What Are The Different Kinds Of Burnout?

According to the definition from the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, work-related stress is the only cause of burnout. In their words, “burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

What About Non-Work Related Stress?

For instance, there are many people who are burned out from caregiving (either to children or to aging parents or relatives) with no support or relief. And what about children and teenagers who feel burned out from years of chronic stress from studying? The WHO definition excludes people who don’t have a lot of stress in their occupational context, but who balance stressful obligations outside of work (in their family and community).

Though these descriptions might not line up with the WHO classification as an “occupational phenomenon,” they’re certainly real feelings that deserve to be validated. And even within an occupational context, there are many different kinds of documented burnout. There’s educator burnout. Physician burnout. Activist burnout. Spiritual burnout. The list goes on if you start looking.

It’s important to remember that within the medical community there’s still no consistent agreement about the symptoms or diagnosis of burnout. The most widely cited method of diagnosis, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) , was released in 1981 by psychologist Christina Maslach and team, and it’s closely related to the definition from the WHO. 

Burnout Is A Process

Ultimately, burnout is unique for everyone. Sometimes work causes chronic stress, and sometimes other things may cause chronic stress. Regardless of what you call it, If you’re feeling exhausted, unmotivated, fatigued, and unable to cope, it’s time to seek help.

Is It Burnout Or Something Else?

Are you tired or is it burnout you’re experiencing? How can you know the difference?

Burnout can look different depending on the person, but there are some common themes and symptoms that have been studied in medical research on burnout. Here are 10 of the common signs that you might be experiencing burnout:

  1. You feel exhausted or fatigued
  2. Your sleep patterns are disrupted
  3. You feel cynical about your work
  4. Your productivity has decreased
  5. You’ve lost or gained weight due to appetite changes
  6. You’re taking more risks than you usually do
  7. You’re unable to complete basic tasks
  8. Your memory is foggy
  9. You feel unable to make decisions
  10. You’re under the weather often

Becoming Aware Of Burnout

Some of these symptoms could also be related to other mental health issues (for instance, depression) or illnesses, so it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss any of the symptoms and figure out the next steps from there. The first step of healing from burnout is becoming aware of how you’re feeling and accepting it. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, or that you’re not productive enough. Experiencing burnout doesn’t mean you’re falling behind. And it also doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be stressed forever.

You Are Not Alone

Being burned out is simply a result of chronic stress that you haven’t been able to balance. A lot of factors can contribute to this – your work environment, your obligations outside of work, debt, a global pandemic, etc. Know that it’s okay to feel this way. Ther are millions of people around the world in your shoes. In fact, burnout is becoming a more widely discussed issue in the medical community given how widespread it has become – the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named burnout an “occupational phenomena” starting in 2019, and they have committed to developing more research in the area of mental wellbeing at work. Remember that you are not alone, and things can get better with the right support.

Ten Questions To Ask Yourself If You’re Feeling Burned Out

Part of the challenge with identifying that you’re burned out is that burnout is a process, not a one-time event. Burnout is the result of chronic and consistent stress over a longer period of time. Usually, the stress is work-related, but it could be a mix of daily life stresses that sends you over the edge. 

So, how do you differentiate between a stressful period of life and burnout? Isn’t stress a natural part of life?

Stress is definitely part of life, but burnout is the culmination of extreme and overwhelming stress. Burnout is what happens when stress is no longer manageable, and it manifests in physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

One way to differentiate burnout from stress is to look at some of the formal definitions of burnout. These may be helpful in identifying any symptoms that you have. Though there are varying ways to diagnose burnout, there are several clinical definitions that are well agreed upon and there’s also an assessment that has been widely used since the 1970s called the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). A doctor or therapist can help you figure out if what you’re experiencing is burnout or maybe an underlying health issue.

Another step you can take, in addition, is carving out some time for self-inquiry. If you think you’re burned out, you’re probably really strapped for time. But think of self-inquiry as an investment in yourself. Long term, carving out some time for this can save you a lot of time and energy down the line. You know yourself best, but you can only know yourself if you listen to yourself.

If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because you’re not feeling that great right now. The only way to improve things is to accept them as they are right now. Self-inquiry begins with acceptance and acknowledgment of how things are in this moment.

Now try to find 15 minutes to sit with yourself, silently, to answer these questions. Put away all the other distractions. Get off your phone or laptop. Ideally, you can write these answers in a journal so that you can look back at your answers and reflect on them for a bit. You may even want to use these journal entries to bring into a therapy session, or to discuss with a loved one who can be supportive. 

Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  1. How long have I been feeling this way?

  2. Do I have any ideas of what might be causing stress?

  3. Am I feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis?

  4. Am I feeling fatigued?

  5. How well am I sleeping and eating?

  6. Have I noticed any changes in my performance at work?

  7. Have I noticed any changes in my attitude at home?

  8. Have I noticed any changes in my attitude towards myself?

  9. Have I picked up any new habits to deal with how I’m feeling?

  10. What do I need right now? What would be helpful?

Self-inquiry is a powerful tool because it empowers you to get still and listen to yourself. Though you may be searching for the answers outside of yourself, know that you have a deep well of wisdom within. You know when you’re not feeling well. You know when something’s not right. That’s why you’ve landed on this post.

And while support is invaluable when you’re dealing with burnout, you can start by supporting yourself. Asking yourself questions and journaling your thoughts is one great way to begin this work. 

Are You Dealing With Burnout In Unhealthy Ways?

Burnout is caused by chronic stress, usually related to work. But it could be related to other parts of daily life too. Maybe you are solely responsible for taking care of an ailing or aging relative. Or maybe you’re deep into an advanced degree and you can’t seem to manage the stress you’re feeling about finishing.

Whatever the cause, burnout is something that humans have been dealing with for a long time. Given the increasing demands at work in modern life, burnout has become more a buzz word recently. Burnout as a phenomena was first written about in medical research in 1971 by a psychologist named Herbert Freudenberger. He studied the effects of stress on workers at a drug-rehab clinic (where he also worked) and this paper became a seminal paper on burnout. Christina Maslach was also studying burnout around this time and was largely responsible for popularizing the term, after she published a journal article on burnout in 1976, though she’s quick to note that burnout itself was not new at the time. It’s been around for ages, and many people used the term burnout to describe their feelings. 

Both researchers noted that burnout was the result of a long-period of consistent stress, and it led to the burned out person feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, cynical, unable to cope. They also felt less hopeful about their future and had more of a negative view of themselves. It’s no wonder then, that people who are burned out turn to many different ways to cope, some being unhealthy. 

Some of the unhealthy ways people may deal with burnout are:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Withdrawing from life
  • Ignoring it completely
  • Calling in sick at work
  • Watching a lot of TV/Netflix at home
  • Not sleeping at all or oversleeping
  • Not eating at all or overeating
  • Gambling
  • Sex/Porn
  • Partying
  • Playing video/mobile games

All of these things are distractions from the underlying issue, which is unrelenting stress that hasn’t been addressed. They provide temporary distraction and relief, but ultimately do more harm than good.

Burnout is already a difficult physical and emotional state to be in, without the added negative effects of drugs, alcohol or a tech/game addiction. So if you’re feeling burned out, it’s a good idea to seek support and begin to identify the ways in which you are coping with your burnout. Are you taking any healthy steps? What about unhealthy ones?

We’re all human and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you recognize anything you’re doing regularly on the list above. Just having this awareness is an important step in mending from burnout. Once you begin to identify how you’re coping, you can start to understand why. You can extend some understanding and compassion to yourself. You’re just doing the best you can, trying to make yourself feel better. And with an expanded awareness and understanding of yourself, you can begin to make changes that will help you. 

How To Know If You’re Burned Out

Burnout is subjective. In fact, there’s no agreed-upon diagnosis for burnout in the medical community. It’s not an official disease or mental disorder, but it’s certainly recognized as a stress-related state that many people experience. It’s also officially an “occupational phenomena” according to the World Health Organization, as of 2019.

One of the most widely cited psychological assessments of burnout, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), was published in 1981 by Christina Maslach, a burnout researcher and expert. In that original inventory, Maslach laid out 22 items related to occupational burnout that measure three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. The survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, has since been widely used in many different occupational settings and there are even abbreviated versions of this survey circulating the internet.

Most people agree that burnout is the result of chronic stress, and some people require that burnout be work-related to fit their definition. The World Health Organization (WHO), for instance, defines burnout solely in a work context as an “occupational phenomenon” that is characterized by three main traits: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

If you’re feeling completely burned out, think about what “burned out” means to you personally. Ask yourself the following questions:

Questions To Ask

-What emotions am I feeling?

-Physically, how do I feel?

-Am I exhausted/fatigued?

-Am I being productive at work?

-How is my attitude towards life right now?

-Have I noticed changes in my memory?

-Do I feel depressed?

-Do I feel motivated?

-How am I sleeping?

-How am I eating?

-Am I feeling overwhelmed?

-How am I managing stress?

-How long have I been feeling this way?

According to one of the earliest definitions of burnout from psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, burnout is a “product of unremitting stress and unrelenting demands…the victim’s emotional circuits become increasingly overloaded from constant excessive demands on his or her energy, strength and resources. After decades of maximum effort, the individual finds himself screeching to an inexplicable halt.” 

Some of the common symptoms of burnout listed in research on burnout are:

Common Symptoms

-Exhaustion

-Fatigue

-Depression

-Feeling cynical about work

-Being unproductive at work

-Lack of motivation at work

-Feeling of impatience

-Feeling generally “ill” but with no specific medical diagnosis

-Weight loss

-Being unable to sleep

-Waking up in the morning and being exhausted

-A negative attitude

-Increased risk taking

-Inability to concentrate

-Impaired memory

Get Help

If you identify yourself with any of the commonly listed symptoms of burnout, it may be time to talk to someone who can help. If you’re reading blogs about burnout, you’re probably realizing that your stress levels are too high. Of course, daily life can be stressful. But there’s an important difference between periods of stress and chronic stress. If you recognize yourself in some of the descriptions above, it’s a good time to acknowledge how you’re feeling so that you can begin to take steps towards healing.

Burnout Is Officially Recognized By The World Health Organization

Burnout has been a recognized result of prolonged stress since the term was first used in medical research by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974, and then popularized in the media by researcher Christina Maslach. Maslach published an article titled “Burnout” in 1976 and went on to co-create the Maslach Burnout Inventory in 1981, the first attempt at measurement for burnout. However, burnout has been an issue for ages. Though the term burnout was new to medical literature in the 70s, people have been self-diagnosing themselves as burned out for much longer. And surely humans experienced the physical, mental, and emotional effects of burnout before the word was ever used. 

In the latest update on burnout definitions, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially now recognized burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in their International Classification of Disease. In the WHO definition of burnout, there are three main traits that characterize burnout: 

Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 

increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

and reduced professional efficacy.”

Hopefully, this announcement will also lead to more research in the area. Burnout is an issue that is affecting people around the world, and it’s helpful when an international body validates what doctors and therapists have been seeing in increasing numbers. 

Ten Common Signs Of Burnout

If you’re trying to figure out whether you’re burned out or just stressed, knowing some of the common signs can help. The experience of burnout looks different depending on the person, but there are some common signs of burnout that doctors and therapists use to diagnose burnout. If you think you might be burned out, here are 10 signs to look out for:

  1. Exhaustion or fatigue
  2. Disrupted sleep patterns
  3. Feeling cynical about work
  4. Decreased productivity at work
  5. Changes in your appetite
  6. Increased risk-taking
  7. Inability to complete basic tasks
  8. Foggy memory
  9. Overwhelmed by decision-making
  10. Catching a cold often

Some of these signs of burnout point to other health issues (for instance, depression, hormonal imbalances), so it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and figure out the next steps from there. The first step of healing from burnout is to become aware of how you’re feeling and acknowledge your feelings. Secondly, remind yourself that burnout doesn’t mean anything bad about you as a person. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, or that you’re not productive enough. It doesn’t mean you’re falling behind. It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be stressed forever.

Experiencing burnout is simply a result of chronic stress that you haven’t been able to balance. A lot of factors can contribute to this imbalance – your work environment, your obligations outside of work, debt, a global pandemic, your lifestyle, etc. Many people are in your shoes, and burnout has become widespread in this era of workaholism, especially amongst millennials. Know that you’re not alone, and things will get better with the right support.

Six Women On What It’s Like Being Single During Coronavirus

What does it feel like to be single during coronavirus? How do you stay sane? What happens to dating?

6 women share glimpses of solo lockdown life:

“I had a few late night phone calls. These truly filled me with a giddiness I hadn’t felt since high school when Jason P. from history class and I would talk ~after hours~. The calls lasted anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours, generally with at least an entire bottle of wine consumed in the duration. These phone dates were super fun and it made me wish dating apps were just modern versions of 1-800 numbers (let’s call them….1-900 numbers). I think talking on the phone is a dying art and when it’s done well, is extremely hot. Does that make me sound one million years old?”

-Alison Roman, of NYT fame, recounts her experiences with dating during lockdown

“When you’re a single black woman and you’re always handling things, people think, ‘Oh she’s got it. She’s good.” So now that I’m at home, all of my friends that have their families, their husbands, their boyfriends – they’re immersed in that. And I understand, but I’ve always shown up for the weddings, the baby showers, the christenings. It’s five or six of them and one of me. Who’s checking for me?”

-Felicia on the mixed feelings she has about being alone during lockdown in Jersey

“I feel like in all of the news they just keep saying it’s not that bad…just stay on the couch with your family and play board games and get to know your spouse. What about those of us that are finding ourselves now stuck inside, with no social life, no social interaction, no dating options?”

-Monica shares how she’s coping with quarantine on her own

“You are alone for the duration of this, and that duration is uncertain. And that doesn’t take away from being very comfortable being a single woman. It’s just adding on new feelings that I was not experiencing before the pandemic.”

-Shani shares her thoughts on self isolation with NPR

“This weekend, I was supposed to get married. I don’t know which is the harder pill to swallow: the fact that I called off my wedding long before COVID-19 became our reality, or the notion that if I hadn’t, I would have been thrown headfirst into the logistical and emotional nightmare of postponing a wedding to an unknown date in the future.”

-Kelly on why starting over feels impossible to her during lockdown

If you’re struggling with flying solo, know that you’re not alone. You might want to check out these things to do if you’re single during lockdown and our podcast episode on the same subject.

P.S. If you could use more daily support through a breakup or divorce, our app Mend guides you through heartbreak day by day. You can also sign up for our free class on “Staying Home: How To Support Your Mental Health During Coronavirus.”

Four Instagram Accounts To Help You Live More Sustainably

In honor of Earth Day, we’re encouraging you to take a closer look at the impact your life has on the planet through an app you use everyday – Instagram. To get you inspired and motivated to live more sustainably, here are a few Instagram accounts to get you started.

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@readtealeaves

Erin shows us how a slower, simpler life is possible, and it’s beautiful. Her account gives us a glimpse into her Brooklyn life, sharing a small apartment with a growing family. We love her project ideas and small tweaks for living a more sustainable life.

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@kisstheground

If you don’t think about soil that much, this account will change your mind. Follow Kiss The Ground’s account to learn more about regenerative farming, a more sustainable way to solve the climate crisis and feed the planet. And be sure to check out their fascinating documentary (narrated by Woody Harrelson), now streaming on Netflix.

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@wildminimalist

Run by a husband and wife team, Wild Minimalist is the account of a zero waste shop in California. They share wonderful advice and inspiration for minimizing your impact through ditching plastic and taking on more of a zero waste lifestyle.

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@zerowastehome

Can you imagine a life without trash? Bea Arthur lives it. She’s one of the mothers of the zero waste movement, and her account will inspire you to make small changes that have a huge positive impact on our environment.

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@haleboyd

We first came across Haley as the founder of Marais, a popular shoe brand that was based in Los Angeles. Since then, she’s switched gears and is focused on sustainability. Her feed is as informative as it is beautiful – no surprise from a designer!

How To Stay Sane During This Coronavirus Pandemic

Right now we’re all focused on our physical health, trying to avoid coronavirus with hand washing, hand sanitizer, and social distancing. It’s critical that we do all that we can to prevent its spread, and many of us are staying home to do that. But while we focus on our physical health, it’s also important to make sure we are taking care of our mental health while we’re at home. The mind and body connection is strong, so here are 3 ways to stay strong during the coronavirus pandemic:

1. Practice Yoga

Online yoga is a great way to relieve anxiety and stay in shape while you’re unable to go anywhere. All you need is your laptop or phone, and a little space to spread out.

While many yoga teachers have taken their practices online in the past week, to protect students and respect local guidelines around group gatherings, some have also been there all along! Yoga with Adriene is a wonderfully compassionate and relatable yoga teacher on YouTube, and she also offers more in-depth paid and donation based video programs.

2. Meditate

Meditation is a must if you’re trying to reduce stress and anxiety. According to meditation teacher Sara Shah, “Meditation teaches us how to sit with whatever is happening with a sense of confidence even if we don’t know what’s going to happen.” A lot of us are feeling scared and uncertain about the future, and grounding practices like meditation can help us feel calmer. It can help boost our immune systems, too. This is why she’s launching a 5-day meditation series to help with anxiety people are feeling due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can access it by subscribing to her newsletter.

Tara Brach is another meditation teacher who hosts a weekly talk available anywhere you listen to podcasts, and she also has an incredible library of donation-based guided meditations. Also, Spirit Rock meditation center posts their Monday meditations for anyone who wants to follow along at home, or you can also join one of their virtual meditation sitting groups if you’re starting to feel lonely. One of their teachers, Jack Kornfield, has even put together a free guide to creating your own home retreat. If you’re looking for an app, Insight Timer is a free app that you can download and start using right away for guided meditations, and it’s the one most recommended by meditation teachers.

3. Give Yourself A Content Break

The news is anxiety-inducing right now, and many newspapers are just recycling the same information over and over again. Try to set limits around how much time you are going to spend reading the news, and stick to them. Instead of going to the same news websites every hour, try setting a couple times a day when you’ll check. This will help manage your stress levels, which can help your immune system and overall mental state.

We know this isn’t an easy time for anyone, but we hope these practices and tips help you stay healthy.

If you could use more daily support through a breakup or divorce, you can start mending now. You can also sign up for our free class on “Staying Home: How To Support Your Mental Health During Coronavirus.” 

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in Los Angeles (Central Edition)

Hey, Menders! Welcome to the last stop in our LA guide, at least for now. Today, we’re hitting up one of the busiest (and most famous) parts of the city: Central LA.

What we love about this part of the city is that there is so much diversity. From Hollywood glitz and glamour to karaoke nights to unique museums to outdoor movies, there’s a little something for everyone. Next stop for Mend City Guides: Northern California! 

Melrose Trading Post

(Source: TourdeThrift.com)

Treasure Hunt At The Trading Post

It’s no secret that LA locals are huge on thrift shopping. One of the most well-known flea markets is Melrose Trading Post, which takes place every Sunday at Fairfax High School. If you’re looking to makeover your wardrobe or apartment post-breakup, you’ll find great goods here.

This weekly event boasts a long list of vendors selling vintage fashion, handcrafted goods, antique furniture, and more. Be on the lookout for up and coming artists and designers – you can get high-quality art at reasonable prices. When you’re done shopping, enjoy live performances by local musicians and pop-ups from non-profit adoption centers (because who doesn’t have puppies on their shopping list, right?) Fun fact: Photographer Gray Malin got his start here, among others!

Wanderlust

(Source: WanderlustHollywood.com)

Find Your True North

Wanderlust is the newest and hottest place to retreat and recharge in the middle of Hollywood. At Wanderlust, you can try movement and meditation classes that vary in intensity levels to help you get the mood boost you need, and the beautifully designed and decorated building (more like a center!) will make you feel calm the moment you step in.

Try the Flow Foundation class if you’re a beginner or the Yogamaze class if you’re looking for something more rigorous. Then, stop by the Wanderlust Cafe for an organic, post-meditation treat, and don’t forget to swing by their library and the rooftop deck for some chill time.

Pro Tip: Megan Monahan, friend of Mend and the voice of our app’s guided meditations, is the Director of Meditation there, so tell her we say hi! Her #howimend interview is here.

Da Poetry Lounge

(Source: BruthaGimel.com)

Slam It Down

Got something to say? If you have something you want to get off your chest or you are just looking to experience something different, head to the Greenway Court Theatre and check out Da Poetry Lounge. Known as the largest running open mic venue in America, DPL welcomes over 250 audience members per week to listen to spoken word poetry.

This venue is devoted to getting voices heard and encourages self-expression through writing, listening, and performing. They also offer workshops, performances, networking events, and festivals to help poets develop their spoken word skills.

Yoga Booty Ballet

(Source: Unsplash.com)

Yoga For The Booty

If you’re looking for a crazy fun class that will leave you feeling like a new person, you have to try Yoga Booty Ballet. Yoga Booty Ballet at Swerve aims to reinvent how you work out by incorporating meditation, yoga, and dance into an exhilarating routine. The community of regular Yoga Booty Ballet takers is also amazing – so authentically warm and welcoming, which makes this a great class to take if you’re solo.

The class starts with meditation to center your mind and the upbeat dance portion will get you sweating and feeling like a rock star. Even if you’ve never danced before, the classes are easy to follow (not like Zumba!) and are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. If you’re looking to spice up your workout in a fun and empowering environment, then get your booty to Swerve, and take your first class for only $10.

Pro tip: Say hi to our friend Danielle Cuccio (her #howimend interview is here), who teaches YBB!

Kit Warchol On Communication And Commitment

Kit Warchol is the editorial director at Career Contessa, a platform that helps women navigate their careers. For fun, she takes road trips with her dog, Monk. We asked Kit a few questions about her experience with breakups and she shared the two biggest rules she has learned about love through heartbreak.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Jeez, so much. But my #1 is probably this: that desperate “Wait, WTF did I do? I’m all alone and what if I was totally wrong?!” feeling goes away so much faster than you’d think. You just have to get past those first few days, which is admittedly much harder than I’m making it sound. Oh, and #2 if you’ve had more than a glass of wine, do not text him (or her). Period. Honestly though? I’m still bad at following that advice.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Every heartbreak makes me more aware of what I want, what I need to work on personally, and the sort of person I need/want to be with. I joked to someone the other day that I totally get when you hear about someone who dates until they’re 40, then meets the just-right person and is married in three months. Do I think I’ll do something like that? Unlikely. But every time I’ve come out on the other side of heartbreak, I’ve better understood what to look for next time. It’s a Goldilocks effect.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I walk. A lot. The worse the breakup, the better shape I’m in. I also am an unapologetic consulter with a tight-knit group of friends. So during a breakup, I do a lot of “Hey, smarter, wiser, less emotionally devastated friends, what should I say to this text from him?” or “Should I send this?” texting with them. I’m biased, but I think they always have the right answers.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I mean, I still check IG accounts of exes from way back when. It’s fascinating. Two of them got married in the last month, actually, which I found out through mutual friends’ social posts. My answer is to unfriend. Even with the ex who I lived with—we’re still friendly—I was like “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I’m going to stop following you for awhile while I process.” And with the whole texting thing (which, in case you couldn’t tell is my biggest vice since I’ve mentioned it like three times already), I have this rule: anything I want to send after like 8pm has to wait until the next day. If I still want to send it then, I’m allowed. And seeing a therapist helps, too, if you have access to one. Huge into therapy.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“1. It’s not enough. Love is not all you need. At least not in the sense that most of us mean. You need an excess of communication, to mutually commit to working on things, and you need to be able to let shit go. Also, you need a life outside of your S.O.—plans with friends, hobbies they don’t do with you, etc. Because if you don’t have that, all you’ll talk about is your own relationship. Narcissistic much?

Or 2. Once boredom sneaks into a relationship, it can and will destroy what you’ve built. Do everything in your power to engage with your person, expand your own contributions, and never, never get lazy. Love’s worth it.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Not very often, and definitely 100%, no way, no how should anyone try to be friends with their ex starting immediately after a breakup. Even if the relationship ends in the most amicable way, disconnect.

I recently dated someone who could have been the next big thing for me—we checked almost all the boxes. But before we met, he’d decided to stay friends with his ex of 8 years. You can’t actually move on when you do stuff like that. You continue to follow the same routines, maybe share the same dog (ahem), prioritize your ex’s feelings over anyone new you meet. It makes sense in a way because there’s history there—why wouldn’t you value it over a stranger, right? But that means you’ll never give anyone new a fair chance, and you’re asking too much of them, too early on by saying “be patient” or “you just have to accept this.” It’s more fair for everyone—you, your ex, both your future partners—to take some real time away. OK, off my soap box now.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Chronic optimism…and the simple memories that I still cherish from every relationship I’ve ever had. Like I remember how perfect one morning felt when I was 20, lying in bed on Sunday doing the crossword with my college boyfriend. Knowing those moments exist give me confidence that I’ll find someone who makes me feel like that regularly, preferably daily, and indefinitely.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“‘Three Cigarettes in the Ashtray’ by Patsy Cline. Jesus. And it’s maybe not so much about heartbreak as it’s about a tortured relationship, but I listen to Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” at least ten times after every break-up.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“The Apartment. I’ve never had a doomed affair with a married man, but the movie still makes me ache everywhere.”

On a personal level, I’ve committed to finishing writing this murder mystery novel—no joke, the paperback variety—that I started years ago. There are cults involved. And a 20-something protagonist living in LA. Go figure.”

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in Boston

Hey, Menders! Thanks for following us around the globe with our Mend Guide to Retreats. Today we’re heading back to the East coast to share some of our favorite ways to stay #onthemend in Boston.

In case you missed it, we’ve also shared how to mend in San Francisco, New York, and London.

Gardner Museum

(Source: GardnerMuseum.org)

Mend At The Museum

If you need a place to clear your head post-breakup, take some time to get lost at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This gorgeous space is modeled after a Venetian palace and features historical and contemporary art. Spend a peaceful afternoon reading in the courtyard or enjoy some classical and jazz music in Calderwood Hall.

Taking time out of your busy schedule to enjoy beauty and art is a great way to relieve post-breakup stress. Bring a book or journal and hide out at the Gardner for a few hours before facing the world again.

Pro tip: Free admission on your birthday or with a student I.D.

Brattle

(Source: BuzzFeed.com)

Channel Your Inner Book Worm

Don’t have the funds to travel after your breakup? Getting lost in a book is the next best thing. Stop by The Brattle Bookshop and snag a few books to keep you busy (and off your phone). The Brattle Bookshop is one of America’s oldest and largest book shops, boasting over 250,000 books, prints, maps and postcards.

Pro tip: You can find “bargain books” ranging from $1-$5 in the adjacent lot.

Bliss

(Source: BlissSpa.com)

Post-Breakup Bliss + Brownies

So often we lose track of our self care routines in relationships. What better time to #treatyoself than after a breakup? Take your self care to the next level by paying a visit to Bliss Spa, a one stop shop for hair, nails, massages and facials. Grab a girlfriend or go solo for the ultimate spa day.

You can release some tension with a full body massage or give your skin a treat with a tropical ginger and lime scrub. Also make sure to take advantage of the lounge area before or after your treatment and enjoy some complimentary tea along with their brownie buffet!

Swet

(Source: SwetStudio.com)

Break A Swet

If you’re avoiding the gym because your ex might be there or you hate gyms in general, maybe it’s time to check out a new option to ensure you’re getting the mood boost you need from exercise. Swet Studio is a multidisciplinary studio that offers yoga, rowing, and anti-gravity classes for all skill levels.

You can learn how to do pull-overs and flips in the aerial hammocks or a barre class to incorporate dance into your regular routine. Swet even offers a guided meditation class to help you relax while suspended in a floating silk hammock – sounds like a perfect thing to do post-breakup.

Coolidge

(Source: Pinterest.com)

Catch A Flick At Coolidge

Spending Friday nights alone after a breakup can be daunting. If you’re dealing with cabin fever or having a hard time sleeping, stop in for the After Midnite program at Coolidge Corner Theatre where you can catch some trippy, cult classics with other insomniacs. This is a fun way to brush up on your cinematic culture and maybe make some new friends along the way.

Karen González Ibarra On Being Thankful For Heartbreak

Karen Ibarra is an illustrator and artist. She loves traveling, doodling, and making collages. We asked Karen some questions about heartbreak and she shared how a breakup helped her find herself through creativity.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Life goes on, it truly does. I remembered I was like 18 and thinking that I could never get through it. I just didn’t want to feel pain anymore. Now as I look back, I’m very thankful for that experience because it led me to the search of my creative self. I started to find the answers that I was looking for outside within me, and once you learn that, you start a new relationship with yourself and you find the courage to move on.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I could create the person I wanted to become. Heartbreak for me meant a white canvas. It meant freedom to discover myself and through that I discovered my passion for illustration and art.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“For me it was writing and drawing; art truly helped me heal. I felt better knowing that through my pain I could create something new.”

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Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Yes, that´s tough especially now that social media is a big part of our lives. But I decided to be selfish and only focus on myself for a while. I stopped following everyone on Facebook. I didn’t eliminate them – just unfollowed them – that way I could create a safe space for myself and only focus on things that make me happy, like drawing, fashion, watching series, dancing, etc.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“As I grow older, I see that love has a lot to do with your own relationship with yourself, with how much you love yourself first so that you can love someone else.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I do stay friends with my exes on social media, but I don’t follow them. I think that at least at the beginning it’s healthy to keep some distance so that you can go on with your life.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I think that once you experience real love, you know it’s worth it, in spite of the pain and heartbreak. True love exists and that’s the reason to keep your heart open. You never know what could happen.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I love La La Land because it’s realistic – you can love someone, but the timing is not right. But it’s ok. It’s like they taught you about love and you can move on and find the person you are supposed to be with.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I have some cool collaborations with some brands coming that I’m excited about and I want to keep going with my blog and expand it to illustration tutorials videos on YouTube.”

Christina Lonsdale On Why Heartbreak Is Like An Acid Trip

Christina Lonsdale is the Portland-based visual artist and founder of Radiant Human, a fully adaptable aura photography laboratory. Christina was raised on mysticism and believed in science and spiritualism equally. We asked Christine some questions about heartbreak and she shared how changing her perspective on breakups helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I wouldn’t bother. Knowing younger me and the grief I was in, there is nothing I could have said to make anything better. Advice is a mental exchange based on the retrospect of a personal experience. For that advice to work, the receiver has to be mentally available and so often the case, heartbreak is another dimension where mental clarity does not exist. It is an emotional override to your life. It is a vision quest of your own heart and it is yours and yours only.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I can survive anything.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I treat heartbreak like an acid trip rather than an illness. There’s nothing you can do to fix this. The best thing you can do is turn off your phone, find a safe space, good music and art supplies!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’ve done that a few times, checking IG when things are still fresh. I’m lucky that I’ve mostly been with people that are very considerate of the situation so nothing too traumatic there. It just sucks because it makes me miss them more and grieve the dream we built. So I just don’t do it until I’m really ready. I never unfollow. I just avoid. I honor the grief, then focus on moving on as soon as possible. I’m a rip the bandaid off type of person. I know for some people they have to be hurt, to get mad, then hate, to get over it. Everyone has their own process so there’s no right way.”

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Biggest Lesson: I’m still learning.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I’m friends with all but one, and that one wasn’t official anyway so it’s kind of poetic that even after our time together we remain ambiguous and awkward.

“I have two favorite exes; my very first and my very last. They are family members rather than exes now and our love feels more stable and enriching then I could have ever imagined. Let me be clear, we don’t have sex, and it is probably because of this that I can say with absolute certainty that I will know them for the rest of my life. If you keep having sex you’re not letting the relationship evolve. There is a special bond through the death of dream love that is irreplaceable once you get to the other side. There is a uniquely primal experience to three things in life; birth, great sex and death. In a true love affair you experience all three. Anyone sharing that experience with me I feel is a lasting relationship worthy of considerable effort. They have seen me through so many stages of myself and held witness to so much! They have seen me at my worst and at my best, and still they remain supportive and loving. Unconditional because we have survived all the conditions.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Hope and humility.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Any cheesy disposable rom com or binge worthy series. Also: Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind.”

Favorite Books

“Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankle. A psychotherapist’s personal account of Auschwitz, discovering we are all inherently optimists. Great for putting things in perspective. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran ‘as love crowns you so does she crucify you.’ The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein. Something tender and cute, cuz duh.”

Favorite Quote

“Heartbreak is like birth; it’s uncomfortable, it’s a weight to bear for quite some time. It’s really painful and messy, but after you get through it, you’ll have a brand new life to take care of that is more rewarding than you’ve ever imagined!” -My Dad

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in London

Hey, Menders! Thanks for following our Mend City Guides as we traveled along the West Coast (West LA, Central LA, East LA, and Northern California). Today we’re heading across the globe to share our favorite ways to mend after a breakup in London.

Since we’re not on the ground in London, our trusted friend Laura Yates and several London Menders are sharing how they mend in their city (Hugs to Bella, Carly and Sarah!) Next up, we’re headed to NYC.

Move Your Frame

(Source: MoveYourFrame.com)

Channel Your Inner Beyonce

Dancing is an instant post-breakup mood lifter because it raises your endorphins. Move Your Frame has everything from music video dance classes to 2-hour Beyonce or Britney workshops. It doesn’t matter if you’re a total beginner or more experienced in dance, you can find something that fits your style (they also offer Yoga, Meditation, Barre and Pilates). With 5 studios all around London and a free first session, there’s no excuse not to go. 

Hotel Cafe Royal

(Source: HotelCafeRoyal.com)

Kick Back and Relax

If you’re looking to escape and indulge in some serious post-breakup pampering, head to the luxurious oasis that is the Akasha Wellbeing Centre. Based in the bustling heart of London, the intention at this ultra serene space is to unite the four basic elements of nature – earth, water, fire and air. It has a 60ft indoor lap pool, steam room, Jacuzzi, nine treatment rooms, meditation room, yoga and fitness studios and a watsu pool for guided meditation. Day spa packages start at £95.

Innerspace

(Source: Innerspace-e1.com)

Get Your Zen On

The Inner Space in Covent Garden is a serene hub of spirituality and insight. They run courses, classes, seminars and sessions on meditation derived from Raja Yoga, which helps develop inner calm, clear thinking and personal well-being. All the activities are free but you can offer a voluntary donation. Courses are offered onsite as well as in the city. Pro tip: You can check out their site for more resources such as Meditation Videos and Podcasts.

Broadway Market

(Source: youropi.com)

East London Vibes

Spend a day exploring East London. Start by taking a stroll around Broadway Market, where you can find an array of delicious and healthy foods and head over to London Fields for a picnic with some friends. If you’re looking to be active, check out London Fields Lido and take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool. The 50m Olympic size pool offers lessons, SwimFit classes, and poolside yoga. Afterwards, visit Violet Bakery just around the corner for a post swim treat!

Somerset House

(Source: SomersetHouse.org.uk)

An Art-Filled Afternoon

Need some time to think? Take yourself on a date to Somerset House in the heart of London. The spectacular neo-classical space hosts open-air concerts and films, contemporary art and design exhibitions, family workshops and free guided tours. Watch 55 fountains dance in the courtyard during the summer or twirl around an ice rink during the winter. The Somerset House sits between the Strand and the River Thames so you can enjoy a lovely view during your walk.

Battersea Yoga

(Source: BatterseaYoga.com)

Rest & Restore

If you could use help dealing with rumination or relieving anxiety, try Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation at Battersea Yoga. They offer over 50 classes per week as well as weekend workshops, adventure yoga holidays, counseling and healing therapies. If you’re really looking for a change of scenery, you can sign up for one of their retreats to Costa Rica, La Gomera, or the Florence House.

Go Banya

(Source: GoBanya.co.uk)

Visit A Russian Bath House

Steam your stress and negative energy away at Go Banya, London’s first Russian bath house. This relaxing facility offers a traditional steam sauna, organic spa and wellness treatments, and a rest lounge with bar, where you can enjoy Russian delicacies. Get the full experience and opt for a Parenie, a traditional and invigorating thermal treatment that boosts blood circulation and relieves tension and stress.

