Wednesday 26 March 2014

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did
I’m not sure whether you know The Beatles or not, but I totally recommend you check them out, they’re pretty good. So good, in fact, that the most difficult aspect of writing this article about my favourite band of all time, was to only include 10 points instead of 50. They have achieved so much! They continue to achieve so much! I am so proud of them! Which is why I grew quite overwhelmed and panicky as to which angle was the best to attack this demanding subject with.

I mean, I could easily flood your mind with facts like, for example, in 1964, when The Beatles occupied the top five positions of the U.S. Billboard singles chart, the top two positions on the U.S. album chart, the #1 slot on the British singles chart, the top two positions on the British album chart, and the #1 position on the British EP chart, all at the same time. It'd be almost too predictable to go on about how they are the highest selling band ever, or how they’ve had more #1 singles than anybody, or how they’ve had the most #1 albums since #1 existed. Yes, they hold the record for the longest span between #1 albums (36 years, 51 weeks). Yes, they’ve spent a total of 174 weeks at #1, more than any other artist in history. We know they've won three Brit Awards, nine Grammys, and an Oscar. We know they were granted MBEs. It's common knowledge that the Guinness World Records recognises McCartney as the most successful songwriter of all time, with his 188 charted records, as well as his song Yesterday (which he wrote in his sleep) having been covered by more than 2,200 artists. The man in question is also the only human being to have a #1 hit song solo; as part of a duo (Ebony and Ivory with Stevie Wonder), a trio (Wings), a quartet (The Beatles), and a quintet (Get Back, The Beatles with Billy Preston). I could even focus on how each Beatle performed vocals, or how they brought Eastern influence into Western musical culture, or how they achieved all of this in only ten years. Fuck man, I could talk about a whole load of things, but I won’t. Even though I just did.

Rather, I decided to target the following 10 Beatles facts on some of the lesser-known Fab Four accomplishments. Things which have either been forgotten or continuously overlooked by fans and enemies alike. It’s actually rather criminal how unspoken some of these magnificent triumphs are, which is why I took it upon myself to spread the word of The Beatles’ genius as far as I could. Because obviously they need my help.


The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 10. They Invented The World Tour And The Stadium Rock Concert
10. The Beatles Invented The World Tour And The Stadium Rock Concert

In the mid-1960s, the British Invasion took place. Bands like The Rolling Stones and The Who had finally outgrown their little island and broke straight into the center of the U.S.A. And naturally, this phenomenon was lead by The Beatles themselves, who by 1964, had their own unique form of hysteria following them around, coined as Beatlemania. The fact that their hair was too long didn’t bother the teenagers, as they screamed and fainted and wet themselves at the very mention of the group, all over the globe.

So naturally, there was money to be made, and it was decided to send the boys out to perform for the masses, from Europe to Japan to Australia to Canada and, of course, to the U.S.A. All the while the kids made so much noise that the band couldn't even hear what they were playing, at times performing completely different songs to each other, and yet nobody cared. This was the first world tour in history.

A year later on their third world tour, The Beatles took it to the next level, and played in front of a 55,000 strong crowd at Shea Stadium, New York. Once again, the audience was deafening, who "couldn't possibly have heard anything but their own screams. For that matter, they didn't seem to want to." It got so ridiculous that Lennon started playing the keyboard with his elbows, but I doubt anyone at the Beatles camp were all too bothered. They earned a record breaking $304,000 for that 30 minute gig, and had inadvertently invented the stadium rock concert.

On a side note, you know how these days it is common place for the drummer to be raised a bit higher than the rest of the band, so that the crowd can see him/her better? Ringo invented that too.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 09. The Beatles Were The First Earth Band Heard By Aliens. Theoretically.
09. The Beatles Were The First Earth Band Heard By Aliens. Theoretically.

In 2008, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song, the 45th anniversary of the DSN, and the 50th anniversary of NASA, the latter set up a 70 meter dish in Spain, and blasted Lennon’s 1969 track Across The Universe straight towards the star Polaris, 431 light years away. Which basically means that The Beatles have not only been played on every corner of our planet, but perhaps millions more? I’m not sure how space works.

People are quick to point out that this was only the second song to be transmitted into the cosmos, as Russia had done a similar project back in 2001. However, their attempt was that of a theremin concert, which if anything would probably provoke aliens to invade, and I for one do not condone this type of aggression. Other critics consider the program to be ludicrous, as we have no evidence suggesting there are even any planets in that area, let alone if they’d be suitable for life. But while these words flowed out like endless rain into a paper cup, the rest of us thought it was pretty neat.

Across The Universe is one of my least favourite Beatles songs ever, but it was still an apt choice. Much better than, say, A Day In The Life, which ends with a 15-kilohertz high-frequency tone, specifically included to annoy dogs. I mean, that’s a pretty funny move on the band’s part, but I think we should leave the space dogs out of this. They have enough problems of their own.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 08. The Beatles Invented The Music Video
08. The Beatles Invented The Music Video

In all fairness, the history of the “music video” can be traced back to the 1920s, where “musical short films” started to show their faces, and were quickly followed by 1930s musical cartoons (like those Disney Silly Symphonies and whatnot). The 1940s produced a lot of short musicals with dance sequences, and the 1950s introduced visual jukeboxes, all of which aided the evolution of what today is known as the music video.

