What Would You Do If You Knew There Was A Science Behind Moving On?

Wanna hear some sad story? I’ll tell you two.

When I was young… about 19 or 20, I fell in love hard with an American boy who was my best friend in the whole world. He later became my husband.t

We liked playing guitars together, sharing stupid inside jokes and him trying all the weird Tagalog words he wanted to learn.

We’d wake up mornings next to each other full of love and smiles.

Many people were hesitant of our decision saying we were young and naive but we knew that what we felt was real and strong.

And thus we swore to spend the rest of our lives with each other. We were serious about having a family together.

For someone like me, I never liked commitment or marriage. But for some reason, when I looked at him, I saw grey hairs and rocking chairs. This made me change my mind.

But 2 years after we got married, things turned 360. We talked less and less and we would argue about even the most mundane of things. It was like, we were driving each other crazy.

What hurt the most was not the burnt out romance, but the ashes of my best friend who used to be there.

When you face an end with your lover and best friend, it isn’t the relationship you’re mourning over. It’s the friendship that died with it.

And that pain cripples you knowing a good friend won’t be there in your life anymore.

My point is, even the love you thought you knew could be so different in a blink of an eye.


Two years after that, I met the father of my child. It wasn’t an ideal relationship but we tried to make it work.

He was a Muslim and I was a Catholic. And much to the chagrin of my parents, I still pursued it even if we were on two different paths – I was a designer, he was a football athlete playing for a famous Philippine team.

Our meeting was like that from a romantic movie: guy bumps into the girl by fate (ours was amidst a city street), story goes and they fall in love.

I wish I knew then what I knew now. And I should have listened to my parents.

But then you know, you will never ever know it’s a mistake unless you make it. Because no matter how true the things people say, the only person who will believe that mistake is you.

This is why you have to go through the hard stuff yourself.


But let me tell you if you don’t know it yet: Relationships are tricky.

The only thing you will ever realize is that you’ll only think straight from the standpoint when it’s all over. Also called the loveless/sober phase.

And from what I have learned, you need to be secured before jumping into anything.

Emotions are beautiful but they are not everything.


Which leads me to this: Heartbreaks are the worst.

Whether you are in a relationship or not, it’s just one of those things that linger in your body and mind and you can’t turn the fucking thing off.

But it’s not entirely just the worst. Pain is also a catalyst for growth; and heartbreaks, whether you were amicable with it or not, allow you to do some self-introspecting and development.

If you’re asking yourself: “how do I get over from this situation?”, I’m terribly sorry but you can’t. The harsh truth and the only way to move on is “through”.

To understand this better, we’ll have to break down the types of heartbreaks there are so you know which solution is applicable for you.

Heartbreaks are also a huge indicator of the type of relationship you have with that person and to yourself so pay attention. You will pick up some stuff (most likely the red flags) that you missed at the initial phases of your relationship.

READ: The Different Types Of Heartbreak. Which one was yours?


When You Can’t Deal With Heartbreak, Let Science Help You Heal The Pain

When I had a draft of this article in my Evernote, I started digging up some research on break-ups.

I fiddled with the concept: “If heartbreak causes pain in the emotions, and those two things are a by-product of our biological process… then there must be some science behind it that I never knew?”

And that’s when it hit me to make this guide.

People would be mindblown if they find out some sort of “hack” or closure where it did not directly involve begging it from their past lovers.

It took me 14 days to finally get down in writing this.

I came across a blog post on NPR that cited a research in the journal called Social Psychological and Personality Science. In it, the study discovered that while indulging yourself in the sorrow and aftermath of your breakup is not a good choice, rehashing can actually speed up your recovery.

Reflection over a failed pursuit is a good thing.

I was impressed by the information done by that research. It was led by a Northwestern University social psychology grad student whose name was Grace Larson.

Grace had been studying heartbreak for years and one of her curiosities was, if she asked research participants to recall the painful memories of their relationships, would it hinder their recovery?

This was because the first half found that the consistent evaluation of their painful experience led them to process and mourn the loss.