Peace Pagoda

(Source: NatureFlip.com)

Peace In The Park

Having a hard time with your meditation practice at home? Find your center at the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda. This beautiful monument sits along the River Thames, between Albert Bridge and Chelsea Bridge and is a favorite stop among joggers and dog-walkers. Grab your coffee and head out for an early morning stroll around the gardens and the Peace Pagoda for a meditation session before work.

Sketch Tea

(Source: Sketch.london)

Have A Tea Party

Gather your girlfriends and head to Sketch for scones and tea and a healthy dose of pink interior. This quirky restaurant offers a variety of colorful desserts, jam, finger sandwiches and champagne (yes, please!) Their whimsical decor and French-inspired menu is the perfect backdrop for a catch up session with your girls.

Sara Radin On Why A Relationship Isn’t Everything

Sara Radin is a fashion and beauty features editor for Teen Vogue. Sara likes to collaborate with strangers, foster community, and spread the cathartic powers of creativity. We asked Sara a few questions about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how focusing on herself helped her thrive as a single woman.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“My first break up was a total disaster! I was completely heartbroken. Looking back on it now, there’s a lot I would tell my younger self. I used to think being in a relationship was everything, but luckily, I know better than that now. When I was younger, that belief made it impossible to see myself as a whole person because I could only measure my life based upon the fact that I was still single.”

“Now, I would tell my younger self to ignore the media and my inner critic, and see my singledom as a positive. To fully embrace my independence and see it as an opportunity to learn, grow and focus on making things happen for myself. I’d tell myself that break ups (though they can be messy and painful) are always a blessing in disguise, and can even be inspiration for creative projects. As Carrie Fisher once said, ‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am stronger than I could ever imagine and I am worthy of honesty, respect and deep love.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Sounds simple but I make me time. I let myself rest, recharge, and feel through my emotions. Sometimes that’s staying in on a Friday night, ordering take out and laying around watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or Parenthood. Other times, it’s taking a long, hot shower, sitting at the bottom of the tub and meditating until I feel more grounded.”

“Writing has also been a great healing mechanism, it allows me to process my feelings and find the learnings in shitty experiences. I’ve been doing memoir writing, largely about my dating life, for a little over a year now, and it’s been a game changer. Not only is it incredibly cathartic, but it’s also empowering and wildly entertaining. Then, when I feel ready, I get out of the house and surround myself with people I love. My ideal night is seeing a movie, and grabbing a yummy meal with great friends. Hugs, laughter, vintage shopping, frozen Justin’s peanut butter cups — they all help too.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“After past relationships ended, I used to throw myself into online dating or go on dates with people I didn’t actually want to hang out with. It wasn’t a healthy coping mechanism. I was so scared of being alone and yet, doing that always made me feel worse and even more alone. A while back, I had some shitty dating experiences that really stripped me raw. It was a wake up call that I wasn’t doing a very good job at putting myself first. So I took a much needed dating hiatus in order to focus on myself and the things that make me happy. I learned a really valuable lesson and have since, never been happier.

Checking an ex’s Instagram definitely used to fill a void for me but I realized it was making breakups more painful. So now, I try to pause before I click on an ex’s account, and really think if it’s worth it. I still slip up once in awhile and give into the vice sometimes, but now I make a conscious effort to remind myself how that person wasn’t right for me, and re-focus my energy on the things that make me feel happy and fulfilled.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“The greatest love of all is the love you have for yourself. And although people may come and go, self-love is eternal.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I always joke you never know who’s going to be your next collaborative partner, and that could very well be an ex-boyfriend. However, I think it depends on the circumstances of the break up. If someone didn’t treat you well in a relationship, then they’re definitely not worth keeping around. Though it’s hard to totally disconnect from people today, I tend to only unfollow exes in extreme circumstances. Sometimes I block guys from my Instagram stories. It just feels too intimate and weird for them to be watching the in’s and out’s of my daily life. Instagram desperately needs to create a setting that allows you to continue following someone but block their images from your feed without them knowing :)”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“No matter what my relationship status is, my creativity and my curiosity are the two things that will always get me out of bed in the morning, and tuck me into bed at night.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“A little over a year ago, I started writing poems about some of the guys I previously dated. Now, with the help of my co-founder Vanessa Gattinella, it’s turned into a global project called It’s Not Personal. INP is a growing anthology and collective inspired by the female dating experience. While we’re working towards a large scale exhibition and a published book, we currently host monthly workshops at the New Women Space and run a monthly column with BUST Magazine. ”

“Our aim is to give women a platform to share, cope and grow from their dating experiences using the powerful tools of art and writing. Though the project is about dating, at the heart of it, we want to help women on their journey to self-love. We want to help them find comfort and clarity in their relationship status, whatever that may be. So far, we’ve received over 100 submissions and our collective has over 2,000 members. Submissions are still being accepted through September, and can be sent to itsnotpersonalnyc@gmail.com!”

*Photos courtesy of  Elizabeth Scholnick

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in Northern California

Hey, Menders! We’re moving on up — North, that is. We’ve shared ways to mend in Los Angeles (Westside, Central and Eastside). Today we’re sharing ways to mend in Northern California (San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento) after a breakup.

From adult summer camps to eccentric movie theaters to yoga in a cathedral, the Bay Area (and Sacramento!) has plenty of unique experiences that are perfect to seek out when you’re #onthemend. Next up, we’re headed to London.

Parkway

(Source: rugbyethos.com)

Comfy Couches and Cult Classics

If you’re stuck in a Netflix-induced coma post-breakup, it may be time to get out and be around people. The New Parkway Theater in Oakland’s Uptown District puts a spin on the typical movie-viewing experience through their unique space, featuring cozy couches and elevated cafe menu (vegetarian, vegan and gluten free friendly).

The community-centered cinema has themed nights including Open Mic Monday, Bingo and Beer Tuesday, and Karma Cinema Wednesdays, where you pay what you want (so East Bay right?)

Pro tip: Discounts are offered to students, seniors, and cyclists who bring in their helmets!

Wine Tasting

(Source: CastellodiAmorosa.com)

When Life Gives You Grapes

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery after a breakup. If you want to take a trip but you can’t get the time off, take a mini weekend trip with friends to wine country instead. Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley is a 13th century-inspired Tuscan castle that will make you feel like you’re thousands of miles away from SF. 

If you want to go super lux, you can also opt for a food and wine pairing in the luxurious Royal Apartment overlooking the picturesque northern end of Napa Valley – ooh, la, la. 

Terese Taylor

(Source: imrmassage.com)

Hands-On Heartbreak Cure

Our bodies hold so much tension after a breakup. If you want a truly transcendent bodywork experience, book an appointment with our trusted friend Terese Taylor in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Her intuitive style allows her to find the source of your problems so she can adjust her massages accordingly, giving you a blissful, personalized experience. Tell her we say hello!

Ella K Mcclatchy Library

(Source: SacLibrary.org)

Take Yourself On A Coffee Date

For those of you in Sacramento, the Ella K. McClatchy Library is a cozy little oasis of a home-turned-library to catch up on reading or listen to a podcast when you’re feeling like you need some peace and quiet away from campus. If you have roommates, it can be hard to find stillness and privacy after a breakup. This library, which sits on a quiet residential street in midtown, can be the stand in.

Stop by the newest location of Temple Coffee before or after. If you’re a coffee fan (who isn’t?), sign up for one of their amazing coffee classes – a great way to meet new friends who share your love of a perfect espresso.

B Side

(Source: Facebook.com/b-side)

Go Retro

If you’ve been enjoying HBO’s Vinyl, you’ll love 70’s inspired bar B-Side in Sacramento. We know that bars can sometimes stir up some dread after a breakup, but with a self-proclaimed focus on vinyl, cheap drinks and food trucks, this is a great place to spend a night on the town with your friends once you’re ready to step out. Look out for our friend Vanessa Labi, who spins there from time to time. You can read her #howimend interview here and get more Sacramento tips on her blog, Babesicle.

Grace Cathedral

(Source: Hoodline.com)

Get On The Mat

Yoga at Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill is a special experience, regardless of your belief system. This stunning church opens its doors every Tuesday night to host yoga classes as well as post-yoga programming that complements your practice. People of all ages and faiths gather on the labyrinth, the aisles, and even the altar to do yoga in a safe and inclusive zone. Is it Tuesday yet?

Kabuki Springs

(Source: Hoodline.com)

Oasis In The City

There’s nothing like a spa day to soothe your breakup blues. For a spa day with a zen twist, check out Kabuki Springs communal baths in Japantown. You can spend your entire visit in the tranquil communal baths or you can add on a wide variety of massage, facial and body treatments for a more personalized experience. Don’t forget that Sundance Cinemas Theater is next door if you want to meet up with friends after for a movie.

Aya McMillan On Rebuilding Herself Post-Breakup

Aya McMillan is fashion editor and digital content strategist whose work has been in Elle, WWD and Vogue Nippon. She is obsessed with shoes, home decor, reading, traveling, and looking after her fur babies. A born and bred Torontonian, she will politely wax poetic about how cool Canada is beyond just Drake, the Biebs, and Justin Trudeau — to basically to anyone that will listen.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“This pain is not forever. So far, you’ve survived everything you thought you wouldn’t.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Never discount someone else’s grief or deny how devastating heartbreak can be. Without reservation, I can honestly say that dealing with my most recent breakup was and has been far more difficult than learning that I had cancer.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“It had been so long since I had dealt with a breakup before this last 10-year one, so there were no rituals to be had; I was completely out of practice.

Friends and family certainly helped. So did petting my dogs, deep breathing, walking, writing, and volunteering (because, #gratitude). But travel is probably what healed me. Earlier this year I flew to London, then Tokyo and finally, Sri Lanka, where I parked myself in a small bungalow on a remote beach to rumble with the pain, heartache and bury the dreams I once had.

Even if you can’t get away, sitting with the quiet is so completely necessary. I made the mistake of not instituting NC (i.e. no contact) after the breakup and it remains, to this day, one of my biggest regrets—and takeaways. You cannot be expected to make important life decisions in your most vulnerable, shattered, desperate state.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Blessedly, my ex is not big into the socials. That said, I did drink drank quite heavily following my most recent breakup. He was part of a wine club and had collected a few hundred bottles in anticipation of our new wine cellar being installed, so I took it upon myself to pilfer every white, rosé and bubbly (I’m allergic to red). It’s not something I’m proud of or would recommend but, when your life is in pieces, you’ll do whatever it takes to bear the unbearable.

I think it’s ok to fall apart a little bit. It let’s you rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Life has a way of teaching you the lessons you need to learn. For me, that’s meant learning to be vulnerable, to show up, to dig deep, to love fiercely—and loudly. My ex and I are conflict-averse, quiet people. No one was at fault. The relationship (in his opinion, at least) had just run its natural course. But I think you lose something in that silence. When you play it calm and cool, the fire inevitably burns out. Shakespeare had it right: “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it will break.”

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Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Objectively speaking, yes. Personally speaking, no. Some have remained ‘friendly’, but never ever close friends in the true sense of the word.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Glennon Doyle Melton wrote, “Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s proof that we once loved.” Heartbreak hurts like hell but I’ve also learned it’s inherent in being fully human. And now, more than ever, I want to emerge alive.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“‘Save You’ by Turin Brakes was on major repeat for a long time. “Time will save you; you don’t need to save yourself” as the lyrics go, is also something I’ve said to myself on repeat.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I’m still searching for that one but open to recommendations!”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m mostly focused on my cancer treatments for the time being, while still trying to negotiate the logistics of my legal separation, putting my house on the market and finding a new place to live. I’m looking forward to decorating my new home exactly the way I want without anyone else’s consideration—and it will 100% involve pink. My priorities this year are me. That’s it, just me.”

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in Los Angeles (Westside Edition)

Hey, LA! Thank you so much for the positive response on our very first Mend City Guide for LA (Eastside edition). Today, we’re shining the spotlight on our home turf: West Los Angeles! 

It was hard to narrow the list down given we spend all of our time here, so we may have to do Part 2. From fun beach hangs to relaxing massages to blooming gardens, here are our go-to things to do when you’re on the mend. Next up: Midcity LA!

Gjusta

(Source: NeverNotGoing.com)

Bike, Bakery, Beach

Hop on your beach cruiser (or rent one from Breeze – those green Hulu bikes you see all over the westside) and plan a beach picnic with a friend or two. Start by grabbing lunch to go at Gjusta Bakery in Venice. Allow ample time for people watching. We recommend their savory sandwiches, cookies, and iced teas. Then bike your way to the boardwalk and post up for a beach picnic. Pro tip: Don’t forget your SPF.

Af Venice

(Source: ArtistsandFleas.com)

Support Your Local Artists (And Fleas)

Ready to do some post-breakup redecorating? Whether you lived with your ex or you’re just wanting to spruce up your place, swing by Artists and Fleas in Venice to get inspired. This event takes place every Saturday at Abbot Kinney from 11AM to 6PM and features a variety of handmade and vintage goods from local vendors. From clothes to art to thrift shop finds, Artists and Fleas is the destination for the ethically conscious shopper.

Moon Juice

Go To The Moon

Moon Juice is a gem of a juice shop. Well worth the trip to Venice, Moon Juice offers an extensive menu of organic pressed juices, Moon Milks, and Cosmic provisions to nourish and elevate the post-breakup body. All items are made with raw vegetables, fruits, petals, herbs, roots, nuts and seaweeds – let them know you’re looking for a mood-boosting mix and they’ll help you choose. Bonus: While on Rose Ave, check out the beautiful plants at Big Red Sun and swing by Rose Cafe if you want a post-juice snack.

Getty Villa

(Source: Getty.edu)

Take A Trip

Bring a book and plan a solo trip to the Getty Villa for a free museum tour. This beautiful villa, overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway, was inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture and features a tranquil garden, stunning views, a 500-seat outdoor classical theater, and so many nooks to enjoy. Whether you go alone or with a friend, the Getty Villa is the perfect place to escape without booking a flight to Europe.

The Now

Be In The Now

Indulge in a little self-care at The Now Massage, a bright Santa Monica oasis that offers affordable massages while still maintaining an air of luxury. The Now’s minimal aesthetic aligns with nature, allowing guests to unwind in a tranquil and soothing environment. You can book sessions online and you can also choose between the communal room for seated massages or private room for full table.

Solstice Canyon

(Source: nps.gov)

A Malibu Morning

Wake up early one weekend morning to beat PCH traffic and hike Solstice Canyon with a friend. As you wind through the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains, you may stumble upon the remains of the Keller House or the brick ruins of The Roberts Ranch House. On your way back into Los Angeles, stop at Malibu Pier Cafe (perched at the very end of the pier) for a delicious brunch overlooking the surfer dudettes and dudes of Malibu.

Kippys

(Source: KippysIceCream.com)

#kippysandsunset

Need to satisfy that sweet tooth without the guilt (or stomach ache)? Head over to Kippy’s in Venice for a scoop (or two) of delicious non-dairy ice cream. Kippy’s combines raw and organic coconut cream, organic fresh fruit, and raw unheated organic honey to create a variety of flavors that you can enjoy whether or not you are vegan. Get it to go so that you can walk the few blocks to the beach and watch the sunset with your toes in the sand.

Unplug

(Source: UnplugMeditation.com)

Unplug And Find Your Center

Carve out a break from your busy schedule to meditate at Unplug Meditation. Classes are 30-45 minutes long and aim to help you relax, be aware of your thoughts and feelings, and connect with your inner self. Inspirational guides seamlessly move you through meditations so you can sit back and let the stress fade away.

Jules Miller On Enjoying The Single Life

Jules Miller is the founder of The Nue Co, a company that makes supplements using organic foods. She turned to supplements when work and stress got in the way of eating right but struggled to find a brand that resonated with her. We talked to Jules about high school heartbreak, and why she went on a temporary “man ban.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“It was with my high school sweetheart. We’d been together for 3 years and clearly…at 17…I thought he was the one. We’d been blissfully in ‘love’ throughout school but everything changed in our gap year. He wanted freedom, he wanted out. We broke up at a bus stop I dragged him to after he tried to break up with me over text. I remember being beyond over-dramatic, as if the world was ending.

We ended up getting back together shortly after, but the love in me had died at that bus stop. We went on for a further 3 years (!) before officially calling it quits. I did the quitting, and sadly no tears were shed on my part.

The advice I’d give to my younger self is to always accept people for who they are. Love because you feel it, not because you want to. I used to get very carried away with myself and always see what I wanted to see in people / life / situations. I try to be a bit more realistic now. It’s a good way to protect yourself.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I’m great in a relationship, but I’m also great on my own. I always tell my friends to relish their single periods. Being single means you have the privilege to not have to compromise. Nothing is worse than being in an unhappy relationship, it’s far worse than being single.”

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What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Absolutely cut off all communication. I really do not believe that any two people who are currently or have been previously in love, can breakup and continue some sort of relationship from the get-go. Eventually, maybe. But time is the greatest healer, and for a hot-headed Colombian woman like me, it’s an absolute necessity.

Do anything that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel in control over your happiness. Anything from getting back into fitness, starting a new job or a holiday with friends.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’m pretty black and white and not a very jealous person, so I didn’t really have issues with checking up on exes. I think when I was younger I did, but that was before Instagram ever came into play and FB was still pretty private.
I suppose my biggest vice is being too impulsive and making decisions in the heat of the moment i.e replying to texts, answering calls. I just remind myself that there is no reason to rush anything. Give time and things slowly get better.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love rarely happens when you are looking for it, and its rarely what you expect.

When I met my current boyfriend I was on a ‘man ban’. I’d been on too many bad dates and dated too many losers to really have the energy to do it anymore. Charlie came along and we agreed to be just friends, which quickly turned to best friends. I could have never predicted we’d end up together when we first met, our friends would speculate but I’d always insist we had absolutely no feelings for each other. Looking back on it, I think I probably loved him within weeks of knowing him. Being around him always made me feel excited and relaxed at the same time. We had an automatic connection and from day 1 we wanted to spend all our time together, not because we had to but because we genuinely wanted to.

I doubt I wouldn’t have launched my company without him. I know that no matter how crazy my day is, how many email ‘bombs’ I have to dismantle, how many rejections I get – he’s always there telling me to keep going. I suppose that’s what love is, bringing out the best in someone. Whether that be a family member, friends or your partner.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I don’t have any specific rules – but generally I haven’t. Life happens and you choose to spend the little spare time you have with people you genuinely love. For some that may be your exes – unfortunately for me it’s not.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I have a pretty good relationship with myself. I try to be in touch with my inner voice and I’m kind to her. I know what I can offer, and what I can’t – and I’m OK with that. I suppose that comes from experience (and age!)

I think it’s also always good to think about the world outside of you to put your heartbreak into perspective. There are people going through unbelievable heartache, if they can do it – so can you.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“I’m not big into heartbreak movies. But if you need mindless entertainment and something to really make you think about nothing – put Geordie Shore on :)”

Mend City Guide: How to Mend Heartbreak in Los Angeles (Eastside Edition)

Hey, LA! Welcome to our very first Mend City Guide, where we’ll share places to go and things to do in your city when you’re feeling heartbroken. From fun food spots to scenic hikes to relaxing spa days, we’ve got something to help you stay busy, reconnect with yourself and have some fun while you’re on the mend. Since LA is many cities in one, we are starting with this Eastside edition. Westside is next!

Dtox

(Source: DaySpaMagazine.com)

Spend The Day In Your Bath Robe

Treat yourself to an afternoon of pampering at Dtox Day Spa in Atwater Village. This cozy nook will help you forget about the hustle and bustle of the city with its calming environment and luxurious amenities. Enjoy a rejuvenating facial or a relaxing massage that is tailored to your individual needs. All services include full access to spa amenities including a steam room, sauna, fully stocked showers, and a vanity area.

Don’t see a service you like? For only $30, you can purchase a day pass to the spa and indulge in an afternoon of wellness and tranquility. Spend some time listening to the gentle crash of the waterfall in the atrium while you enjoy complimentary tea, fruit, and brownies! Equipped with soothing sounds, comfy couches, and full-length robes, you’re sure to come out feeling brand new.

Dog Cafe

(Source: TheDogCafeLA.com)

Coffee And Pups, Yes Please

Visit The Dog Cafe in Silverlake and make some furry friends while enjoying a cup of coffee. The cafe offers a comfortable space for guests to interact with adoptable dogs, who might otherwise become fearful or aggressive from spending too much time in overcrowded shelters. This is also a great opportunity for people who are unable to have pets of their own to enjoy the company of dogs without the commitment of adoption!

Ucb

(Source: franklin.ucbtheatre.com)

Experience Some Laughter Therapy

Whoever said, “laughter is the best medicine” knew what they were talking about. Catch a hilarious improv, stand-up, or sketch show at Upright Citizens BrigadeThe small theater offers an intimate environment that allows you to get up close with performers–some seats are even onstage! The theater is open 7 days a week and features a variety of shows for as little as $5.

Moonlight

(Source: RedTri.com)

Get Your Groove Back

Get your groove on with some good old fashioned rollerskating. Glendale’s Moonlight Rollerway has been an Angeleno favorite since the 1950’s and it seems that not much has changed. This Jewel City gem is frequented by celebrities and has even been featured in a few movies! Bring your own skates and only pay $9 for admission or rent a pair for an additional $5. Enjoy the vintage vibes of the music, arcade games, and disco lights for a fun night of mending with your best buds!

Up next: Mend Guide for Westside Los Angeles and our Lux Los Angeles guide for those of you who want some extra pampering.

Four Inspiring Quotes On Success, Life, and Finding Meaning

In need of some inspiration amidst heartbreak?

Here are a few of our favorite meditations on success, life, and finding meaning.

“Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive—that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having.”

-Playwright Tennessee Williams on The Catastrophe of Success (truegoodbeautiful.com)

“What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgement you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know? This is easy advice to give. It’s hard to follow, especially when you’re young. Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.”

-Engineer Paul Graham on how to do what you love (paulgraham.com)

“But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

-Writer David Foster Wallace on living a compassionate life (moreintelligentlife.com)

“To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy but it’s still allowed. And I believe it’s worth the trouble.”

-Artist Bill Watterson on finding your own life’s meaning (zenpencils.com)

Jo Piazza On Finding Love When You Least Expect It

Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist, author, and podcaster. She wrote the international bestseller, The Knockoff, and her latest book How to be Married is all about what she learned from real women on five continents about the first year of marriage. She also hosts the podcast Committed, which is all about what happens after “I do.” We asked Jo a few questions about heartbreak and she shared all the post-breakup rituals that helped her heal.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“This is for the best. And it won’t last. Every single one of my heartbreaks had me paralyzed in bed and mad as hell. And in the long run, they were the best thing that ever could have happened to me. Eat all of the chocolate, drink the vodka, and then get back up and get back out there.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. When they were happening I thought each of them would break me. But you don’t break. And you are stronger and smarter the next time around.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I eat all of the chocolate. I drink and moan with my girlfriends. Then I tend to write about it. Writing about it has always cleared my palate and my brain and helped me put something that seems terrible in perspective. Break up with their social media. There’s no reason to keep following them. Would you keep swallowing poison or hitting yourself in the face? Take the time to heal. It’s OK that you don’t feel 100% right away. Take your time.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That all of the terrible cliches are true. Real love actually does happen when you least expect it. When it’s right, it isn’t hard. When it’s hard, it isn’t right. Relationships should be wonderful and easy at first because life only gets more difficult.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Yes. After time. You need to take one apart if you ever want to be real friends. Saying you can be friends right away is always bullshit.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Well I ended up finding love when I least expected it, getting engaged three months later and now I’ve been married almost two years.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“My Best Friends Wedding.”

Nitsa Citrine On How She Found Balance Post-Breakup

Nitsa Citrine, Creative Director at Sun Potion, is an artist, lover of tea, tonic herbs, alchemy, and photography. Here she talks to us about finding balance post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Stay Open. Trust Yourself. Breathe into the sensation -don’t attempt to numb or run away from the pain of it when it breaks…let it transform into something beautiful, growth.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That I am an amazing Lover? Ha! Seriously though….”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Tea. Green Juice. Raw Chocolate. Wine. Lots of Water.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Placing balance and well-being as the priority and then letting the rest fall into place…and with this – not feeling like one has to explain or justify aspects of their personal life to anyone.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love is the beginning and the end.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Under the right circumstances – absolutely! I remain close with my ex Scott Linde – we were engaged for years, built a life and business together – the experiences we shared are rare and unique – I am so grateful for all of it and I continue to cherish him, even though our relationship has shifted… our way of being together has evolved into something new.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Honesty.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“It really depends on the heartbreak…Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and “I’m Your Man” always get me…. straight to the heart!”

Joi-Marie McKenzie On Why Love Lives In The Now

Joi-Marie McKenzie is the Emmy-award winning Senior Entertainment Editor for ESSENCE magazine. Previously, she wrote for Good Morning America and ABC News. She is also the author of a critically-acclaimed memoir, The Engagement Game. We asked Joi-Marie about her post-breakup rituals and she opened up about how her spiritual life helped her mend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“It’ll happen again. And it’ll happen continually throughout life. So don’t necessarily worry about mourning the loss, but worry about learning how to cope with the loss because it’ll happen until the very day that you die — and then someone else is heartbroken. It’s a cycle.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“It illuminated for me how I grieve. When I’m heartbroken, I tend to mask my feelings in shopping or drinking or staying out late or traveling a lot. So I’ve learned that that’s how I cope and I have to be cognizant of that and aware of that so that I don’t abuse that.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I use prayer as a tool. Often times I’ve broken up with a guy after I’ve tried to control an uncontrollable situation. And so I’ve used prayer to come to terms with life playing out in a way that I didn’t expect. I remember during my most recent break up that I write about in my debut memoir The Engagement Game, the prayer that got me through that tough period was, “God surprise me,” because it signaled to God that I had no dog left in the fight; that I wanted him to direct my path.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I am the worst offender of rereading text messages — to remind me of the good times and the bad times too. I don’t know how to conquer it, but I just remind myself to be gentle to my spirit. I wasn’t going to be perfect during the breakup. I was going to scratch things that itched. And sometimes you have to let yourself do it and then (and make sure you do this last part!) stop doing it.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love lives in the now. It really doesn’t last forever, and my last relationship that I wrote about in The Engagement Game taught me that. Here it was: I found a guy who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and when it didn’t work out I considered that relationship a failure because it didn’t work out the way that I had envisioned. But when I think back to that relationship now, I see it is as a success. I was with a guy that I loved, and who loved me, for five years. And a lot of people don’t even get to experience that and so I’m grateful. And even if we did get married, we would’ve separated eventually…by death. I know that’s kind of morbid but it sort of motivates me. It confirms for me that truly nothing lasts forever and it motivates me to enjoy the moments of life. Enjoy the now.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“No.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Does Bridget Jones Diary count?”

Amanda Grey On Post-Breakup Healing Through Yoga

Amanda Grey is a personal trainer and founder of Sweat & Flow, a yoga studio that takes a physical approach to personal healing. She started Sweat and Flow after a breakup left her in a mental and emotional rut. We asked Amanda about her experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how fitness and yoga helped her through the post-breakup healing process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Believe it when you’re told, “it’s not you, it’s me.” The line is not just a Hollywood rom-com cliche, it’s the truth. You…. you are: perfectly imperfect, strong, beautiful, and confident. You are all of those things, and have been all of those things. No one can give you those qualities, and no one can take them away. We all have an internal narrative, and we can never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s head. So if they decided to walk away from you, let them continue on their journey without you. Your journey and your healing require you to tap into your innate qualities of strength and confidence and continue to move forward.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I have always tended to be a “fixer,” but not of the Olivia Pope variety. I subconsciously was attracting guys who for one reason or another “had potential,” but weren’t quite ready for a relationship on the emotionally available scale. It took a handful of heartbreaks and a therapist to finally realize that the person who needed “fixing” was myself. The men I was so desperately trying to be with were only mirrors back to what needed fixing in my own life. Without realizing it, I wasn’t fully emotionally available because my internal narrative was playing my childhood trauma of my parent’s divorce on repeat — it’s my fault, I’m not good enough, if I was perfect then he’d stay. Yadda Yadda. I have learned how to heal my codependency, strengthen my self-worth, and have funneled my need to “fix” into my passion and purpose – helping others heal from their own past wounds, using exercise and yoga as my methodology.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I’m not usually an emotional or stress eater, but I definitely fall into the cliche category with my breakup vices, turning to my comforts – pizza and chocolate cake. I also rededicate myself to my workout routine, using exercise and sweat as a way to release any emotion that’s coming up for me that day. For example, taking a boxing class if I’m feeling angry, a long run helps with jealousy or an overactive internal narrative, and I love yoga on the days where I’m feeling overly emotional and heavy. An hour workout is often the only time I can truly get out of my head.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I am definitely guilty of incessantly checking in on an ex’s social media, so much that it’s become an ingrained habit and I still find myself absentmindedly searching his name on Facebook, and for really no reason other than boredom. Not healthy behavior, but once you realize WHY you’re doing it, it can ultimately be a big lesson. What are you hoping to find? Proof… of what? Nothing good comes of it – if there’s a new girl that shows up in a photo or a comment, it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole, landing on her profile, looking through her photos. This behavior only invites in your inner critic, why do that to yourself? It’s hard to have constraint, so my advice is to delete them from social media entirely. Go out and live your life. And eventually when the pain settles, if you even care, you can add them back.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Wounds are formed in relationships, but they’re also healed in relationships. Despite the pain, the tears and heartbreak, I am so grateful for my last relationship and the subsequent breakup. It was my first breakdown to breakthrough moment. I don’t think I’ve ever been so raw in my life, but that rawness helped to expose areas in my life, patterns in my life, that were keeping me stuck. I am so much more aware now than I have ever been, I am much stronger in my own self-worth because I was able to heal old wounds in the days, weeks, months following our breakup. I used to fear relationships because breakups gutted me so much, I didn’t want to get serious with anyone and have to live through the pain when things didn’t work out. A life without love is no way to live, you truly have to stay open to love. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn more about yourself, what you want and need, and how to love deeper.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“This is tough, because I am almost three years removed from my last breakup and I am friends with said ex. In fact, we still see each other pretty regularly due to a shared group of friends. Aside from a few college boyfriends that I’ve lost touch with, I’m friends with all my exes. But that’s not to discredit how HARD it was to get to this point of friendship. The first 6 months to a year after a breakup, no way, my emotions are too raw. But as the romantic feelings fade, and the lessons become more evident, it’s hard NOT to have a friendship in some capacity. It doesn’t have to be a social, everyday friendship, but to have loved someone means I will always be connected to them, it’s my human nature.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Knowing that my biggest transformations have stemmed from heartbreak. My first relationship out of college was the first time I could see myself settling down, and when it didn’t work out I moved from Ohio to California to try to find myself. It took me nearly 4 years before I was in a serious relationship again, but in those years I met the most incredible people and traveled the world for my job, which I never would have done had I not moved. My last breakup came at the heels of personal tragedy for my ex, which made me start to examine my relationship with my father. I found forgiveness and closure. I am no longer haunted by my parent’s divorce and my fractured childhood, which I was forced to confront during my breakup. Having had both of these experiences, and to be living the “good” that can come from the “bad,” I realize that regardless of the outcome of my next relationship, I will be okay if not better.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I don’t have a particular song off the top of my head, but John Mayer’s Gravity album and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album were on repeat during my two milestone breakups. Anytime I hear a song from those albums, it takes me right back to those moments.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

500 Days of Summer. I loved that the ending is so honest and true.”

Rebecca Louise On Self Discovery Post-Breakup

Rebecca Louise is the founder of fitness app Burn (and also a prolific fitness YouTuber) which helps people find balance in their lives through wellness. We asked Rebecca some questions about her experience with breakups and she opened up about how heartbreak helped her reflect and learn more about herself.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Being heartbroken is one of the worst feelings you can experience. That sudden hit to your stomach, the pain in your heart and the feeling that you will never meet anyone again. Well yes this is true for all of us and no it doesn’t get any easier if your heart keeps breaking. Although it might seem terrible at the time and might be hard to believe, the relationship ended for a reason. That reason is a good one, even if you don’t think so! It happened because there was someone better suited for you out there. I have been in a couple of relationships and at the time thought there couldn’t be anyone better out there for me. What I realize now is that everyone comes into your life for a reason, to teach you something and for you to grow. At the end you will be with the person you were meant to be with.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak is the best way to learn about yourself and it enables you to grow. It is a time to reflect back on the relationship and look at why it didn’t work. This is not a time to blame the other person about why it didn’t! Take full responsibility and just look at your own actions to enable you to learn and grow. Complaining about what they did won’t help you, it will only make you frustrated. Heartbreak taught me how to be strong, how to bounce back and change my state even when all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa. I learned that no matter what is happening in my personal life, my world goes on and so must I.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Changing my state of mind is a big part of helping me mend. I recognize when I am in a low mood and tell myself to smile, to be grateful and to make the most out of the day. I know that my life is going to continue and bad things happen so I may as well come out the other end happy, strong and with something to show! You might not feel like being around other people but sometimes you have to force yourself, It will help you not mope around at home feeling sorry for yourself.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“In my opinion, when you break up its called a break because its broken! So my advice is to block them on all your social media and get your friends to block them too. This might be incredibly hard and something you think you don’t need to do, remember the saying ‘out of sight out of mind’ is true! Move on and look at the future instead of the past!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I have realized that love is about communication with another being. You can be in a relationship that you think is love, you are arguing and making up all the time making it exhausting. I have found that loving someone is when you listen to them, you are able to talk things through because neither wants an argument, you respect them and want to be more like them.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“No, I don’t think you can stay friends with you ex. You are no longer with that person and if you want to move on you need to distance yourself from them. To get over someone they need to be far away and out of your feed. The most important thing for me is that it’s not healthy going into a new relationship when you are still focused on or following someone you were once with. It’s not fair on you to compare and it’s certainly not fair on your new romance to have to deal with. If it was me I would want to know there were no feelings and that they are no longer in their life before I started to invest even a minute of my time with them.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“You must always keep your heart open and not be afraid because we were designed to live with another human being. It feels horrible at the time, but once you have been through one and you know there is someone else even better suited coming your way it gives you hope. Always believe that everything happens for a reason and in your favor.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“I tend not to listen to music when I have been heartbroken because for me it stirs up to much emotion. I like to concentrate on reading or listening to personal development.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“My favorite movie about love is Love, Actually. All the story lines are so great and varied you get to see all kinds of relationships. The movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ might sound brutal at the time but it’s a good one!”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I am super excited about the workout videos we are filming this year because each month we are shooting in a new country! Not only will you get a great workout in but you will get to see the world. There are many more motivational videos coming to the channel and a whole bunch of vlogs on the new Rebecca Louise Vlog channel! We also have an opportunity for everyone to come and experience wellness with me on a retreat. Follow me on social media for the announcement!”

