10 Things Heartbreak Teaches You That Nothing Else Will

by Paul Hudson

Love can teach you a whole lot about life. But the best teacher is that of heartbreak. You don’t ever fully know what you have until you lose it and therefore can’t understand love until you’ve lost it. Heartbreak is life’s most effective teacher. Unfortunately, what it teaches us isn’t always accurate. We learn what we choose to interpret.

There are, however, lessons that we should all take from falling into and out of love – lessons that are universal. If you learn these things from the ending of a loving relationship, then you should consider yourself to have made progress in your life.

Here are 10 things love can teach us that nothing else truly can:

1. Physical Pain Isn’t The Worst Kind Of Pain.

While physical pain can be unbearable, so can emotional pain. Emotional pain is often more dangerous than physical pain because unlike physical pain, we aren’t always entirely aware of our emotional distress. It can lie dormant or simply ignored for long stretches of time. It can then rush over us in a single wave, potentially overwhelming us and even tipping us over the edge.

In many regards, emotional pain is far worse than physical pain. For most physical pains, there is a simple remedy. The same can’t be said for our emotional woes. Most people don’t fully understand this until they get their hearts broken for the first time. Heartbreak introduces us to a new kind of pain.

2. In Life, You Just Don’t Always Get What You Want.

Love is the strongest, most intense wanting that a person can experience. When you love someone, you want him or her; you want that person more than you have wanted anything else in your life. You want to spend time with him or her. You want that person to become a part of you. When love goes awry, which it sadly often does, you are faced with a list of wants that are, for whatever reason, unattainable.

You either want him or her to keep loving you or wish you could keep loving. But you can’t. You tried. You failed. And now you wish you didn’t have to give up on it, but you know it can’t work. No matter how hard you want things to work, things sometimes simply won’t work.

3. Most People Will Put Themselves First.

Being with someone and spending your life together is wonderful, but only as long as both parties deem it so. When one of the two people begins to feel that he or she is losing out on something by dating someone, that person will give up on the relationship and move on. If this is true for love, then it is even more true for every other relationship we have.

People will always look out for themselves first and foremost. Love is arguably the only thing that can convince a person to put someone else’s needs before their own, but love doesn’t always last. Someone may be caring for you today and then tomorrow decide never to speak to you again because he or she is no longer happy. If the person you love can change in such a manner, it’s fair to assume that the rest will be even quicker to flip on you.

4. Love Isn’t Always Love.

Well, it is, but it really isn’t. Let me explain. You are likely to fall in love with someone and then to fall out of love with him or her, and then the funniest thing happens. You begin to question whether or not you ever loved that person in the first place. You believed you loved him or her, but if you don’t anymore, then did you ever to begin with?

Most people confuse love for infatuation or obsession. People get overwhelmed by their emotions and get fooled into believing that they define their love for a person. They may have never really loved that person, only thought they did. Just the same, they may still love him or her and not understand that they do. Love has many different faces and is misunderstood frequently.

5. Life Always Has A Way Of Surprising You.

Heartbreak is always a surprise. Even when you get fair warning, it still comes on as a bit of a shock. When you fall in love, you hope so much that it will be forever that you actually begin to believe it will be. Unfortunately, it usually isn’t. Most people don’t end up with the first person they fall for and not simply because they were too young to settle down, but because their first love usually isn’t the right love. Heartbreak is just one of many surprises life brings our way.

6. The World Is Only A Beautiful Place If We Choose To Believe It.

No matter how we see the world, it all changes when we fall in love. Once we’re smitten, the whole world seems like a better, more beautiful place. Everything seems better, more pleasant and less bothersome. We’re focused, consumed by thoughts of the person we love and have little room or time to think about much else. Not to mention, when you’re consumed by love, you can’t help but be happy.

The funny thing is how this all changes when we fall out of love and/or have our heart broken. Things quickly change for the worse. This only goes to show us that our world is as bright or as gloomy as we make it out to be.

7. Emotions Are Fickle And Unreliable.

Our emotions are our natural drugs. They are the reason people use drugs to begin with: to feel more. We enjoy getting lost in our emotions because they are clarifying. They give us one specific feeling – one way of looking at and experiencing our lives at the moment. They rid us of confusion, confirming our thoughts with clear emotions.

People like to dwell on their emotions because it makes them feel more alive. This is why so many people like drama in their lives: They get carried away by their emotions and feel more alive. Unfortunately, our emotions are our own concoction and don’t necessarily have to coincide with the reality of things.

8. Love Can Bring Out The Worst In People.

The more emotional we get, the more confusing relationships can get. Love can be incredibly intense, testing us and pushing us to the edge. When things start to go south in our relationships, many of us will start to distance ourselves from our partner or even attack him or her directly because we blame our partner – even if only secretly – for our current distress.

Love isn’t always clear and can often be confusing. When confused, many individuals go on the offensive and start to poke at his or her lover's weaknesses. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I feel like we’re trying to test our partners and see if we can push them to the point of breaking before we break. That way, we can blame the relationship falling apart on them, instead of taking responsibility ourselves.

9. Life Always Goes On.

Love brings us to the gates of heaven and then watches us as we crash back down to earth. But we usually survive the fall. More importantly, we all can survive the fall if we keep our head on straight and understand that all we are experiencing is a natural part of human life. Life will go on and we will keep living, long after we have our hearts broken the first time, second time or third time. No matter how bad our situation may seem, it will all one day be a distant memory.

10. Nothing In The World Is Entirely Self-Sustainable.

Being naïve, we think the perfect relationship with the right person will be easy and require little maintenance. We believe it should be so natural that it fits together seamlessly. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across anything in life, completely natural or otherwise, that doesn’t require some effort to maintain.

That’s why most relationships fail – the same reason most endeavors fail: People think they’ve won before they’ve won. You only win on the day you die, having lived and loved the way you wish you had. Everything up to that point is still part of the game. You’re not done playing until you can’t play any longer. Until then, you better put in the required effort or risk losing it all.

Photo via We Heart It