So what she did was call up 210 young volunteers who went through a heartbreak recently. Half of those (the 1st batch) attended the lab evaluation on a consistent period, answering questions over their breakup for the period of 9 weeks.

The other half of the 210 (2nd batch), just did two simple surveys. One in the beginning and one at the end of the study.

The result was staggering: The 1st batch had a better response than the 2nd batch.

This was because the first half found that the consistent evaluation of their painful experience led them to process and mourn the loss.

No wonder why trauma victims undergo debriefing.

This is pretty much the same concept.


Breakups & Moving On Are Part Of Our Evolutionary Process

Apparently, heartaches and separations are not purely just emotional and psychological processes. They’re also biological.

It was studied that the key to our survival was finding a prime mate, even if it means leaving the former one.

Because reproduction, whether we intend for it or not to happen, is engraved in our brain. How we behave is inclined to the years of biological shifts that gravitate towards reproduction.

Okay, so blame your buckets of tears on the survival instinct yeah?

Well, back in the day it was essential to ensuring that our species survived. Researchers even had a clinical term for this.

You ready for it?

 They call falling out of love the “primary mate ejection” and entering a new relationship, “secondary mate ejection”

 

And the harsh part uncovered about this study is that while humans are biologically serial monogamists, they can’t mate for life with just one partner.

So consider your grandparents rare, kids.


The Fixes

Now that you’ve understood and processed how and why a heartbreak happens, it’s time to finally swab a cotton and some oxygen peroxide over your heart and plaster a band-aid on it.

Here are my tried-and-tested fixes for a broken heart:

  • Time
  • Productivity
  • Support Group
  • Healthy Living & Mindfulness

 

Time

All of my heartaches felt like I was being skinned alive, and I thought they’d never end. But what I found was, I only had to give it time.

This is perhaps the hardest thing to accept, but it is a fact.

Time almost always heals everything.

Productivity

Along with many other people I have interviewed, we all agreed that productivity is an essential thing when moving on.

Immerse yourself in projects that bring out your best. Do work that fulfills you. This is my secret.

When you’ve got your mind and body busy, you will start to retrain your focus to look at your bubble alone.

At first this will be hard, but practice takes time and the mind will need some of it to adjust to your brand-new self-love habits.

Support Group

Finding your tribe is a major factor in your capacity to move on.

The more time that you replenish your social meter, the quicker you are able to feel that you are wanted again.

The thing with heartaches is that, social rejection is a huge nick on our egos. And as we know, egos are responsible for our self-worth.

Even APA (American Psychological Association) has found that “a broken heart may not be so different from a broken arm”.

Upon comparison with people who played it that were included, the excluded players showed that rejection increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate and anterior insula. These two brain regions are used to show and tell the signs in response to physical pain.

The article states that we rely heavily on social groups for survival. So much for the “no man is an island” fluff, eh? It is as basic as our any other biological need – hunger, thirst, shelter, you name it.

In fact, Naomi Eisenberger, PhD from University of California, Los Angeles USA together with Kipling Williams, PhD at Purdue University and their colleagues, have uncovered that rejection activates many brain region groups that are connected to physical pain.

They used a technique called Cyberball with an fMRI scanner.

The Cyberball simulates an online game of frisbee catch with two other players, eventually excluding the main person playing.

Upon comparison with people who played it that were included, the excluded players showed that rejection increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate and anterior insula. These two brain regions are used to show and tell the signs in response to physical pain.

So as you can see by science, recovering from heartbreak needs a huge amount of social interaction.

Tip: Even if you feel forced for the first time, try as hard as you can to initiate human contact. If you’re not feeling it and you have pets, try practicing interaction with them. After a couple of tries, you will start to get a feel of things.

Healthy Living & Mindfulness

Heartbreak can take a toll on your self-confidence.

As with rejection, it creates body stressors that temporarily disable you (and yet, can feel like permanent during it happens!).

It’s important to take care of yourself during this period.