Laura Yates On Post-Heartbreak Transformation

Laura Yates is a London-based breakup coach and writer who helps clients rewire old patterns using a practice called neural rewiring. We asked Laura some questions about her personal experience with heartbreak and she opened up about how she used her breakup as an opportunity for personal transformation.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Oh wow, this brings back a memory! The thing I did that time was something I actually should have done more of when I got older and that was spend time around good friends. The day I got finished with by someone I really liked, I went over to my best friend’s house, she cooked for a few of our friendship group that evening and I cried, laughed and felt so much better. It was so comforting to be around friends. I would tell her to keep doing that! I’d also tell her to trust that the feeling will pass, to not let it hold her back or make her feel like it’s something she did wrong. With relationships and breakups, a large part of the time it’s just where the other person is at and not a personal reflection on you. (I would also tell her to not trust any guy that finishes with you whilst he’s on roller blades anyway!)”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Oh gosh so much! So much of my transformation has come through going through heartbreak. It taught me to understand that everything isn’t supposed to be perfect in life. It’s not linear. It’s full of messy twists and turns but there can be so much beauty that comes out of that. It also taught me about boundaries. When you love someone so much, you can over-compromise. You see the relationship and that person through rose tinted glasses because you believe things might change. But you can’t change people. All you can do is have control over how you choose to react to a situation and how you can change to become a better person as a result of it. Walking away from my last relationship was one of the hardest things I had to do but it set us both free to find a relationship that’s better suited. We can put so much blame on the other person and that keeps us rooted in the past and the relationship. But putting blame aside, taking responsibility for myself and being able to let go and forgive (and that forgiveness doesn’t mean saying what happened was ok – it’s just means that you set yourself free from the emotional turmoil that’s keeping you stuck) was one of the biggest learnings I had.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“After my breakup I focused on my health and wellbeing. Whenever I face challenges life, I turn back to my physical health (which is the thing that always tends to get compromised with me!) and strength because I notice how much it impacts my emotional resilience. After my breakup I worked with a personal trainer and found that exerting all that energy into something positive, just for me, helped me heal so much. For so long I was focused on the relationship and my ex that I lost sight of myself. So my rituals were about rediscovering who I was. That was also when journaling became more of a ritual for me too. I also consciously decided to make sure my environment was one that could facilitate healing, inspiration, fun and creativity. Spending time with friends, going to workshops, getting more and more into personal development, writing about how I was coming through my own heartbreak and helping other people heal from breakups was something I completely threw myself into!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I’m convinced my breakups when I was younger were easier because social media wasn’t really around then! Depending on how serious the relationship was, you do tend to bounce back a little quicker when you’re younger but getting over a breakup was still a lot more fluid because there were no social media triggers. It was more if you bumped into your ex down the pub that would cause the most worry! I’ve noticed this with friends I’ve grown up with too.

With my last breakup, there was a lot I saw and found out about via social media and it 100% perpetuated the heartbreak, anger and anxiety associated with it. So what I did was notice how much anxiety and pain it caused me and then every time I went to click on his profile, asked myself whether that was really going to help or hinder me. It’s like rubbing salt in the emotional wound so I did what I could to eliminate what I saw. I also defriended him. Not out of spite but because I knew seeing his life would only cause more pain. I had what I call a mini breakup with someone else about a year or so later and he barely used social media. Even though that relationship was quite short and not as much emotional investment, I still really noticed how much easier it was to bounce back because he didn’t really use Facebook or Instagram. It’s crazy how much it affects us. With my coaching clients, how to handle social media is something that always comes up.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“It’s unpredictable! But isn’t that amazing? You honestly never know when love can show up in your life but you have to be open to it. I also think that love is the thing that reminds me that everyone is human. It’s the ultimate equalizer. It doesn’t matter how famous, attractive, successful, wealthy or accomplished you are, you’re not immune to heartbreak. It brings out that inner vulnerability in everyone.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it’s a really individual thing. Personally, I don’t stay friends with exes or think I could. If you’ve have that kind of connection and relationship with someone, it’s hard to be able to then separate that and create a friendship. But I know it can happen with some people, it just depends on the relationship and why it ended. I definitely don’t think you can be friends immediately after a breakup. There are too many raw emotions and so often we can use staying friends as an excuse to stay in each other’s lives in any way possible. When it comes to social media, again it depends on the relationship itself. I’m friends with guys I’ve dated in the past on social media but the ones I’ve been in serious relationships with I’m not.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I love the thought of being in love again! I find it exciting, exhilarating and I really believe that relationships are journeys that lead us from one stage in our lives to another. Just knowing that sometimes things aren’t meant to last forever is comforting. But it doesn’t mean those past relationships were a mistake. They’re just stepping-stones to the next chapter. Plus you learn so much about yourself after a relationship ends. I’ve taken a lot of time since my last big relationship ended. So I know that when I meet that next person, I have such a deep knowing of myself, what I want and need from a partner and relationship – and who I want to be for them too that it takes the ‘risk’ element out of it. It’s easy to put up walls after heartbreak but when you have your boundaries, wants and needs in check, you spot red flags sooner and can walk away quicker from something or someone that isn’t right for you. You can have an open heart without leaving yourself vulnerable.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“So many! But I’d say my favourite has to be Amy Winehouse ‘Back to Black.'”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“500 Days of Summer. That scene where Tom starts drawing the skyline on his apartment wall – I love that so much because it perfectly captures the turning point of him beginning to come out the other side of his heartbreak. I also love the scene after Summer and Tom bump into each other after she’s married where she tells him that it wasn’t that there was anything wrong for him; it just wasn’t right for her. We can make heartbreak so much about ‘us’. But even if it isn’t right for one person it doesn’t make you inadequate in any way. It just wasn’t right.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I love working with Mend (obviously ha!) and within my own brand, I’m extending my coaching services to helping people bounce back from many areas of their life and transform their everyday. Something I am passionate about is approaching transformation with humility and creativity. I work with clients to make their lives drama free. After challenges in my own health journey, I’ve also been inspired to find a way to help people in this way too, so I’ve recently enrolled in the Sano School of Culinary Medicine, which is about understanding how food and nutrition can heal the body and how it also impacts emotional health. Helping other people has been a great healer for me when it comes to heartbreak and life challenges and my mission is to help as many people as possible. Aside from that I’m also revisiting my performing roots and doing an acting course this summer. It’s important to make time to do the things you love so I’m really excited for that!”

Rachel Fleit On Why No Contact Is The Only Way For Her To Heal

Rachel Fleit is Brooklyn-based writer and creative director of Killer Films Media. She is also a proud advocate for women with Alopecia and has been featured in Vogue, WSJ, and The New York Times.

We asked Rachel some questions about heartbreak and she shared how ending contact with her exes helped her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The universe’s rejection is the universe’s protection. There will be someone else, there is always someone else… There is no scarcity of narcissistic bearded dudes who play in a band and went to liberal arts colleges in the abundant world. Pain is the touchstone for spiritual growth. When you feel the fireworks and it’s “on like King Kong” immediately, it’s not a good sign. Run the other way— a slow burn is the thing you want, not this. Also, he’s a douchebag and he said mean things to you and you deserve much much better and one day after many more of these heartbreaks, you will finally know what you are worth and the kind of love you deserve.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I am resilient and tender, all at once.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I believe in no contact. I have tried the other vague kind of way in which dramatic emails are exchanged weeks later and you meet for coffee and end up sleeping together only to realize the next morning that nothing has changed and it just prolongs the agony. I unfollow on social media, I do not attend events in which I may possibly see this person, I do not respond to any texts, emails or other forms of communication and it works. There is no other way for me.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I really stood by this no contact thing as per the above question and that included no “information seeking” which means no research report on the whereabouts of said ex via conclusion one makes via social media stalking. That is a waste of your glorious time that should be spent getting to know yourself better and taking care of your new pain with rigorous self care.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Timing, my dear, is everything.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I cannot be friends with most of my exes. I have tried and it’s just dishonest and inauthentic and deeply triggering. I am sort of friends with one of them but not super close. The jury is out on another right now, I don’t think we can be friends, I don’t think we will ever be friends because we were never really friends and there is a deep love there that I have (almost) accepted is impossible and yet exists (for me). That feels like a complicated and tiresome and painful friendship to be honest.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I just believe there is a plan for my romantic life. I don’t believe the universe is conditional, i.e. It will take care of me in certain parts of my life but not others. I believe deeply I am supposed to be partnered with someone in this life. I have a lot of love in my heart. I give up almost every day but then I continue to “keep the door ajar” as Nana Claire used to say. Also I truly believe what’s meant to be will be. It’s out of my hands, that’s for sure.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

Reality Bites. But they get back together in the end …does it count? I live and die for that scene between Troy (Ethan Hawks) and Lelaina (Winona Ryder) when he shows up at the end…. “

Five Workouts Specifically Designed for Heartbreak

When your heart is hurting, it’s very easy to become susceptible to crawling into a dark place and giving up any semblance of an exercise routine. And while sometimes you do need some time to emote, it’s not good for your brain to stay in that dark, sedentary place too long. To jump start your mending, we’ve found five different workouts that will get you out of bed and get those endorphins pumping!

1. “Practicing yoga is time to recalibrate, self-connect, and heal a broken heart.” 

– A list of yoga workouts for when dealing with heartache. (womenshealthmag.com)

2. “Appreciate [working out] for its freeing power and do it out of self-respect. It’s part of living consistently with who you are—an individual with unlimited worth. Exercise to physically unveil your newfound emotional and spiritual freedom—to let the freedom of a healthy body reflect your inner freedom. When you achieve that consistency in body and spirit, you will feel complete, whole, and beautiful, with or without a partner with which to share the richness.”

– Exercise after a breakup. (youbeauty.com)

3. “Go to the gym. Twice a day, if necessary. Take up kickboxing or a martial art that will allow you to get your aggression out—in a healthy way.” 

– Turn your frustrations into a positive with some fitness rehab. (muscleandfitness.com)

4. “Our minds and bodies are connected in the way we respond to stress and emotional pain. Any stress you feel in your mind, you also will feel in your body. Any stress you feel in your body, you will definitely feel in your mind. No doubt about it.” 

– Mend your broken heart with exercise. (healheartbreaknow.com)

5. “Using your free time to exercise will not only keep your mind and body motivated, but you will start to feel better about yourself. After break ups, a lot of people tend to pick themselves apart. They will look in the mirror and think ‘maybe they left me because of this, or that,’ etc. Exercising releases endorphins which make you feel good. These endorphins are going to make you feel great about yourself, while you are making yourself healthier, at the same time.” 

– How to use exercise as a coping strategy after a breakup. (examiner.com)

Sexologist Shan Boodram On Love Addiction

Shan Boodram is a certified sexologist, sex educator, and relationship expert. Her book LAID (Seal Press) was a Canadian bestseller and her YouTube channel, a sex-positive platform, has over 40 million views. She is also an ambassador for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. We asked Shan some questions about heartbreak and she opened up about how overcoming a breakup is, in a lot of ways, like overcoming an addiction.

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“With my latest breakup about a year and a half ago, I LUCKED OUT!! I don’t know why because I don’t speak to him but literally like a few weeks after we broke up he stopped using social media. It was so weird but so so helpful. If you don’t luck out in that way you just HAVE to have discipline – the other option is misery…so why even consider that?”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“There are two versions of any one person: 1) who they are 2) how they make you feel. The how they make you feel part is actually WAY more important. The person could be Barrack Obama on paper but if they make you feel insecure, unhappy, and uninspired you should not give your love to them, it’s a dead end.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I would treat this question exactly how I would treat anyone healing from any addiction. An alcoholic or cigarette smoker has to put a LOT of time between them and their vice before they can engage in it casually. The same goes for friendships with your exes, if you start engaging with them too soon you will have a much harder and longer road ridding yourself of the addiction.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Oh man I’ve never really been scorned to the point that I’ve feared trying again. I face a LOT of rejection and disappointment in my career so maybe that’s part of my conditioning. I just think a guarded lukewarm life sounds boring. I want the best out of life and I can’t expect that if I’m half stepping so I run to my desires – and with each failure I get better at understanding the importance of direction.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Hmmmmmm I love 500 Days of Summer

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“So many things, my life is incredible! Mostly and most poignantly to this amazing service you guys have – I am doing a visual audio book of a short story I wrote on the struggles of a woman addicted to love and searching in the wrong places. That comes out in May…of course it was inspired by some experiences I’ve had in my life. Like I said, heartbreak can inspire some really awesome art, so turn your pain into perseverance.”

Thirty Ways to Comfort a Heartbroken Friend

It can be difficult to know what to say or do when someone is heartbroken, even (and sometimes, especially) if they are a close friend.

Everyone finds comfort in different ways, and ultimately the way to comfort your friend will depend on your friend. So, while we don’t think there are “right words” to say or “right things” to do, we have rounded up some solid advice that you can try if you’re struggling to be there for someone.  And if you’re the heartbroken one, these are all great ideas that you can do for yourself, or suggest doing with a friend. 

Jo (from A Cup of Jo) on 4 things to say to a friend going through a breakup (Cup of Jo)

Gina gives 20 creative ways to comfort a friend going through a breakup (Hello Giggles)

Geena on 6 things that might actually comfort a friend (Glamour)

If you’re looking for even more ways to help your heartbroken friend, here are some common things people struggle with after a breakup.

Making New Friends

Checking Their Ex’s Social Media

Making Their Place Feel Like Home Again

Bumping Into Their Ex’s Friends

Managing Mutual Friendships

What to Do When Someone Doesn’t Love You Enough

Sometimes the hardest thing to accept about a relationship is that there’s nothing you can do to change the other person’s feelings about you. No matter what you’ve said, how long it’s been, the great times you’ve shared, you still don’t feel that the other person loves you enough. Or at all. Or in the way that you need. Something is amiss. You know it in your core.

A relationship is a two-way street. True, healthy love is mutual.

This is a scary realization, and it’s one that we often like to ignore at the expense of our own long-term happiness. Luckily, we are not alone. Many people have been there and will be there. Many people will have the strength to say goodbye, as painful as it is, and open themselves up for something greater. We hope you do too. Here are some thoughts to keep you strong.

Kelsey reminds us Don’t Ever Settle For Less Than What You Deserve (Thought Catalog)

Samuel’s advice on How to Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back (Thought Catalog)

Monica on how to know When It’s Time to Call It Quits (Verily)

UniqueLA Founder Sonja Rasula On Staying Friends With Exes

Sonja Rasula is a community leader and founder of Unique Markets, a series of nationwide shopping events that feature made-in-America products from up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Her goal is to support local artists and designers while simultaneously enriching the small business community and the US economy. Sonja is also a strategist, motivational speaker, and self-proclaimed French-fry lover.

We asked Sonja a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about staying friends with her exes post-breakup.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Do not worry about a thing! Let yourself grieve, that’s important, but do not dwell in it. Better things are always waiting for you in the world, trust and know that.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“That it’s not easy but it’s better to be heartbroken and alone than with someone and lonely.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“I tend to fall deep into music, especially sad songs that torture me. Lol. I always focus on work, staying busy and friendships – friends can get you through anything!”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“OMG Instagram didn’t exist the last time I broke up with someone (I’m married now), I can’t imagine how hard that must be!!!! But a big vice of mine would be to let myself go back/spend time with the person/still engage in a physical relationship — worst idea ever, it just prolongs the healing process.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“It’s extremely hard to figure out how to love yourself, and give yourself the amount of love and attention you deserve. But it’s the most important thing!”

Do you think exes can be friends?  Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“100% – If people aren’t friends with their exes I tend to question everything about them! When you share your life and your love with a person and it doesn’t work out, they have shared part of your life and you’ve been a part of their history. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I’m not saying you should be best friends (that will get in the way of future love) but continuing to support one another throughout life, being happy for him/her in the future especially when they find a great new partner, and checking in every once in awhile is healthy.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Hope! Life can be dark sometimes but it’s also very very very good. Hope is what allows me to keep going, find new passions, discover new loves, etc.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Unique LA is always something that makes me happy and fills my heart with joy.”

Poet Orion Carloto On Grief And The Healing Process

Orion Carloto is a poet and author of “flux” and “film for her.” When she’s not writing, you can find Orion at home baking sweets or watching French films with her cats, Atticus and Lolita.

We asked Orion a few questions about heartbreak and she opened up about the importance of grieving during the healing process.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“Please just breathe. Calm down and remember that this isn’t the end. Although I was in a previous relationship before, I believe that my first real and genuine heartbreak happened when I was 19. He was my second boyfriend and when he left, I felt as though I lost a limb. When he stuttered out the words “I’m sorry, we shouldn’t do this anymore,” my vision just went black and my entire world felt like it stopped spinning. A year and a half of my life given to someone that gave it up so easily. I remember I locked myself up in my room for a month. I couldn’t leave my bed, I didn’t eat, and I barely talked to anyone. I cried and I mourned at any given chance, and the pages of my journal became a sanctuary for his name. My mother was so worried about me that even she thought that I was never going to heal again. If there’s something I could tell myself while I was going through that stage in my life, it’s to remember that it doesn’t end there. He obviously was put in my life for a reason, but maybe that reason isn’t to be my partner forever. And that’s okay. I couldn’t understand that. I was so convinced that he was “the one”, that when it came down to parting ways, I simply could not let it go. We must accept change no matter how difficult it may feel. Something always works out in the end whether it be with that person or someone else. If you don’t learn to accept this, you will never truly move on in peace. And that will hurt you more than any word that will ever come out of someone else’s mouth.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak taught me solitude and the importance of recognizing my self worth. It’s so easy for me to get lost in someone else and to fully rely on them for everything. I grew up being a people pleaser, so it was inevitable for me to cling on to my significant other and pretty much become attached. When it all comes to an end, I become completely lost. Heartbreak taught me how important it is to allow myself to heal in the company of my own. It has opened up parts of me that I’ve yet to see. I don’t need another person in my life telling me that I am loved when I should be the one doing that myself. It’s not an easy journey to endure, but it certainly has taught me life lessons that I couldn’t learn anywhere else.”

Orion2

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“To mourn. To cry and to grieve as heavily as possible. Making sure to let it all out wholeheartedly rather than keeping it all bottled in. After releasing those emotions, I also make sure to write everything down. Writing has helped me alleviate pain more than anything when I’m hurt. Of course, although solitude during these times of hurt is important, I like to make sure that I don’t forget to surround myself with the people that make me the happiest. I console to my dearest friends and find comfort in the insight and sympathy they give towards me. Also, soaking in a hot lavender bubble bath works wonders too.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“My biggest vice was definitely checking up on his social media pages. That was the most toxic thing I could have ever done to myself. Constantly typing in his handle and seeing if he’s tweeted about me or even going as far as checking his favorites never (and I mean EVER) worked out in my favor. I was always bound for some sort of disappointment. It also didn’t help being the over thinker that I am, reading his vague tweets which always ended in me automatically concluding that they were all about me. After realizing how much this was affecting me, I had to force myself to not check up on him anymore. As tempting as it was, I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t going to make things any better.”

Orion7

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“A lesson that I’m constantly learning in love is that it takes time. You simply cannot rush it and I’ve regretfully had to learn that the hard way. The best kind of love is the one that comes to you unexpectedly and you both take time to understand each other. Slow down and it will come to you. And when it does, even if it takes months or even years, the dreadful wait will all be worth it.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“From my experience, you can 100% be friends with your exes. Personally, I never like to have bad blood with others (especially with people that were once incredibly important in my life) so I make sure to keep things level after we part ways. It’s okay to continue following your exes online as long as you make sure to not spend all of your time going through their page. Because as we all know, that is never a good idea.”

Orion6

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Something that has helped keep my heart open is reminding myself that not every person is out to get me. Everyone is different and just because a few people have hurt me in unimaginable ways, doesn’t mean that anyone after that will do that same. And honestly, who’s to say they won’t?! You can never truly know unless you give that person a chance. Love comes in many different shapes and sizes and each and every person will offer you a different type of love. Every being on this earth loves differently and you must understand this. People come and people go; people hurt people. I could get my heart broken a thousand times and although it’s going to hurt me and do a great number on my heart, I will never allow myself to be closed off to love due to someone else’s shameful actions.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Definitely “All I Want” by Kodaline. While going through my last heartbreak, I couldn’t even listen through the entire song without getting emotional. Also, anything by Keaton Henson. He is a brilliantly honest artist with a discography full of tunes that are bound to make you feel his pain. He is easily one of my favorite musicians because you can just hear his hurt and also the emotions put into his lyrics are unbelievably raw. You are bound to resonate.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“It’s a tie between 500 Days of Summer and Blue Valentine. There’s something painfully beautiful about watching romance become unrequited and following a character throughout their hurt.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m currently working on my very first book of poetry and prose that, ironically enough, is filled to the brim with heartache. I’ve put my entire soul into this collection of work so I’m immensely thrilled to be able to share it with everyone! I’m also quite anxious to expose this piece of me that no one else has quite seen, but has only experienced snippets of it online. It can be scary, but I know with every ounce in my being that it will all be worth it in the end.”

The Four Best Breakup Movies on Netflix

Movies are a great way to pass the time that it takes to heal a broken heart, and they can provide relief from the looping thoughts of your post-breakup mind. Sometimes it’s nice to escape into the world of a sci-fi adventure (my pick would be The Fifth Element), but sometimes it’s nice to watch a movie that dives into the very experience you’re going through right now.  So when you’re in the mood for that type of movie, here are what I consider to be the 4 best breakup-related movies (and one documentary) available on Netflix or wherever you stream movies.

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

Jill Clayburgh won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award and got an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Erica Benton, a woman who rises from the ashes when her husband leaves her for a younger woman. It was the performance of a lifetime. And I also think it is one of the most classic dancing-in-underwear scenes captured on film. Dare I say Jill Clayburgh > Tom Cruise? I do.

Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present (2012)

I hold this one close to my heart because it is about a real breakup. Woven through this documentary on ‘the grandmother of performance art’ is the story of Marina’s 12-year relationship and collaboration with artist Ulay. When they decided to part ways in 1988, they walked towards each other from opposite ends of The Great Wall of China in their last performance as a couple, The Lovers. The walk took three months and they said goodbye when they met in the middle. It is “beyond operatic in its proportion” as one commenter narrates.

Marina said of her breakup with Uly, “It was the most dramatic moment of my life. I remember writing in my diary that I was 40, I was fat, ugly and unwanted. I said, God I lost the man I love and I lost my work, because we were working together. There was nothing there. It was a new beginning or I was going to go down and destroy myself in depression.” And as you’ll see, she did not go down.

Swingers (1996)

This is just a classic comedy, whether you are going through a breakup or not. But if you are going through a breakup, Jon Favreau plays Mike, the perfect heartbroken character to keep you company. Mike is the personification of someone who can’t let go, waiting for his ex to call, neurotically checking his message machine at home and cornering every person he can to talk about his breakup (even potential dates).

You’ll laugh, for sure, but you’ll also be reminded that there is life after heartbreak. In the words of Trent, played by a very young Vince Vaughn: “The best thing you can do is just get back out there.”

View from the Top (1997)

This is one of my favorite movies, and not just because of its 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or the fact that I’m a huge fan of consciously uncoupled Gwyneth Paltrow. No, I love this movie because it is the story of someone turning heartbreak into an opportunity.

Gwyneth plays Donna who, after being broken up in a birthday card at work, picks herself up and sets her sights on becoming a Royalty Airlines flight attendant to make a better life for herself. And of course, there’s Mike Myers’ performance – I don’t feel hyperbolic when I say it is one of his funniest characters.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Why We Ghost People And What To Do If You’ve Been Ghosted

Let’s face it, we all know someone who has ghosted or been ghosted (including ourselves).

In this episode of LILAP, Sarah May and Elle talk about how to deal with GHOSTING, “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.” (Thanks, urbandictionary.com)

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: What To Do When Someone Tells You They Don’t Love You Anymore

It happens: people fall out of love. So what happens next? How can you put yourself back together if someone tells you they don’t love you, but you still love them? And if this happens in committed relationships and marriages, should you stick it out and work things out, or walk away?

In this episode of LILAP, Sarah May and Elle talk about how to deal with the pain of falling out of love.

Nutrition Expert Danielle Levy On Healing Heartbreak In Nature

Danielle Levy is a Montréal-based Certified Nutrition Consultant and Registered Holistic Nutrition practitioner who specializes in digestive health, sports nutrition, food allergies, and women’s health. She is a passionate plant-based cook and food photographer, who shares knowledge in order to inspire others to live a healthier life. When she’s not sharing recipes, Danielle teaches cooking classes and nutrition workshops to spread the joy of sustainable eating.

We got a chance to ask Danielle a few questions about her experience with heartbreak and she shared how living a healthier lifestyle and building a relationship with nature helped her heal peacefully.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I would tell my younger self that I am no less valuable, or worthy of love – regardless of whether or not someone else recognizes my worth. Growing up, whenever things ended with a guy, I would harshly, and unfairly blame myself. Over recent years, I realized how turning against myself this way, was the most painful part of the breakup experience. Thankfully, after much hard – ongoing work, I have learned to love myself more – and not be my own worst enemy.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me about inner strength and resilience – something I draw from each day. By fully embracing, and riding out the storm of heartbreak, I have gained more self-awareness, about fears, and insecurities – which has gifted me greater self-compassion. I have learned to forgive (myself and others) more fluidly, and to let be more easily. Harnessing heartbreak as a conduit to personal growth has ultimately helped me to become my own ally – so the pain has not been in vain.”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Nature has always been healing and calming for me, so I ritually visit a quiet natural place. I have vivid memories of post-breakup mornings, going out into nature – in all kinds of weather, and feeling lighter, freer, and grateful to experience another day.

Journal writing is a practice that helps me mend. Writing down thoughts and feelings can be a therapeutic way to process difficult, emotions and experiences. The beautiful thing about spending time in nature, and journal writing – is that they are both essentially free! available to everyone, at any time.

Meditation is another invaluable practice that has supported me through breakups and other challenging times. Sitting quietly, and finding that still place inside – gives me a safe space to go through the process.

There have also been a few significant people in my life, who have helped me mend, and continue to open to up these people – for support. I have also benefited from the professional help of an incredible therapist, who has been another invaluable resource. As a health care practitioner myself, I have never succumbed to the cultural taboo of therapy, and value mental health as much as physical health – understanding how inextricably linked they are.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“I have learned that love exists inside, always, and is not really about the person who may spark feelings of love in me. To me, relationships are vehicles for learning and growing. But at the end of the day, people will come and go – so I try to focus on keeping that inner love open and alive.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it’s about personal, healthy boundaries. To me, being at peace with people who I have been involved with, does not necessitate ongoing communication or regular online interaction. I simply try to listen to, and respect my own needs – on a case-to-case basis.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I think it’s everyone’s true nature to love, so I try to stay true, and open – which feels better and right to me. Embracing vulnerability, as part of this process, is something I work on daily – which gets easier with practice. Another thing that has helped me stay open is letting go of shame, for the ‘brokenness’, that is part of being human. The cracks in our hearts that remain – are signs of our strength and resilience in mending and overcoming.”

Caroline Kolbe On Building Luella After Heartbreak

Caroline Kolbe is the owner and designer behind Luella, an Austin-based brand that spreads female empowerment and body positivity around the world.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I feel like every break up I had in high school and college just felt like the world was ending. I’ve always been a tad dramatic, especially when I was younger. The advice that I would give to myself is just that everything is going to be okay! And the world is totally not going to end.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has really taught me to be stronger and to love myself more. After you get through the initial ache of heartbreak, I always feel a lot of strong independent woman vibes. I don’t need a man! I can do everything on my own and still be amazing! I really try to practice self-care while heartbreak is happening.”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“I always try to stay busy and not dwell too hard on it. I usually start working on some type of new project that I can throw myself into. I actually think that’s how I really started cracking down on making stuff for Luella this past year. I had a bad breakup after I first launched, and after that happened, I really tried to hustle even harder. And Luella is so cute/happy, it’s hard to feel sad all of the time while designing stuff for it. I also try to make sure to leave the house and make a lot of plans with friends to stay busy.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Oh gosh. I am totally guilty of checking ex’s social media. It’s so hard not to! You’re so used to having someone as a constant part of your life and then they’re gone. Eventually, I realize I have to go cold turkey and then I make myself stop checking everything. It’s super hard, but something that’s necessary if you really want to get over someone and move on.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Try to stay true to who you are when you’re in a relationship and don’t let anyone define you.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it really depends on the relationship you had. If the person was toxic, definitely do not try to be friends with them. For me though, I feel like it’s too hard to be friends with an ex. Maybe if a lot of time has passed and you’ve both moved on, you could make a friendship work. I usually do stay friends with exes on social media, but I try to limit how often I look at their posts. If it hurts too much, I’ll just unfollow/unfriend. Out of sight, out of mind.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I guess just really knowing that there’s something great out there waiting for you. Obviously, this relationship didn’t work for a reason. I’m just optimistic that there’s still hope for someone great!”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

“Smother by Daughter. Literally the saddest/most heartbreaking band ever – you will have chills.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

“Oh, definitely Blue Valentine. It’s an indie film with Ryan Gosling. Too good and so sad!”

Therapist Samantha Burns On How Pain Helped Her Find Love

Samantha Burns is a Boston-based licensed therapist and relationship coach who specializes in helping people through heartbreak. She’s also the author of several books, including “Breaking Up And Bouncing Back” and “Done With Dating.”

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“I learned a lot of love lessons in my breakup experiences, which also made it easy and clear when I met my husband that he was my person:

You should never have to convince someone to love you.

You should never compromise on your core values (what’s most important to you in life).

Your partner should bring out the best in you, not make you feel insecure, jealous, needy, upset, or crazy!”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Exercise always helped me the most when going through a breakup. There are so many mental health and physical benefits to being active. It’s a way better coping skill than excessively eating or drinking, both of which activate the reward center of your brain and make you feel temporary pleasure.”

“When writing my upcoming breakup book, I collected breakup survey responses from women all over the country and analyzed their breakup data. I learned that I’m not alone because the majority of ladies listed exercise and quality time with friends as the most helpful coping skills. The least helpful were binge drinking and rebound sex. Having a strong support network is essential. The feeling of rejection that comes with a breakup is devastating, so knowing that friends still care about you creates a sense of belonging at a time when you’re feeling most alone.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“You can really love someone, but it doesn’t mean that person is your perfect match, or that he is “The One.” One of the most difficult situations is ending a relationship with someone that you truly care about, but knowing that there’s a better match for you out there is the silver lining.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“I think it’s possible, but you absolutely cannot go from lovers to friends overnight. You need strong breakup boundaries and no contact so that your heart can heal. This means removing your ex, even if it’s temporarily from social media, and creating an ex-free environment. You can always welcome this person back into your life later after you’ve healed and moved forward in your love life. Save all of your old photos on a flash drive and put it out of sight and out of mind.”

“Every time you connect with your ex, whether you communicate passively by liking each other’s Instagram photos, bumping into him at the local coffee shop, or wearing his sweatshirt to bed every night, you’re triggering negative and difficult emotions and you’re more likely to stay stuck in your heartbroken funk and “relapse” with compulsive behavior, such as sending a text, or showing up at his apartment uninvited. After taking about 60-90 days with no contact, reevaluate whether you’re ready to be platonic friends, which means you have the same emotional reaction to him as you would if any of your other friends contacted you or behaved in the same way.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“My own self-worth and self-love, knowing that I had a lot to offer someone and that I wasn’t willing to settle for less than I deserve.”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I have an upcoming book, Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, about how to survive a soul-crushing breakup and develop healthy skills to a happy dating life. It feels like your therapist and best friend combine to kick your breakup in the butt! It’s full of tips, tools, client stories, and psychological research that walks you through the most difficult part of your breakup—zombie mode—to gain understanding about why the breakup occurred, how to manage all of the rumination, anxiety, and sadness, and reflect on your love lessons to become a smarter, more intentional dater moving forward.”

“On my website, where I write about dating and relationship issues, I also offer free resources, such as Breakup Bounce Back, 14-days of email support to help get over your ex, a Good Guy vs Bad Boy Quiz so you can figure out whether the man you’re seeing is emotionally unavailable, and my ebook, Love Successfully: 10 Secrets You Need to Know Right Now, which covers the secret ingredients to cook up a happy relationship.”

Lisa Linh On Finding Strength After A Breakup

Lisa Linh is the LA-based creator of By Lisa Linh, a blog that focuses on interiors, wellness, and intentional living.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“To my younger self, I would tell her that while it hurts and it’s going to hurt for a while, that this is for the best. She may not realize it now, but she will learn a great deal about relationships and herself from this heartbreak that will make her a stronger and wiser person later on.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“It’s shown me how strong I can be and that obstacles will always occur, but getting through this phase helps you grow immensely as a person and teaches you things about yourself that you wouldn’t realize alone.”

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Surrounding myself with friends and burying myself in work is my first step. I tend to go out more and stay out of the house to prevent myself from thinking too much about the breakup. My best friends always know how to cheer me up so I rely heavily on them; they never fail. I eventually channel all my emotions to my passions for writing and photography, allowing myself to express how I feel through my creative outlets helps as well.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I think it is natural wanting to check on what your ex is doing, especially after breaking up. You spent so much time with this person and now, they’re off living their own life – without you. I’ve checked my ex’s social media before, checked our mutual friend’s as well just to see if I see him in it. It takes time, but you eventually get over it and stop caring. There’s no guaranteed way to conquer them, you just have to be ready on your own terms.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Love conquers all.”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“In due time, I think it is possible. I’m friends with a couple on social media but I never actually hang out with them.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“Knowing that love is the one thing you can give and get back, time after time. The feeling of being loved and loving someone is incomparable. That alone keeps me hopeful about love.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

A Walk To Remember

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“Currently working on a handful of holiday campaigns, editorials for January through March, and trips!”

Arianna Thomopoulos’ Heartbreak Inspired Her Popular Blog The Modern Day Girlfriend

Arianna Thomopoulos is no stranger to the subject of heartbreak. The lifestyle blogger behind The Modern Day Girlfriend has built a loyal following sharing personal stories, compassionate advice about how to consciously date, and deliciously healthy recipes. More recently, she became a food entrepreneur as the co-founder of Flourish.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The advice I would have given to my younger self is that even though you’re in the midst of what feels like the worst heartbreak of your life, your heart hurts like hell and you might feel like you will NEVER EVER get over it, you will. I would remind myself that the actual pain I was feeling is real and you should allow yourself to feel it but know that the pain will not last forever.

In time it will lessen, you will remember the heartbreak but you won’t actually remember what the heartbreak  ‘felt’ like. You learn what you want or don’t want in your  next relationship, what you will stand for, what you won’t  stand for, who you want to be and who you don’t want to  be.

Like a scar, each heartbreak is a reminder and a life lesson. You will find yourself looking at the scar. The pain of the healing process, the scab will get less itchy, you won’t keep going back to it to open the wound up again.

Once the scab is healed you will remember how you got the scar and steer clear of what led you to get it in the first place. As your life goes on, you will forget the scar is there and move forward in life, a little tougher than before.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“Heartbreak has taught me that I am a work in progress. Heartbreak has taught me that even when I thought I could never love again, let alone feel again, without the heartbreak/heartbreaks that I have had in my life, I would not be who I am today.

I am thankful for each heartbreak, as sucky and as painful as they were, and BOY were they life-shattering, altering heartbreaks, it always turned out for the better. For me, God was protecting me because he wasn’t done working on me yet, as well as the man he had planned for me.

My great-grandma always said, ‘There is no greater love than the next greatest love in your life.’

Heartbreak has taught me that I have to be complete on my own so I can be a compliment in my partner’s life and vice versa.”

What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?

“Besides eating a vat of ice cream and downing a bottle of wine on my couch with my dog? I surrounded myself with my girlfriends and I wrote, I wrote a lot.

A huge part of why I started The Modern Day Girlfriend is because I wanted people to have a safe place to go and talk about the difficulties of relationships in today’s society – from falling in love to heartbreak and more.

The Modern Day Girlfriend became my outlet and I realized I was not alone, which drives me every day to be there for people who need a listening ear, inspiration, or just a laugh.

Creating my blog was probably one of the best things I could have done for myself and my heart. Find your outlet whether you are happy or sad and let it heal you and fuel you. You never know what amazing things can come from it.”

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“I wrote a blog on The Modern Day Girlfriend exactly about this topic and how to deal with it in today’s digital society. It’s so much trickier nowadays with all the social media outlets that you can check. It’s like you insta-stalking.