But it wasn’t until the sequences in The Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night (1964), that the template for current music videos was born. A year later, their 1965 film Help! progressed it even further, in particular the title track’s segment which featured contrasting long shots, close ups, cross-cutting, and weird camera angles, which went on to be called the prime archetype of the modern day performance-style music video.

Later that year, The Beatles began to regularly produce “promotional clips”; films designed to promote their latest single without the boys having to appear anywhere in person. Sound familiar? This technique eventually evolved into 1967’s Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane videos, which were the first to step away from performance based recordings, and rather focusing on a more narrative structure by utilising reversed film, slow motion and avant-garde colouring. It kinda changed everything.

"So, uh, in a way, I guess we invented MTV." - George Harrison

Not to mention that The Beatles' films themselves also had their unfair share of influence. Allow acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert to elaborate: "Today when we watch TV and see quick cutting, hand-held cameras, interviews conducted on the run with moving targets, quickly intercut snatches of dialogue, music under documentary action and all the other trademarks of the modern style, we are looking at the children of A Hard Day's Night".

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 07. The Beatles Were Involved In Some Very Peculiar Conspiracy Theories
07. The Beatles Were Involved In Some Very Peculiar Conspiracy Theories

It’s debatable as to whether The Beatles actually “did” this or not, but according to many, there are some very dark underlying secrets to this band’s history. Probably the most interesting, was that of Paul McCartney dying in a 1966 car accident, and ultimately replaced by an impostor. Some extremely convincing face analysis aside, the theory goes that The Beatles were so ashamed of what they’d done, that they placed clues in their artwork and lyrics to confess the story and feel much better about themselves. There are literally hundreds of them, but my favourites include:

Sgt Pepper (click here to admire the cover)
A Day In The Life: “He blew his mind out in a car”
The yellow flower arrangement resembles the name “PAUL?”, or a left-handed bass, with one of the four strings missing.
A flaming car.
A Shirley Temple doll with "Welcome The Rolling Stones" on her jumper, a toy car on her lap, and a bloodied glove to her side.
A hand over Paul’s head, blessing the dead.
The best one: when placing a mirror across the drum's center, it reads 1ONE1X HE DIE, with an arrow pointing at Paul.
On the back cover, Paul is facing backwards.

The White Album
Glass Onion: “Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul”
I’m So Tired: The end incoherent mumbling reversed sounds like “Paul is dead, man. Miss him, miss him, miss him.
Revolution 9: "Number nine" reversed sounds like “Turn me on, dead man."
Page 7 of the booklet shows skeletal hands coming out to grab Paul.

Abbey Road (click here to admire the cover)
Come Together: "One and one and one makes three"
Paul is barefoot, has a different leg forward to the others, and is smoking.
By joining the dots on the back cover, it reads 3 Beatles (cracked).

There are faaaar too many others to list here, but it’s worth your research even if just for a lol.

Related: there is another heavy case circulating which suggests John Lennon’s assassination was ordered by the CIA, but I’ll leave you people to Google that one for yourself.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 06. The Beatles Wrote The Rolling Stones’ First Top 20 Hit Song
06. The Beatles Wrote The Rolling Stones’ First Top 20 Hit Song

Something which has always amused me is the persistent yet fruitless debate over which band was better: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. I puke! For even if we ignore how many bad albums the Stones have (a lot) versus how many bad albums The Beatles have (uhm, none) or that the Stones charge up to £950 for the chance to see them live whilst The Beatles were a shooting star never to be seen again; there is another little often ignored fact about the relationship between these two legends which people tend to forget. The Beatles Wrote The Rolling Stones’ First Top 20 Hit Song.

In 1963, the two bands bumped into each other and struck up a conversation. Jagger and Richards complained that they needed a new single, and being the nice guys they were, the Lennon/McCartney duo decided to help them out. The two Beatles joined the Stones at their studio session and then quickly wrote a song right in front of their stunned faces, jaws wide open as Jagger-Richards realised they sucked in comparison and had to improve their game dramatically. Which, thankfully, they did.

The song was called I Wanna Be Your Man, and it hit #12 in the UK, giving the Stones their very first chart success story. The Beatles then later re-recorded the song themselves, with Ringo on vocals. Did this mean they were regretful that they’d parted ways with such an obvious winner? Evidently not, as Lennon had the following to say on the matter:

"It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it. We weren't going to give them anything great, right?"

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 05. The Beatles Secretly Hid Naughty Words In Their Lyrics
05. The Beatles Secretly Hid Naughty Words In Their Lyrics

Despite all their love-centric compositions and early overuse of the "yeah yeah yeah" phrase, The Beatles were still vulgar pranksters at heart, carefully slipping bad words into their songs so slyly that most Beatlemaniacs still have no idea what they are singing along to. Here are my top five:

Girl (1965) - Around the 1:00 mark, Harrison and McCartney repeat the word "tit tit tit" over and over again, Beach Boys fashion.