Here are some simple and actioanble activities you can do while going through a tough time:

    • Get enough sleep. This may be difficult to achieve during your first days in heartbreak but you have to eventually get at least 5-8 hours. This is very important and non-negotiable. Your sleep largely contributes to your overall mood and your disposition in doing your other productive activities.
    • Exercise
    • Eat healthy
    • Practice meditation and/or yoga
    • Breathe

RECOMMENDED: For more ideas, read this ultimate guide on how to get over a bad phase.


Dealing with heartbreaks is a very difficult time for any human being, but with the right help, a little nudging and sprinkles of self-love, you too can get back on track.

Remember, you will not be the same as you once were prior to this painful experience. But you will come out stronger, more aware, self-loving and you will know your standards deeply as you should.

Never settle for any less than you feel like you deserve.

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Coming Out: On Having Bipolar Disorder

To my friends and family who might frown upon reading this… this is not for you. This is for the lives that are about to be reaped if the stigma of mental health continues. This is me doing my part for the world.

For more information on Bipolar Disorder, click here: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-signs-and-symptoms.htm


The day I decided to be myself again was the day I first sat down on my psychiatrist’s chair.

more “Coming Out: On Having Bipolar Disorder”

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Why failure is important to success

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The title of this post is my favorite Latin phrase: “A rough road leads to the stars”. It resonates deeply with me. And so does Ralph Waldo Emerson. I live by his quotes. I wholeheartedly love all of his wisdom.

But going where there was no path was not idyllic. Life wasn’t easy. And it sure showed me how.

This is my story, and I want to share with you some of the most important lessons I have ever learned. Maybe it will save you time in the long run, maybe from heartache, maybe it will help you avoid the mistakes that I did – who knows, the universe only does. Now before you go ahead and read it… I want you to understand 3 things:

Important reminders
  • This isn’t for you IF:
    • you’re the kind of person who feels they’re better than anyone else. I do not need your prejudice, I’m here to talk about what happened in order to become who I am today, and why stopovers & rejections in life were vital to my current position.
    • you think life is the same pattern for everyone else like it is for you.
    • you are not an empathic listener.
    • you are not passionate about life.
    • you refuse to embrace the waves of change.
  • Life will break you – whether or not you want it.
  • My reality and truth may make you uncomfortable, but as they say, experience, is a great teacher.

If you are okay with everything from above, click on below. Otherwise, I’ll advise you to click the X button on your window.

Read my full story
As your takeaway, here’s what I’ve learned:
  • Life’s lessons will present itself in its raw form, but you will be blind until it’s over. The grueling pain that I had to endure emotionally and physically was something I wouldn’t recommend but once this happens to you… do not panic. Call someone you trust, someone who’s known you your whole life – it could be a family member, a friend or your significant other. The important thing is not to carry this burden alone.
  • If help does not come, make your move. More often than not, the people around you won’t understand what you’re going through. They will be there for you but not with you. In case this happens, will yourself to create your future. Take action. Do not wait until help comes.
  • Rejection is protection. If you get turned away from something you want so bad, it must not really be for you. Think of it as a redirection from the universe.
  • Sleep and water is magic. Simple things… but they work wonders. When you’re cranky and you’re depressed, these are your best friends.
  • Love is not found from another person. It always is within you and about you. No it isn’t being selfish. If you are not okay with the love you have, then by all means let go.
  • Do not invest 100% in a relationship – unless it is a relationship with yourself. 

    The right person will come along and sweep you off your feet, things are great and before you know it you’ve fallen in love. But you cannot discount yourself from your real value… or you’re giving your significant other the power to rule over your life. By constantly seeing that you value yourself, your partner does as well. He/she will respect your worth. Isn’t this pretty much how before you started? You leave good impressions to attract them.