If you are going through a break up I recommended heading over to The Modern Day Girlfriend to read about the 5 things to do after a break up! I stay clear of checking their social feeds. Yes, easier said than done but trust me you heart and head will thank you for it!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“That love is a beautiful thing. Love is something that connects us all and it doesn’t solely have to be between you and your partner but a love for life, friends, family, pets. LOVE is what makes the world go round. (Yes, I know that is a John Legend song). Not to sound corny or anything, but love although it can hurt like HELL, also can fill your soul fuller than ever before and the only way love can do that, I have learned, is that you have to LOVE yourself first and foremost because if you don’t love yourself how can anyone else?”

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“This is a very, very, very loaded question for me. I am actually writing a blog on The Modern Day Girlfriend about it. I think that you can be friends depending on the circumstances. I typically have stayed friends with my exes. Although there are some I just can’t because my healing and their healing would never have happened had we stayed friends, especially right away. I believe you have to take the time to grow from the issues in the relationship and by not giving yourself the space and time to do so you will have a harder time getting over them no matter how hard you try.

Look, every person is different, every relationship is different. If you find yourself friends with an ex and you can keep it platonic and actually want to be friends than yes, go for it! I would love to hear your stories of how you were able to remain friends with an ex. Share your story with me and others at The Modern Day Girlfriend.

The last thing I will say about this topic is that I have come to find that there is one person who wants a little more than just friends. If that person isn’t you, then cut the cord.”

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“I don’t think it is something or the idea of someone who keeps my heart open. I was closed off for years but once I began feeling comfortable and secure in myself I had this strength that I never knew I had. It allowed me to navigate the waters of dating and not feel guilty.

I am also at a place in my life that I think no matter how many times I have had my heart broken I feel as though when you meet that right person you are willing to let your heartbreak again because of the idea of not giving them that chance to actually hurt you would hurt more than not giving them the chance to.”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

1. “P.S. I Love You”

2. “The Holiday”

3. “The Notebook”

4.” My Life Without You”

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I am working on a book, a show pilot, and a candle line. I am just excited to talk, relate, and engage with people and help them navigate the bumpy waters of living and loving in the digital age one app at a time.”

Mari Andrew On How She Turned Her Pain Into Art And A Best-Selling Book

Mari Andrew is the NYC-based writer and artist behind the best-selling book “Am I There Yet?” and the popular Instagram account @bymariandrew. She has grown a large following with her illustrations that illuminate the funny (and sometimes painful) truths about dating, relationships, and love. When she’s not creating new art for the world to enjoy, Mari speaks at events and hosts online workshops.

Mariandrew4

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

“The story doesn’t end here. What feels like a closed-door is the beginning.”

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

“I am capable of healing myself and creating my own love and magic in my life.”

Mariandrew2

What are your rituals during a breakup?

“Taking care of my body is huge. I love physical touch and miss it a lot after a break up, so I make sure to schedule a massage, and take yoga classes with hands-on adjustments! Feeling connected through touch, even to strangers, is helpful for me to heal. I try to be really healthy during a breakup because the body holds so much stress and trauma. I exercise a lot to counteract the effects of entire pints of ice cream (very necessary also).”

Mariandrew3

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

“Oh my god, I’m the queen of checking my ex’s insta!!! It’s the WORST. It was actually my New Year’s Resolution in 2016 to stop doing that. Sometimes you just have to delete the app. It’s also a habit, so I try to replace bad habits with better ones. Instead of googling his name, google a new recipe instead. Or something. I’m not great at this! The internet can be a very dark place for the heartbroken, and you need accountability partners.”

Mariandrew5

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

“Just because it didn’t work out romantically doesn’t mean it didn’t work out. I’m thankful for all the relationships I’ve had, and grateful for the purpose they served.”

Mariandrew8

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

“Absolutely–I have some wonderful exes who are great friends. I think the ex relationship is very special; it almost feels like a family member at some point, if you had a healthy and friendly breakup. Of course, some exes can’t really be friends without a lot of work, which may not be worth it.”

Mariandrew6

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

“People are always changing and evolving and getting better. I have changed so much through all my relationships. I’m ready now for a type of relationship I couldn’t have handled when I was any younger. I have to believe that my potential partners are the same way. Right now, some future love of mine might be getting stronger after his own heartache and feeling ready for me too. I hope he has great hair!”

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

” ‘Almost Lover’ by A Fine Frenzy. I listened to that for 8 hours on a plane once right after a breakup. A low point for sure.”

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

Before Midnight.

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

“I’m working on getting a book published – my dream come true! And I never would have done it if I hadn’t gone through a ton of heartache.”

Mariandrew7

The Mend Guide To Post Breakup Retreats

Editor’s note: A few of these specific retreat dates have passed, but all hosts have year-round retreats you can check on their websites.

Thanks for following us to the Big Apple with our NYC Mend Guide. Today we’re taking a departure from our regular city guides to share 7 trips and retreats to recharge post-breakup. Whether you want to get away on your own or go with some friends, we’ve curated retreats that will help you move forward physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

In case you missed it, we’ve also shared how to mend in San Francisco, Westside LA, Eastside LA, and Central LA.

India Retreat

(Source: LoveYogaSpace.com)

Ayurveda Along The Arabian Sea

If you’re looking to start 2017 fresh, head to Goa, India with Love Yoga (one of our favorite yoga studios, with locations in Venice and Montauk) for their yoga and meditation retreat this January. You’ll spend seven days on Cola Beach along the Arabian Sea and receive nourishing Ayurvedic treatment.

Each day in Goa will begin with a vigorous vinyasa class and wind down with a restorative practice to prepare for evening pranayama (breathwork) and meditation on lava rocks.

Sierra Ponce And Rio Grande  Big Bend National Park  Texas

(Source: SkyTingYoga.com)

Mend In Majestic Marfa (TX)

Kick-off the new year at Sky Ting Yoga‘s January yoga retreat in Marfa, TX – a haven for contemporary art lovers and nature lovers alike. You’ll spend four days and nights practicing yoga at the luxurious Hotel Saint George, a great home base to enjoy the art and eclectic vibes that Marfa has to offer. 

This retreat includes 8 yoga classes, a visit to Chinati Fountain, a day trip to other-worldly Big Bend National Park and a margarita party.

Healing The Heart

(Source: Chopra.com)

Heal Your Heart At The Chopra Center

If you are in need of emotional healing, check out Healing the Heart at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA. This 3-day emotional healing workshop, which happens on February 10-12, 2017, gives participants the opportunity to experience a deep emotional release process in a group setting. 

You’ll practice heart-opening yoga and breathing techniques, nourish your body with delicious Ayurvedic meals, and connect with other like-minded individuals who share your desire for healing and greater happiness. The unique five-step emotional healing process will help you identify, mobilize, and release any toxic emotions caused by fear, resentment and heartbreak.

Bali Retreat

(Source: LightWatkins.com)

Rounding Retreat In Bali

Nourish your body, mind and soul in the mountains of Bali with meditation teacher Light Watkins this May. Light will teach Transcendental Meditation away from the hustle of everyday life so that you can deepen your practice. You will also learn the art of “Rounding,” an advanced meditation technique.

This six day retreat takes place in May 2017 and includes 3 daily vegetarian and seafood meals, deluxe spa massage treatments, morning and evening yoga sessions and a traditional Balinese dance performance.

Spirit Rock

(Source: SpiritRock.org)

Seek Spaciousness at Spirit Rock

Turn inward during a workshop or retreat at Spirit Rock, a world-renowned meditation center in the rolling hills of Northern California. If you have the time, their one or two-month long retreats focus on quieting the mind, opening the heart, and developing profound clarity and depth of Insight practice, which is a form of Vipassana meditation.

Daily schedules consist of silent sitting, walking, dharma talks and practice meetings with teachers in order to support you doing your inner journey. Spirit Rock also hosts shorter retreats, workshops and classes.

Pro tip: Spirit Rock offers a sliding payment scale for their offerings.

Esalen

(Source: Esalen.com)

Healing Hot Springs at Esalen

Wind down for a weekend retreat at Esalen Institute, an incredible center perched along 27 miles of rugged and breathtaking Pacific coast in Big Sur, California. Their 3-5 day workshops deeply nourish your mind, body and heart with healthy meals, daily yoga and movement classes, massages and visits to the natural hot springs that overlook the ocean. 

Pro Tip: Many Esalen activities are unstructured so you can practice at your own pace, so this could be a great retreat for you if you don’t like conventional retreats.

Maderas

(Source: Retreat.guru)

Commune And Surf At Maderas Village

Looking for a luxurious retreat that won’t break the bank? Head to Maderas Village in Nicaragua, a warm and vibrant community that welcomes singles, pairs and groups alike – our friends who go to Maderas say it’s unlike any other place they’ve been, and they’re already talking about going back.

This beautiful coastal resort has a variety of private or shared rooms to choose from (from $40/night) and offers its guests yoga, surf lessons and horseback riding. You can also enjoy a massage from the resident masseuse or take a day cruise around the bays on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. 

What Nine Women Would Tell Their Younger Selves After A Breakup

Hindsight is always 20/20, but in lieu of speeding up time, here are some tidbits of wisdom from some of the incredible women we’ve interviewed on the blog.

1. Don’t Forget Everything Else

“First, this is not going to be your last or only heartache. Secondly, maybe now that I’m married it is easier to say this, but I recognize so much of the power of being happy with one’s self and realizing your own dreams. If you’re doing it next to somebody or with somebody in a really great relationship, then great, but at all times you should be doing that, so that if and when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you, you still have something to live for, focus on and care about…That would be my advice for my 18 year old self: don’t let love be all consuming in that you forget everything else. Try to keep a balance.” – Éva Goicochea, Founder of Maude

2. Know Your Own Value Outside Of The Relationship

“Maintain a sense of self and really know your own value outside of the relationship. I really lost myself in that relationship. While all my friends were doing fun stuff senior year of college, I spent most of my time traveling to Boston to see him or in my dorm room on the phone. If I could go back in time I would have had a lot more balance between the relationship and the rest of my life. And also, there is no reward without risk. Even though your heart’s been broken, keep putting yourself out there. I was so afraid of getting hurt again, that for years I only dated people who I knew liked me more than I liked them in order to protect myself. But if you want that Oh my God, how did I live my whole life up till this point without you stomach-flipping kind of love, you HAVE to be willing to take the risk to get hurt. Once I finally figured that out, I met my husband. I don’t think the timing was a coincidence.” – Daniela Tempesta, Therapist

3. C’est Pas Grave

“There’s a French saying: c’est pas grave, which literally means it’s not grave. It’s not gonna kill you. This saying is something I always remember. I hate being single. I wish that I had someone to share my life with, but I would have never obtained this life I have made for myself if I was in a relationship. So I would tell my younger self to chill and wait. To invest all of those years spent in a relationship on herself. I could have avoided a lot of pain if I listened to my dad’s advice. He told me to wait for love and focus on myself.” – Aurielle Sayeh, Creator

4. Trust Your Body

“Every mistake you make, every dark time, is all for a reason. So I would never tell myself to do anything differently, I would just tell myself to trust my body, my intuition, my instinct a little more. I think I had quite a few moments when my body was telling me to get out. You get your heart and your gut and your head all confused.” – Monroe Alvarez, GrlSwrl Founder, and Photographer

5. Focus On Self Development

“I would advise my 20 year old self to focus on my interests, goals and friendships. I’m someone who was focused on romantic relationships from a relatively young age, so in general, I wish I had spent less time on romantic relationships and more time on self-development throughout my young adult years. I have twin sisters who are 16 and they’re killing it in that department. One is writing a book and the other runs marathons. Hell yeah, right? I wish I’d focused on my relationship with myself like that. But the good news is that it’s never too late to invest in that relationship.” -Vanessa Labi, Blogger

6. Trust Your Intuition

“I feel like breakups are a long process. Usually that’s the painful part; that it’s a process. It takes a long time. But when it’s not working, you know. I would tell myself to trust my intuition with the next person. I have a really good sense of whether something will work or not. But sometimes we don’t follow that. I would say to trust my intuition and follow that with whoever I meet. Towards the end there was a gut feeling it wasn’t working but there was a part of me that wanted to make it work. I let myself go, which I don’t often do.” -Patricia Echeverria, Coach

7. Give Yourself Credit

“Things that have happened to you certainly inform the way you see and interact with the world, but they do not define who you are. Or, in the words of Aldous Huxley, ‘Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.’ I did a lot of growing during and in the wake of that relationship, both creatively and personally. For a long time after we split up, I credited a lot of that growth to him rather than to myself. He, and the heartbreak itself, certainly provided a creative muse, and the relationship was, in many ways, a catalyst for a lot of subsequent change in my life. But it was me who did the growing and the changing…The life I’m living is mine. It has nothing to prove to him or to anybody. And it took me years– years! I hate admitting that– to see that clearly.” – Juliana Richer, Musician

8. Feel The Pain & Then Flush

“I’d say keep hurting. Stay in pain right now. Because it is in pain that you really grow the most. If you actually deal, it’s one of the best things ever. I wouldn’t say it’s going to be okay because you won’t believe it right now. But I do know that you need to feel your pain as long as it’s there. The second you feel it, you can deal with it. You’re at a point to say, I feel it enough and I’m ready to talk about it. And then, I’m ready to do the next thing. You can get angry. Anger is great too. I’ve done some of my best work in anger. So many people just try to repress it or seek this magical answer to get rid of the depression, hopelessness, and anger. But I say feel it. And get the right advice, advice that’s going to hold you accountable. What is it about you that’s still mourning the loss of trash? What is it about you that makes you sad because the shit in the toilet will inevitably need to be flushed? It’s not useful to you. Flush.” – Natasha Adamo, Writer

9. Love Yourself First

“I knew then that we weren’t meant to continue into the next stage of life together and that was okay – we could honor the time we did have together nonetheless. But I didn’t know then just how magical life could be alone. I’d always heard the advice to love yourself first – and duh- of course, love yourself first sounds so obvious. I thought I loved myself as much as the next girl. But I didn’t really know what that meant until this year – how to say nice things to yourself, ask yourself what you need, listen to your body, and do what you need to do for you first. Before I was always rushing myself, pushing myself, putting me last, and all under the guise that I thought I was invincible, so strong that I needed nothing. This self-bullying instead created the opposite effect – it made me easy to break. When I actively love myself, like do things for myself that I would do for someone I love, then I show up to the world needing nothing. I show up to dating needing nothing. And everything, therefore, is a gift.” – Leanne Mai-Ly, Entrepreneur and Activist

4 Reasons You Should Join A Book Club After A Breakup

Books are great friends and teachers after a breakup. They provide distraction, relief, laughter, and truth when you really need it. They allow us to reflect on who we are, in the privacy of our own minds. They inspire us and motivate us to move forward. They show us what’s possible, and they help us mourn what we’ve left behind. 

And the only thing better than getting lost in the pages with a book after a breakup is getting lost in the pages of a book with an entire group of your friends!

In case you’re not sold yet,  here are a few reasons why you should consider joining a book club after a breakup:

1. Make new friends

What’s great about joining a book club (and clubs in general) is that you will be around people who share your interests. We know how frustrating it can be to read a book and have no one to talk to about it. *sigh* By joining a book club, you can finally get the emotional support you need from other bibliophiles!

Also, book clubs usually stick to a theme (i.e. fiction, romance, mystery) so you can find a club that best suits your interests. For example, if you’re interested in feminism, Emma Watson’s book club Our Shared Shelf focused on feminist books (note: it’s not active right now, but you can still see their reading list).

Here are a few others to check out:

Belletrist @belletrist: Co-founded by Emma Roberts, Belletrist is a place to discover, read, and celebrate a book a month.

Well-Read Black Girl @wellreadblackgirl: Founded by Glory Edim, this club support black, women, and non-binary authors.

Between Two Books @betweentwobooks: Florence Welch’s official book club. Need we say more?

Oprah’s Book Club #oprahsbookclub: Read inspiring stories with Oprah and millions of people around the world.

If none of these are interesting to you, you can also gather a group of your friends and start your own.

2. Add structure to your life

We know, we know. One of the best things about graduating from high school was leaving all those annoying deadlines behind. BUT, we’ve found that having a bit of structure post-breakup is a great way to keep your life in order during a big transition.

Joining a book club can help you stay organized because you have to read books in a certain time-frame. There are also topics and discussion questions to keep in mind while reading so you have something substantial to focus on instead of obsessing over what your ex could be doing at that exact moment.

3. Challenge yourself

It’s a no-brainer that reading expands your mind. But joining a book club takes that notion one step further by challenging you to think about the content on a deeper level. You can find so much between the lines that you may not have found reading on your own.

You might even be surprised by how much you can learn about yourself and the world around you by analyzing the topics discussed in a book. Finding a book that you can relate to is like finding a soul mate.

4. Books are transformative

Yes, scrolling through Instagram provides a good distraction. And yes, sometimes it’s nice to get lost binging on Netflix or Amazon. But books are and will always be cool because of one simple thing: they are transformative. If you don’t believe us, follow Girls At Library (@girlsatlibrary), a beautifully curated and designed platform dedicated to amazing women and the books that have shaped them. In their own words, GAL is “About women who read, for women who read.”

Happy reading!

Love Is Like A Plant: What Are The Red Flags To Look For When You Date?

Do you pay attention to red flags in relationships? What should you look for and avoid when you’re dating?

In the latest episode of Love Is Like A Plant, Elle and Sarah May share their top red flags and what to do when they happen with someone you’re seeing.

If you like LILAP, please subscribe for future episodes and leave us a review on iTunes!

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Are You Scared Of Being Alone?

Does the thought of breaking up with your S.O. send you in a panic even if you’re not sure they’re the right person? Are you stuck in a mediocre relationship because you would rather not be alone?

In this week’s episode of Love is like a plant, Elle and Sarah May talk about what to do if your fear of being alone is holding you back.

Check it out on iTunes or Soundcloud! If you like it, please subscribe for future episodes and leave us a review on iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Should You Wait For Your Soul Mate?

Do you believe in soul mates? Should you wait until you find the perfect one? What if you aren’t sure?

These are the questions Elle and Sarah May answer in the latest episode of LILAP: “Soul Mates: Should You Hold Out To Meet Your Soul Mate?” If you like this episode be sure to subscribe and share with your friends!  You can listen to this episode on iTunes too .

Love Is Like a Plant Episode: How To Keep A Relationship Fresh

Do you close the door when you pee? How can you keep the spark alive? Is there such a thing as being too close?

These are the questions Elle and Sarah May answer in the latest episode of LILAP: “How To Keep It Fresh: Can A Relationship Be Too Intimate?” They also talk about how to keep things interesting in a relationship, and whether or not there is such a thing as being “too intimate.” If you like this episode be sure to leave a 5-star review, subscribe and share it with your friends.

You can listen to this episode on iTunes too.

Adele Shares Her #1 Favorite Breakup Song

We all listen to Adele when we’re heartbroken, so what did the Queen of Heartbreak herself listen to when she was going through a breakup?

Adele shared her favorite post-breakup songs with People Magazine and Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” ranked #1. Not surprising given her amazing cover performance of the song. She has this in common with Alexandra Lee, who also listed this song as her favorite heartbreak song when we interviewed her.

We would have to agree Adele and Alex. It is one of the best…

Talking about how she mends, she told People “I mope around for a little while…I do embrace the fact that I’m heartbroken. I don’t move on quickly. I don’t know if that’s because it seems that I’m only really creative when I’m a bit momentarily depressed.” 

Her other favorite songs to listen to when heartbroken were:

Mumford & Sons – “After the Storm”

Florence + The Machine – “Cosmic Love”

David Gray – “This Year’s Love”

Katy Perry – “Not Like The Movies”

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Etta James – “All I Could Do Is Cry”

Thanks, Adele, for continuing to help us through heartbreak.

Love Is Like a Plant Episode: What To Do When It Hurts To Be Single

We know it can be an eye-rolling moment when someone says being single is awesome, but the truth is: sometimes it really is awesome. Sometimes it’s not awesome. Today, Elle and Sarah May talk about both sides and in between.

Check it out: “Being Single: Why It Doesn’t Suck + What To Do When It Hurts.” You can also listen to this episode on iTunes – be sure to subscribe for new episodes.

We’ve been experimenting with shorter, more casual episodes. Let us know what you think! If you enjoy LILAP, we would really appreciate if you took 2 seconds right now to leave a 5-star review on iTunes.

Love Is Like a Plant Episode: Setting Boundaries in Relationships

What if you really like porn but your partner thinks porn is like cheating? What if your SO goes to a strip club? Is that off limits?

In this week’s episode, Elle and Sarah May talk about why boundaries are important and what to do when your boundaries don’t align. We also share the key to talking about boundaries so that it brings you closer together, not further apart.

If you enjoy LILAP, we would really appreciate it if you took 2 seconds right now to rate us on iTunes. Thank you to ‘JoJenAlexp’ and ‘lmontas’ for sharing some 5-star love with us.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Why Do People Get Married?

This week’s episode is part two of Elle and Sarah May’s exploration of marriage. Listen to part one here, where they talked about polyamory and whether marriage is becoming obsolete. They also tackle a difficult thing many people face: what to do when someone doesn’t want to get married.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com. We want to hear your questions and talk about the topics that matter most to you, so write to us! If you like the episode, subscribe to get future episodes and leave us a 5-star review in iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: How To Stop Being Jealous

In this week’s episode of Love is like a plant, Elle and Sarah May talk about a little thing called jealousy.

If you’re feeling jealous of your ex after a breakup, or you’re struggling with jealousy in a relationship, this episode is for you.

And there’s a revenge story about anchovies too…yikes.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com. We want to hear your questions and talk about the topics that matter most to you, so write to us! If you like the episode, subscribe to get future episodes and leave us a 5-star review in iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: What To Do When Someone Won’t Commit

Commitment (or lack thereof) is one of the top reasons people break up, and it’s a painful one. When two people aren’t on the same page about commitment, it can cause a lot of heartbreak.

In today’s episode of Love is like a plant, Elle and Sarah May and talk about what to do when someone won’t commit and why it can be so hard to walk away. They also talk about why people are afraid to commit, and what it might mean.

Some topics they cover:

Whether timing is a valid excuse for breaking up

What it means when someone is sending mixed signals

What to do when you’re not getting the commitment you want

Give it a listen and let us know what you think at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com. We want to hear your questions and talk about the topics that matter most to you, so write us! If you like the episode, subscribe to get future episodes and leave us a 5-star review in iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Why We Cheat And What to Do about It

This week’s episode is all about infidelity, which is one of the top reasons people end relationships. Why do people cheat? And can relationships survive infidelity?

Some topics covered in the episode were:

Why people cheat (hint: it’s not always about sex)

How to not take it personally if someone cheats on you

Whether or not you should stay after someone cheats

The question you should ask yourself and your partner about infidelity before it happens

Give it a listen and let us know what you think at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com. We want to hear your questions and talk about the topics that matter most to you, so write us! If you like the episode, subscribe to get future episodes and leave us a 5 star review in iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: The Changing Nature of Marriage

This week’s episode is all about MARRIAGE. How has marriage evolved? What are the reasons people get married? Are there other ways of being in relationships?

Some topics covered in this episode:

Whether marriage is becoming obsolete and why

Non-marriage relationship structures that are becoming popular: polyamory + serial monogamy

The key to any healthy relationship, whether you’re married or not

Check it out and let us know what you think at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com. We want to hear your questions and talk about the topics that matter most to you, so let us know. And if you like the episode, subscribe and leave us a 5 star review in iTunes.

Love Is Like A Plant Episode: Tips for Dating And Finding Love On Appst

This new episode is all about dating, so if you’re nervous to date after a breakup, or you’re dating and needing some encouragement, you’ll love Elle and Sarah May’s chat.

You can listen to it on iTunes or on Soundcloud. If you like it, let us know by giving it a 5-star review and subscribe to get future episodes.

Some topics covered in this episode:

Why it’s the most exciting time to be dating!
Why you should join dating apps
Recommendations for putting yourself out there after heartbreak
The important things to look for in a person when you’re dating

We hope you enjoy it. We’d love to hear from you too: what are your tips? what apps do you use and love? Email us at loveislikeaplant@gmail.com.

Maude Founder Éva Goicochea’s Advice on Breakups, Marriage, and Rejection

What doesn’t Éva Goicochea do? She is the founder and CEO of Maud, a brand for inclusive bedroom essentials. She also co-founded Tinker Watches. Before starting her own companies, she helped launch many brands, including Everlane. You can follow her on Instagram @evagoicochea. And don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you spend the next 15 minutes scrolling 150 weeks deep into her dreamy feed because we just did too.

HOW A PUP HELPED HER THROUGH A BREAKUP
“When I was 18, I was preparing to move to New York from California. I met a guy, let’s name him Bob. Well, Bob doesn’t sound like a heartbreaker, so let’s name him Sam. Sam and I fell in love quickly, because at that point we were only 18. I moved to New York and a year later he followed me. I ended up getting him a job where I worked, which was a gym. I started to notice that he was getting pretty friendly with someone and long story short, he cheated on me and kind of took over my life. It felt like a single white female situation, but with my romantic partner, because I basically gave him my life in New York.”

“My first inclination was to just sort of shut down and really be in despair, but about 2 or 3 months before we broke up, I had gotten a dog. I remember looking at her and thinking, I can’t fall apart, this little dog depends on me. For me, animals have always been healing. They offer unconditional love, but they are also dependent on you, which is kind of that encouragement, like: “come on pull yourself up, you’ve got to go!” I don’t think you have to have a pet to experience that, but I would recommend that people have someone or something that depends on them or something that they need to do to refocus their energy on. For me that was really important.”

THE ADVICE SHE’D GIVE HER 18-YEAR OLD SELF
“I think I would say a lot of things. First, this is not going to be your last or only heartache. Secondly, maybe now that I’m married it is easier to say this, but I recognize so much of the power of being happy with one’s self and realizing your own dreams. If you’re doing it next to somebody or with somebody in a really great relationship, then great, but at all times you should be doing that, so that if and when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you, you still have something to live for, focus on and care about.”

“For me it was in college that I started to say to myself, I really haven’t been living in NY, so I need to go out and have a great time. I made travel plans and just poured myself into living again, and being responsible for this little dog. That would be my advice for my 18 year old self: don’t let love be all consuming in that you forget everything else. Try to keep a balance.”

BECOMING THE HEARTBREAKER
“Well, I have to say after that first heartbreak, I ended up being the heartbreaker. I think it made me really resilient because the way that it all happened was really devastating. But I would say my most recent heartache wasn’t romantic, it was losing a pet. Whether you’re losing a pet, or a friend, or a parent, or your boyfriend, or your girlfriend or whatever it is: loss is not just missing them. It’s also your patterns and how every day things change. ”

“When you’re talking in a romantic context, it’s important to own your everyday. My heartbreak was that I lost a cat, who was eaten by a coyote. And the heartbreak for me was that I had interacted with this cat every day. He was truly lovely, kind, sweet, and always laid next to you. The biggest heartache, I realized, was that loss of his presence. I think if he was far away on vacation and I could talk to him on the phone or something that might be better. But it was the loss of that connection.”

INVEST YOUR ENERGY INTO SOMETHING ELSE
“I’ve always been on to the next thing, not with the intention to replace, but with the intention to invest my energy into something. It’s really hard to be broken up with by a person and to remember that you’re lovable and you just have to go out there and have a great interaction with somebody over coffee, or flirt with a friend you’ve always had a little something with. Something to make you recognize that you haven’t been put on the shelf. Just go out and interact with other people so you get that level of energy and communication that you’re missing instead of just retreating into your house.”

A CLOSED BOOK
“If things aren’t very clean, I tend to, like most people, go back and think about what I could have said differently or done differently. When it comes to being cheated on, I feel stupid and I’ve definitely been cheated on more than once. I look back and think, wow, I could have handled this differently, instead of recognizing that you either let it go or let it out. You can’t just contain it.”

“So in my case, many, many years later, I ended up being in the same city again as that boyfriend [who cheated on me], and we had dinner and talked about it. I got what I needed from that, and then I never saw him again. It was really weird and interesting to finally think, okay, I’m older and I actually don’t care and I don’t even like you as a person. Getting to have dinner made me feel better. It wasn’t even that I was still sad about it, I just wanted it to be a closed book.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“This is hard. I would love to say that yes, exes can be friends, but unless it was really amicable and both people were really done, that is really hard for people to do because it is typically one-sided. Especially if you want to move on and you want your next partner to feel comfortable, because that invested time you have in the other person and that closeness with them doesn’t really go away. You can not talk to someone for 10 years, but you knew so much about them that it is definitely not just a friendship. I don’t think it’s possible, but who knows.”

“I don’t have any exes that I’m connected with on social media. I think a lot for the future girlfriend, I don’t want to be the ex that somebody is still connected with. I’m definitely friends with people that I’ve gone out on dates with, but nobody that I was with for a significant amount of time. I’ve been a serial monogamist: all of my relationships have been more than two years long, and I’ve been with my husband 7 years, married 5 and a half of those. So it’s a little different, we were quite young when we got married.”

2 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT YOUR PARTNER
“I think love comes down to two things, and maybe it sounds a little off the wall: they have to be the best roommate that you could ever have and the best travel companion that you could ever have. Those are two situations where the best of friends can turn into enemies, and you can realize while traveling or living together that your priorities are very different.”

“So if you can do those two things with somebody, I think you’re okay. Living together means really dealing with it all, and traveling is really about understanding someone’s pace, as in, who wants to get up early to go to the museum and who wants to lay on the beach all day. Those can be the things that keep you together.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
David Gray, The Other Side. In it, he basically says, ‘I still don’t know what love is, but I’ll see you on the other side.’ I don’t if the other side means death, but I really think it just means in the next place. It’s an interesting thing and I still really like the line ‘I still don’t know what love is’ because it’s this recognition that you’re the flawed one and it is not just the other person’s fault. In a lot of music, especially by females, the message is ‘you’re the bad guy and I hate you,’ but I like the reflective and introspective nature of that song.”

HOW SHE HANDLES REJECTION
“I spent 7 months right after I moved to LA single and dating a lot of different people. What I really liked about that was the idea that if you don’t look at it as a reflection of yourself, but instead just look at it as trying to find that best friend, you quickly realize that you don’t need to absorb anyone’s rejection of you or your rejection of them.”

“You can then walk through life and know that you’re not for everyone and everyone is not for you. I have a lot of friends who are single in LA because they absorb everything and they take everything personally. I just want to tell them, ‘You’re not going to like everybody!’ And that’s okay because it’s not a reflection of them.”

Ivka Adam’s Advice on Breakups, Marriage and Meditation

Ivka Adam believes life is too short for fake jewelry. As the founder of Iconery, an online destination for fine jewelry that was acquired by Heartbeat, she is on a mission to support fine jewelry designers and revolutionize the way fine jewelry is discovered. When she’s not thinking about jewelry or 3D printing, you can find her on the trail or summiting mountains – she’s summited Kilimanjaro and does Mt. Whitney every year! You can follow Ivka on Instagram @caivka and @theiconery.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“We fell in love so hard, but there was something in me telling me that I shouldn’t be with him. I didn’t know what it was, so it was so heartbreaking because we didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. We would break up and I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. We would see each other and it was the most heart-wrenching experience. I’ve boiled it down to this: the hardest part about a breakup is when you don’t understand why it has to happen. If they broke up with you – why they didn’t like you. Or if you broke up with them – why it didn’t work out. So I always try to get to a place where there’s some sort of understanding. Once I have something I can hold onto from an understanding standpoint, I can then heal from that point on.”

GETTING TO AN UNDERSTANDING
“The first time we broke up was four or five months in. And then we just kept coming back together for four years. We had so much chemistry and he took care of me so well. I had come from a previous relationship that was verbally abusive. I thought it was me and that I could fix it. I did Allison Armstrong’s Understanding Men program and I went to a bunch of her courses like the Queen Course. Allison Armstrong makes sense of men. I read all of the books by John Gray, the author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. It took a lot to realize that relationship was unhealthy, but ultimately the work I did has now made me a better friend and girlfriend.”

AN AHA MOMENT
“I realized in my relationship he would say little, tiny white lies. They were always miniscule things, but I couldn’t figure out why that was part of his nature. My sister got married in 2010 and at that point we had been together for almost four years. I remember standing up at the altar as a bridesmaid. My sister sang a song by Colbie Caillat to her husband while my dad played guitar. I remember looking out and seeing my ex in the back row not engaged in what was happening. I realized, oh wait, I don’t have this. I don’t have what my sister has. And that’s really ultimately what helped me make the decision to break up with him.”

RELATIONSHIP MATCHING
“One of the things that I do to help mend is I spend time with my friends who are in really beautiful couple relationships to absorb what it looks like. It helps me remember that supportive partnership exists out there and I don’t need to settle. It can be heartbreaking to watch all these happy couples, but I just remember that that’s the end goal.”

FAMILY MATTERS
“One Sunday before we broke up, he was supposed to go to my parents’ to pick up my Mom’s blue sapphire. It was going to be made into an engagement ring for me. But he was hungover and he texted my mom to postpone till Wednesday. My parents were stunned, ‘We’re about to give you something to marry our daughter, this is unbelievable.’ My mom called me and said, ‘I just want to let you know this happened, no judgment.’ The next week I was talking with my friends at work and one of my friends who is in a great relationship said ‘That’s not what you’re supposed to experience.’ I know they always say not to tell friends that you shouldn’t be with someone, but I believe that you should tell them once and then let it go. Who better to tell you? When we broke up, my parents said, ‘We were going to be supportive but we were preparing ourselves for an eventual divorce.’ That was horrible to hear.”

DIFFICULT TO CUT IT OFF
“When I called my mom and told her that I was thinking of breaking up with him, she was supportive. She said, ‘He is going to want to get on a plane and fly up [to see you].’ We were long-distance at the time—I was in the Bay Area and he was in Southern California. She prepped me, and sure enough he tried to do that. If I hadn’t been prepped I would have given in, but since I was prepared I said no and we just cut it off. We didn’t talk for months. We had such a pull to each other that we then ended up talking six months later. We saw each other off and on for the next four months. When I would come down and visit my parents in Orange County, I would sneak out and see him. It wasn’t until I met my next boyfriend that I was able to move on. I think it always takes meeting someone else. They say you have to love yourself and be a complete whole person before you’re ready for the next relationship, but ultimately if your desire is to be in a relationship you’re not really a complete person until you meet your partner. There’s something that is unfulfilled.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“He was the first boyfriend who felt like my buddy. At the time I was killing it in my career as a VP of Marketing at a fast-growing e-commerce company in LA and I was having such a blast. But then I decided to start a company, and I went from having everything figured out—we even had a ring picked out—to not. When I took this big risk, he started freaking out. He couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t understand why I’d put my life’s savings into a startup. He thought I was being careless and impractical, when in reality I had never been so sure of myself. Everything in my career had prepared me for this next step—I had the experience, connections, and just enough savings—and I had discovered a huge inefficiency in an $80B market that I could solve. I moved in with him and his roommates to save money, which was stressful. He didn’t understand why I didn’t want to be a ‘mid-level marketing manager’ in someone else’ company. I had always wanted to do a startup and felt like this was my chance. It was too much for him to handle. It just drove him crazy. His family didn’t understand either. I was so calculated about everything I was doing – it wasn’t really a big risk. But in February, the week before Valentine’s Day, he asked for a break. He said, ‘Stick around as long as you need to figure out where you’re going to go.’ But he didn’t help me figure out where to go and he didn’t even help me pack. He went out on Valentine’s Day with his guy friends. So I packed up my stuff by myself. And the next morning I drove down to Irvine and I moved in with my parents. They were super supportive, and I was super thankful for the opportunity – when do you ever have that opportunity to spend that kind of time with your parents? – but that was really hard.”

FAMILY TIME 

“My parents have been together since my mom was 20 and my sister has been with her husband since she was 20. So neither of them have been through breakups. They don’t really know what to say when I go through them. It wasn’t until I moved in with my parents after the last breakup that I started to have a true adult relationship with them. But I was pretty raw and honest with them about what I needed from them. Ultimately I’m grateful that the startup and breakup led to this special time with my parents.”

