted. I would go for instant gratifications while blinding myself to the long-term consequences.

Now, after learning my lessons the hard way, I’ve figured out my life can only improve if I start to prioritize my needs and take action accordingly. Though, don’t get me wrong. It’s different from being selfish. It’s doing best for myself first so that I can do best for other people.

I’m less likely to be carried away.

Two years ago, I was a carried away mess. Having terribly low self-esteem and being rather naive, I wore my heart on my sleeve and was quick to put all my eggs in one basket. Inevitably, when things didn’t turn out the way I’d expected, I was severely broken. It’s true that time heals all wounds but the emotional scars never disappear. Their impact has been internalized into my character.

So now? I’ve seen better. I’ve met all sorts of people and gone through all sorts of endings. Being cautious has become my second nature. Decisions are carefully evaluated. And people are chosen based on core values instead of superficial factors.

I’m more compassionate, resilient, and level-headed.

Only when you hit your rock bottom and do things you would never imagine yourself doing will you start to really empathize with other people and understand their course of action. You won’t just stay on your high horse and throw down your sympathy and pity while feeling better about yourself. You will stand on the ground, seeing yourself in other people’s situations and gradually become more forgiving, more accepting, more open-minded, and less judgmental.

At least that’s what happened to me. The best part is that I now know for a fact that I was strong enough to overcome all the pain I’d been caused, all the times I’d felt low and desperate enough to consider death, and If I’m patient, eventually a better day like this will come. It’s my endless source of strength to keep on fighting and trying in the face of obstacles and failure.

It is harder and takes much longer for me to fall in love but once I do, I fall deep and for the right reasons.

I won’t deny that after all the heartbreaks I’ve definitely become more guarded and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad. But there’s one thing I’m sure about which is if there is someone who makes me want to open up myself and love them, and once I do love them, that love will be real and deep and meant to last.

It won’t be because I don’t know what I want, or because I’m lonely, or bored, or too carried away with the idea of love. No. It will be because I understand and love myself, I know what works for me, and I want to make my loved one the happiest person they can be.

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