  • Productivity and travel are the cure to sadness. Knowing you’re doing something worthy of your existence will shun all the doubts and ghosts of your brain. Go out and explore! Nature will heal you, I promise. You’re made to do great things, so claim it and the universe will allow it!
  • Start a hobby that you think you might like. For me it was cooking that changed me. Every time I put out a lovely dish I made at home, I felt a sense of accomplishment and a well-founded purpose. There’s just a lovely magic in doing something productive so I suggest to pick up a hobby when life feels flat.

    It could be just as simple as collecting pictures, or taking photos or as grand as enrolling in a workshop meant to hone your skills.

  • Not everyone is from the same cookie cutter. Life can be normal for other people, yes they do make the wisest decisions, but I’ve figured a lot of people are so blind to the fact that real drama does happen. When shit hits the fan, they cannot believe it. And thus, it leads me to the next bullet point…
  • Your lowest moments will reveal who the real people in your life are. Might be a cliche, but this is indeed true. The moment that everything in your life is knee-deep in misery is when you know who has the patience to tolerate you and to be kind to you. Love these people. They are your source of strength.
  • School does not equal merit. Diplomas are not equal to guaranteed greatness. I’ve learned this the hard way. When I dropped out I thought my life would be put on hold, I came to feel like I was less of myself. But I was wrong. When I had my marketing job, I got to interview people, most of them from prestigious schools who graduated with diplomas and honors but they didn’t have the skills that made them fit for the job. They were “textbook junkies”. And when asked for a practical question they can only mutter “um” or look me in the eye. Don’t be textbook junkie. Your success depends on YOU. You are your greatest life project. Do not let the academic status quo stop you from being awesome.
  • Learning does not stop in school. With that being said, I got into self-learning and enrolling in online courses. Internet is your friend if you want to learn from the greatest and even the simplest of minds. Don’t stop learning. Knowledge and perseverance will be your greatest assets.
  • It’s okay to think and feel you may want to die, BUT NEVER DO ITThe idea of suicide is at most, just an extreme frustrating release. You want things to be better but they don’t happen. I saw it as a solution during my worst times, and an escape from this cold-hearted world. I no longer felt like I belonged. To me, I lost my value, my voice, my heart. When I wanted to speak, I would find myself holding back.

    “No one could possibly understand from where I’m standing,” yes I hear you. I’ve thought of it too.

    But killing yourself is not going to make things better. It just stops your life.

    You can make your weakness your power. Think of how many people you could help with your dilemma, when you finally get out of your position.

    How fulfilling it would feel?
    How many dreams you’ve wanted to pursue?
    How people will feel about your death?


    They say suicide is a selfish thing, but I think a lot of people who died from suicide, just really thought of what they thought was best for themselves. They weren’t able to get help from anyone. It’s not necessarily selfish as it would be a prejudice, but it seems they wanted to hand themselves a sense of peace.

    In my case, I killed myself in my head many times but I never found the courage to leave, simply because my goals and my desire for helping people burned so strong I didn’t want to leave this world. In that way, I somehow recreated myself time and time again, like a phoenix rising from the ashes reincarnating. This is an alternative way instead of taking your life.

    During that worst time, I kept thinking about the goals I could do, and people I could help get through the same feeling I did. I kept thinking of people I love who I might leave.

    And so, I looked for comfort in those who believed in me.

    I did allow myself to feel crappy, but once it was done I rose from the bed, ate my breakfast, made lunch and declared, “The rest of today will be a good day! I will live and do things that make me happy and fulfilled, and I will succeed!”

  • Depression is a friend who loves you endlessly. It loves you unconditionally, without barriers. And more often, it smothers you… but all it really wants is to allow you to feel so you can rise above the challenges life is throwing you, helping you to go through it instead of around it. This friend wants to make you braver, stronger and so invincible that it leaves you nothing less but your life to fulfill.

    Depression is not the one who gave you your problems; it’s just a by-product, an emotion. It is not a situation. You can get out of it.

    Once I understood this, I started to have shorter episodes, and more time planning on how I can make my life better. I ask myself after, “what can I do today to get me one step closer of being happy?”.