FROM BREAK TO BREAK UP
“His main reason for the break was to focus on his career. A lot of what I was doing – living my dream and feeling compelled to solve a big problem – was really confronting for him. I was fine taking a break because I supported him figuring it out. Doing all the work I had done understanding men, I knew that a guy can’t think about a relationship until they’ve figured out their career. If they can’t provide, they don’t have the mental capacity for someone. So I agreed to be on this break. It was very vague. He didn’t really reach out to me. I was initiating contact and being super supportive and eventually I was like, fuck this. I hate this. I can’t be your rock and my rock. This doesn’t give me any room to feel feminine and part of a partnership. So I broke up with him. Fortunately that same month my startup got funding and I was able to resume my life in LA. When you set out to accomplish huge scary goals, that’s when you see who your friends are. It happened when I decided to climb Kilimanjaro and when I decided to do a startup. There are those who will get excited with you and support you, and those who will question why you’re ‘being so crazy and risky.’ Let those people go.”

MAKING MEMORIES
“I don’t need a relationship, but I would love to be with someone right now so that he could know me as I go through this journey of building a company. I would love to look back in five years, and hear him say, “I remember when you were going through this [building a startup]!” I am really proud of myself and proud of the work I’ve done and I’d love to share those memories. It was gut-wrenching to go through a breakup while starting a company, but the most difficult times are what send me back to meditation and spirituality.”

TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
“I learned TM when I was 4 and I have most of the advanced techiques and have even spent a month in Thailand on a meditation retreat. Both of my parents are teachers. It has been the constant in my life and most of my boyfriends have learned. I do meditation retreats when I’m going through tough times, and especially after each breakup. The breakups remind me to go back into self.”

THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
“I have a mantra which has no meaning. My program is about an hour, but the basic practice is 20 minutes. Meditating for 20 minutes is like getting an hour and a half of rest. Being an entrepreneur, I feel the pressure of working 24/7. You’re not supposed to take weekends off. But that’s not efficient or productive. Meditation allows me to gain deep rest and clarity, plus it makes me a million times more efficient than writing a couple of emails. I meditate nearly every day. I try to spend time around other meditators. It’s a huge part of my life and it’s important to me that I’m with someone who also meditates.”

IDEAL RELATIONSHIP
“I feel like you spend so much time thinking about what you want your ideal person to be like, but you have to boil it down. I want a companion. I love guys who are really into their own hobbies and who can open up my eyes to a new world. I love when I’m learning new things from a guy. That’s why I love dating. I can go on any date and enjoy it. People are fascinating. I want someone who can handle me being such a strong woman, and is not confronted by me being a CEO and making decisions all the time – but at the same time, who can let me be feminine. That takes a really strong man, and maybe an older man. I remember when I was 24 I filled out my first Match profile and my age range was only up to 30. This guy who was 41 messaged me and was like, look, I’m not in your age range, and I’m not hitting on you. But just so you know, the things you’re looking for, you’re not going to find unless you’re dating a man is in his late thirties or early forties.”

FILTERING FOR RESILIENCE
“What’s key is finding people who have been through a lot. I went through significant difficulties early on so I naturally gravitate towards similar people. I look for this depth and resilience whether it’s hiring new employees or dating new guys. Someone who has really struggled doesn’t sweat the small stuff and can handle tough situations when they arise. I was at a conference last year and Dave Morin was giving advice to someone standing by me. The girl asked him what he looks for in hiring a person. And I was compelled to jump in. I said ‘Look for people who have been through a lot. Because those are the people who have found themselves. They have depth, maturity, resilience and can handle immense pressure.’ Dave said, ‘Yes! Exactly what she said.’”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“The only way to get to what you want is to keep your heart open, so that’s what keeps my heart open. I also really try to feel the pain and know that it’s temporary and that it’s making me stronger. It just means there’s something better on the other side. I have so much respect for people who have gone through a lot.”

HER INTENTION: FAITH
“Remember that it’s all going to work out. My intention these days is one step at a time, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Have faith that it will all work out. It will work out in whatever way it needs to. With respect to relationships, I know there is someone I will eventually meet, and for whatever reason it’s not right now.

Yogi Caley Alyssa’s Advice on Heartbreak, Divorce, and Rituals

Caley Alyssa is a yoga teacher, mentor, and holistic health coach. You can find her teaching in Venice regularly, as well as leading events and retreats around the world. She is also a co-leader of Women Catalysts, an organization that brings women together in cities all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first heartbreak I had was finding out that my boyfriend had cheated on me in high school. It was a silly thing. He had kissed another girl, but for me, it was really dramatic and traumatic. He was my first love and we had dated since I was a freshman in highschool and it happened our junior year. The part that was most traumatic was finding out that my friends had known as well. We come from a very small school. My best friend knew and all of his friends knew, so I felt not only so hurt, but also humiliated. I found out when we were at a summer camp together and I was kind of stuck there. We broke up because of that.”

DECIDING TO FORGIVE
“My camp counselor was the first person that I talked to and that was actually the best possible scenario. She was amazing and really helped me through that. She told me, ‘You need to make the choice. Either you want to forgive and move on or you can hold onto this and let it be toxic.’ Honestly, I think he and I were only broken up for a week or two. I knew that I was going to marry him from day one. I loved him. It really hurt, but I knew that I would get over it.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I ended up marrying him [my high school boyfriend]. Once we graduated college, we moved in together in San Francisco. We lived there, got married and moved to LA. And it ended up not working out with us. We were together for 15 years, dating for 10 and married for 5. It could have worked, but I think there were some hurts he couldn’t get over and patterns that were too hard to change. We lacked balance. When we got married, we registered at REI and never used any of it because he worked all the time. When we moved to LA I had to start all over from square one. It took time and I was reliant on him for income. We only had one car. I think resentment started to grow, while I was building my yoga career. So finances were part of it, but also just resentment. I didn’t want to move to LA. I gave up everything. In SF I had great friends, a great job. I was angry at him at first. Also, if I’m being really honest I ended up cheating on him while we were married about a year into our marriage. I told him about it. For me, the cheating wasn’t emotional at all. I felt sort of like a sociopath. Really it was just something that I had never experienced- being with someone else. So I told him when I got to LA and that was hard for him. He was willing to get over it, but I don’t know if he could. So, finances, cheating, resentment.”

COUNSELING
“We separated first. He came home and told me that he was splitting up our bank accounts, and he didn’t even tell me ahead of time. I love him very much and he is a good man, but that was just not good. Also I think it’s hard as a yoga teacher being around other people who are connected in a spiritual way. They are constantly seeking to experience and explore and grow. And then I was coming home to a man who was checked out emotionally and had no spiritual component to his life. He relied on me to bring that, but then he didn’t bring anything to me. We were separated for a year and I moved in with a girlfriend for a few weeks, before finding a place to rent with another girlfriend.”

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TAKING SPACE
“In the separation, we just took space. We took three weeks and took space, and then when we met we decided we should try dating once a week to see how that goes. I found myself dreading the date nights and picking things like a movie where we wouldn’t have to talk or interact. I think it was hard and the stuff we needed to talk about was so hard, so it was tiring and emotionally exhausting. It got to be too much. I think I knew when I moved out that we probably wouldn’t make it. After the first few months of trying to date it just really didn’t go well. He started to know I was done and he started to give up too. Towards the last few months of our separation, I started dating other people. I knew when I was dating other people that it was done.”

MOVING FORWARD
“To this day, all I have for him is love. He’s such a good man, and so is his family. That was such a hard part because we had grown up together. To lose a family and a husband was huge. Like this weekend my sister got married and he called me to wish her good luck. He talked to my sister and mom too. But we talk only when we exchange the dog or about big things. I don’t have a vision for how we’ll be in each other’s lives going forward. I never actually thought about that. It’s strange to think about being around him and another woman, or me and another man. We’ve not done that. I know he’ll be there on my deathbed, but other than that I don’t know how involved we can be in each other’s lives. It’s so hard. Because right now when I look at him, I feel sad and there’s a lot of emotion around that.”

HER RITUAL
“Our divorce was just finalized. We were separated for a solid year and the divorce took about a year because the court lost some of our paperwork. When the papers came in the mail, I just put it in my file folder. It was surreal. Last year I went to Burning Man and it was my first time. And there is this thing called The Temple and it changes every year. It was a huge wooden structure that was very somber and quiet. People write inside and outside of the temple, and the day after they burn the man they burn the temple. The man burn is a big party and the temple burn is a very quiet, respectful experience. Walking in the temple was when I recognized what I was going through and I just broke down as soon as I walked into the space. I started sobbing. This guy came up to me and handed me a pen. And our song is Nickel Creek, a bluegrass band, called When You Come Back Down and some of the lyrics are “When you’re soaring through the air, I’ll be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare, I’ll still be there when you come back down.” So I wrote the lyrics to our song on The Temple and I really wanted to stay and see it burn, but at the same time, I had my moment there. For me, that was my release.”

HOW SHE MENDS
“I saw a therapist twice a week. That little pup over there [points to her puppy lounging in the corner of the room], he is amazing. The day that we decided we were going to get a divorce, when I got home, I just collapsed on the floor, sobbing, and this little guy came, licking the tears off my face. He’s an amazing little thing. He’s helped a lot. Yoga helps me for sure, and meditation. During this time, I started going down to the beach every morning to meditate by myself. Then my roommate started joining me, and then our house would go together, and then we started bringing friends, and we’ve started a little community around Monday morning meditation. We meet at 7:30am, walk down to the water and do a group mediation. That helped a lot, building that community and surrounding myself with people that were positive. And also, I just focused on my career. I dove in. I started this show with NBC. That was huge because it was my first big break and that took a lot of my time. And I really just focused on shooting as much as I could. And getting in as many other jobs as I could. That helped a lot too.”

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AT THE BOTTOM
“I had never been single. I didn’t know who I was so I kind of took some time to find out who I was. And it was hard because when I left my ex, I didn’t take anything from him. I didn’t ask him for money. I didn’t even take any of our furniture. I literally took nothing. I wanted nothing. I literally wanted a fresh start. He owed me nothing, you know. That was hard for me because as a new yoga teacher in LA, I wasn’t yet established. I was literally scraping by. I had to ask my mom for help. I was in a really bad place. So I totally went through a transition. I was broken down. I was at the bottom. But it’s been amazing. I thank my ex for moving me to LA. At first, I hated him for it, but it’s been so good. I really have been so lucky. I’ve had amazing people supporting me and the right opportunities coming my way without even looking for them. I feel really lucky.”

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
“For me, it’s been a learning process because I only knew 1 person. So I did go out and date a little bit and did explore. And now I’m in a relationship with someone who is the complete opposite of who my ex-husband was. And so I’m learning new things. I’m learning a whole lot about me actually. About how I interact and how I communicate. My ex and I just created these habits and we really didn’t know that they existed. Now that I’m with someone else, I’m learning quite a lot.”

MARRIAGE
“I asked myself, ‘What do I want from a relationship? Do I want to get married again? Do I want kids?’ And in reality, yeah, I would get married again. I would not ever do a big wedding. I want to be on a beach in a white bikini with my man, and that’s it. I don’t care about anything else. And I think that that’s one of the problems with marriages, that it’s an event and a party, and I think we take it very lightheartedly in our culture. People don’t realize how hard it is and how much work it is on a daily basis. It is something that I would walk into again, but I would not do it lightheartedly.”

HER MANTRAS
“There are two quotes that are huge for me: ‘Rise by lifting’ and ‘Does this limit or liberate you?’ Those are the two things that are constantly with me.

WHAT SHE’S WORKING ON
“Teaching, modeling, retreats, filming. Most days, I teach 1 or 2 yoga classes. And I travel a lot. I am going to Tulum next week with Alo. They sponsor me right now and they’ve been amazing. My girlfriend Philosophie and I are working on this project called Step Into Your Power. After going through our own transformations, we really wanted to help other women successfully get through whatever they’re going through, accomplish their dreams and goals. We feel like we are now living them and we want to help other people do the same. So we’ve created this 3 part workshop series, which we hope can become week-long retreats.”

HER INTENTION
“Live clearly. Because I’ve had so much support in my community, I often get wrapped up in it. And lately, I’m trying to find more solitude and solidarity and that helps me be very clear of what it is I really want as opposed to getting wrapped up in other people’s things. To live clearly, honestly, integrity, and earnestness as much as possible.”

Poet Jessica Semaan’s Advice on Tinder Heartbreak, Dating and Passion

Jessica is a poet and author of Child of the Moon. Previously, she helped people find and launch their passions through her company, The Passion Co., which helped people identify and start their passion projects.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK

“The first one was when I was 15 and it was my first boyfriend. He broke up with me. He just wasn’t answering my calls. I remember not being able to get out of bed for days. He literally ghosted me. My mom saved me – at that age you think it’s the end of life, the end of the world. I met up with him this year to ask him what happened, 15 years later, and he said that he found out I was talking to another guy. I wasn’t cheating, but I did go to a concert with another guy and didn’t tell him. Of course I had moved on, but it was closure because I was always wondering if something was wrong with me. I was making stories that linked to other stories.”

MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK

“I wrote about it. I had written a New York Times Modern Love submission, but it didn’t get accepted, so I posted it on Medium. It was someone I met on Tinder. We weren’t really together. It was one of those things where we met and, while we lived in the same city, we were in different countries at that time. We built this love that was long distance, without meeting. He upped the ante by saying ‘I love you, I want to be with you.’ He checked a lot of the boxes and we were in similar circles. But then when we met, it felt cold and different. It was over.”

MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK 

“What’s fascinating is it was more of a heartbreak than the three-year relationship that had ended six months before that. Daniel Jones [the editor of Modern Love] has written about how technology has changed the way we connect. I don’t think it’s normal because people hide behind the computer. It’s not as vulnerable. It’s not as scary. The internet makes it easier for people to escape truth.”

THE EVOLUTION OF DATING

“I think we must look at online dating as another way of meeting people versus as something that’s better than other things. It’s just a means to an end. The most important thing is not to spend a lot of time getting to know someone online. Make sure you meet with someone in person. That extreme supply that happens with online dating tends to work better for men than women in my experience. As a man, if you want to just hook up, you have such access. For women, if they want a relationship, they find themselves at times having to go the hookup route. Guys get more and more spoiled with choice. Many men still want to court women. I think that’s not happening as much, but it’s still ingrained. A lot of men need to go through courting to fall in love, but sometimes as women we forget about that. We’re like, oh of course I’ll hook up with you and then we’ll figure it out. And then you wonder for a week after you’ve slept together about what’s happening. Obviously, this is a generalization, and there are exceptions. Now I’m being more mindful if I want a relationship to put a boundary at the beginning.”

HEARTBREAK DAYS

“During the breakup I was still at Airbnb and starting my own company. It was really difficult. You’re not technically sick, but you are bleeding. You can’t tell your boss you have a heartbreak and you want to take a few days off, but it hurts more than being physically sick.”

HOW SHE MENDED

“I did three months of no dating. I realized that heartbreak caused me so much stress, in the sense of questioning. How could I fall in love with someone I don’t know? That meant I was missing something. So I read books on relationships, I hired a relationship coach, I really went all out. One of my favorite books is The 7 Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I also read If the Buddha Dated and If the Buddha Married. I also read Calling in the One. I’m such a geek on this topic. I’ve done a lot of research. I also read this great book called How to Be an Adult in Relationships. I saw the therapist that wrote it speak at Spirit Rock, a Buddhist retreat center in California. I wrote a lot. Writing was my biggest healing tool. Every day I journaled. This breakup got me so many pieces of writing (laughs).”

MODEL RELATIONSHIPS

“I have some friends that have beautiful relationships. There is a lot of respect and care and joy and humor, which is something I came to appreciate more this past month. A couple can create a dynamic where some things are taken lightly.”

HOW SHE STARTED HER COMPANY

“I was in business school at Stanford. At 24, I was killing it on paper, yet I was feeling very depressed and unfulfilled and didn’t know what was wrong with my life. That led me to ask questions about what I was doing. It became clear I was living life to impress others and be validated by others. It wasn’t sustainable anymore. I had lost touch with myself. That journey of getting to know myself got me to ask what I love to do. One of the big things was writing. I decided to start a blog called Passion Stories, with stories of mainly women who are pursuing their passions. It took me a year to actually do it – we always procrastinate on the things that are good for us. But I met this photographer at Airbnb and she offered to do the photography for the interviews, so I was then actually forced to do the interviews (laughs). So I said, how can I take what I’m learning in these stories, so that beyond inspiration, it gives people the tools and structure to make a change? The biggest learning from the interviews was to start a passion project on the side. Most of the people I interviewed started that way. So The Passion Co started as workshops in my apartment, and we now have an official five-week program, The Passion Program, in San Francisco that graduates 30-40 projects every other month. They range from a new beer brand to a blog on dating to a book on body image.”

HER MANTRA
“Do what you love.”

Therapist Daniela Tempesta’s Advice on Breakups, Grief and Finding the One

Daniela is a familiar name around here and very close to our hearts at Mend — she was one of the first guest contributors to take a chance on our concept of a “breakup website” when we launched. She is a Stanford-trained psychotherapist and founder of The Tempesta Group in San Francisco, a practice that blends psychotherapy and coaching to help people design and live a life they love.

At the time of this interview, she had also temporarily become a bakery owner When her mother Bonnie Tempesta  (also known as the Baroness of Biscotti for bringing biscotti to the American market) passed away suddenly, Daniela was faced with a decision: stay in her successful private practice or take over her mother’s business. She decided to take over the bakery for a time before returning to her therapy practice.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first time my heart was really broken, in the ‘I want to crawl into a hole and never come out’ kind of way, was my senior year of college. At the time I truly believed that I had found my soul mate. We seemed to align on everything and suddenly there was someone in my life that seemed to love all of me, the good and the bad. Even though our relationship was long distance, we still managed to see each other every two weeks. It was an intense relationship. Our lives revolved around each other. Our families spent holidays together. We often spoke of our plans of getting married in the future with friends and family. Though we had some geographical issues to work out, I felt like I was set for life. We planned to move in together for the summer before I went away to grad school and a few weeks before graduation he ended things with me really abruptly. I felt like I had been hit by a freight train. I knew things weren’t perfect in our relationship but I certainly believed that we were both committed to working through anything that came our way. His reason: ‘I just miss the way it used to be in the beginning when everything was easy and we didn’t have to work at it.’ It took me years to fully recover and learn to trust in relationships again.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER YOUNGER SELF
“Maintain a sense of self and really know your own value outside of the relationship. I really lost myself in that relationship. While all my friends were doing fun stuff senior year of college, I spent most of my time traveling to Boston to see him or in my dorm room on the phone. If I could go back in time I would have had a lot more balance between the relationship and the rest of my life. And also, there is no reward without risk. Even though your heart’s been broken, keep putting yourself out there. I was so afraid of getting hurt again, that for years I only dated people who I knew liked me more than I liked them in order to protect myself. But if you want that  Oh my God, how did I live my whole life up till this point without you  stomach-flipping kind of  love, you HAVE to be willing to take the risk to get hurt. Once I finally figured that out, I met my husband. I don’t think the timing was a coincidence.”

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HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I recently learned that heartbreak comes in many forms, not just the ending of romantic relationships. In September of 2014, I lost my mother to breast cancer. She was my best friend, hero and the person I relied on most in the world. I can honestly say that losing her was the most painful heartache I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt like I lost a limb and that I had to learn how to walk all over again, but this time with just one leg. I’m still learning how to walk. Grief is an unpredictable little beast. It’s much more chaotic and uprooting than anything I’ve felt before. One minute you’re laughing, and the next you’re laying on the floor pounding your fists and screaming like a child.”

AN UNEXPECTED SHIFT
“My mom spent her entire life in the food industry. She was actually the first person to introduce biscotti to the American food scene back in 1983 when she started her first company. Most recently she had started a small, artisan biscotti company called Boncora, which is focused on high quality, locally sourced products and also a commitment to giving back to the local community. When she passed away I was faced with a difficult decision — keep the bakery open or close its doors. Keeping the bakery open meant walking away from my psychotherapy practice and stepping into a whole new world, one where the learning curve would be high and I would be a complete beginner. I mean, I literally knew nothing about the food industry. The logical decision would have been to stick with my thriving therapy practice, but my heart kept pulling me back to bakery. And I decided to listen to my heart on this one. Having the opportunity to carry on my mother’s legacy feels like the most important thing I could be doing right now. Things are finally starting to come together and the product is picking up some momentum, so I’m really excited to see where I can take the business in the next year. I’m focused on getting the product to a broader audience so everyone can enjoy what my mom did best.”

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HOW SHE MENDS
“Marathons of awesome TV shows! As a therapist, I’m generally not a big fan of avoidance as a strategy for dealing with suffering, but when it comes to breakups you just need to get your mind off of it for a while. Getting sucked into the lives of fictional characters is a good way to temporarily forget about your own sorrows. After one breakup I think I must have watched 3 seasons of Sex and the City in 2 days. I soaked up all the love I could get from friends and family. The loss of a relationship can sometimes leave a big void, so I let it be filled by the love and support of all the people out there who adore me. And I practiced mindfulness and self-compassion. This is the hardest but also probably the most important. Finding stillness, accepting what is and being compassionate to yourself are essential tools for healing. I highly recommend checking out Kristen Neff’s work on self compassion, a very useful resource during a difficult time. I particularly like the guided meditation Soften, Soothe, Allow.”

HER BREAK UP VICES
“Cyberstalking. It’s bad news bears. It’s like a rash – it itches so you want to scratch it, but when you do it just spreads and gets worse. And the worse it gets the more you want to scratch.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“Honestly, it really depends on the situation. Every once in a while it can work, but I’ve seen it cause more problems than it’s often worth.”

HER PHILOSOPHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
“I don’t stay connected to exes on social media. I think it’s best not to get ambushed by constant updates of what your exes are up to.”

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HER HARDEST LESSON ON LOVE
“Love doesn’t always come in the package you expect. I had a lot of silly rules about how my “future husband” would have to be, but in the end, love is about connection, not a checklist of traits. Be open. Stretch yourself. When my now husband told me he had children from a previous marriage on our first date, I seriously contemplated playing sick and leaving the date early. I wanted no part of being a step-mom. Kids equals deal breaker, I thought. But it turned into a 6 hour first date. Two months later he gave me the keys to his place. And 3 years later we walked down the aisle: me, him and my amazing step-children. The heart wants what the heart wants.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK
I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt.”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“I truly believe that we are put on this earth to love. I’ve learned through my personal experience and my work as a therapist that loving and being loved are as essential to our well being as water and oxygen. Getting your heart broken sucks, but denying yourself the chance for real love is a far greater loss.”

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HER INTENTION: MANIFEST
“I really believe that we can manifest the things we truly want in our lives if we focus our attention and intention towards them.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Sonoma, CA.

Photographer and Grlswirl Founder Monroe Alvarez’ Advice on Love and Breakups

Monroe Alvarez is a photographer and creative director based in Venice Beach. She’s also the co-founder of @grlswirl, an all-womxn skate sisterhood. She sat down with us to share how she’s learned to listen to her intuition (it’s usually right), what it felt like to be overcome by jealousy and mistrust when she was cheated on and the utter chaos and unpredictability of how love works. You can follow her on Instagram @dontbeafool.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I actually hadn’t had my heart broken until last year. What I had thought was a broken heart wasn’t really. You know, it was young love. But once I actually had my heart broken, I was like, Okay, none of that was real. You know how people say that before you die, you see your whole life flash before your eyes? Well, I saw my whole past and future with him burn up in flames. It was the scariest thing. I got super dizzy, my feet… I couldn’t stabilize myself. I had never cried so hard in my life. I found out that he’d cheated on me, and it was so unexpected. The crazy thing is, when it actually occurred, my body knew the moment it happened. But then once I heard from a friend, I literally lost my breath. I lost sight.”

TURNING INTO SOMEONE ELSE
“I didn’t talk to him for almost two days. Then I finally gave in– you know, because you love that person– and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I went over and talked to him. He was crying, but all I could see was that he’d broken that seal of trust. It turns you into someone you don’t want to be. I’m usually the girl who’s like, ‘Sure, you have girls you want to hang out with, I totally trust you.’ And then once that [cheating] occurred, I turned into a whole different person. I remember I spent the night in Malibu with a friend, and I knew he was at a bar. I literally got of my bed in Malibu, left the house, and came to the bar he was at in Venice, just to make sure he wasn’t doing anything. Like, that is so not me! I would never do that, you know? But I just felt sick in my stomach, and I just felt like a crazy person.”


A REUNION + AN ENGAGEMENT

“We ended up going on a trip together 3 weeks after it occurred, and it was our first time trying to spend time together again. He begged me to go, and I kept saying I didn’t want to go. Eventually, I was like, Fuck it. If I’m ever going to try this again, let’s do it. So we went to the San Juan Islands, where his family has a cabin. There was no wifi or cell service, so that was probably the best week of our whole relationship because we had no attachment to the outside world. He ended up proposing to me at the end of that week. We were on a boat, like a tow boat, sitting there. It was about midnight, and I remember thinking, If he were ever going to propose to me, I guarantee now’s the time. And the same way I’d known when he was cheating on me, I pictured the whole conversation in my head, and seconds later, it happened exactly the way I’d thought of it. So we were engaged, but it was tough for me, because I still needed to forgive my boyfriend before I could forgive my fiance. I don’t think it happened when it should have happened, and it complicated the relationship. I ended up distancing myself emotionally and physically, and seeking a way out in a way that I probably shouldn’t have. I developed feelings for my current boyfriend while I was ending the relationship with my ex. It was so dramatic.”

BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE
“As shitty as it is to be cheated on– I’m not proud to say it, but I’m a cheater too. Cheating is not okay, and I always told myself that cheaters are the most disgusting things in the world. Then I became one. I know I’m not a bad person, and I know why I did it: I wanted out. I needed an excuse, and I was emotionally disconnecting. So as awful as it is, I get why I did it. Once my ex cheated on me, I could relate. I couldn’t be like, ‘Fuck you, I never want to speak to you again,’ because I had done it before. I could understand. So I can totally mend from being cheated on, only because I can relate. I’m not proud of it.”

BALANCING WORK + HEARTBREAK
“I pretty much didn’t work for 3 weeks. I have a flexible schedule, so I didn’t have to wake up and go to the office and deal with it. I think it’s also really good to involve yourself in work, but I think you need a couple of days to be with your friends or by yourself and cry. I remember I had a photo shoot 3 or 4 days after I found out [that he cheated on me], and I so didn’t want to go. It’s tough to balance, because you’re crying on the way to work, and once you’re there then you have to pretend everything’s okay. But once I was there, my mind was off of it.”

HOW SHE MENDED
“Once the whole cheating situation happened, I lost my shit for a few weeks. I had to get to a dark place in order to get back up. I think people who try to push it aside and not deal with it… I don’t think that’s healthy. I think you need to be crying every day. So I cried until I couldn’t cry any more. I was hanging out with my friends at all times because I didn’t want to be alone. I needed that love and support. I was reading a lot. I love Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss. I was spending a lot of time at the beach. And then I got to a place of doing a lot of meditating and understanding. I’ve been meditating for over 2 years now. It’s so important to me, so I want the person I’m with to be part of that as well. I always wanted my ex to do it, but he never did, so that was a disconnect. I spent a lot of time looking at why the cheating happened, because I didn’t want to get to a place of blaming, either.”

MOVING ON
“Once I realized I was emotionally interested in someone else, I didn’t bring it up to my ex, because I didn’t know what it meant. It just showed me that I needed to end things with my ex. So we had a week of crying every night at dinner, like, ‘Maybe we’re not meant to be together ,’  but then at the end of the conversation, we’d conclude that, no, we needed to be together. It was a week-long of that shit. And eventually I was like, It   just has to end. It has to be over. It was good at first. We stayed friends for a while, until he realized I had fallen for somebody else, and then he lost his shit. Now I don’t want to be friends with him. I thought I did for a really long time, and I supported him in a lot of ways. But the words he said to me after we’d broken up were probably the most disgusting words you could ever say to somebody. I was like, Wow, so this is who you really are. When he initially cheated on me, not once did I speak to him the way he spoke to me.”

TRUST YOUR BODY
“Every mistake you make, every dark time, is all for a reason. So I would never tell myself to do anything differently, I would just tell myself to trust my body, my intuition, my instinct a little more. I think I had quite a few moments when my body was telling me to get out. You get your heart and your gut and your head all confused.”

ON BEING VULNERABLE
“I probably came into this new relationship more open and more vulnerable than any other relationship. I’m more myself with him than I have been with anybody else. In my past relationships, there was always something stopping me from being my full self. With him, there are no barriers, I can just be all me. I think in my last relationship, I was intimidated by him in certain ways. He was so good with words and making himself right all the time that I would never allow myself to get in a fight with him. I’d always want to smooth things over and keep it even-keeled because I’d never win. Where with my current boyfriend, it’s not like that at all, so if anything comes up for me, I’ll bring it up. I feel a little stronger in this relationship than I did in the last one.”

WHAT SHE’S LEARNED ABOUT LOVE
“Knowing that love can’t last forever, and love can have a timeline. Every guy that I’m with, I tend to think I’ll be with that person forever. Now I look at it like, I love this person so much right now, who knows what the future is going to hold for us. And if one day one of us isn’t happy anymore, then we should respect that and go our separate ways. I think the toughest thing with exes is that as much as we’ve hurt each other, I’ll always respect that person. It’s tough to say, Okay, he did this and this and this wrong, but it takes two to tango. With everything that he did wrong, I probably did things that he didn’t like either. People always hate their exes. I try not to ever hate an ex. So as shitty as it is that we don’t talk, which is probably the way it should be, I’ll always have a degree of respect for that person. If I loved that person with all my heart at one point in my life, I’ll always have a level of love for them.”

RELATIONSHIPS IN HER LIFE
“My best friend Ally and her boyfriend are the cutest thing: their communication and their respect for one another, I really look up to that. But there’s not one particular relationship that I want to model my own after. I really think both partners have to have respect for each other, and to make each other a better version of themselves. And it’s so important to be yourself. If you can’t be yourself with the person that you’re with, or if you don’t respect the person that you’re with, you’re never going to have a good relationship.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
“We’ve unfollowed each other on Instagram, but you know, I’ll have friends send me screenshots, like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ But I feel like you can never get over that other person if they’re still in your life, even if you’re not talking, because they’re still in your consciousness. You have to disconnect in order to move forward. I do post about my relationship now, but it was really hard at first, because I was like, I don’t want to hurt him [my ex]. I didn’t want to devalue what we had just had, or be disrespectful. So it wasn’t until recently that I posted a photo.”

WHAT SHE’S UP TO
“I’ve been working on a couple of look books lately, which are super fun. I just went up to Santa Cruz with my 2 best friends and shot them for it. And then I’m shooting another one here in Venice. I’ve also been collaborating with this hotel in Nicaragua, Maderas Village. I was just there, and I had so much fun, I’ll be back in 2 weeks. When you go there, it’s all creatives that go in and out of the place: photographers, artists, musicians, super creative people. I’m stoked on that.”

HER MANTRA: AUTHENTICITY
“I think it’s really important to be your authentic self at all times. I’ve spent so many years in relationships putting myself second and saying things and doing things to please that person. As long as you’re yourself at all moments, what’s there to regret?”

Ajay Relan’s Advice on Heartbreak and Vulnerability

Ajay is a co-founder of #HashtagLunchbag, an organization that distributes meals and love letters to those in need. Its rapid growth led to the formation of the Living Through Giving Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to celebrating charitable initiatives. He also runs Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen in Los Angeles and invests through On Purpose VC, an intentional capital firm. You can follow him on Instagram @ajayfresh.

HIS FIRST HEARTBREAK
“I think the first time I got my heart broken was junior or senior year of high school. The girl was a year older than me, and before she went off to college, we had this whole summer of just hanging out everyday and it was really fun. I was super attracted to her. When she asked me out I got really really excited, even though I was actually dating someone else at the time. I just sort of kicked the other person to the curb to pursue it and I didn’t even think twice. But when she went away to school it just abruptly ended. It fucked me up pretty badly. I haven’t really talked about it or thought about it until now but it probably has affected my relationships since then. I can count on two fingers how many real relationships I’ve had since. I have not been broken up with since that time in high school.”

GLASS CEILINGS
“I feel like a lot of my relationships had glass ceilings in place, whether I put them there or not. I know for a fact that I broke some hearts because of it. As I got to know myself a little bit more, I would give little disclaimers upfront about my track record. It was the same cycle over and over and I started to become more aware. I’m an entrepreneur and I’m an only child, so background plays into it. I was raised by a single mom, with no dad around, so I never had that example of what it means to be in a committed relationship where you have someone else’s back, and only that person’s back.”

THE INEVITABLE QUESTION
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet and date some really amazing women. The majority of them – all of them, actually – are still friends to a certain extent because we had a friendship first. It was like, ‘lets go out, let’s go to dinner, let’s get some wine and enjoy getting to know each other.’ That would go on as long as they would let it without me having to commit. But eventually it’s the case of ‘hey dude, what are we doing? We’ve been doing this for months now,’ and in some cases that goes on for years, until eventually someone leaves or moves away or gets married or something.”

HITTING A WALL
“The way I learned how to be a man was by watching television shows like Full House and Family Matters. I was constantly looking for what it really meant to be a man. My mom worked a million hours a day and no one was really watching me and I overcompensated in a lot of ways. I kind of shaped myself to be like who I was around or whoever they wanted me to be. So I hit this wall and realized that I couldn’t keep going like that, for myself or for anyone else. It wasn’t just in my romantic life but my professional life as well. I was constantly starting things and they would achieve a certain level of success, enough to pass it on, but I’d get bored. I just wanted more and more and more. It was never enough.”

Ajay 3

FEELING UNDESERVING
“I eventually came to this conclusion that I wasn’t enough. It had nothing to do with other people, it just had to do with how I felt about myself. Anytime I would get into anything a little more than casual I would find myself reflecting on who I was, and the more I looked at myself, the more I didn’t like myself, for no particular reason. I had been going through life becoming close with people and creating all these memories and then just stopping it and cutting it off. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want a deeper connection, I just didn’t feel like I deserved it. If you ask my friends, they think I’m a good guy, which I genuinely believe. But what people say about you and how you feel about yourself are two completely different things. I saw a TED Talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability, which made me read her book and led me down a path to seeing a therapist. I started doing a lot of work on myself. I started reading a lot of different books and blogs. This was in 2012, when I was 28.”

ON MEETING HIS FATHER
“Then one day I was hanging out with some people that I honestly didn’t know very well, and somehow families came up and they started asking me about my mom, and it was like, “Oh, my mom’s awesome,” and “Oh, I’ve never met my dad.” They started asking me all these questions about it and it didn’t irk me, but something clicked that I needed to meet this guy, so I went searching. That was heartbreaking in itself. It’s rejection from birth. You have this constant rejection and then you finally meet the guy and he doesn’t give a shit. I got to put a face to a name, got to see what he looked like and got to know that I don’t have any brothers or sisters. And then I just continued on. I don’t think I really all the way dealt with it. I did as much as any of us deal with anything. You internalize some of it, talk to a few people about it, but life goes on.”

A RELATIONSHIP IS LIKE A STARTUP
“When I met my father for the first time, I was in a relationship – a few months into it at that point. She was great and super supportive, but then it got to a point where all the fun stuff was over and things started to get dark again for me. I was learning a lot about myself. I was doing erratic things. I left a startup that I had built because my partners weren’t getting along and I was sick of it. I got into the restaurant business because I thought it made sense. I thought, I like sports, I like to drink. I’ll open a sports bar. There were highs but then there were lows and they were very low. It’s easy to start something. It’s easy to meet someone. It’s easy to get to know somebody. It’s easy to be intimate with somebody physically, but maintaining it and sustaining it is difficult. It’s just like a startup. It’s just like a business, where you think, Oh I have this great idea, let me put together a business plan. And then let me do this everyday and let me wake up everyday and be excited about it. She was great and she just loved the shit out of me every single day. I just didn’t grow up with that kind of love, so when someone is giving it to me, it’s hard for me to accept it because I don’t feel like I deserve it. And eventually it got to a point where that had to end. Not because anything was wrong but because it was killing me psychologically that I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I had this beautiful, smart, driven, incredible woman who just wanted to love me and I was saying, ‘Get away, I don’t deserve this!’ It was almost weighing me down. I was asking myself, what’s wrong with me? This isn’t normal, this isn’t right, I shouldn’t feel this way.

