There is perhaps no greater testament to love than our willingness to engage in it with the full knowledge that it could end in heartbreak. We laugh, we embrace, we hold hands and travel together for as long as the fates allow, and it doesn’t matter if love lasts weeks or decades — when it is lost, it hurts.
Heartbreak is not something dreamed up by romantics; it’s biological. When we are in sync with another person, our body regulates in partnership with theirs. Our cortisol levels drop, our heartbeats tend to match, even our brainwaves can mimic that of our loved one. If that person is suddenly no longer with us, we feel the loss on a visceral, subconscious level.
While nursing a broken heart, it can be difficult to believe that it will ever mend. It’s times like this that it can be helpful to hear that others have survived the same ordeal, and have not only healed, but grown back stronger. When we see that there is a way through, we begin to understand that we will love again. From poems to songs to memoirs, there’s no shortage of reflections on recovering from a broken heart — perhaps because it is such a universal experience. Here are a few of our favorite such quotes, to soothe and support you whenever you need them.
It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise.
— Sara Teasdale, poet
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
A broken heart is just the growing pains necessary so that you can love more completely when the real thing comes along.
— J.S.B. Morse, author
Every time your heart is broken, a doorway cracks open to a world full of new beginnings, new opportunities.
— Patti Roberts, author
When you are standing in [a] forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
— Elizabeth Gilbert
The human heart is the only thing whose worth increases the more it is broken.
— Shakieb Orgunwall, writer
You thought that I'd be weak without you, but I'm stronger.
— “Survivor,” written by Mathew Knowles, Anthony Dent, and Beyoncé
I've got all my life to live, and I've got all my love to give / And I'll survive, I will survive.
— “I Will Survive,” written by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren
We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
— Joseph Campbell
What is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives.
— Rupi Kaur, poet
“Your mind will keep you up at night, make you cry, destroy you over and over again. You need to convince your mind that it has to let go… because your heart already knows how to heal.”
— Nikita Gill, poet and playwright
Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardships and heartbreaks… Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.
— Desmond Tutu
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, author
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
— Raymond Lindquist, clergyman
Lips that taste of tears, they say, are the best for kissing.
— Dorothy Parker
The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.
— Nicholas Sparks, novelist
Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
— Kahlil Gibran, writer
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