Heartbreak 101: Dissecting the Pain

“Did that hurt?”

The man in front of me in line at Starbucks pointed to the rose tattoos on my upper arms.

Before I had a chance to answer, he continued.

“That’s cool. I like pain, too. That’s why I got married.” Smirk.

The lack of caffeine in my bloodstream made it difficult to reply.

“Ahh, uh huh,” I giggled.

He wanted to chat, but since I’ve had the “I want to get tattoos, too” conversation countless times with his faceless counterparts, I wasn’t interested.

A stranger is not the best person to advise you about a permanent marking on your skin.

Besides, I already heard everything I needed to know.

“Have a good day!” I affirmed, trying not to be rude, as I hurriedly stuck a straw in my matcha latte and went on my way.

We’re programmed to think in terms of: pain = bad, no pain = good.

We want to avoid physical pain but don’t take the same precautions with emotional pain.

The Coffee Patron made an astute connection between our choices that produce physical and emotional pain.

Why would you put yourself through physical pain to create designs on your body?

That’s ridiculous.

Similarly, why would you put yourself through emotional pain for the sake of a permanent relationship in your life?

It is implied that we might want to avoid getting a tattoo because it hurts, but we don’t prevent broken heart pain when we have the chance.

No one ever points to a group of friends and asks, “Did that hurt?” even though most frustrations in life arise from our relationships with others.

We’re intrigued by a conscious decision to receive physical pain—so we inquire why someone would want to put themselves through “that”—but people don’t go to therapists to talk about the recurring pain from a tattoo.

They do, however, go to therapists to talk about getting over heartbreak from months, years, and sometimes decades of emotional pain caused by relationships.

While the physical pain from a tattoo is temporary, emotional pain lasts.

But I digress; my heartbreak book is not about relationships.

Can we avoid emotional pain the way we think we can avoid physical pain by not getting a tattoo?

All suffering occurs in our own minds when we focus on what we have, don’t have, never have had, or never will have.

There are other things you can focus on.

How to Overcome Heartbreak

Stefanie Flaxman is the creator of @RevisionFairy and author of a new book about heartbreak.

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About Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is a digital copywriter and editor with an unparalleled eye for detail. She teaches better writing, disciplined creativity, and non-sleazy marketing. Get more from Stefanie on YouTube.