A PRESCRIPTION TO VOLUNTEER
“So I go to a therapist and they tell me that I’m depressed, that it’s chemical, and they send me to a psychiatrist. He looks at me for two seconds, doesn’t even make eye contact and writes me a prescription. And I’m thinking, no, that is not how I want to mend my situation. I know a lot of people that are depressed and who cope that way, and they are still in a pretty shitty place. So I’d rather feel the way I feel now than feel that way. The only other thing she prescribed to me was to go volunteer and I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. It went from this pharmaceutical solution, to, ‘go spend some time cleaning the beach.’ But I put it on my to do list.”

Ajay 1

STARTING #HASHTAGLUNCHBAG

“I looked for a way to volunteer, but everything was really disconnected. I remembered a friend of mine used to make bag lunches, walk around the pier and pass them out and share. So I woke up one morning pretty early and set the goal of making 100 meals – the kind of lunch that you’d be really happy your mom packed. My roommates wake up and we start really inefficiently making these meals. Our friends ask us what we are doing and we tell them we are making some meals and are going to drive around and hand them out – nothing crazy, nothing revolutionary. We made it fun because we are fun guys. We listened to music and we added some libations. We jokingly decided to share it on social media and we spelled out the word hashtag, because we kind of hate hashtags, and went about our day.”

“When we looked back at our phones we had an abnormally large number of likes, calls, texts, and emails from friends saying, ‘I’ve been looking for something to do and I can’t find anything. Let me know the next time you do this.’ We had had no intention at the time of doing it again, it was just a spontaneous act. But we decided to do it again in January of 2013, and this time there were 10 of us, and it was much more streamlined. Same deal: made the meals, passed them out, felt awesome, put it up on social media and a week later my friend uploaded the video he’d made on a GoPro. I used to work at a talent agency and one of the actresses that was represented there retweeted the video saying ‘This is awesome.’ So we decided to build a website. None of us had ever built a website but we wanted to share our story: that we wanted to give back and didn’t know how, that we couldn’t find anything that spoke to us, so this was what we did, and here are some easy tips so you can do the same.”

“The following month was my birthday and usually I have a big party, but that year I decided I wanted to do this instead. We had 100 people show up! We got a huge age range and diversity, and everyone was having fun dancing and connecting. A lot of people had never done anything like this before, just like me and my friends the first time. So we all went down to Skid Row and did the sharing experience, and then everyone shared it on their social media. Ever since then it’s just continued to grow, now to over 100 cities all over the world. We’ve been around for 2 and a half years now and we have some amazing corporate partners. We eventually asked ourselves, why are we doing this? The food is really just the vessel, so we started incorporating love notes to recognize the humanity of those we’re serving. That’s what these individuals are taking with them for inspiration. It’s really about being open, vulnerable and watching the world around you become a better place. We are making it fun and cool for people to give back, and then let them reap the psychological benefits on their own.”

Ajay 4

HIS PHILOSOPHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
“You know it’s over when they unfollow you on social media. That’s the definitive end of a relationship these days. I will say that I don’t go out of my way to unfollow anyone but if they unfollow me, I’ll unfollow back.”

THE LESSON HE’S LEARNED ABOUT LOVE
“The lesson that I’ve learned on this journey, which I’m still on, is that you have to see yourself in a certain way, hold yourself in a certain regard and esteem, and really own and like who you are, where you’ve come from, and how far you’ve come to be able to even entertain the idea of giving that [love] to someone else. This is a lesson that I’ve learned fairly recently on my path of self discovery. Now more than ever, people have this responsibility to themselves. I think it is really beautiful that many more people now are more self aware, but the vast majority of people just go about their lives, rather than trying to explore a little bit more of what makes them lovable.”

HOW HE MENDS NOW
“What I used to do was not a sustainable solution. I used to go out of my way to get everyone to like me. I would blow them away with what I thought they wanted to hear. It wasn’t that I was lying, I would just play to a different crowd every time. Now I’m very selective about who I spend my time with, where I go, what I watch, what I listen to, and what I read. I’ve been exercising a lot and trying new things. Getting out of my comfort zone, physically and emotionally. Being a lot more vulnerable than I’ve ever been. Vulnerability without any intention is kind of a slippery slope because it is something that is meant to bring people together, so if it’s not matched on both sides then it can kind of be disastrous. Meditation is something that I started recently and I find it very helpful. I would say I’m in my optimal place right now. I’ve realized when I’m writing, sharing or creating, that is when I’m at my best.”

HIS GUILTY PLEASURE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars. That song would get stuck in my head all the time. I think it just got stuck now!”

HIS MANTRA: CREATE
“The last few years I have embraced being creative. Being creative is something that has always been within me, but I’ve never wanted to own it because it puts you in a very vulnerable space with potential to be rejected. But at the end of the day that’s why we’re all here. We are all gods in our own right and we all have the ability to create and inspire and keep the momentum going.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Self Care CEO Danielle Cuccio’s Advice on First Love Heartbreak

Danielle is a yoga instructor and the CEO of self-care brand Cuccio Somatology. You can follow her on Instagram @daniellecuccio.

FALLING IN LOVE EARLY
“I was in a 9 year relationship that was full of ups and downs. I met him when I was 13. My parents have been together since they were 12 so I thought oh this is normal, this is just what you do. I met him when I was 13 and it was just a roller coaster as relationships are at that age. He was on the basketball team and I was a cheerleader and he was the love of my life – I thought I was going to marry him. He went to college and I was heartbroken – we’d break up and then get back together and then break up and then get back together. Then we got back together after college. I had dated people in between when we weren’t together, but nothing serious, you can’t obviously when you had something that strong. And we were together for a year after college. We bought a house and moved in together and I thought that was it. It all made sense – I was on cloud nine. I thought this is it. We made it through college and we’re good.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“At some point, I remember I just stopped wanting to come home. It was the weirdest thing. I just stopped caring. We worked well together as kids, but we just didn’t work as adults. I went to beauty school and he was an artist. I was in school from 7am to 6pm every day and I would come home exhausted. He would have just been doing whatever he was doing all day and I when I would get home, he would want to go out and do things and I just couldn’t. I was too tired and he could never understand that. I had to end it. It was really hard. We owned a house together for the last three years. It’s a long time to have been with someone when you’re only 27 years old.”

Danielle 1

COHABITATING
“We lived in the house for 5 months together. We were so occupied with getting the house and moving in. That’s the scary part – people can get so wrapped up in what they’re doing and then when it’s over, and they’re like ‘ok, now what?’ I’m sure it could even happen with wedding planning. I think that’s a really scary thing. I think that was happening with me when we were buying the house, but I didn’t realize that until after we moved in. It was really hard to face what I was feeling, but there was no more going back. So I initiated many conversations. It was almost as if I was reeling him into breaking up. It was conversation after conversation.”

ONE MORE CHANCE
“At one point, I wanted to get back together with him because I was so scared. I remember so clearly giving him one more chance: “You can take me to dinner and a movie and we can try to keep this working.” That night, he had friends over and was drumming, doing his own thing. So I went to dinner and the movie by myself. I had never been to a movie by myself and ended up watching a documentary about love. It was so cheesy and ridiculous and yet so perfect.”

THINGS TAKE TIME
“I went on a trip to Italy with my friends and I remember crying and talking about it and my friends just told me I had to stop talking about it. But in a way, I still wanted him to be a part of me. It’s been four years now and I think I’m really past it. I never thought I would get there.”

GETTING BACK INTO HER BODY
“After the break up was when I started doing yoga. I would go to yoga and I would cry. I didn’t want the teacher to see me, but now, plenty of my students cry and I’m like bring it! I started teaching Yoga Booty Ballet, a fitness class that is a lot of fun and it makes you feel so good. When you’re going through a break up, I think you really need that. You need something that will physically get you moving and distract you. That’s why I loved yoga so much. I was a dancer my whole life and yoga got me back into my body and I would walk out of class feeling so much more peaceful, thinking, I’m by myself and I don’t need someone right now and I’ll be okay.

Danielle 2

WHAT SHE READ
“When I started dating again, I read Why Men Love Bitches. Its message was ‘Don’t deal with assholes!’ That book is great.”

ONLINE DATING
“I tried online dating and it was such a good experience. I don’t have a bad thing to say about it. You get to know yourself so well. I probably went on 12 dates total. I met some great people. Some of them weren’t for me at all, but you learn what you like and what you don’t. It felt like I was going on a whole bunch of interviews and you really get to know yourself. I remember I kept saying to the guys that I really wanted to do a yoga certification class. I thought why do I keep saying that? And then I just did it.”

MEETING HER MATCH
“After the break up, I dated someone that I used to see and then another guy in the same group of friends. I decided I had to stop that. I’m going nowhere. They’re cute, they’re fun, but this is going nowhere. Those guys are still noncommittal to this day, it wasn’t me. You have to remember it’s not you. So I started online dating. If there was one weird sign, at the very beginning, that the guy was noncommittal or not right for me, I just ended it. I wasn’t going to get involved with something that wasn’t going anywhere. And it really worked. I started meeting guys that were ready to commit. There were no games and when you’re dating, that’s the line you have to draw. I met Tyler on Match. I was really attracted to bad boys with tattoos. When I met Tyler, he was very put together, wearing a button down shirt. But when I found out he had tattoos and a different side, I was like yes! It’s about finding a good mix.”

COMMITMENT CAN BE INTIMIDATING
“When I first met Tyler, he was just so ready to commit. I knew that he was very serious, I got scared and we broke up. I still regret it. I was so miserable when we were apart. I felt alone and I didn’t want to go back to my old life. We started talking a little bit through email and we decided to go to dinner. I realized that this guy was 100% here. It was a big decision to make but we were like alright we’re doing this! So after a month of being broken up, we got back together and we have been together ever since. I think I just needed that time for myself. I was going through my yoga teacher training during the break, so I really needed that time for myself. Of course I wish we didn’t have to go through a break, but it’s what happened.”

FRIENDS WITH HER EX?
“No. I honestly don’t know my ex would fit into my life. He’s someone who if you’re his friend, he really needs you to be there and I can’t do that, especially with Tyler. Tyler is really easy going about it. He’s not a very jealous person. A few years ago, I would have said that my ex would be like an uncle to my kids. I always imagined he’d be part of my family because he was really close to them. But now, it just makes much more sense to not talk to him.”

Danielle 3

HER HARDEST LESSON LEARNED ON LOVE
“We would all love to end up with our first love because that sounds perfect. But you’re seeing the situation through rose colored glasses. You’re totally blind. I think that we would all love to end up with that. But as adults, that is just not the case. As an adult you’re looking for different things. You could be with someone who is so sweet and amazing but they might not be able to be as driven as you. And that’s important to me. I think that was a pretty rude awakening. I really had to think about what I wanted in a partner and what I wanted from our life together. That never used to be a component when I was younger. A relationship can only last long term if you have a vision together. Daily things have to work as well – who takes out the trash and that kind of thing. That’s a shift for me after being in a relationship with someone for 9 years, growing up with them and then entering adult life.”

PROJECTS SHE’S EXCITED ABOUT
“My parents are in the beauty business and have been for 30 years. So growing up I was always around that. My sister became a doctor and my dad always said to me “you’re going to work in the family business.” I’m growing my wellness brand, Cuccio Somatology, “soma” means body and “tology” means study of. I’ve taken anatomy and nutrition courses. I’m an aesthetician. I’m a yoga instructor. I have a yoga DVD and book. Eventually I’d like include probiotics, supplements and skin care into the line. I want to do it all!”

HER MANTRA: LOVE
“I think that we can all get so caught up in our lives and not realize what’s important. People need to stay with what they love. Love what you love to do, love who you love, stay where you love to be. My whole life is driven by wanting to live on the beach one day. I love the relaxed lifestyle and I’ve wanted it my whole life.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Patricia Echeverria’s Advice on Breakups, Forgiveness + Finding Purpose

Patricia believes everyone has a purpose. She is the founder of Experiment on Purpose, an experimental studio at the intersection of personal transformation and human-centered design. They have collaborated with the Hub LA, Hub Madrid, Global Innovation Summit, TED Conferences and No Right Brain Left Behind. When she’s not leading her six-week Purpose Program or coaching clients, you can find her surfing.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“There was an initial breakup and we got back together again, and then we broke up again. In previous relationships, I wasn’t fully invested. I didn’t realize at the time but I just wasn’t fully vulnerable. The more I’ve grown, the more vulnerable I’ve allowed myself to be – so the greater the heartbreak.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HERSELF NOW
“I feel like breakups are a long process. Usually that’s the painful part; that it’s a process. It takes a long time. But when it’s not working, you know. I would tell myself to trust my intuition with the next person. I have a really good sense of whether something will work or not. But sometimes we don’t follow that. I would say to trust my intuition and follow that with whoever I meet. Towards the end there was a gut feeling it wasn’t working but there was a part of me that wanted to make it work. I let myself go, which I don’t often do.”

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ATTRACTION
“Nowadays, when there’s an intense attraction initially, I’m vigilant of that. I don’t necessarily go with it. I’ll watch. I don’t necessarily say, ‘That’s the person!’ The best relationships for me have been when it was neutral at first. I was attracted, but I didn’t feel like I had to be with them.’”

A SELF LOVE PRACTICE
“I allowed myself to be very nurturing and loving to myself, and I focused on that. I felt there was this big thing missing physically and emotionally, so I made sure all parts of me were taken care of. I felt a lot of upset in my stomach – the most visceral part of the heartbreak was there. So I would say ‘I love you’ and put my hand on my stomach and worked with that. I did a lot of yoga. I did things to feel taken care of and it was important for me to take time off from what I was doing, to not be focused on work. I took time to go to the beach, even though I had things to do. You have to allow yourself to go through the mourning process. If you just go on to the next activity, it’s still there.”

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FORGIVENESS
“I realized that: in the process of recovering from heartbreak, I did a lot of forgiveness, I listened to forgiveness meditations and practiced self forgiveness every day for at least 45 minutes, for the first months, and it was one of the most powerful and healing experiences for me. This process truly allowed me to recover from the emotional upset. It was super important for me.”

COMPATIBILITY
“I remember talking to Mary [the Founder of University of Santa Monica, where she got a second degree, in Spiritual Psychology] about how she found her husband. She was so clear. She told me, ‘Don’t settle. Look for character.’ For me, it was perfect to hear that. Part of me felt guilty or responsible, like ‘Oh shit this should have worked.’ But talking to people made me feel like I did the best I could and for some reason we just weren’t compatible. If you’re both going the same direction, you don’t have to struggle. You don’t have to be doing all the same things all the time, but why not find someone who is more compatible? For me it was important for me to be with someone who is my partner, someone I’m also working with. I know it’s challenging. It’s tough because I have my path and I’m going on my path, and I am still developing what it is that I’m doing. But my experience with couples that work together in the personal development sphere is that there’s something really beautiful and powerful there. It’s the masculine and feminine energies balancing each other out. Like with Ron and Mary, it feels like they maximize each other’s potential times 100. It becomes a larger thing that’s not about two of them.”

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MUSIC THAT MENDED
“I listened to more depressing songs than I would normally listen to. I like the work song by Hozier. I watched this beautiful video of these couples dancing to the song and I found it so beautiful. It’s a beautiful, romantic video. I never listen to lyrics. I don’t pay attention or ever remember, so I wouldn’t even be able to tell you which songs are about heartbreak. But to me it just has that heartbreak feeling. I also loved to listen to All I Want by Kodaline, which feels heartbreaking and beautiful all together.”

THE PRINCE THEORY
“There is this idea that men go through different stages; that they have to be kind of settled in their career, often times, before they can be with someone. It’s called being in the Prince stage, when they haven’t found themselves. Even though we live in a more gender equal society, there is still an expectation for a man to be stable. Before they get to that point, they’re just experimenting with relationships and they may not be committed. It makes sense energetically. Men want to know that they’re doing a good job. If they’re unstable, it will be really hard for them to be in a relationship.”

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LETTING THE WOUND HEAL
“The vice that happens to everyone is that you breakup and you want to see the person again, even just going on Instagram to see what they’re doing. I’m on a social media sabbatical right now, but I just un-followed my ex on everything. I didn’t unfriend on Facebook, but I removed notifications. The vice is the part that wants to stay in it, and that’s the part that makes the heartbreak longer. I knew if I just cut it off, it would allow for the healing process. It’s like a wound. You have to cut it off so the wound heals. If you just keep creating an opening for it, it just never closes. I’ve had that experience before, so I knew I needed to block him completely. And I told him that it was important not to see him. I told him that yes I love him, but I can’t do it right now. I made it very clear.”

FOCUSING ON THE VISION
“I have a lot of willpower. I think of what I really want, and what I really want is love and I want to feel completely cherished. I want to be with someone who loves me, who is my soulmate. So it makes it easier that when it’s not working, I have to let go and trust that I have this larger vision that I’m going for. In order to go for that, I have to sacrifice what’s here now. I trust and I know that if this guy that I just broke up with is meant to be with me, he’ll come back. I’m not concerned. I think the strength comes from having that larger vision.”

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HER SOCIAL MEDIA SABBATICAL
“Social media made my life feel very busy, when it really wasn’t. It was so distracting. It depends which point in your career you’re at. For me, I realized that there’s something really important about going in and then creating from that space. I’m at a very generative stage right now professionally – all of these things are being created – and I don’t want it to be coming as a reaction to the outside world. I actually want to take the time to see what’s really important for me and what I want to put out in the world. Being on social media puts your antenna out but doesn’t allow you to go in as much. It automatically puts you in comparison mode, not even consciously. I would wake up and look at other people’s lives without focusing on what I was doing with myself. I’d rather wake up with an affirmation or intention for myself instead of waking up and seeing what the rest of the world is doing.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I think it depends how long you’ve been with the person. You just have to let enough time pass. I think it can be problematic if you’re still single and you’re searching. As long as you’re at a neutral place inside.”

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VULNERABILITY
“I think being vulnerable is very difficult. I can’t say I’m like that all the time. I’ve met some guys recently and it’s put to test when you meet someone you sort of like. That’s when you can assess whether you’re open. But I know that if I don’t open my heart, there won’t be anything there. There was a period of time in my life when I was completely closed off. I could have relationships, but they weren’t as fulfilling. I know that whatever relationship I have next I want it to be a completely vulnerable one. It’s the only thing that counts.”

HER MANTRA: YOU ARE LOVED
“I want to remember that I am loved and I don’t have to worry.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Singer Mereki Beach on Grief and What They Don’t Tell You About Love

Mereki Beach is a songwriter and artist, and she’s also the founder of non-profit Be Kind. We caught up with her about finding the courage to scrap an EP that wasn’t feeling right, living authentically, and how she pulled through a barrage of heartbreaks that happened all at once, including the loss of her father.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“I lost my dad about a year and a half ago. I suppose it was a slow burn heartbreak because he had cancer for 5 years. He was given 3 months to live initially, but then fought it for a long time through holistic means. In November of 2013, I went back to Australia for his birthday. His health had really deteriorated, so I ended up staying there in the months leading up to his passing, which was at the end of February 2014. I was in a long term relationship at that point, but I’d never had a serious breakup, and the heartbreak of losing my dad was unprecedented. I felt like I’d almost been living in a bubble-up until that point. When I experienced the pain of his passing, it was like, oh, now I get it, now I see what everyone’s going on about. This fucking sucks. My dad and I, we were like the same person. We were so close. And he was young, only 62. My mum and I were looking after him at home. My two sisters, my mum, and I were all actually fortunate enough to be with him as he took his final breath. We were all holding him and watched him take three small breaths and then go. It was a very profound experience. Life-changing, for sure. But it hurt like nothing words can express.

NEVER PREPARED
There’s a lot of shock in the aftermath of death. It was interesting to watch my sisters and my mum all going through it differently. My mum had been taking such beautiful care of my dad for such a long time at that point, so I think she was really relieved that he was able to go so peacefully. For me, I think that no matter how much preparation I had for his death, I was still totally shocked when it happened. Even though it was really beautiful on so many levels. It was a full moon outside with the moonlight shining into the room and onto him, the iPod was on shuffle and Van Morrison’s ‘Moon Dance’ had come on as he went. My boyfriend at the time and I went outside and lit a fire later. It was very beautiful, but extremely confronting. I think it’s so strange — death is almost a taboo topic. Every person that you ever see or meet is going to die, and yet we don’t really talk about it. It’s so bizarre to me. Losing my dad really made me question my beliefs spiritually, and my thoughts on what happens when you die. I grew up in a very spiritual household, not religious necessarily, but I was sort of fine with the idea of it all and then when I actually experienced it first hand, it was quite another thing. I was very angry about losing my dad for quite a long time.”

AFTER THE BUBBLE BURST
“It totally changed me as a person. Up until the point of his death, it was like I had lived in this really safe bubble created by his unconditional love. I had this person, this male figure, who loved me so wholly, almost to a fault – we had a really special bond. I always felt very safe and protected in a world that isn’t always kind. So, when he passed away, I felt extremely vulnerable. Since then, I’ve had to work through becoming my own protector and looking after myself a lot more, which has been really difficult but very rewarding. There’ve been hugely positive leaps and bounds in my personal growth because of this loss, which I think can be true of all heartbreak.”

A STRONG FATHER FIGURE
“I always had this really strong male figure in my life, and so it was weird but it was like I didn’t need a partner for that ‘security’ that I think a lot of people crave; I already had it. I was always very happy on my own. I had small relationships here and there, but in high school I was never the girl who had the serious boyfriend. It sounds weird, but my dad and I were almost soul mates; we were honestly just the same in so many ways. We had very similar personalities and understood each other with such ease. When you’re looking for a romantic partner, you’re looking for that sort of connection with someone. I got into a relationship with my now-ex-boyfriend around the time my dad’s health was starting to deteriorate. I think that my dad’s sickness played into that relationship and I was subconsciously trying to fill that void, and of course I needed support, too. Not that I didn’t love my ex boyfriend, I did, very much. But I think it is interesting how humans operate.”

TRIPLE ARIES
“I started to write really angry punk music for about a year afterwards. I have a pretty fiery personality – I’m like a triple Aries. So I got furious. I was so, so sad, but I was really fucking angry. I was like, screw you, why do I have to lose one of the most important people in my life? This isn’t fair and this isn’t how it’s meant to be! Fuck you, world! My dad was the best and some people don’t even like their parents! I was never a rebellious teenager, but when my dad died, I feel like I went through that phase. I wrote so, so many songs. Content-wise they weren’t necessarily about my dad, but energetically, I just wanted to kick and scream and shout. Thank god I had music to direct that energy! It makes sense to me that people who don’t have a creative outlet might go down darker paths to manage this sort of heartache and grief. I was lucky because I got to perform a bunch of those songs live in LA and New York, which was super cathartic. Being able to get all of that raw emotion out was so helpful, I don’t know what I would have done without that, honestly.”

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A REBIRTH IN ICELAND
“I was lucky enough to be invited on a songwriting camp in Iceland a few months ago. I was there for a week, but I felt like I was there for a lifetime, it was really strange. Iceland is an incredible place. The people at SEASAC and Downtown Publishing who ran the camp created this beautiful, honest environment for us to write in. We were creating in some of the studios that Bjork had recorded songs in. It was just an amazing experience, and it was freeing, artistically. I started the week on the same poppy, punky sort of things I’d been doing, but by the end of the week I was writing from a much deeper place and much softer. I came back to LA and had a full existential crisis, like, oh my god, what have I been doing in LA in this pop world? I hate all of my songs. Who am I? I had made this EP that was produced by great producers, it was mixed by an amazing engineer, it was mastered, it was ready to be released. And then I got back from Iceland and I was like, I don’t think I can release this. It’s not right, it’s not pure. It was true to form to how I was feeling at the time, but as my first official release, it wasn’t honest to my core; I had gone off course a little, understandably perhaps. So it took me a month or two to work through that. I was freaking. I was so confused. When you’re working toward something for so long, and then all of a sudden, you’re like ‘wait, what? This isn’t right.’ But after that rebirthing experience in Iceland– amazing, so powerful, everyone needs to go to the Blue Lagoon– I just came back, and I wasn’t angry anymore. It calmed something in me and took me to the next step in the grieving process, which I think is maybe acceptance.”

HOW SHE MENDED
“I leaned a lot on my best friend who is here in LA, Ashleigh. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I’m really fortunate in that I have a lot of really special, really strong women around me who have been my savior many times. That, coupled with a lot of work on myself. I meditate every day now, I have to. When you get pushed to that sort of breaking point, you either go down into a dark well of self pity and bitterness, or you pick yourself up and figure out the things, any things, that are going to help. I think it’s a lot of trial and error. But for me, meditating daily is something that I have to do now. I really notice if I don’t do that. Exercise: necessary. I really like running. I’ve recently gotten into Pop Physique, and I’ve started doing yoga. My parents have a property back in Australia, and they would have weekly yoga classes. I always wanted to get into yoga, but found it so boring. But I just recently found this guy who teaches at Yogala on Echo Park Avenue, and he’s fucking hilarious– he’s like, ‘just breathe in, now just let that shit go, just fuckin’ let it go.’ He’s really funny. So I’ve finally gotten into yoga recently.”

THE LAKE
What else did I do? Nature. I came to the lake [Echo Park Lake] a lot. There’s a dam on my parents’ property with lotus flowers and there are always dragonflies. One day in particular I remember that dad and I saw a dragonfly so illuminescent it was like it was made entirely of glitter. Every morning when I was home my dad and I would walk down to the dam to check to see if a new lotus flower had opened up. That’s probably why I like the lake so much. When I arrived home in November there was only the bud of one little lotus that we saw bloom and by the time Dad passed away the dam was covered in lotus. Just before I came back to LA it rained so much that the dam flooded and the water covered over all the flowers.”

SOMEONE TO TALK TO
“When my dad passed, after I got back to LA, I actually had phone counseling for a little while. It was a cancer support line kind of thing, because I couldn’t afford a counselor. It was wonderful. I think everyone would benefit from counseling and speaking to someone unbiased who has experience with whatever you’re going through and who just listens. I found it so helpful to have my own private outlet because a lot of people didn’t– and couldn’t– understand what I was going through. I was mad about that for a bit too. I met a woman who had lost her dad 6 months prior to me and there were a lot of parallels in our stories – we would meet up for coffee and talk. Having someone who truly understood what I was going through was an incredible gift.”

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HEARTBREAK UPON HEARTBREAK
“My dad passed in February, and then I came back to LA in May, and then my boyfriend of three years and I broke up in August. We were living together, and he was there when my dad passed away. And then two weeks after that, my grandmother passed away. If there was ever a point that I was going to break, that was it. I remember the day I found out my grandma died, and, you know, it was my dad’s mom, and I was just shaking uncontrollably and still deeply heartbroken about my ex, and also still heavily grieving my dad. It was just all too much and I was having trouble breathing. I called my best friend in hysterics and she brought over some food and love. To be honest, I’m still dealing with the repercussions of all that. I loved my ex a lot. We loved each other a lot, but it was just one of those things that didn’t work.”

BREAKUP VICES
“Any sort of contact. I don’t think you should judge yourself, because everyone does it. I haven’t seen my ex now for 5 months. But it’s too hard to – when you’re in love with someone and you make that decision to stop seeing each other. That love will never go away. And if you’re making a decision that’s for the better, then you should try to stick to it as much as possible. Communication just confuses the process. As hard as it is – and oh, it’s so fucking hard! I still want to talk to him all the time – he was my best friend! It’s so brutal. But if you ever want to have a chance at being friends again, then you need to have that break in communication for a while, I think.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
“I blocked him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, everything pretty much immediately. Looking at an ex’s social media is only ever hurtful and counterproductive to mending. It wasn’t until I cut him off completely that I really felt like I had the space to start moving forward. It takes a long time. Heartbreak is hard, really, really hard.”

WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT LOVE
“He was such a huge part of my life for a long time, and such an important part. He knows my family, he came to Australia with me, and we used to make a lot of music together. We’re on the same publishing company, so we share close friends. We’re very intertwined, which also makes it more difficult. I love him. I always will. That’s something I feel like they don’t tell you: once you love someone, you will love them forever. It doesn’t go away. I think that even when you’re 40 and married to someone else with children, I still think that you love that person. Which is so bittersweet. On one hand, you’re so lucky to have had that beautiful connection with another person, but on the other hand, it’s just so so so sad to no longer have once you once shared. We used to laugh together so much and it was so intimate and we’ll never have that again and that sucks. I do think that exes can be friends, but I do think it takes willpower on both parts, space, and time. I’m still going through it but I miss my ex and hope that we can work towards a friendship in the future.”

EMBRACING THE DARKNESS
“In our society, we’re so prone to only showing the lighter, happier emotions. We’re allowed to be excited or joyful but oh, you’re feeling depressed? You feel like crying? Don’t share that! That’s for behind closed doors. It’s like, no, fuck that. Everyone feels those things. And if they were more widely and publicly accepted, then they would be a lot easier for everyone to manage.”

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THE NEXT TIME YOU CRY
“I have this whole video concept where I reached out to all of my beautiful, strong, independent girlfriends and asked if they could film themselves the next time they cried. I collected all the footage and cut it together with a friend of mine into a music video. You know, real people cry, everyone fucking cries, but for some reason, you’re not supposed to do it publicly. I’m a pretty do-what-I-want-when-I-want sort of person and after my dad passed away I cried every day for nearly a year, which I think is fine. But I ended up feeling guilty for crying in front of people because it would make them feel bad. I was like, no no no no, you didn’t just lose your best friend/compass/biggest fan. I did! I’m supposed to be sad. I’m allowed to cry! Why should I feel bad that you feel bad about seeing me crying? They’re just tears! I know you have them too! I got really angry about it, as you can see. I was like, what the fuck? I didn’t realize that the world was set up this way. That’s silly. I liked the idea of maybe young kids seeing this music video of a variety of people crying, like, oh, wow, these people are human, like everyone else. Everyone’s the same. We all have emotions, and that’s okay! Emotional transparency and honesty in society is definitely something I would fight for.”

HONESTY IN HER MUSIC
“The whole time I was writing angry songs for me, I was also writing pop songs geared toward pitching for other artists. There were a bunch of songs that I disregarded as my own at the time, and now, with this change of direction, I’ve gone back to. There’s this one song which I’m going to release, and it’s very directly about losing my dad. And every time I listen to this particular song, it’s so real and it makes me cry, so I have no idea how I’m going to perform that live. Every time I think about it, I’m like, oh, so not going to be able to sing that. But I think that’s good! I want that honesty, I want it for everyone. If everyone could be more honest and vulnerable with their emotions, I believe that the world would be a better place.”

ADVICE FROM A FRIEND
“When I got back from Iceland, I was back in bed. I couldn’t do anything. One of my friends actually said something really profound when I was telling him about it when I first got back from Iceland. I was like, head in hands, like, I don’t know what’s going on! He said something like, ‘I think you’re confusing negativity with confusion.’ Because I got back from Iceland, and I just didn’t know what was happening. Before I’d gone, I was writing a lot, and I was in this flow of doing things, and then I got back and I was just questioning everything. But I think that it was really important to identify that my confusion wasn’t necessarily negativity. I was just confused about the next step– I feel like this happens so much in life– and about what had taken place in Iceland, and what the next steps for me were going to be. So that was really cool. And I was really patient with myself, and I gave myself the time to work through it. And so in the last couple of months or so, I’ve gotten back into writing, and I’m writing from a more honest place than ever. And everything I’m writing feels so much more like me at the core, which feels so good. But that was so daunting because I’d done all this work, and it was sort of like starting from scratch again. But I’m not starting from scratch. Its all a process. I think being patient with yourself is really important. And I’m really lucky, I’m really in tune with my body and really trust my intuition. I think people go against their intuition all the time, and it’s a waste because you always know. You might not want to admit that you know, but you know. I’m not playing live shows at the moment, and I’m hoping to debut a bunch of new stuff in maybe October, so that’s the idea at the moment. I’m dying to get some of this stuff out, it’s just the practicalities of getting it all together. I’m really excited.”

NOT DATING IN LA
“I don’t know if I’m open to new people yet. My ex and I got together when I was still living in New York, so when I moved here, I was with him. I only just realized that I’ve never dated in LA, and I realized, like, fuck, it’s been almost a year. And then I realized no one ever asks me out and I was like, what the hell? But it’s all about the vibe you’re putting out, I guess. I think putting yourself out there takes time, and it depends on how sensitive you are, and on your needs. I’ve taken this heartbreak and tried to turn inwards. I want to grow, I want to become a better person, and I know that to do that you need to focus on and work on yourself. I want to be the best me that I can be and that takes time. I’m such a firm believer that when things are meant to happen, they do and they will. We all think we’re in control but we’re not really and surrendering to that can be so freeing.”

FINDING BALANCE
“I would love a great, wonderful, healthy, laughter-filled relationship, of course! But only if it was right. Relationships are so… they’re a lot. I think to be in a good relationship you have to really know yourself, and you have to have worked through some of your personal demons. I don’t want to put any of my shit on someone else. I feel like I did that a lot in my last relationship. I was going through such a rough time and became sort of codependent. I don’t want that again, you know. I want a balanced, uplifting relationship that I don’t lose myself in. I’m very happy on my own, I’m very independent, and I have great friends. So I’m not really interested in ‘dating’ in LA, per se. It just doesn’t sound that appealing. I mean, never say never, but it just doesn’t sound that interesting. Unless they’re really funny.”

LOOK AT YOURSELF FIRST
“I think there’s a weird societal thing that tells you that a relationship should be two people, like, intertwined and holding each other up or whatever. I disagree! I think a good relationship is two people looking after themselves, and they’re going along side by side giving each other high fives and hugs accordingly. I think that’s a good relationship. So for me, my lesson is always looking at yourself first. In relationships it’s so easy to put your issues onto someone else, and that’s not fair or nice or healthy.”

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HER ESCAPE
“It’s really funny, I realized this the other day, but emotionally, I don’t actually turn to music when I’m heartbroken. I mean I definitely do when it comes to my own – I write out every inch of my heartbreak but weirdly, when I know that there’s some emotion in me that’s laying dormant, television and movies are usually the things that bring out my emotion. And there’s no one movie or show I go to. But maybe because music is so close to me and it’s so personal, you know, I write all the time, so I have a different relationship to it. I’m trying to go to the movies more often. I think actually going to the movies is such a great way of having a break from reality. So for me, it’s like, give me a break from real emotions and let me indulge in Gilmore Girls or a rom-com and cry about something lame so that my real emotions have some space to breathe.

HER HEARTBREAK SONGS:
“Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. “I Can’t Believe We Were Married” by Paul Kelly. “You Saved My Life” by Cass McCombs. “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney and Wings.

A LASTING MESSAGE
“My dad sent me the most beautiful thing. He would get these spiritual quotes sent to him, bless, and I found this one in my emails after he passed away.”

