Having your heart broken is one of the most difficult experiences you’ll ever go through. It doesn’t just occur when you go through a break-up. It happens when you wake up and feel like the whole world doesn’t understand or care about you. It happens when you get betrayed by someone you trust. It happens when your best friends who mean the world to you don’t want to be in your life anymore. It happens when your parent remarries and you got replaced. It happens when you make the decision to leave. Oftentimes, your heart gets broken because you care about others much more than yourself. It tears you up so much that you can’t help but lie down, crying till you cannot breathe.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
I know that when your heart breaks, it’s absolutely awful. You can’t pinpoint where the pain is because you feel it in your entire being. It isn’t like a headache, is it? You can’t just pop a pill and make it disappear. It’s definitely not easy to force a smile when all you want to do is break down. You have to go through your own healing process, and it can be truly excruciating. I don’t expect you to deal with heartbreak the same way I did. I’m not you. I can never feel the exact same pain as you. However, there are 5 things that I would really like you to know while you’re going through recovery. These learning points helped me so much and I hope you can benefit too, in shaa Allah.
1) Rely on Allah
The Prophet SAW said, “Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him in front of you. Become beloved to Allah during times of prosperity, He will know you in times of adversity. Know that what has passed you by was never to befall you. And (know that) what has befallen you was never to have passed you by. And know that victory accompanies perseverance, relief accompanies affliction and ease accompanies hardship”. (At-Tirmidhi Hadith #19 in An-Nawawi’s 40 Hadith) It’s too easy to whine, groan and ask, “Why me?” Instead, think about how you can grow from this experience. Everything is perfectly planned by Allah. There are many hidden blessings when someone breaks your heart. This test is agonizing. However, you are gifted with this priceless realization – no one will ever be able to love you more than Allah. Subhanallah.
A “bad” thing that brings you closer to Allah is better than a good thing that makes you forget Him. Allah says, “And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him.” While people crush your heart, again and again, Allah is the only one who can mend it. He is our Protector. “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.” He is doing this out of his Mercy and Compassion. Believe me, Allah will always replace what you’ve lost with something better. Perhaps not in the form or timing that you imagined but He will. Allah knows the bigger picture. We have to learn how to trust Him completely. When you feel lost, read His words. The pages of the Quran are just waiting to be flipped. Be sure that only Allah can take something heart-wrenching and transform it into something utterly beautiful.
2) It’s okay to seek help
We know that our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the best example for us. When he received his first revelation from Jibreel (Angel Gabriel), he was so terrified that he ran all the way home. He placed his head onto Khadijah’s (RA) lap crying, “Cover me! Cover me!” He sought comfort in someone he loved and trusted. Khadijah (RA) was able to soothe him and made him feel better.
There is no shame in asking for help. In your quest to purify your heart and re-centre your soul on Allah, please remember that you don’t have to cut yourself off from everyone. Yes, you need time to grieve. However, do give yourself a deadline. You wouldn’t want to be locked up in your room forever. When you’re ready, surround yourself with people who can help you find your way. The Prophet (SAW) was asked: “Which of our companions are best?” He replied, “One whose appearance reminds you of God, and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions remind you of the hereafter.” If you’re lucky enough to find people like this, remember that they are rare. Appreciate them and keep them close. If you have to, see a counsellor to explore healthy ways to deal with our sadness and anxieties. Confide in those who love you and appreciate you. You can’t push people away and expect them to stay.
3) Recognize the symptoms of depression
This is related to Point 2. Sometimes, we mistake depression for the natural process of grief and sadness. I’m not exaggerating when I say that that can be dangerous. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you constantly feel hopeless and helpless?
- Do you feel everything and nothing at the same time?
- Have you lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel tired all the time?
- Has your sleep and appetite changed?
- Are you finding it hard to concentrate or finding that tasks that were easy for you are now difficult?
- Do you feel like you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try?
- Are you more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive?
- Are you engaging in reckless behavior such as turning to vices or harming yourself to help you forget your pain?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, I plead you to get yourself checked at a hospital. Believe me, depression doesn’t make you any less of a person. Yes, in some cases, it is true that we feel miserable because our Imaan is low. However, depression is different. Depression is not something you can control. It’s a mental health condition that you can’t just snap out off. It does not mean that you’re weak. It just means that you need proper medical care.
4) Your worth does not depend on your partner (or lack of)
When Adam (AS) was created, Allah breathed His own spirit into him and then ordered the angels to prostrate to him. That’s how much honour was accorded to Adam. That’s how much respect is being given to human beings. Allah brought us to the earth with such grace and dignity… Don’t ever dumb yourself down just to make someone else feel comfortable. You don’t need another person to make the sun shine in your life. You are enough. You are loved. You don’t deserve to be used. You don’t deserve to be abused. You don’t deserve to be someone’s backup plan, especially if he or she is your priority. You don’t deserve to be pining for someone who doesn’t want you.
Your partner does not define you. Look at Asiyah (RA). She was married to Pharaoh, one of the evilest people we know. Did that degrade her in any way? Would you ever say, “She must have done something so repulsive that Allah is punishing her.” That’s so narrow-minded, isn’t it? Allah knows best. Asiyah (RA) is still regarded as one of the best women of paradise. How about Prophet Lut (AS)? He wasn’t able to convince his own wife to be a believer. Does that mean that he’s a complete failure? No! He remains one of the honorable prophets in our Islamic history.
How about not having a partner? Does your worth diminish because you’re not married? Does that mean that your market value is low? Do we really think that that’s what matters to Allah? Maryam (RA) never had a husband. Rabiatul Adawiyah remained single her whole life. I want you to know that you are worth it. You’re never at a loss as long as you “have believed, done righteous deeds, advised each other to the Truth and advised each other to sabr.” (Quran 103:3) Don’t let society convince you otherwise.
5) Don’t expect someone to give you closure
Don’t turn to the person who broke you to fix you. You may never understand why but trust that the removal is best for you. Today, you woke up with aches and pain but you woke up. Rise and rise again. Remember that you don’t need a better half to make you whole. Hasbunallah Wa Ni’mal Wakil. Always remind yourself that your mistakes and flaws don’t make you weak; they make you a fighter. Being able to be alone, with your heart centred on Allah, and still love and respect yourself means that you can be with others without looking to them for assurance and acceptance.
If you were the one who unwittingly hurt someone else, seek their forgiveness. Then, try your best to forgive yourself. It’s hard when someone you still care about doesn’t even want to talk to you but remember, you can’t change the past. We are not perfect. You are a combination of all the lessons you’ve learnt from mistakes that were committed. You are work-in-progress, so be at peace with yourself. What matters is that you get back up when you’re kicked to the ground. Make it a point to unlearn negative behavior and thought patterns. Live a life of love but remember this – you don’t need to let everyone have a seat at your table.