Introduction to Heartbreak Philosophy

Heartbreak Philosophy. Photo Credit – Flickr: jef safiHeartbreak philosophy creates a discussion about what differentiates heartbreak from other feelings of sadness.

If you label a circumstance “heartbreaking,” what has occurred? What emotions make up this state that make it specifically heartbreak?

Love gone wrong is a common cause for the claim of a broken heart.

When you lose something that you love—something you want to keep—you become nauseatingly aware that you never had it in the first place.

The realization that your ideal situation has crumbled, or was never solid to begin with, leads to feelings of heartbreak.

Although those feelings exist, heartbreak philosophy covers the instances that lead up to heartbreak, and what happens post-heartbreak affects humans more than the perception of a broken heart.

How we react and respond to future heartbreak influences our outlooks on our lives and how we conduct ourselves—how we carry on (or don’t carry on). [Read more…]

Getting Over Heartbreak: Why You Can’t Get It Right

Getting Over Heartbreak. Photo Credit – Flickr: marsmet524“Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.” —St. Augustine

Does getting over heartbreak have to do with anything other than love?

In attempt to start a new conversation about heartbreak, I’m not interested in the common notion of heartbreak cures after break-ups or divorces. Post-relationship therapy is not my intent.

The larger implications of heartbreak relate to identity.

The emotions of heartbreak shape our identities and have more comprehensive consequences than just being upset after a failed relationship or dysfunctional love affair.

Who we choose to be after we’ve experienced shattered expectations and nauseating realities affect all human beings. They are choices that everyone makes. Are you aware of the decisions that you’ve made? [Read more…]

Video: Get Over Heartbreak

Book About HeartbreakWhat differentiates feelings of heartbreak from other painful emotions caused by disappointment, rejection, or criticism. What ingredients make up a broken heart?

If you label a state “heartbreak,” what events have occurred and what feelings have been evoked that make it specifically heartbreak?

I like to examine why people get upset in combination with their reactions and responses when something disturbs, offends, or insults them.

I call that sequence heartbreak, and it exists in the space of identity, self-development, and choices, rather than in the realm of love, sex, and relationships.

Those looking to get over heartbreak must first define it.

More than extreme melancholy, I regard heartbreak as a state that you’re in when your ideal state has been disrupted and can’t exist anymore—a recurring fact of life.

Watch the video below to find out more. [Read more…]

How Do You End Conversations With Yourself?

Conversations With Yourself. Photo Credit – Flickr: Leo ReynoldsOur self-directed conversations can be as bland or lively as our conversations with others. Do not assume drama solely arises from external interactions.

We can rip ourselves to pieces in the same way we would attack any other person who berated us—and gain the same amount of satisfaction.

While such destruction may seem reserved for the masochistic bunch, you don’t have to thrive on pain to engage with the battle. We welcome pain into our lives all the time.

If you were sitting in a restaurant and the couple to your left quietly exchanged polite words while the couple on your right loudly insulted each other with abusive remarks, which conversation would capture your attention?

You choose to listen to the argument because it’s more interesting. It has potential.

Drama inspires possibility and plays a role in our development, even if we say we’d rather live without it. [Read more…]

Proofreading as a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness Practice. Photo Credit – Flickr: ConnectIrmeliIf you’re happy with what you have, does nothing in your life need to change?

Change is a funny thing because it can happen whether you want it to or not—and it’s often heartbreaking.

An appreciation for aspects of your life that give you comfort is actually quite independent of pursuing a beneficial change.

When is it appropriate to actively make a change, then?

A writer gets emotionally attached to the words that he pens. Critiques or corrections about his creations may be interpreted as personal attacks (depending on how sensitive you are).

Literal and metaphorical writing, however, is a process. That’s why word processors (the electronic or human being kind) have delete/backspace keys and copy/paste functions. You’re supposed to befriend the rough draft.

In writing, and in life, assuming the role of your own freelance proofreader can be a mindfulness practice. No beneficial change to your writing will occur if you refuse to recognize the sections that need improvement.

You give yourself this power. No one else will. [Read more…]

Where Does ‘Being Happy With What You Have’ Fall on the Bullshit Scale?

Being Happy With What You Have. Photo Credit – Flickr: everywhereisimaginedWhen you consider the contradicting viewpoints within cynical optimism, the common advice “be happy with what you have” sparks a thoughtful battle.

“Being happy with what you have” simply promotes appreciation. Instead of wanting more, you focus on the gifts that are already present in your life.

The idea is noble, but the practice is undefined. If “be happy with what you have” is the last thing that anyone wants to hear when she is distraught, there is a discrepancy between the philosophy and its beneficial manifestation in everyday life.

If you’re not even remotely happy with what you have, are these empty words?