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THE BIGGEST LESSON
“I feel like the biggest lesson I learned from heartbreak happened in the seconds after my dad passed away. It was an overwhelming, oh my god, that’s it, he’s gone. Wow, life is so precious and fleeting, we HAVE to make the most of every single second that we have. This was obviously coupled with crippling sadness and fear of the unknown at the time. So for me it’s about accepting what is, and not fighting against that. Just making the most. You know, shit is always going to happen. There’s no denying that. So it’s not about the shit stuff happening, it’s about how you deal with it. It’s also just about finding that little bit of good, or humor, or a lesson in the shitty thing. Life is way too short to not be making the most of as many moments as possible. Life is way too short to not be doing all the things that you want to be doing. I was like, woah, we’re all going to die, none of this bullshit matters, there is no time to waste being afraid or insecure. I need to be doing what I want right now and always.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jen Chrisman’s Advice on Breakups, Vulnerability And Motherhood

Dr. Jenn Chrisman is a clinical psychologist and professional coach based in the Los Angeles area. She teaches women how to transform critical self-talk, grief, trauma, and fear by healing the unconscious negative patterns that have collected over a lifetime. She also writes for Tiny Buddha and Mind Body Green.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My first real heartbreak was when my dad committed suicide, just before I turned ten. That was my first introduction to the fragility of relationships, and the devastation and disappointment that happens when someone can’t show up for you the way you’d expect them to. This set into motion a belief system that I see in myself and so many other women: we often personalize someone else’s behavior as a reflection of our lovability, and we do it as children and into adulthood. For me, it was such a poignant moment in learning that his actions had nothing to do with my lovability. Unfortunately, it took many years to understand this and instead I spent most of my young life personalizing his actions – I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough – this was a mentality that stuck around and really prevented me from being able to have a typical, adolescent, twenty-something experience. I was so convinced that I was unlovable. That if I did love someone, they would leave me. Any time there was any possibility of anything happening with someone, I would shut it down so fast.”

HOW SHE COPED
“I zipped myself up very neatly and put up a wall of perfectionism. I was very intuitive emotionally, and smart, and I could read people easily. I knew who I needed to be to get through, so I became that person. I made a declaration at a young age that I would never follow the path of my parents, and I did everything I could to be sure of that. I wasn’t a straight A student or the hardest worker, but there was this drive in me to succeed. The problem was that it was totally based in insecurity, in this need to overcompensate for how small I really felt. A lot of success and amazing things have come to be because of that part of my resilience, but at the same time, it’s been very difficult for me in terms of actually learning how to connect with people.”

WORTH THE WORK
“Of course, I would want to instill the message at a younger age that I was lovable, that the people in my life who weren’t able to show up for me were really limited; that they were human beings in their own right, going through things that had nothing to do with me. That I didn’t need to take things personally. That their actions were not a reflection of my lovability. But it’s hard to imagine where I would be today if I hadn’t had to work so hard to find that on my own. There’s something to be said about finding that resilience in yourself. We don’t often hear about it because there’s so much focus on post traumatic stress, but the other side of it is post traumatic growth. We’re forced to go inside ourselves and find resources we didn’t know existed. I’ve done that for myself, and I think it’s allowed me to find an authentic confidence, as opposed to the pseudo-confidence of accomplishing things and never believing that I was worthy. I’ve fought for myself and come so far from where I started, and I can be authentically proud of that.”

HER MOST RECENT BREAKUP
“I was in a friendship with someone who brought out all of this neediness in me. My entire sense of self became invested in this person. Throughout my life I had been so cautious with people, only letting in a select few, and only those that allowed me to maintain my secure distance. For whatever reason, this particular relationship brought out the exact opposite in me in a way I’d never seen in myself before. I was so dependent on this person’s attention and approval. It was just a really unhealthy relationship. It got to a point where it was so toxic, and they were the one who “broke up” with me, but it was more of an emotional cut-off that happened because we were still connected in a professional role that required us to see each other. I was devastated. I spent a year trying to win the affection back, and it was a very low point in my life. Because of the circumstances, we were still around each other and this person wouldn’t even acknowledge me. It brought out the youngest parts of me. I just wanted to be loved, and this person was not having anything to do with me. I tried and tried. It was such a confusing time: there I was, a married, professional woman who’d just had a baby and was going through heartbreak like I’d never experienced. It forced me to have to look at myself differently; to see how lost I was. I felt like I literally had no sense of self.”

THE AHA MOMENT
“I once had an important issue and needed to talk about it with them, and they were like, ‘Jenn, when are you going to realize I don’t care? I. Do. Not. Care.’ It was a moment where I felt so small. I was holding on, clinging so tightly, so afraid to let go, so afraid to be on my own. I didn’t want to leave the friendship, but it was like another part of me took over, knowing that I needed to. I had read a memoir around that time called I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway, which was such a life-changing book for me. She describes how she had to do kung fu with her mind. It really resonated with me that I had to make an effort. I had to actually practice changing the way I saw myself in the world and adopting new belief systems. I had to find what I was looking for within me, rather than outside of myself. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and pilates helped me learn how to make contact with myself in a new and different way. I learned Buddhist principles that helped me come to terms with the fact that I have no control over another person: I can say and do all the right things, and they’re going to feel about me however they’re going to feel about me.”

SET FREE
“I was already licensed, had my doctorate, had been through intense training, had been in therapy, and also doing therapy for years at that point, but inside I was still in such a dark place. For so many years I was in this space of feeling like a hypocrite. I was working with people and caring about and loving them, but not really believing change was possible because I was still in so much pain myself. And then this breakup happened, and it was my bottom, for sure. It forced me to get honest with myself about how I’d lived my life continually searching outside me for the answer; whether that was attention, the way I looked, weight loss, money, or accomplishments. And so I actually had to start practicing what I had been preaching. I really threw myself headfirst into re-learning everything that I thought I knew about myself and the world. For five years of my life, this person had played a huge part in my personal and professional development. But leaving was really when I think I found my strength. It was hard, but it set me free, losing the thing that I thought was so important. My life was so small back then. Now I have a thriving private practice with interns who I get to mentor and supervise. I have two babies now, my family, which I want to go home to and be a part of. I don’t know that I would have been able to show up as well for this life and these people if I hadn’t said goodbye.”

VULNERABILITY IN MOTHERHOOD
“I’ve been with my husband for 13 years and we were friends for a few years before that. He was my one and only boyfriend and has been my best friend for most of my life. There is something to be said about friendship being the foundation for a relationship and the safety and security I’ve always felt as a result of that. Throughout our relationship, there were certainly moments where I thought I was being vulnerable and putting myself out there, but I really think it was my children and becoming a mom that made me experience what vulnerability in love actually is – the pain and beauty of it. I’m a different person now that my children have shown me what it actually means to love, and the pain that comes with loving someone and being able to show up in a relationship. I think across the board it’s made me a better, softer person, with more compassion for myself and the world. As cliche as it might sound, I sometimes feel as though I have an advantage: my kids make it so easy to believe in love and the purity of the human soul, even when they’re assholes, which they are sometimes. There’s something about seeing it, I just can’t question the goodness in people, in the world. It makes me want to be a part of that, despite the possibility that it might hurt.”

COMPASSION IN THERAPY
“Sometimes there can be an over-identification for someone’s heartbreak. You have to have really good boundaries to not take that on and bring it home with you. But mostly, when someone’s really in an authentic pain, there’s something very beautiful that happens. It’s a love, actually, that I feel for my clients. Often people talk about therapist burnout, and I get asked how I can sit and listen to people’s problems all day: people complain, or they don’t really want to change. But when someone comes in with so much pain, and it’s authentic, you can actually feel it. It’s such a privilege to be with them in that place. I have so much compassion in my heart for just how hard it is to be human sometimes. We’re so hard on ourselves and critical of our pain, so I try to help my clients experience love and acceptance as they move through their lives. Of course, we never want to see anyone hurting, so it’s natural to want to take away other people’s pain. But really being able to sit with someone in it is actually the most healing thing you can do.”

BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO WOMEN
“For a while now I’ve been feeling like you can only go so far in private practice, and I have certainly capped out. There are only so many hours per week that one can see clients. So I’m working on building an online course bringing mindfulness to women. It’s what really changed my life and how I live my life.”

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY
“I do a lot of work on the idea of emotional sobriety. A lot of people think, oh, emotional sobriety, what does that mean? You stop having emotions? Well, no. It’s about relating to your emotions differently. It’s about knowing that I can have a feeling, and I don’t actually have to do anything about it. I can have a feeling of insecurity in my relationship and know that I don’t have to interrogate my partner, or read through their text messages. I can actually sit with the feeling and recognize that it’s going to pass eventually.”

HER MANTRA: HAKUNA MATATA
“It’s about bringing playfulness to life, and really keeping things in perspective. We tend to take ourselves so seriously; going through life investing so much of ourselves in things that really don’t matter. Most of the time the things that work us up are really not a big deal when you think about it. I’ve always been a very serious person with this dark inner self, and that was my identity, the brooding, angsty teenager for so long. So hakuna matata really does sum up my approach to life these days.”

Chef Mary Shenouda On Living With An Open Heart

Mary is The Paleo Chef, and she is also the creator of Phat Fudge, a real ingredient performance food (and it’s delicious; we scarfed some down during our interview). You can follow her on Instagram @paleochef.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My very first relationship. I was nineteen and while it was pretty serious, it was also not the healthiest of relationships. As such, that relationship had a very clear end. What was painful, or rather confusing, was that in that time in my youth, I had this mindset of oh, this is forever we will work through anything. That was not the case, and so began a slight shift in my mindset of what relationships and love might look and feel like. There were other things that probably played into how I handled that breakup. One being that I was already well into corporate America, having had an early start at seventeen, so I was an adult. I had rent to pay, bills to handle and a job to execute. Those responsibilities contributed to a lot of high self-worth. I really liked myself. Don’t get me wrong, there were and still are things I’m always trying to improve but I, unwaveringly, really liked who I am.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“That was about a year ago in August. It was very difficult because it was the type of dynamic that built up over time. This man was my friend for the first couple of years, and over time became very persistent about a romantic shift. At first, I was like “No, no. I’m cool. We’re just friends.” But, slowly, I fell IN TRUST with him, which to me was far more profound than falling in love. Trust has always been a huge factor to me, the integrity of two people at its core. At a particular point, I realized I didn’t belong and that there was unfinished business from his past to be dealt with so I essentially had to find the courage to break my own heart. I came to the conversation as the big kid and said “This is what I’m seeing. This is what I’m feeling. This is what I’m not feeling be reciprocated. I feel as though you have some things in your past you probably have to revisit so I’m going to remove myself from this situation. I love you just the same. I support you and your decisions but this isn’t good for me.”  That was really hard and I can still feel that pain talking about it now. Part of me felt really proud because you should never apologize for standing up for yourself and you should always have your own back. I did what I had to do in that relationship so I wasn’t left sitting here, hoping waiting, wondering. It sucks but it is what it is.”

UNCOMFORTABLE, UNWILLING OR INCAPABLE
“I’m mostly heartbroken over the fact that this man was either uncomfortable, unwilling or incapable of keeping the friendship. That was where it all started, after all. It wasn’t my first rodeo. It’s not the first time I had someone not reciprocate feelings for me, so I was very comfortable with working on the friendship because there was so much good stuff there. It was so odd because I was the one with the broken heart; he was the one that was uncomfortable with keeping the friendship. It’s a disappointment because of the “I fell in trust with you” depth to the dynamic. I’m an over-communicator, whether it’s business or relationships. I’m always telling the other party how I feel and what’s going on, for clarity’s sake, in case I’m ever misreading a situation. So I feel good about being very transparent in that relationship the whole way through. I’m a little disappointed that they were uncomfortable, unwilling or incapable of friendship but that says a lot of about us and about what wasn’t there.”

THE EIGHTY YEAR OLD TRICK
“All heartbreak sucks, but I’ve never gotten to a point where I couldn’t eat, sleep or function. I think it’s because I have immense self-love, so when something is over, it’s over. It hurts. I definitely mourn it. I can feel that pain but it doesn’t keep me from performing or doing what I know is best for me. Thinking back to my relationships now, I can remember oh that one hurt. And that one hurt a lot too. Oh, yup, THAT one. Through it, I was still eating right, working out and going to work, bringing my A-game. I would be just a little more quiet and when someone would ask me what’s going on, I would be open and say that I was dealing with a little booboo on my heart. Another thing that I’d do sometimes is pretend I was eighty years old – that I was this really wise and strong woman who would talk about her many great loves, in full appreciation. I’d be really dope about it!”

HER PHILOSOPHY
“I have a philosophy that no one can take away the one you’re meant to be with. So it doesn’t matter if it’s the person you’re with now, a person from your past or a person you’re going to meet in the future – if they’re going to be yours, it’s going to happen no matter what. So when I would have those moments, I’d just think no one can take away the one you’re meant to be with and then I’d feel a sense of calm. It’s learning to trust pain, trust your insecurities, trust your mistakes, and trust your heart. I started saying and feeling that mantra when I was sixteen, before even my first kiss. I had it written in one of my little, teenage poetry journals I carried around with me. I looked at the universe as if she and I are best friends and she’s going to take care of me in some way.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“The men that I have dated are generally really cool, chill guys and since I keep who I am dating private, their names come up in conversation or interviews a lot, day to day. There isn’t that opportunity of just silence about them. So it’s painful sometimes, when you just want to go twenty four hours without hearing a name just for the sake of wanting to mend. Yeah, that sucks sometimes. I don’t want to hear their name and cringe. I guess that’s not necessarily a vice as much as I just have a harder and longer time to mend. I don’t drink when I’m sad or have these bring me down vices. In fact, I only drink when I’m happy…or if it’s Sunday.”

THERE’S NO AVOIDING PAIN
“Because I like to be present at all times, there’s no avoiding pain. There’s a line from poet David Whyte that reads, “A true well felt pain can be just as generous as a true well felt joy.” I find a lot of beauty in pain and when I find myself sad or crying over a heartache or a loss of any kind, loss of a friendship, loss of a life, when you get into the thick of that pain, there’s, for me, the sudden sense of immense gratitude, appreciation and awe for the vast miracle that is the universe. And I’ll find beauty in that.”

A SENSE OF MORTALITY
“Yes, heartbreak was painful, and I don’t want to take away from that fact, but I contrast it to having a really keen sense of mortality. There are worse things that could happen and this really is not the worst. I started doing hospice and bereavement counseling when I was sixteen on a volunteer basis. At the same time, my aunt was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and I really wanted to understand what was about to happen in her decline, so I put myself right in it. I experienced death in such a unique way there as well as the mourning process with the family members. It did not make the loss of my aunt or the following loss of my grandmother any less painful but I felt grounded in my mourning process. By the time I was twenty, I had lost many friends that were my age to freak accidents. One to cancer, who I had gone to school with since I was in the third grade. He was such a talented baseball player with scholarships to prove it. Another to an ATV accident, also many shared memories going back to junior high. Another to a car accident. I have these old school photos with them all of them in the photo, all smiles, and it’s such a trip to look at. Then there was a car accident and I was scheduled be on that particular ride. The friend that I would have been sitting next to, she passed away at the scene. Life is just so fleeting.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I think it depends on the maturity of both people. I do think it’s possible, though. I am very close friends with some of the people that I have dated. Then there are some I just don’t keep in touch with, while there are a couple in which there was a friendship but when they came into a new romantic relationship their partner wasn’t comfortable with the friendship so it became distant. That definitely sucks.”

TRUST YOUR GUT
“I think it goes back to really trusting your gut. I’m not just saying it for the fact that it’s a flashy hashtag. But sitting by yourself and learning to enjoy your company so much that anyone else you bring into your circle has to add to that – not take away from that. I have not been in a serious long-term relationship and I used to get asked, “Why is that? What’s wrong with you?” I used to think Yeah, what is wrong with me? Now when someone asks me that question, with full conviction I go, “I think I believe in ‘the one’ so much, that I might just make it ONE. And what’s wrong with that? Why have you had ten serious relationships? Let’s talk about that for a second!”  I’ve spent a lot of time single and with myself, I can go on a date and be honest with someone by saying “I really enjoy your company. I think you’re a really wonderful person. I just want you to know that I don’t feel this going anywhere serious.” And it’s not because I have standards or I’m too picky – I’m just simply looking for that ALL-IN feeling.”

LIVING WITH AN OPEN HEART
“I’m very, very open. I went on a date last night. I have a date tonight. If I was doing this ten years ago, I would be stiff and uncomfortable on a date, trying to figure things out. Now when I’m on a date, I’m very much myself. I’m very goofy. I’m very affectionate. So yes, I am accepting of love. I’m not trying to go on thirty dates in thirty days, hoping that I will find the formula for the one. But I’m also not NOT going to put myself out there.”

HER IDEAL PARTNERSHIP
“I think it’s a feeling. Resumes are bullshit. Like that checklist – it’s disappointing when you actually get everything on the checklist and you’re just like what up dude, where’s that last invisible thing on the list?! I think it’s just a feeling. It’s a fleeting, indescribable feeling. I think the ideal relationship is very healthy. I think there must be mutual respect and mutual love and mutual pride for the other person. I don’t think it’s anything overly mystic. The trivial stuff for me – I’d like someone I can banter with because I have a little bit of a snarky, aggressive side and I appreciate someone who will banter with me. But also, when I get out of hand, he’ll gently say “You good? You done now?” and I’ll smile and relax around that. So someone I can really rally with. A partner in crime and conquest!”

DOING THE WORK
“I’ve always been surrounded by really great relationships. My parents have been together for thirty-one years, and all of my close friends are in relationships that they had been in since their teens or early twenties – because of that, I have this model of what it looks like, not just when it works but also when it’s hard. None of those relationships were free of hardships or difficulty. Both parties were willing to do the work to stay together and also confident enough to take time apart when it was needed, knowing that all roads lead back home. I don’t want to say I’m picky or have high standards, but I’ll just know if the person across from me will be on that level, my level, with me.”

EAT, PLAY, CRUSH
“I was really sick from second grade to age twenty-four: chronic migraines, chronic hives, emotional issues, hormonal imbalances, ER visits every month. I would pass out from vomiting so much due to the migraines. And when you’re young, being rushed to the hospital in vomit, they assume you’re doing drugs. They assume you’re trying to overdose. And through the pain, you’re trying to explain to them that it’s just a headache, and they think you’re making it up. There was a two week period where they had taken at least thirty vials of blood from me, testing for everything, and they were coming up short. I was frustrated, so I started doing my own research and came across a Ted Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls called “Minding Your Mitochondria.” It was about everything that causes inflammation in your body – which is a lot of processed foods, grains, dairy, soy. So then I sent out my own lab work and when it came back, it came back stating that I was full Celiac and it was the greatest day of my life. I was like, I just need to not eat these things, that’s it, and all these things are going to go away. And in three months, every pain – everything – was just gone. No need for medication. And on top of being more clear and present, I naturally lost thirty pounds. And I’m not going to complain of a natural slim-down. My day gig is a private chef. I’m always expanding the private chef and coaching aspect of it. I’m not your typical private chef. I’m really bossy to my clients. If you just want food, then I’m not the right chef for you. I’m here to support you through a transition into paleo and into eating clean as a full lifestyle of embracing Eat, Play and Crush.”

PHAT FUDGE
“Phat Fudge is actually a serendipitous product! It’s a recipe I made for a client, which he enjoyed so much while putting him into ketosis, which is a state in which your body is burning fat very efficiently. It’s all the ingredients I had in my coffee recipe that I call “Unicorn Fuel,” which won an award for Best Coffee Hack, and I made it into this fudge form. I posted the recipe online, the recipe went viral and then a lot of athletes were taking pictures of themselves making it at home, putting them in sandwich bags and taking them on marathon runs. So I was like alright, let me test the market and just do fifty orders of twelve-packs on Shopify. I didn’t set up the back-end correctly to cap at fifty and I ended up selling 268 orders in twenty-four hours and was like What the fuck did I just do?! And so Phat Fudge was born.”

HER MANTRA: NAKED
“My theme right now is Naked. To be really open, and strong and vulnerable, and when I think about all the things I want to be which include being in my power, being kind, being balanced, being fierce, and even being gentle. At the core, being comfortable with being “naked” allows you to achieve all those things. We come into this world naked and that’s kind of how we’re going to go out of this world, totally exposed and vulnerable, so I want to be strong in that.”

Yogi Rachelle Tratt’s Advice on Breakups + What Keeps Her Heart Open

Rachelle is a wild, free, gypsy soul. It is her magnetic energy, her ability to feel the needs of her students and her delectable playlists that keep her yoga classes packed. When she’s not teaching or leading yoga events, she’s spreading beautiful blue hamsa necklaces around the globe as the founder of The Neshama Project which she started in honor of her mother. You can follow her adventures (and her cute pup Bailey!) @theneshamaproject.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My first heartbreak happened when my mom died. I was a nine year old little girl and my mother passed away very suddenly and tragically. That changed my life. I went through post-traumatic stress as a little girl, so my body actually shut down and I don’t remember a lot of my childhood due to that. And it’s been a constant journey ever since to get back to matters of the heart in a healing, conscious way and hoping to help others that have gone through something similar.”

INNER WORK
“I’m a big advocate of self-help and psycho-spiritual work. I’ve been seeing various forms of different healers and therapist since I was a little girl. So I actually think it’s weird when people say they haven’t had therapy in this day and age. Right now I’ve been seeing a traumatologist. She helps people who have been through trauma in their body to get it out of their body. A lot of times, we store it in our bodies and you can get triggered very easily. It’s interesting how I’ve chosen a profession where I help people get more embodied and sometimes I’m not. A lot of what we do is inner-child work and so I actually have a photo of myself as a nine year old little girl, in my house, and if matters of the heart get triggered, I’ll visualize her and that I’m holding her hand and I’m like ‘Hey were perfect right now. Life is perfect. It’s great. We’re here in the present moment, and we got this.’ Thats a great visual. I do a lot of visualization work with that.”

REASSURANCE SHE WOULD GIVE HER NINE YEAR OLD SELF
“Life is beautiful. You did it. You made it and this pain that you feel now is going to help people in ways that you don’t know yet and it’s going to deepen you in ways you’re too young to know. And you will love again and you will have your own family one day. You will be a light in the world because of this.”

REBELLIOUS HICCUPS + FINDING YOGA
“There were different life events that forced me to go inside, such as rebellious hiccups I had as a teenager. I was forced to take a look at myself and reasoned with myself, Ok what path do I want to go down? If I go down this path, I don’t know what’s going to happen and if I go down this path, I have a chance to live and thrive. And that’s actually when I found yoga. I was eighteen. It wasn’t just a physical aspect for me, but also to be still – in my head. And it eventually started to permeate in every area of my life and turned into a lifestyle. But in the beginning it wasn’t. In the beginning it was physical and it was a way to get a little more space in here [points to head].”

HER FIRST ROMANTIC HEARTBREAK
“It was when I moved to Venice. I was living in Florida. I grew up in upstate New York. I’m the gypsy of my family so everyone is still there and after high school, I was like peace out. I went to Arizona and then to Florida, and then moved out here seven years ago. And I moved out pretty much on a whim. I came out to do a yoga training with Shiva Rea and, at that time, I was not doing that type yoga and it changed everything. I was here for a week. I was in Venice Beach and I hadn’t traveled yet. I was twenty three, and at that time, I had been in a two year relationship with a really beautiful, amazing person, who was older and he was ready to settle down and I wasn’t. So I pretty much broke his heart, picked up and moved my stuff in a matter of a month. My family didn’t support me. They told me I was crazy for breaking things. I had about six months worth of savings in my bank account. I brought my dog Bailey, hopped in my car, and moved in with the only person I knew. And so that decision was very heartbreaking. It was like leaving a life of comfort and stability for the unknown, not having a supportive network and just trusting. I just had to believe that it was going to make sense one day. I regret the pain that was caused on someone special, but I don’t regret my decision. And that was about seven year ago.”

HER MENDING RITUAL
“At that time, things were intense because I had just moved out here and everything was new. It was challenging. I had Bailey, was working a few jobs and was trying to figure out how to make it all work, but my ritual was always yoga. Yoga, walks with Bailey and nature have always been and always will be my source. Get on the mat, move it out, get into nature, connect.”

HER HEARTBREAK VICE
“My rebellious hiccups when I was in high school. I was very into partying. I wouldn’t drink every day but when I would drink, I would black out. I was just numbing. I was finding ways to numb. Not wanting to cope and not having the tools yet to cope with such an intense heartbreak that I dealt with as a little girl.”

THE HARDEST LESSON ON LOVE SHE’S LEARNED
“That in one moment everything can change. That just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you are right for one another. And that timing in life truly does take a big role in how a relationship will play out.”

BEING AUTHENTIC
“I had to go through various heartbreaks and experiences so that I could understand myself a little bit more. And even with my current relationship, at one point in the beginning I said to myself I’m just going to show up as me and I’m going to do the things that I like to do in relationships. I’m very giving. I like to leave notes. The second that I’m doing it because I’m expecting it in return is when I have to stop and look at myself.”

PUZZLE PIECES
“It’s very new but all these puzzle pieces that I’ve been putting out in my life are coming together. I often feel like I’m a walking dichotomy. I’m a yogi, I’m an entrepreneur. I grew up with a traditional Jewish background and I love Israel, but I go to Burning Man – how am I going to meet someone that’s going to meet me on all levels? My older, protective brother was like, ‘Rachelle, I’m sorry but I just don’t think that your GQ, spiritual, Jewish, Israeli, entrepreneur, model exists.’ I was like, ‘Thanks bro, but I’m not going to buy into that.’ I don’t live my life thinking that way because that’s a very limiting point of view.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I have always believed that love doesn’t necessarily go away once you are broken up. While the relationship may not have worked out, if there is still love that exists, a genuine care for another human being, than yes I do believe you can still be friends. It will always be a little weird at first, and new boundaries need to be put in place, but I am still friends with some of my exes who I care deeply about as beautiful souls that I was lucky to cross paths with at some point on this adventure. If you find yourself stalking your ex on social media and getting triggered, then I highly suggest to stop following them. Only positive vibes.”

THE NESHAMA PROJECT
“The word ‘neshama’ means soul in Hebrew and when you’re in Israel, everyone sort of uses it as a term of endearment. Theyre like, ‘oh you’re such a neshama’. The ‘N’ is in honor of my mom – her name is Nicole. While teaching yoga in Florida, a student of mine from Israel gave me this necklace. It meant so much to me because I was like, Oh my god! This is from where my parents met. And people commented on it everyday and it became a conversation starter. The necklace was about overcoming love and loss and principles of yoga and Israel. I was around twenty at the time and in the back of my head, I was like I’m going to do something about this one day. I bought the domain and it stayed dormant for nine months because I had no idea what it was. No idea. Then I went back to Israel, found a manufacturer in Tel Aviv and got thirty stones to start. I went to Downtown Los Angeles to find some chains. I picked up Trader Joe’s bags because they’re a better brown hue than Whole Foods. I’d get a typewriter and type out different positive sayings on the card. And I would put those on the cards the necklaces came with. It wasn’t because I thought it would be business – I just needed to create. Then one person wanted one and another person wanted one, and I sold out. A friend was like, ‘I’m going to build you a website because I believe in you.’ And then I went back to Israel and got more stones. I partnered up with Innovation Africa. They’re an Israeli company and they take Israeli technology and bring it to African villages. It’s really exciting and now we’re in the process of figuring out what our next campaign is. It’s been me with a little bit of help, and what keeps me going is the stories of how it connects me with people around the world.”

WHAT KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“Honestly, I believe that life will constantly give you opportunities to both break your heart and crack it wide open. You can either choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor and take your heartbreak and turn it into a beautiful piece of art that starts to paint the portrait of your life story. I choose to survive and thrive and create meaning from heartbreak, not just for myself, but also to help inspire people along the way.”

HER MANTRA: SHOW UP AS LOVE
“The world and people are constantly going to break you heart. In any given moment – no matter what is received or given back – how do I show up as love for myself and for the people in my life? I think so much of the time, people are afraid to be themselves, especially in romantic relationships, because their minds get filled with ‘oh maybe I’m too this, maybe I’m too that.’ Fuck that! If you’re too much anything, then you’re with the wrong person. No matter what, show up as you, as love, at all times and it will eventually be received by the right person. I’ve been told that I’m too much by many people, and I just don’t have any room for that anymore.”

Sophie Calle’s Powerful Heartbreak-Inspired Art

A friend shared a blog post about Sophie Calle’s Take Care Of Yourself work with me in the early days of working on Mend, and it’s something I’ve thought about often because it was so powerful. When Sophie received a breakup letter from her boyfriend, she turned to 107 women to interpret the meaning of the letter and organized all of their responses into an installation at the Venice Biennale in 2007.

Her own words:

I received an email telling me it was over.
I didn’t know how to respond.
It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me.
It ended with the words, “Take care of yourself.”
And so I did.
I asked 107 women (including two made from wood and one with feathers),
chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret this letter.
To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it.
Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me.
Answer for me.
It was a way of taking the time to break up.
A way of taking care of myself.

I invite you to read the write up on the installation.

Comedy Writer Molly Mitchell Shares Her Breakup Rituals: Loser Laps And Bathtub Wine

Molly Mitchell has a sense of humor about everything, especially when it comes to single life. She is a TV writer for The Late Late Show and Grownish and she also shares her artwork on @dailybutts. You can follow her Los Angeles adventures on Instagram @mahmitchell.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“Part of the reason I broke up with my college boyfriend was that I felt like he taught me so much and showed me all these new parts of myself that I needed to explore on my own. I needed to figure out what it meant to be me. So I took a break from any kind of romance – low touch, in-depth or otherwise – and then I met a guy through friends. We were all on a trip together. It was a good chunk of time after my last relationship and I was avowed I was going to just ‘do me’ but when we met I felt like I had this new sense of being seen. As a comedian you’re always putting your mess out there and being seemingly super vulnerable, but then there’s this locked away portion that you hold at bay. And so when I met this guy, we just really connected and the things he liked most about me were the things I wanted to be seen for. I felt this elation and we had this great weekend – all our friends left and we ended up extending it and staying together. But once someone’s one foot in and one foot out, that’s probably not going to change. We continued the romance after the weekend and I felt like we were growing in a beautiful way together, but it lacked this core component of commitment. That made anything that he was doing outside of our relationship not technically wrong, but it made me feel crazy. And things just kind of just exploded. I had never had that before because I’m pretty non-confrontational. I just remember having this extreme feeling of sadness because I’d really let someone in, and they’d welcomed it. They’d really entertained it. And then they rejected it.”

THE PUNCHLINE
“I felt as though he was setting the pace, so I thought I was following in turn. In a much less funny way, it’s how it feels to be in the audience of standup. We’re bringing you in, bringing you in, and then when you think you’re on the same page, we totally subvert it and that’s the punchline. But the punchline was my heart. I’ve definitely been in positions where I’ve been the crazy one – you know, where you ask me what kind of coffee I want, and then I’m planning our life together. But this wasn’t like that. I remember saying to him that it felt like he was making promises he couldn’t keep.”

THE LESSON
“You know, I learned that someone can only welcome you as much as they can love and accept themselves. The dearth or dissonance that I observed him feeling with me was creating that same resonant sadness within me. I hadn’t had that before. It was my first time loving with this new, open heart and I went all in and then I felt like a piece of cured meat; all the wounds were so well-salted. It was so intense. A good lesson in life is to get to a point where someone else’s dissonance with you doesn’t create dissonance within yourself. But I didn’t know that then and it totally sunk me.”

GROWING APART
“We weren’t living in the same place, so as things were growing, and then falling apart, we kept having to encounter one another because every few weeks our friends would get together. We talked about it a lot. It wasn’t that he lacked EQ or awareness – he knew he couldn’t be fully available, but he couldn’t admit it. I knew it, but you know you have that wistful, cinematic soundbyte that’s like ‘No, I can be the one to change them!’ He was so charming and sweet, but he just couldn’t follow through. We would go back and forth, not talking and then seeing each other again – I’ve never been involved in a saga like that before. And I was also feeling this self-criticism about being involved in that saga. I felt like I had grown my heart to this new place and it really made me aware that there’s joy in expanding your capacity to feel, but you can’t curate it – you’re expanding your capacity for all feelings, including being really sad or really fucking pissed.”

THE MUMPS
“This is how I know, if there’s a God, that they have a sick sense of humor – I got the mumps after that breakup. You know, cases of mumps pretty much never happen. But I was supposed to visit him, and I got this sore throat. The doctor thought it was strep and asked me to come back in a day or two. The day before I left, I woke up at 5am and my face and neck were so swollen. I went to the emergency room and they didn’t know what to do. Finally this doctor comes in and says ‘Okay, we think it’s the mumps. To be honest, none of us have ever seen the mumps.’ So they bring in this older nurse, and she’s like ‘Yeah, my brother had it in 1947 and it looked just like that!’ It turns out I had been given a bum mumps vaccine. So flash forward to being out of the hospital – I was on leave from work for an entire month, going insane with only my thoughts. And the guy goes AWOL. MIA. I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. The person I called first and frequently was my mom. I called her every ten minutes. I would call her and cry about the guy, and then cry about how I didn’t have enough turtlenecks to cover my face so I could leave the house. She was eventually like ‘I’ve actually updated you on everything…you know what the cats are doing, you know what’s in the fridge…of course I can talk to you, but I can’t talk to you anymore. Why don’t you take a nap?’ It was the worst storm of crazy. Honestly, the only redeeming thing was, come Christmas time, I was able to give my friend a beautiful ‘Mumps of the Year’ calendar.”

LOVE ALL AROUND
“My friend Leah sent me this care package of all the things you would want if you’re feeling like you’ll never leave the house again. Magazines, nail polishes, an eye mask to de-puff your face and a journal. I really like the concept of journaling but hate the accountability of it. But she just told me to write down every day, at the very least, ‘The direction I’m moving in is the right direction.’ She said ‘If you can write more than that, write down one thing you’re grateful for.’ I was really touched. Part of the magnitude of going through a breakup is that you feel like love is lost, but that experience held a magnifying glass to the love all around me. I’m probably not going to sleep with or marry Leah, but there’s a lot of love there.”

MAKING A DECISION
“There wasn’t that one moment where I felt whole again, but I remember making a decision to just accept what he had been in my life and then let go of it. We continued to be in the same circle of friends, but we stopped communicating. I put it out there that I didn’t want to talk. I felt like I could stand up for that decision. I can think of a time where maybe that would have felt dramatic or bitchy. But I was like, no this is a decision I’m making for myself, and it’s not spiteful or vengeful. It’s just that what we had was great, but I’m not in a place where I can live in the wake of that reality. In the same way we can’t be boyfriend or girlfriend before, we can’t be friends now. It was still painful every time I saw him, and there was a temptation to bring it up. I don’t remember when it was that I was finally over it, but there was one day where I was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want to date you anymore. The day has come!”

BOIFRIEND COMPETITION
“There’s not an intentionality to me staying single. I’m pretty open. But I do think there’s a level of comfort and comedic thriving in being single that allows me to keep being single. I’ve always defaulted to being single over partnership, versus my sister who is 21 and has had 5 serious boyfriends. She’s a really great partner. That’s her thrive mode. Whoever I date next has really big shoes to fill compared to my imaginary boifriend. They’re going to have to do a lot of silly shit.”

BATHTUB WINE
“When my friend went through a really devastating breakup she made a playlist called ‘No One Puts Kasey In A Corner.’ I was like, ‘fuck yes!’ One song I really love when you’re just getting soulful is Lauryn Hill’s Ex Factor. And I’m really obsessed with Fiona Apple, Paper Bag. She represents this gnarly, electric energy. I don’t even know if I understand the lyrics, but that’s a good one when your hair is in a greasy bun and you just want to get in your bathtub with a glass of wine. And it’s not that sexy Sade bathtub wine. It’s that drinking in a bathtub at 8am on a Tuesday wine, when you’re just like ‘I don’t give a fuck!’ Then the get over it pump up song is anything by Kanye, because my god, as a model of confidence…”

LOSER LAPS
“This isn’t eco sustainable, so I might have to sunset this, but I have found that if I can make myself amused, that’s a good place of levity. You don’t need to feel happy or joyful. I’ve found when I sing in my car, I’m really amused by myself. Sometimes when I’m frustrated or pissed about a guy, I will just go and do loser laps. I’ll cruise around blasting whatever song and I’ll just crack myself up. I’m able to realize it’s not that bad, go back home, park and resume an outward projection of normalcy.”

