Gratitude is contagious, in a really good way

Did you know you can’t actually physically break the heart? It is the hardest working muscle of the body and can beat over three billion times in a person’s life.

Drop it and it doesn’t crack, doesn’t shatter into shards you find hiding in the carpet for years on end, pricking into your skin when you least expect it and causing pain. It cannot physically do this.

This is what I told myself when last it ached with a dull monotony that was relentless. Heart break hurts even if it doesn’t show.

Crying has been proven to help. Why? Because emotional driven tears contain a natural painkiller that is not present in other types of tears that normally just clear and clean the eyes.

The natural painkiller is called leucine encephalin, though it lacks the blanket of pain killing goodness felt as a valium kicks in at 3.00am in the morning after waking from erratic heartless sleep to an empty bed and the lingering smell of the man who is missing on sheets that remain unwashed for days lest the smell disappear and him with it.

Now I’m just being dramatic.

It has been well over a year since my vascular organ was ripped from the place it perceived to be secure to land on the ground at my feet.

There I go again.

But I have survived and so has my heart and I put a lot of that down to being grateful.

Like everyone I have been through breakups before. I know the drill. The devastation diet that sheds kilos in the first few weeks, the delusional break up sex that will never get you back together, the ‘accidental coincidence’ run ins at the his favourite cafe, the commitment to no contact for at least 30 days broken within one.

Only this time I decided to do it differently. I didn’t starve myself in desperation nor binge eat to numb the pain. Instead I made a conscious decision to sit with each feeling and let it pass, to approach as much of the pain with love where possible.

I packed up his stuff and left a note saying that if he was reading it then he needed to know that I had not packed his stuff up out of spite or revenge but simply because I did not want reminders of our life together at every turn and that I had treated each of his possessions with care and respect not hate.

But most of all I became grateful. Motivated by the amazing people I have in my life who showed up with enough food to fill my freezer, sent me flowers and notes and Stella McCartney bags from across the seas.

It started with a magnetic board that I pinned all these gracious selfless emails, cards and trinkets to and then placed in my kitchen to remind me that I am loved daily.

When my broken heart was compounded with a cancer diagnosis for my mother a month later I took it to Facebook where I showed my heart break vulnerability with grateful updates and thanks to friends and life.

Some days were more grateful than others and you could tell when I was struggling to find something to be grateful for but I was disciplined with the postings and my three gratitudes a day. They took on a life of their own with others answering my ‘what are you grateful for?’ callout and posting their own gratitudes in comments under mine.

At times I would add inspiring pictures or interesting videos or tag friends who had helped and I began to get so much back. Just saying thank you, just acknowledging what I did have in my life not concentrating on what I didn’t meant I received so much more than I could have imagined when I started with a simple thank you.

Don’t get me wrong, there were days I sobbed in my car driving round and round the block and there were the odd days I didn’t post but when I didn’t post I would get inbox messages on Facebook from people asking where my gratitude was as it helped them feel good about their days too. Gratitude is clearly contagious.

So, what am I grateful for now my heart is almost healed from the end of a romantic relationship that moved my heart in a good way forever?

I am grateful it happened at all for the heartbreak has brought as much love into my life as the relationship did and for that I say thank you.

What are you grateful for today?

This post was published on Huffington Post as How Facebook Healed My Broken Heart.

Speaker of ElephantTruths, teller of ElephantTales. Author, writer, journalist, blogger, producer, humorist.

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