Rather than dismiss this phrase as lofty or nonsensical, I want to examine its flaws to help you extract and use its valuable message. [Read more…]

Are Your Wishes Dangerous?

Dangerous Wishes. Photo Credit – Flickr: srqpixThe darkness behind my eyes terrified me. Best to keep them open.

Lights on. My parents just a quick call away.

I didn’t think about any of that three days ago.

It was Friday the 13, and like any curious third-grader, I wanted to celebrate the day (and the weekend) by watching scary movies with my best friend.

After school, we jumped in the backseat of her father’s car and nervously asked if we could rent Friday the 13th when we got to the video store. To our shock and jubilation, he said yes.

High fives. Giggles. Our manic gestures projected that we had just won the lottery. We kept repeating how cool it was to “watch Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.”

While I enjoyed viewing the movie—still high from the excitement of doing something that was reserved for older kids—I couldn’t sleep that night. Or the next night. Or the next night.

It was my turn to learn the trite lesson “be careful what you wish for.”

The movie infiltrated my 9-year-old brain, and I had to deal with the repercussions of watching violence intended for a mature audience. [Read more…]

Not Your Mother’s Itsy Bitsy Spider: Identify Obstacles

Identify Obstacles. Photo Credit – Flickr:  philippe leroyerI typed away at my keyboard, engrossed in my work.

“I like metaphors and contradictions, bla, bla, bla …”

When I stopped to take a breath, I glanced up at the ceiling and my eyes zoomed in on a dark mass in stark contrast to the white paint.

I grabbed my glasses and wrapped them around my face to confirm my finding.

Yep. A spider.

High ceilings are beautiful until an eight-legged creature is hanging out above your bed.

What to do?

Due to the out-of-reach location, the best solution was my favorite action: nothing. Let nature take its course.

Within minutes the arachnid was crawling its way toward a window on the opposite end of my apartment, along the line where my wall meets my ceiling. A start, but he had a long way to go. After another minute, he stopped—just stopped—on his path to outside.

At this point, I began to analyze what he could have been thinking about: his motivations, the obstacles ahead of him.

When we embark on any new journey, there are going to be events and heartbreaks that make us question our beliefs and decisions. Nothing is smooth sailing, but should that be a reason not to start in the first place? [Read more…]

Video: How to Overcome Heartbreak

How to Overcome HeartbreakWhen was the last time you felt it?

It could have been an intense jolt or a mild ache that lasted for years.

You may have gotten so used to living with it that you don’t remember how you felt, how you functioned, and how you formed opinions without it.

Heartbreak.

As you become your own Revision Fairy, you take responsibility for your life because it’s the life that you have to live every day. It’s your manuscript.

You write out what happens next, and edit out what doesn’t work.

Since symbolic writing and editing is all about examining choices, my philosophical magnifying glass likes to focus on what influences our decisions. [Read more…]

The Intersection of Cynicism and Optimism

Cynicism and Optimism: Photo Credit – Flickr: topastrodfognaFor me, proofreading is about improving, and it doesn’t stop when I’m done working on a document.

Since I value a strong sense of self, I think nauseating self-awareness is one way to shape your identity.

I like to proofread my actions because I don’t like to take experiences for granted.

My intent isn’t to make myself a neurotic mess. It’s to monitor my growth as a human being, examine why I do the things that I do, and confidently own the choices that I make.

Life is a series of difficult decisions. Heavy, emotional, pressing decisions. The choice of how you want to feel takes center stage.

We like to escape reality when we can’t face the choices that we’ve made. If we’re content with our decisions, it’s easier to face life and keep moving forward.

Reality is what the world presents to you. How you decide to interpret reality builds the pieces of your identity. [Read more…]

Whom Did You Interrupt Today?

Photo Credit – Flickr: semuthutanThe other night, I needed to stand in a line for an event.

Once I spotted the established row of people, my eyes followed pairs of feet until the line ended. I glanced up at the last person waiting, and we both chuckled.

Isn’t it fun to unexpectedly see a friend?

Hellos. Hugs. How Are Yous.

“Evan just told me that you’re writing a book about heartbreak,” he said.

“Yeah!” I replied, excited that someone other than me mentioned my book.

“So, it’s about break-ups and—”

“Nooo!” I interrupted. “I know it sounds like it’s about relationships and dating, but it’s not. It’s more about pain, but in the most lighthearted way.”

Cringe. [Read more…]

What Does Death Offer?

Death Philosophy. Photo Credit – Flickr: NASA CREWThe unknown causes panic and disruption.

If you know what’s going to happen, you can keep yourself safe.

If you don’t know what’s going to happen, you may encounter feelings that you don’t like.

And even if you don’t like the feelings in your safe environment, at least they aren’t new shitty feelings (scientific terminology, I know).

