A Case for the Broken Heart

Do you remember when you first had your heart broken?

Was he or she the love of your life? Was it love at first sight when you first saw him or her? Was he or she the most beautiful creature you had ever seen? And at the same time, the cruelest for breaking your heart?

I can’t really say that I’ve ever had my heart broken. I mean, I guess when I found out that I was half Johnny Depp’s age. Or any time that I go into the kitchen, and there are no salt and vinegar chips. And I’ve certainly experienced the acute pain of an unrequited crush (and the elation of a requited one).

Of course, none of this has stopped me from wanting to have my heart broken. I know, that’s like writing “get run over by a car” on your bucket list. But think about it. It’s sort of a rite of passage, isn’t it? You can cry and sing along to really depressing songs. You can indulge and eat whatever you’d like and watch movies in your pajamas. And the best part? No one looks at you weird. No. They bring you more ice cream. They comfort you and spend time with you. Or at least, this is the picture that the movies paint for us.

But there’s another reason that it is important to sometimes be broken-hearted: it makes you all the more stronger. How do I know this cliche is true? Because I realized it while ripping up a Post-It note today. Yes, if you thought I had gone off the deep end before, then you are in for a longer dip now.

Today, I used a Post-It note, as one does, and as is the case with this infernal invention, it had lost its stickiness within about three seconds of my placing it onto a surface. I wanted to discard it. But I didn’t want anyone rifling through my trash to look at it later (because I’m obviously paranoid and self-important). So, I ripped it. It was quite satisfying, actually. It split almost in perfect halves. So, I did it again. And again. And again. Until finally, I was unable to rip the pieces anymore. (No doubt you’ve heard a similar story about it being incredibly easy to break a single stick but incredibly hard to break a bundle of them.)

My fun was over with the sticky note at this point, but it did get me thinking. Maybe, just maybe, when we’re torn apart, ripped into tiny, tiny pieces, made less than whole, we become stronger, more resistant to damage.

While I don’t know from experience, I can almost assure you that this is the same case with a broken heart. It isn’t that its cracks and fractures make it vulnerable to more destruction. Rather, they fortify it. The heart defends itself with its own undoing.

So, I recommend getting your heart broken as many times as you can. Do you know why? Because it means that you felt something. And it made you stronger. That is something no one can take away from you, and it is something that you can’t teach yourself.

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