WHERE THE GOOD STUFF IS
“When you’re single you’re, necessarily, open to so many experiences. One, you have more time, but also there are a lot of things in the gray area that you have to cut out when you’re honoring a relationship. But as a comedian and a storyteller, that’s where all the good stuff is – the gray area! You know, I’m only alone at 2am buying fried chicken at Von’s when I’m single. All the fun and crazy things that have been material for me are born out of the randomness with which you live your life when you’re single.”

HOW SHE KEEPS HER HEART OPEN
“Being in the field I’m in has been a great lesson in being open. When you go into something as crazy as acting, or as crazy as finding a soulmate, you know it’s a wistful pursuit – but your heart is in it. The probability of finding yeses is so disproportionate to the nos, but the more nos I plow down the closer I am to a yes. Statistically is that true? No. It’s 50/50 every time. But experientially, there is a sexiness to the fortitude. As an actor, hearing no is a part of your work. Going to an audition and realizing they don’t know what they want, or they aren’t looking for someone like you – that’s moving towards your end goal. You went to work for the day if you did that. You get more comfortable with rejection and stop looking at is as rejection. It’s just refinement. It’s nothing personal. And it’s the same with relationships. It’s a them thing, not a me thing. Before I would have felt that was just fodder for confidence, but now I think that’s true. I can look back at times when it was a me thing, not a them thing. People were perfectly kind and and wonderful and charming – the kind of thing I would proclaim to want now – and I just wasn’t open to myself, so I wasn’t open to them.”

WHAT SHE’S GRATEFUL FOR
“The majority of my life revolves around humor and that’s been a really great blessing. Sometimes it can be a defense as well, but it helps when you’re forced to see the humor in everything by practice and by passion. Like, ‘Okay that was fucked up, but that was also pretty fucking funny.’ We don’t get to choose our personalities and there are a lot of things I’m working on, but that’s one thing I’m grateful for on the daily.”

HER MANTRA: LOVE
“My mantra is to love every little thing. I used to have a perception that there could be some massive love, whether it’s the love of your life or love of your career, that could fill you up and brighten all the darkness in your world. But over time, I’m seeing that it’s actually finding the amusement and delight in the small things, the day to day.

Meditation Teacher Megan Monahan’s Advice on Breakups + Talking to Your Ex

Megan is the modern meditation teacher. She knows when to talk mantras, but she also knows just when to crack a joke. After years in the music industry and a few life events that caused her to re-evaluate her purpose, she turned to meditation to heal. After becoming certified at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and working with them for five years, she returned to LA to begin teaching meditation privately and at Unplug meditation studio. You can follow her on Instagram @megmonahan.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“My dad was an alcoholic so I grew up completely terrified that I would marry an alcoholic, like my mom did and my grandmother did. A lot of what I heard when I was young had to do with not ending up in that situation. So I waited awhile before I let myself fall in love. I told myself I was not going to let myself fall in love until I knew that I was strong enough to leave that person if they weren’t right for me. So I did that. And at the age of 21, I fell in love with this amazing English football player – very charming, very kind of enigmatic, huge personality. And he was a really amazing alcoholic as well, of course. So of course I needed to attract that to go through that story myself, that fear, that conditioning. So I fell madly in love and started fighting the gut feeling that was telling me ‘This is not okay, this is not what you deserve, this is not what you want in a relationship.’ I let myself do some things – picking him up at the bar and paying his bar tab at 2 am – that I wouldn’t do now. I definitely went down the rabbit hole. What I do know now is that I was doing some amazing spiritual work in the midst of all that dysfunction; work that was absolutely necessary for my evolution.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“My dad passing away a year and a half ago. There ended up being a duality to that heartbreak because my heart was very much cracked open and filled with this unconditional love and forgiveness and acceptance, but at the same time it was just full of sorrow. The last romantic heartbreak I had was another alcoholic. He was the last one in my list of karmic stories that were being replayed over and over. And luckily with him I learned the lesson that I needed to learn and I have yet to attract another one since. And that’s amazing. I think that’s really important. Especially with romantic relationships, we tend to attract the same person in different bodies until we work through what were supposed to work through.”

Megan2

ON THE POWER OF MEDITATION
“My meditation practice is what constantly fills me up. It is what allows me to navigate my life not constantly looking for the external charge, not looking for the relationship to complete me, not looking for that validation. I know at my core that I’m good and I’m whole and I’m lacking nothing. I very much enjoy a relationship – whether friendships or romantic – but I know that I have everything I need in me. It takes away that attachment to holding on to those romantic relationships. We do that a lot. We latch onto it very tightly and then when it leaves we are left with this big hole. I miss them and I’m sad when something reminds me of them, but at my core I know I’m good and I feel that.”

RESETTING THROUGH MEDITATION
“I used to look at the world really cynically. I used to look at the world as what’s wrong instead of what’s right, and meditation is really the thing that reset that for me. Instead of looking for the grievances, I look at what I can be grateful for. When you’re going through a break up it’s really important to notice all of the blessings in your life and to have gratitude for all of the things that you do have. Spend time with the people who want to be in your life instead of spending all your thoughts and energy on the one person who doesn’t.”

THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES
“When you break up with someone it is very easy to create a story around it and to indulge in whatever thoughts you’re having and usually it’s not the positive ones. Usually it’s the negative ones that we obsess over. Right? We don’t obsess over the thought that ‘I know I’m going to be ok and it’ll be fine.’ That’s not the thought we obsess and focus on. We focus on ‘I really miss them’ and ‘What went wrong?’ and ‘Why aren’t we together?’ So meditation really gives you an awareness around all of that, which really helps improve your mindset.”

ASKING FOR HELP
“It took me a really long time to be comfortable asking for help and letting people know what I needed. And I found that if you’re just really upfront and direct with people about what you need and you communicate with them, you give them the opportunity to say ‘Yeah I can do that for you!’ or ‘No I can’t’ and people do that. Then there’s none of that resentment that builds up when you’re afraid to ask for help when you’re going through something and you need a hand or you need a hug. So I very much utilize my relationships when I’m going through a break up.”

Megan1

TALKING ABOUT YOUR BREAKUP
“You have to be really careful with how much and with whom you talk about your break up. I think that there is that tendency to walk around telling that story over and over and over to people because it feels good. Every time you say that story you’re just reinforcing it. And if you’re talking to a friend you’re also getting their take on it and their conditioned way of looking at things. So I think that can really set you back. I’m really careful. I have a few people in my life who will look at the situation with me and give me a higher consciousness response.”

TALKING TO YOUR EX
“I also think it is really hard to not give into those little impulses when you miss them. So you send them a text or you end up drinking one night and your guard is down and you end up calling them. That stuff is really hard when you’re trying to create that separation. I think moving forward takes a certain amount of space, especially at first. So I think you must find ways to not do that, not to give into that momentary impulse. It’s just a thought and it will pass.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“I tend to withdraw when I’m in pain or dealing with something. I tend to retreat. I’m not that person who is staying busy and going out. I very much go to that space of ‘I don’t want to see anyone, I don’t want to do anything.’ And that’s probably my biggest vice. To conquer it I just force myself out. I reach out to the people in my life and say ‘I’m not doing very well, can you take me out?’ Sometimes you just have to move through it. Where your attention goes is where you energy is going to flow, so if you’re constantly thinking ‘I’m so miserable, I’m so lonely’ that’s how you will continue to feel. If you’re able to say ‘I’m going to go out and choose to find things that will bring a smile to face,’ even if you think that is all bullshit, after you say that over and over one day you’re going to actually say ‘Oh yeah I’m okay today, how did that happen?’”

A REASON, A SEASON, A LIFETIME
“I’m not one to think you should definitely be friends with all of your exes. People come into your life for a reason a season or a lifetime. I think sometimes people come into your life for a season and that’s it. Just because you were dating someone for 5 years doesn’t mean they need to continue to be a part of your life. You don’t owe anyone anything. Especially if you’ve been with someone for a while, even in a friendship. We have this idea that just because we’ve been friends with someone or we’ve been dating someone for a long time even though they’re toxic or not good for us we should keep them in our lives because they always been there. You get to ask yourself in these relationships ‘Is there something in this relationship that is serving me and helping me be better?’ And I haven’t found with very many exes that that’s the case.  I have a lot of friends, I don’t need my exes to be my friends, you know? I do have some exes that I’m friendly with but none of my exes are my confidantes because we’ve never had that intimacy other than in a romantic relationship. It’s hard to go from that to just being friends. And I’m really careful to not let men take up that space in my life. If I’m trying to attract a new relationship, I don’t want this roster of exes taking up that space, energetically speaking, to get a little ‘woo woo’ on you.”

Megan Flowers

FOLLOWING EXES ON INSTAGRAM
“I do not stay connected with my exes on social media. What am I? A sadist? No, absolutely not. No, I don’t need to see that you’re having an awesome time with that new girl who looks like me. And also everyone’s life looks amazing on Instagram. My life is epic on Instagram. No one sees the days that I’m a mess, so no I don’t need to see him being super happy and okay. I wish them well but I don’t need to see all of the wellness.”

FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“Shake It Off by Florence and the Machine if you’re ready to move on. Drop the World by Lil’ Wayne is really amazing if you’re really angry. Anything by Jessie Ware if you want to cry.”

IT LEFT FOR A REASON
“I get that what I’m about to say is way easier said than done. My friend always says to me ‘What is meant for you will never miss you.’ And I think that’s true. When you break up with someone, especially if you’re not the one doing the breaking, it’s that sense of ‘I really wanted this’ or ‘This felt really good.’ I have trust that the things that are supposed to be in my life will and I won’t have to hold on that tightly to anything that is supposed to stay. You give the relationship attention and you nurture it and all of that stuff, but in terms of it staying in my life, I very much believe that if it doesn’t stay in my life, it left for a reason. I get to learn from it and I get to grow from it.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta.

Light Watkins Shares What He’s Learned about Relationships

Light Watkins is on a mission to inspire. He has been meditating for 20 years and has taught thousands of people around the world how to meditate. He speaks regularly on meditation (check out his 5 Most Common Meditation Myths talk at TEDxVenice), hosts At The End Of The Tunnel podcast, and authored the book Bliss More, on how to succeed in meditation without really trying. You can follow him on Instagram @lightwatkins.

HIS FIRST HEARTBREAK

“I was in my late twenties and I was in an on-again-off-again relationship with a wonderful woman, but I wasn’t in the space to go to the next level like I knew she was ready for. If something didn’t go right for a few days, I would decide to take a break. And she would be devastated. And we’d come back together and be together for another month, and then take another break.

I remember there was a point three and a half years into it where I found myself more attracted to her. I realized it was because she wasn’t giving me so much attention as she was before, which I felt was smothering (probably because my mom was so attentive). I was thinking, maybe this could work and we could be together if she’s getting back to who she was when we met – this independent, strong woman who didn’t need to be around me all the time. This was my 29-year-old mind. It turned out she had actually met someone else and that’s why she wasn’t giving me as much attention. I didn’t know that. I remember dropping her off at the airport to go on a business trip. She was flying to Portland and she walked out of the house with heels on and her nails are done. I thought that was odd. The moment I dropped her off it dawned on me that she was meeting someone there. That was my moment of realizing that it was over.

That’s when I discovered the Stevie Wonder anthology, and that’s the only thing that really got me through. Don’t Worry Be Happy, and all of those classic Stevie Wonder songs got me through that period. I listened to them over and over, on repeat, because I couldn’t sleep at night. You know, you’re just up in the middle of the night wondering the worst thoughts about what they’re doing with this other person. When she got back, I picked her up from the airport and we talked about the whole thing then. She acknowledged she was with someone and I was trying to work it out, but she didn’t want to get back together with me. She was happy with this other guy.”

THE ROLE OF TIMING

Looking back now, she was the best girlfriend I had in those days. She was everything I had wanted in a woman. Smart, sexy, attentive, maternal, family-oriented, all of those things. I was just 29 years old. I wasn’t even thinking about getting married. I’m 42 now and I just started thinking about all of that 5 years ago. Before that, I just didn’t feel it was a priority. Back then my priorities were building a career and doing what I felt contributed to my happiness. Having fun. Exploring. It’s not to say I wasn’t open to it, but my expectations were way too high for what a woman had to be in my life. I felt she had to be a perfect specimen of a person. And you realize with life that there is no perfection in anybody. And relationships take work. I didn’t appreciate that. As soon as we hit one snag, I’d be ready to jump off the ship and swim over to the next boat.”

HIS MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK

“My last girlfriend was a heartbreak situation. We tried to be friends after we broke up. I have a pattern of off-again on-again. I was always confused about women not being happy. I would take it personally. So one time I told her I wanted space, and it was a mishandling of the term. I didn’t do my part in reassuring her that I just needed space. To me, it didn’t mean ‘I’m not coming back.’ I should have said, ‘I love you so much and want to be with you, and I care about you more than anything in the world.’ But I didn’t say that and she cut it off. And that was hard for me. Initially, I resisted because I’m not that kind of person. And then I realized it wasn’t me. So I just didn’t take it personally. But the period after she cut me off – before I got to that point – it was difficult emotionally. My mind was wondering what I did and what happened.”

THE PIVOTAL BOOK

“The pivotal book for me was Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I learned a ton about women. Part of it was about the cycles and hormones and moods; that women typically have a dip in their mood every month, at least once a month. And at the same time, men typically have a desire to retract and have their own space. I thought there was something wrong with me, but it is very normal and expected. Once you see that there’s already a paradigm, you see that there are so many misread intentions. If people knew what the biology was around all of it, it would clear up so many issues.”

REDEFINING SUCCESS

“A relationship is sort of like a college course. When you’re in college, and you’re looking through the course directory, you read the descriptions. You go into this course not thinking that it has to last forever. Can you imagine? No one would take that class if it lasted forever. There’s a definitive endpoint and the intention is to learn something from it and contribute to it. Once you get to the end of it, you may feel that it was great and you learned a lot and that you want to take the next level of that course – the 102, and then the 103. Or maybe you realize that you learned a lot and you want to see what’s happening on another track. No one will feel bad about it. Maybe you want to study astrology instead, so you go there and you end up getting a PhD in that.

I think we have this idea that relationships if they don’t last a certain amount of time, aren’t successful. I’ve changed now to see that a relationship is successful if, in the length of time it lasted (whether that’s two months or two years), I learned something about myself and was able to leave the relationship in a better place than I found it. In my eyes that is the epitome of success. Some people you may want to take the next step with, and some people you may not. Once I made that adjustment, it made being in a relationship a lot more fun.”

RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE EQUALIZER

“Relationships are the great equalizer. No matter who you are, no matter what you do. You know, it’s like what Chris Rock said so brilliantly about Nelson Mandela. He endured almost three decades of imprisonment, and then he gets out of prison and after 6 months he files for divorce. Chris has a brilliant standup bit about it and how hard relationships are. They’re hard for everybody. I’m sure if the Dalai Lama wasn’t a monk and he was in relationships, he’d be going through it too like everybody else. That’s what we do. That’s how we grow. It challenges us. If you’re not in a relationship, it’s like you’re just staying in your neighborhood all the time. Yeah, you can be happy in your neighborhood. But if you travel somewhere where you don’t know the language or the customs, you get stretched in a way that expands your worldview.”

HIS BREAKUP VICE

“I think there’s a tendency to distract yourself with other people. I’ve gotten to the point where I am much better at sitting in the quiet space of my own self and mind, not thinking that someone else is going to help. I mean, I’ve run that experiment so many times. You surround yourself with so many other people and you are sitting there having dinner – you can hear yourself talking, but you are just thinking about this other person the entire time.”

THE BENEFIT OF SPACE

“I think everyone thinks they are going to be the first couple that becomes friends after they breakup. As much as I didn’t like being cut off [by my ex], it’s good to have some healthy, mutually agreed-upon separation. Maybe you have a conversation where you highlight the positive aspects of the person or relationship, and then you separate. Instead of ‘fuck you, I don’t want you talking to me again.’ You don’t want those to be the last words you say to someone or hear from someone.”

MEDITATING

“What people don’t realize is that your mind is obsessing over this person not because something is wrong with you or because it was meant to be. Our bodies become addicted to the way we feel around that person. Meditation is really good at breaking off the addiction because the chemicals that get released during meditation are an industrial-strength drano for dissolving those chemicals.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELEASE

“I’ve had people break up or lose someone and they don’t want to meditate because they find themselves obsessing over the person when they meditate. Meditation is a release valve for those feelings and as they are leaving the body, they are passing through the mind. It is a symptom that your body is releasing it. You have to let it out. That’s not a sign that meditation is not working. It’s actually a positive. You just have to sit and do it. You come out of every meditation less addicted to that person. That’s amazing.”

VULNERABILITY

“The thing about guys is that we want to be vulnerable. We really do. We have a necessity for safety as well. Men want to feel safe too. We want to feel appreciated. And when a man feels appreciated, he will have the conditions for being vulnerable. When he’s not appreciated, he feels like there’s something more he needs to get done before he can rest.”

OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LOVE

“I’m an optimist about learning and love is a means to learn. It’s the means and it’s the end. A relationship is going to take you to a place you can’t get to by yourself and it’s the outcome: you become more loving as a result of it. Each relationship helps me grow as a human, which means I try to understand the lessons, and as a result, I become more compassionate and patient (both with myself and my partner).”

HIS MANTRA: INSPIRE

“My mantra is ‘inspire.’ Since starting The Shine, I’ve embraced this Emerson quote: ‘Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.'”

MyIntent Founder Chris Pan on Heartbreak, Bro Advice and Intentions

Imagine if we all lived with more intention, more meaningful conversations, and more positive energy. That vision is what motivates Chris as the founder of The MyIntent Project based in Los Angeles. Their mission is to activate meaningful conversations and positive energy by asking one simple question, “What’s Your WORD?” MyIntent then creates a bracelet or necklace with that word (or phrase), which serves as a daily reminder and conversation starter.

Just a quick look through their website and Instagram @myintent will leave you feeling inspired. Perusing through the stories, it’s no surprise to us at Mend that a lot of the intentions are about love.

Now, on to our conversation with Chris…

HIS LAST HEARTBREAK

“Well, it could have been this past weekend. To me, heartbreak can be broadly defined as emotional pain. I think it’s interesting Mend is starting with romantic breakups, but the insights could apply to conflicts with family members or at work. The underlying causes can come from a lack in emotional or spiritual fitness. And practices of meditation, gratitude, and being present can benefit all situations. The heartbreak that really impacted me happened 2 years ago. It was a 5 year relationship. Out of that brokenness, I explored a lot of emotional and spiritual growth to heal, and am grateful for the experience.”

FINDING SUPPORT + PERSPECTIVE IN FRIENDS

“In my serious relationship, I didn’t have female friends that I could really confide in and get a female perspective on relationship issues. I had spent most of my free time with my ex and my work in tech was mostly guys. The summer after my breakup, I became friends with a few women and one in particular helped me understand people naturally have ups and downs, and that relationships require work. Growing up, all the emphasis was on achievement and not being in touch with my own feelings. I had cut off my own emotions and just focused on my work and band. I also realized I never actually ‘worked on’ my relationship issues nor my own issues.”

BRO ADVICE

“My guy friends were not helpful with the advice they were giving me. It was often the ‘bro advice’ like the, ‘Aw man I can’t believe she did that!’ It’s not the more emotionally mature approach. And I think that’s part of what you’re trying to do with Mend, taking the maturity of how we approach relationships up a notch or two, rather than just a more superficial approach. It goes deeper into personal and interpersonal issues. It’s also more empathetic.”

SPACE TO REFLECT

“During the relationship, we spent a lot of time together, but I didn’t have much time to really reflect on what I wanted. Life was on autopilot – work, play music, hang out with girlfriend, repeat. It was only after the breakup that I had some space to figure out what I envisioned my future to be. Coincidentally, my grandfather passed away that summer, and it gave me a sense that we don’t live forever. I was also turning 35 (on way to being 40) which actually felt very different than 34 (barely early thirties). I started to think more about my future and long term plans. I craved more meaning and stability.”

THE ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE HIS YOUNGER SELF

“I was making my love very ‘conditional.’ I had this idea that I could only really commit to her if she was x and y. It only occurred to me after the breakup that x doesn’t really matter to me and y was partly because of my lack of commitment that caused her to be insecure and unstable. I would also tell myself to spend more time on personal growth and relationship-building. I spent so much of my energy problem-solving issues at work or building my band. I wished I had done the personal growth work I did post-breakup such as attending the Hoffman Process, books I’ve read, and a coach I’ve worked with.”

MAKING IT THROUGH DIFFICULT MORNINGS

“So I had met an exec coach Janet as I was being recruited at a startup. It started off being focused on work but as I was going through the breakup, it turned into realizing that I had a lot more work to do emotionally and spiritually. And my coach told me ‘For this winter, try to slow down and just feel. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to feel the pain, so really just feel.’ I have a habit of filling my time with stuff to keep me busy so I don’t have to feel. So that winter I would leave my schedule open. I would have days where I would wake up and wouldn’t have any meetings on my schedule. I would fire up my karaoke app (karafun.com) and sing for like a half hour, an hour, maybe more, until I felt better. And then I would feel better and I would move on with my day. The mornings were always the hardest.”

HIS FAVORITE SONG ON HEARTBREAK 

“The song Feel Again by One Republic was really big that summer and the post-breakup process really opened me up to feel. Another song that really spoke to me was Let Her Go by Passenger. I find it applicable to life in general. It’s about acceptance and being appreciative for what you have and not taking things for granted. It makes me understand that the reason we appreciate light is the darkness. If we lived in the Arctic Circle in the summer where it’s light all the time, you might actually miss the darkness.”

FOUNDING SPIRITLAB AFTER HIS BREAKUP

“SpiritLab is a nickname I’ve given to my house where I hosted events that incorporate many of the activities I used to heal and grow emotionally and spiritually. My goal has been to create something meaningful and positive for friends to experience together. I wanted to share activities that make me feel better (“spirit”) and I wanted it to be hands-on and experiential (“lab”). We would do things like painting, yoga, live music, tai chi, meditation, improv comedy, healthy cooking, and making intention bracelets.”

INCUBATING MYINTENT AT SPIRITLAB

“Of all the activities at SpiritLab, making intention bracelets and necklaces for guests turned out to be the centerpiece. The process invited guests to reflect on what each person wanted more out of life. It also encouraged friends to share something more personal with each other. “What’s your WORD?” became a common phrase at these events. Guests started asking for bracelets not just for themselves, but also for their friends and family. Then we started getting influencers that wanted to share these with their fans. For holiday gifts, a CEO bought a bracelet for each employee and shared inspiring stories of why she chose her word. Then Kanye West wore it on the cover of Time100 which was another powerful validation of the potential for the project.”

THE IMPACT OF SETTING AN INTENTION

“Well, on good days, I’m optimistic that if more people lived with intention, the world would be more beautiful. Some people could be very cynical and say that we’re just putting words on a piece of metal, and what is it that we’re really doing for anybody? Why aren’t you curing cancer? Why aren’t you out getting clean water for everyone? I was having that kind of moment recently. And my meditation teacher Light Watkins said to me, ‘You know all you can do is your part and let the bracelet work its magic through the universe. Trust that you’re doing your part and let the project work its magic.'”

Alexandra Lee on Her First Heartbreak And Learning to Let Go

Alexandra Lee makes things happen. As the CEO and founder of Arrayshe helps forward-thinking companies grow on their own terms. As a lover of the arts, she is an active member of her alma mater’s Friends of Art Committee. She lives in Marin County, where you can usually find her on a run or deep in conversation over coffee, using lots of hand motions. 

ON HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first person to break my heart was my first serious college boyfriend. He was an incredibly charming, intelligent, and attractive guy and I was head over heels from the word, ‘Go!’ I’d fallen for him when we were both working for summer camps in Boston and although we dated for just a few months, I remember thinking, ‘this is the guy I’m supposed to be with.’ He also had a wonderfully warm and welcoming family and in the way that you do when you’re 18 – or maybe just the way I did – you paint your entire life with this person WAY too quickly. It’s so embarrassing to think about now. I remember him calling me to break it off. I was on my way out with some friends to grab dinner and he very gently ended it over the phone. I sobbed in the parking lot – the really unattractive, snot rendering kind of sobbing. The kind of crying that makes you feel like a crazy person, but also the kind of crying that you look back on and realize that those tears weren’t for him but for this ‘plan’ you had for yourself that wasn’t really the truth of things.”

TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK + BECOMING FRIENDS
“After I stopped crying, I spent a few weeks tormenting him with emails about why I thought it could actually work. He was really kind and wrote me back beautiful messages (which I, in turn, misinterpreted as hopeful), but really he was just being a nice guy who didn’t want to hurt me. Amazingly, we got back to just being good friends after that. I’m still in touch with him (and his amazing family) and I even got invited to his wedding! So clearly, broken hearts heal and, with time, I was able to see him for who he really was to me – a dear friend with a big heart.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HER COLLEGE SELF
“I’d tell myself to honestly look at the relationship and consider if I was getting what I needed and deserved at the time, not just if it looked like the relationship I wanted. I remember being so wrapped up in this world I wanted to be part of – and that relationship was tied so tightly to my notion of ‘fitting in’ and ‘being part’ of the idea of something that I wanted – but it really wasn’t me. There was a lot of good too, don’t get me wrong, but I’d definitely tell myself that I deserved more than what I was getting.”

ON HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I broke my own heart and the heart of a guy that I spent many, many years with – but it wasn’t right. I don’t even know how to explain it. I just knew it wasn’t the relationship that I wanted to be in the rest of my life. I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing family and an incredibly supportive group of close women friends. My lady crew in particular were rock solid for me in the months following that breakup. More than giving me advice, they just made observations about me and the way I was behaving – that I seemed happier, that I was more willing to be out and about, that laughs were faster to come and I was smiling more, and just seemed more at ease. They never directly commented on whether they thought ending the relationship was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – they just sat with me through it. At the time, I was also training for a half marathon and there was this one life-changing run across the Brooklyn Bridge where pieces of my life came together. So long stretches of physical movement helped me a lot.”

LETTING GO OF WANTING TO CHANGE THINGS
“I truly believed that I could make it hurt less for my ex, but he had and continues to have his own experience and emotions around the breakup and I can’t do anything about that. For a few months I thought I could help him see why the breakup was good – but that wasn’t my right. The Executive Director of a great non-profit in Texas says this thing: ‘When we want something for someone more than they want it for themselves, it’s not help; it’s an act of aggression’ – and I come back to that over and over again. I wanted something for my ex during the relationship, and after – but it wasn’t my call to make. I had to give that up and let him live his life.”

HER BREAKUP VICE
“I didn’t take any time to breathe after my last breakup – I just started sprinting after everything without giving myself an opportunity to sit with it for just a few minutes. I’m not sure I really conquered it, but at some point I started to allow myself to slow down.”

HER BREAKUP RITUALS
“Three things: cut hair (it really does feel that good), go on a solo vacation (preferably without cell phone reception), and write letters to yourself and then delete them. You have to process some ugly thoughts about yourself and you need to get them out but never re-read them. Never.”

HER FAVORITE SONG ABOUT HEARTBREAK
“Bonnie Raitt – Can’t Make You Love Me”

THE MISSING PIECE
“I think love and heartbreak are so personal, there’s really no advice to give – I think in all instances you just have to remember to be kind to yourself and to be kind to your partner (or ex partner). I will say that Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Missing Piece Meets the Big O’ is the greatest love story ever told though. The possibility of finding someone who truly supports and understands me, and vice versa…that seems like an adventure worth committing to over and over again.”

Why Do We Attempt to Win at Breakups?

As James Baldwin said: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

Sharing your story is an important part of healing (it’s called “”emotional disclosure”” in psychology), whether you share with a friend, journal or therapist. It’s also important to hear these stories because you will see that someone else has been there; someone else has made it through, and so will you.

This week’s roundup of stories…

“But as hooking up rapidly expanded into a series of miniature ­marriages — and miniature divorces made more confounding by social-media omnipresence and cell-phone butt dials — I’ve come to think millennial romances are defined not by their casual beginnings but their disastrous ends. We aren’t the hookup generation; we’re the breakup generation.”

-Maureen O’Connor on the millennial ‘Breakup Generation’ and how we attempt to win at breakups (nymag.com)

“One of the hardest things about being dumped is realizing that the person who dumped you probably isn’t suffering as badly as you are.”

-Karley Sciortino on the pain of being the dumpee in her breakup (vogue.com)

“He’ll come home eventually.
I should Facebook message his sister.
I can’t wait to tell him I might move to San Francisco.
I’m relieved I don’t have to like his douchey friend anymore.”

-Nicole Cifani shares a list of legitimate things that go through your mind after a breakup (medium.com)

What Makes a Partnership Last?

Today, we’re sharing some thought-provoking ideas on partnerships.

“The Romantic view of marriage stresses that the ‘right’ person means someone who shares our tastes, interests and general attitudes to life. This might be true in the short term. But, over an extended period of time, the relevance of this fades dramatically; because differences inevitably emerge. The person who is truly best suited to us is not the person who shares our tastes, but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently and wisely.

Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate difference that is the true marker of the ‘right’ person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.”

-The School of Life answers the question “When is one ready to get married?” (thephilosophersmail.com)

“There are many reasons why relationships fail, but if you look at what drives the deterioration of many relationships, it’s often a breakdown of kindness. As the normal stresses of a life together pile up—with children, career, friend, in-laws, and other distractions crowding out the time for romance and intimacy—couples may put less effort into their relationship and let the petty grievances they hold against one another tear them apart. In most marriages, levels of satisfaction drop dramatically within the first few years together. But among couples who not only endure, but live happily together for years and years, the spirit of kindness and generosity guides them forward.”

-Emily Esfahani Smith takes a look at the latest research on lasting partnerships (theatlantic.com)

“The notion that the best marriages are those that bring satisfaction to the individual may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first?

Not anymore. For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself. But in modern relationships, people are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who make their lives more interesting.”

-Tara Parker-Pope on the counterintuitive “me” marriage (nyt.com)

How to Deal with Friendship Breakups

As James Baldwin said: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

Sharing your story is an important part of healing (it’s called “”emotional disclosure”” in psychology), whether you share with a friend, journal or therapist. It’s also important to hear these stories because you will see that someone else has been there; someone else has made it through, and so will you.

This week’s roundup of stories…

“Why did it take me so long to admit that being friends with her made me feel awful? Why did I run from the confrontation? And why did I care more about what the friendship looked like to other people than what it actually was?”

-Carey on breaking up with her best friend of 15 years (elle.com)

“A few months after my BFF and I stopped talking, I broke up with my first serious boyfriend. As tough as it was, it was nothing on losing my pal.”

-Radhika on how losing a friendship was harder than losing a romantic relationship (telegraph.co.uk)

“Then I realized that I was crying because I had figured out that Molly and I were never going to speak to each other again; this time, when she called or emailed me after a month, or six months or a year, I was not going to pick up the phone or email her back. Right now, right here on the street, I was giving up. Finally.”

-Jean on the moment she realized she had to breakup with her best friend (huffingtonpost.com)

Lessons Learned After Ending a Marriage

As James Baldwin said: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

Sharing your story is an important part of healing (it’s called “”emotional disclosure”” in psychology), whether you share with a friend, journal or therapist. It’s also important to hear these stories because you will see that someone else has been there; someone else has made it through, and so will you.

This week’s roundup of stories…

“The web was littered with pictures, videos, check-ins, likes and tweets of our every moment. Now that online reality show that I produced, directed and starred in was there to remind me in an almost demonic tone that I was single and that those images weren’t going anywhere.Now that online reality show that I produced, directed and starred in was there to remind me in an almost demonic tone that I was single and that those images weren’t going anywhere.”

Nick Bilton remembers the pain of online memories after his divorce (nytimes.com)

“Walking away from life as I knew it was never something I’d envisioned. I expected to feel regret and to build stronger boundaries, but instead I found my heart more open than it had ever been. And shockingly, my divorce, more than my marriage, taught me about love.”

-Isabeau Miller on the lessons she learned after ending her marriage (mindbodygreen.com)

“If you haven’t yet merited a ceremony honoring your achievements of the heart — wedding, anniversary, baby shower — it’s easy to believe you don’t know much about love. At least, that’s how I felt when I was unattached. But now I understand that that ineffable energy was always stirring inside me; it was just channeled differently. It went to the nice Korean lady making my sandwich at the deli, to the college friend I was meeting for dinner, to the street lamp’s glow sifting through the trees in my neighborhood.”

-Sara Eckel on why a single life doesn’t mean a loveless life (bostonglobe.com)

Three Women Answer the Question: What Is Love?

Ah, the age old question. It is no wonder that this was once one of the most Googled questions. 

Well, we wish the answer were that simple. While we all continue to ponder and formulate our own personal definitions, here are some bits of wisdom we’ve enjoyed recently…

“‘I can’t live,’ wails the singer, ‘if living is without you.’ It sounds so tragically deep to say that losing your lover’s affections would make life unlivable—but have you ever been in a relationship with someone whose survival truly seemed to depend on your love?…Or have you found yourself on the grasping side of the equation, needing your partner the way you need oxygen? The emotion that fuels this kind of relationship isn’t love; it’s desperation. It can feel romantic at first, but over time it invariably fails to meet either partner’s needs.”

-Martha Beck describing real love vs “mutual strangulation” (oprah.com)

“Honoré de Balzac, who knew a thing or two about all-consuming love, in Physiologie Du Mariage: ‘The more one judges, the less one loves.'”

-Maria Popova sharing one of her many selected definitions of love pulled from 400 years of literary history (brainpickings.org)

“Contrary to the formulaic meet-cute, guy-loses-girl, gets-girl all in a perfect 90-minutes of film, love in real life takes time, it evolves and sometimes ends without being tidy. Within this culture of rom-coms and love fantasies have come silly clichés and advice about love, sex, romance and commitment. For example, in my opinion, the worst quote ever is ‘Love is never having to say your sorry,’ from Love Story. Blech.”

-Caroline Gerdes on her curated collection of “actually really smart” love advice, bound to make you smile (hellogiggles.com)

One Woman On Why She Chose To Be Sober Post-Breakup

As James Baldwin said: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

Sharing your story is an important part of healing (it’s called “”emotional disclosure”” in psychology), whether you share with a friend, journal or therapist. It’s also important to hear these stories because you will see that someone else has been there; someone else has made it through, and so will you.

This week’s roundup of stories…

“Think about it–no one in the 1700s was getting blind-sighted by an oil painting of their former significant other with his new beau. From what I understand, it took about five years to send a letter and everyone died at 25.”

-Margaret on breaking up in the digital age (manrepeller.com)

“When we fall in love, we don’t do it with an endpoint in mind, no expiration date on the horizon. To fall in love is to do the impossible, to promise the one thing you can’t really promise: ‘Because I care about you, I will not hurt you.'”

-Ella on what it feels like to fall out of love (thoughtcatalog.com)

“And I found that when I let myself just feel the feelings, it didn’t last that long. It was bearable. Sure the pain was excruciating for a short while, but then I got to the other side. And it was clear. Like, sun rising across a field of wild, tall grass kind of clear.”

-Sarah on why she chose to be sober after her breakup (singlegalstartingover.wordpress.com)

One Woman Talks About Ending Her Marriage After Infidelity

As James Baldwin said: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

Sharing your story is an important part of healing (it’s called “emotional disclosure” in psychology), whether you share with a friend, journal or therapist. It’s also important to hear these stories because it can make you feel less alone.

This week’s roundup of stories…

Inked In Colour talks about ending her marriage after infidelity (inkedincolour.com)

Chelsea shares her thoughts on why it’s okay to be lonely (thoughtcatalog.com)

Jordan shares how to move on when the past is right in front of you (ramshackleglam.com)