If death is the ultimate question mark, then it seems that life would be the favorable alternative.

However, when presented with life, humans like to create ways to escape when circumstances do not work out smoothly. [Read more…]

What Changed Your Life This Week?

Photo Credit – Flickr: .Andi.I can be a tad dramatic.

I’ve been known to label ordinary instances—from jury duty to eating a club sandwich—as life-changers.

I also interpret the blandest phrases as metaphors.

Admittedly, I’m obsessive when it comes to finding hidden meaning in everyday occurrences. Some allegories make more sense than others.

Since writing and editing metaphors are my favorite, I’ve evolved this site from a proofreading service to a place for philosophical content about making revisions in life—you’re the master storyteller, after all.

The following quote from Brain Pickings is about the writing process, but I obviously saw larger implications:

You can’t revise or discard what you don’t consciously recognize.”

When I talk about optimism or cynicism, I’ve assumed way too much. [Read more…]

Let It Exist, Not Consume

Cynical Optimism. Photo Credit – Flickr: the|G|If I weren’t naturally optimistic, I’d tell myself to shut the fuck up.

When everything has gone to shit, the last thing that you want to hear is that it’ll be okay and that the damage is not worth your emotional energy.

That’s why I was so delighted with Candide the first time I read it over 10 years ago.

I loved Voltaire’s critique of the outlook that “everything is for the best, even if it’s the worst,” but I also subscribe to the same “best of all possible worlds” philosophy that Voltaire mocks.

Contradictions abound. The civil war in my mind aches.

Cruelty makes me feel foolish; innocence makes me feel jaded.

When opposite circumstances both break your heart, you learn (besides that you’re a sensitive person) that there is no shortage of reasons to be upset all the time.

How do you want the external to affect you? [Read more…]

It’s Not About You

Emotional Perspective. Photo Credit – Flickr: Squirmelia“I never saw it coming from my little human prism. How sad it is to know I’m in control.” ~Bright Eyes, Triple Spiral

You can’t force perspective.

When you’re caught up in an emotional reaction, perspective is quite dependent on the idea that there is no substitute for time.

Compassion for another point of view grows once you become emotionally neutral to the damage, or at least take a break from expending the same amount of emotional energy on it.

During this period of pause, you organically learn more about the situation at hand.

You don’t have to rush your emotions to feel something other than what you’re feeling, but you can practice viewing them differently when you feel personally offended.

Perspective can also be an exercise that you incorporate into how you emotionally process the world. [Read more…]

It’s Only Screwed Up from Your Limited Perspective

Limited Perspective. Photo Credit – Flickr: Corey AnnIf you’re upset, the feeling can likely be traced back to a circumstance.

You would have liked a “good” thing to happen, but instead you were presented with a “bad” thing.

Although we make superficial judgments of “good” and “bad” all day long, those judgments include a variety of assumptions.

Should you have an emotional reaction based on your view of what’s good or bad, right or wrong?

Do you know what’s good or bad, and which category contains your own actions? [Read more…]

How Do You Avoid Suffering?

Avoid Suffering. Photo Credit – Flickr: Nicole AbaldeLast weekend, I found myself in a crowded watering hole on a Saturday night.

After shuffling around a bit to say hello to the friends I was there to see, I was lucky enough to find an empty barstool.

I happily made a full-ass commitment to my makeshift home for the evening.

A female bartender leaned in and asked what I wanted to drink.

“Can I have a Shirley Temple, please?” I replied, as I glanced over to the gentleman sitting alone to my right.

We introduced ourselves, and my non-alcoholic beverage choice led to a conversation about vices. [Read more…]

Are Your Goals Stifling Your Strengths?

Discover Your Strengths. Photo Credit – Flickr: sbpoetWhen asked about persistence despite failures and unfavorable circumstances, I once heard Lady Gaga say (I’m paraphrasing):

“If I had given up, this wouldn’t be what I’m supposed to be doing.”

She knew that pop stardom was bubbling in her blood and no setback was going to keep her from achieving that goal.

Achievements aren’t always easy. They take work. Lots of hard work. Nothing new or shocking about that.

However, what you think you want can often block harmonious circumstances from entering your life. [Read more…]

What Happens When You Get What You Want?

Envy. Photo Credit – Flickr: annalise.ellenSo, someone else has got what you want.

What are you going to do about it?

Let’s pretend you’re eight years old and drawing with a green crayon. You desperately want to draw with an orange crayon, but only ten-year-old art students get to draw with orange crayons.

Your art project would be just perfect if you had that color. You can feel it. You know how great it would be.

The orange crayon is perfection in its unrealized state.

Since your teacher has always admired your drawings, you ask him if he could give you an orange crayon to complete your idea (even though it’s against the rules). [Read more…]