    Depression kept embracing me all these years, but I never hugged it back. I felt like a horrible friend to Depression. It was just helping me become stronger so no one and nothing can break me again. It wants me to get used to Pain, who’s my boundary watch. When I saw things this way and embraced depression back, amazing things began to happen. I began to see through people and feel what they felt.
  • Problems are phases. People are points. We always have the power to change our situation if we choose to. I never liked hearing this before but this is truth in my experience. Problems are just phases, stopovers. People are points. One does not represent the other.
  • Learn to separate each unfortunate event as they are. The problem I encountered most was that I didn’t know how to segmentize my suffering. I just thought of it as a whole chaos that was meant to make my life hell.

    When I separated each problem and let go of what haunts me, it allowed me to look at my life as a book with chapters instead of just one gunky page written with no stops.

    A story can be hard to read that way, right? So is your life.

    You need to be able to see that your life has its highlights and its shadows. Too much of each is not ideal, but a good balance makes for a good-looking picture.

  • Surround yourself with people who share your life goals. When I started having bad things around me, I had people snooping around my life like it was a TV soap. I felt judged and unmotivated. I even sulked in my bed for months.

    Then one day I met my lovely Lithuanian bestfriends, Ieva, Siga and Arūnas who changed me in ways I can never explain. Ieva is my sunshine, Siga is my wolf, Arūnas is my recluse.

    Ieva cheers me up when I am sad and makes me believe I can do it (even when I think I can’t and life sucks), while Siga is my motivator and talks real shit (still with love) into me when I cannot see things properly. Arūnas, who isn’t often around, pops in from time to time to check on me but when we do, he and I discuss universally-boggling things. It makes me laugh!

    And you need the same kind of people: People who value you.

    People who make you want to look forward to tomorrow.

    These 3 friends I have replaced my old network with who are just friends by the name. I now have Positivity, Reality, and Timing. They are them. They help me understand that not often things go as planned, but they care and they understand me deeply – and still love me despite my many flaws.
  • Grow a solid professional network. As you build relationships with meaningful people, you need to also have individuals who reflect the kind of goal or the lifestyle that you aspire.

    For example, if you want to be a photographer, make friends with photographers and photography enthusiasts.

    Are you an aspiring artist? Are the people around you not into your art? Change it! Be friends with fellow beings who share appreciation for your craft. That way it leaves you no gap for demotivation because you are surrounded by your dream.

    If you don’t know where to start, you can join our art collective, Amplified27 or subscribe to my private non-profit organization Pass On The Dream. We are a team of motivating and passion-driven people. We work for what we love so if you feel alone and can’t find your crowd, I encourage you to be surrounded by us!

Why is failure important, Iris?

Good question!

The reason why failure is important to success is because during these times you transition to a better you. If I were to give you a marketing reference, life would be called A/B testing in marketing. You test and fail, so you know what works next time. You learn. Whichever works, is your call. You take the lead.

I hope this made sense.

And to you, whoever you are… if you are going through something even remotely similar, you are great. Thank you for living your life. Do not think that you are otherwise. If you still feel like life is difficult, I’m an email away and let me help you get through it.

But for now, I’ll leave you with this quote…

When life gets too overwhelming and things go bad, when your family does not understand why, when your friends are too busy to listen or meet… All you really have is yourself. You cannot depend on anyone else to feel better. It’s an advice I always tell when people ask me how to get better, how to move on or how to be happy. Sometimes you really just have to fake it and make it. We all have these days. But at times these days get worse. We forget there is a world beyond our room, beyond the bed we choose to hide in. It is extremely difficult to motivate myself when it happens, and when I hear discouraging words I start to lose belief in my talents. But today I am proud of myself. Not for doing something great. But just to be able to wake up one more day and get up from the bed and try again. And if you are feeling awful today… Here’s to you. You brave little human being. You’ve lived all these years and fought your way through. And regardless of how many times you got stuck with pain, you cradled it with change and you fight. That’s the spirit! Go and make more moments. I’m proud of you.Iris Buenconsejo

May you always live the life you love.