Sometimes I think we should leave messages for ourselves — messages in a bottle or in a journal or simply saved on our phones to remind us of our strength. One day, we may need it. When we have broken hearts, we don’t exactly give ourselves the best advice. We need messages in our strength to remind us at times we cannot be strong.
Before I embarked on my current relationship, I told myself there were rules. I could love again, and I could open up my heart, but if anything happened to this relationship, I was not allowed to shut back down. I would not give up. I would not let this or anything else be the excuse I gave to quit trying to be vulnerable and real in this world.
It’s good advice. The relationship is still going strong, but I needed that baseline as a reminder. I needed to know that I could love myself and be true to who I am regardless of my relationship status. After a lifetime of toxic relationships and flimsy boundaries, I needed to come into this strong — not needing my partner to survive but simply wanting to share my time and my life with him.
To love again after heartache is to take a risk. There is no certainty, no promise that can assure us that we won’t be hurt again. It’s grabbing on to our courage, holding tight to our self-love, and seizing on all the joy and love we can get in this life.
But when it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult to believe this. It’s why those notes to self when we’re in our power can be so tremendously helpful. But in the case of broken hearts with no handy messages from our stronger selves to pull us through, here are 21 quotes to help us to the other side.
“It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t come back. You’re left so alone that you can’t explain. Damn, there’s nothing like that, is there? I’ve been there and you have, too. You’re nodding your head.” ~Henry Rollins
“You will evolve past certain people. Let yourself.” ~Mandy Hale
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~Oprah
“I think it’s important to realize you can miss something, but not want it back.” ~Paulo Coelho
“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” ~ Melody Beattie
“I’m not crying because of you; you’re not worth it. I’m crying because my delusion of who you were was shattered by the truth of who you are.” ~Steve Maraboli
“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~Marilyn Monroe
“Never love anybody that treats you like you’re ordinary.” ~Oscar Wilde
“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
“Pleasure of love lasts but a moment. Pain of love lasts a lifetime.” ~Bette Davis
“My feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping
but I shall go on living.” ~Pablo Neruda
“The dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” ~Nora Ephron
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~E.M. Forster
“Perhaps someday I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” ~Sylvia Plath
“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” ~Deepak Chopra
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anais Nin
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~Haruki Murakami
“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.” ~Mandy Hale
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” ~Lucille Ball
I haven’t always had the resolve to decide at the outset that I can handle anything — including an ending. Of course, it’s easy to be strong when we’re busy falling in love with the assurance that we’re loved in return. But I’ve been hurt one too many times, and I know that it’s always a possibility I could be hurt again.
But I can’t spend my life wrapped up in worry either. Instead, I write myself some notes — not as a safeguard against future heartache, that doesn’t exist, but to remind myself that all I can do is love myself and love my partner and let life unfold.
It’s a message in a bottle, a love note tossed out to ourselves that should include things like this:
- Never settle.
- Love yourself more.
- Don’t apologize for being who you are.
- Love with your whole heart no matter what.
- Be brave.
Maybe we’ll never need to open it, but it’ll be there if or when we do.
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