Baby, You're a Rich Man (1967) - Aimed at their gay Jewish manager, Brian Epstein, many claim Lennon alters the lyric to say "Baby, you’re a rich fag Jew" right at the end.

Penny Lane (1967) - Around the 1:36 mark, McCartney states "Four of fish and finger pies", a reference to fish and chips, as well as fingering a lady part.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (1967) - Lennon denied this song’s initials intentionally spelt out LSD, but he was on fuckloads of acid at the time, so I’m not sure we can take his word for it.

Hey Jude (1968) - Despite still being played on the radio, the 2:47 mark of this song contains the words "Whoa! Fucking hell!". Who said it? And why? Who cares, they left it in anyways.

Related: There was also Lennon’s not-so-hidden blasphemous screams of "Christ, you know it ain’t easy" and "they're gonna crucify me" on The Ballad of John and Yoko, which was pretty controversial for 1969. Well, they were more popular than Jesus, after all.

Finally (and on topic), The Beatles not only knew grimy words, but they also made them up, as the term “grotty” (grotesque) was first coined by George Harrison in their aforementioned film A Hard Day’s Night. Good show, lads.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 04. The Beatles Sent Brian Wilson Into Madness
04. The Beatles Sent Brian Wilson Into Madness

Welcome to a creative tennis match of biblical proportions. It begins in the wake of The Beatles’ 1965 masterpiece Rubber Soul, the first album in history hailed as an ALBUM, rather than a collection of singles lifted by filler. The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson was particularly inspired by the approach, and “answered” with his own solid collection of songs in 1966, namely Pet Sounds. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s only one of the highest regarded albums of all time. So much so, that even The Beatles felt they had been outdone.

Taking on Pet Sounds as their main blueprint, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper in 1967. It was an attempt at equalling the Beach Boys’ treasure, yet instead snatched the bar from Wilson’s fingers and raised it impossibly higher. Almost all too often, Pepper is hailed as the greatest album of all time, it’s place in history outgrowing Pet Sounds substantially. And that’s when shit went wrong.

Wilson had been working feverishly on his follow up, SMiLE. However, upon hearing Strawberry Fields Forever, he laughed that The Beatles had “beaten him to it”, whilst the little clock of insanity began to chime in his mind. Shortly afterwards, he visited McCartney, who played him A Day in the Life, and Wilson was said to be deeply affected by it. Couple this with an excessive intake of LSD and amphetamines, and Brian couldn’t bear it anymore. He scrapped the SMiLE sessions, had a nervous breakdown, and sat in a sauna for three years straight, voices in his brain threatening to kill him at every head turn.

Wilson came back to reality eventually, and even released SMiLE 35 fucking years later, but it was frequent musical collaborator Van Dyke Parks who described this reclusive period the best:

"Brian had a nervous collapse. What broke his heart was Sgt. Pepper."

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 03. The Beatles Invented Heavy Metal (And Heavily Influenced Hip Hop)
03. The Beatles Invented Heavy Metal (And Heavily Influenced Hip Hop)

In 1968, one very erratic and bloated classic named The White Album arrived, featuring an eclectic mix of 20 songs which ranged from psychedelic rock to blues to avant garde, and yes, even to heavy metal. The song on topic was McCartney’s penned Helter Skelter, which was so loud and dirty that almost all music historians concur it was a key influence in the early development of the metal genre. However, it is generally agreed that the first metal band ever was Black Sabbath, and when you consider that Ozzy credits the 1963 Lennon/McCartney composition She Loves You as his main inspiration for becoming a musician, it only further fuels my case.

Side facts: 1969s I Want You (She's So Heavy) is also cited as one of the first metal songs ever, whilst Helter Skelter itself was one of the first songs to utilise the fade-out fade-back-in technique in history.

But while these influences are common knowledge, are you aware of The Beatles’ impact on hip hop culture? Experimental West Coast producer Nobody stated "Like Tomorrow Never Knows. We all agree that's, like, the first electronic song, because it's all tape loops. It is kind of like the way people go about doing beats these days. They didn't have a key change in the song." Influential Roots drummer ?uestlove praised them with "You have to understand the way they created these records. They had [only] four to eight tracks to work with. Technology wasn't like it is today." and rapper Q-Tip also sucked their dick with "They would lay the music down, manipulate it, fuck with it, try to push it, which is the hip-hop aesthetic." There you go.

Finally, on Paul McCartney’s solo 1969 song That Would Be Something, we can also find one of the first recorded examples of beat boxing.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 02. The Beatles Convinced Charles Manson To Murder People
02. The Beatles Convinced Charles Manson To Murder People

This entry isn’t as “cool” as it is “weird”, but it’s fascinating all the same. Because Charles Manson wasn’t right in the head, and after developing his Manson Family cult and hearing The White Album for the first time, he decided the band was talking to him personally, prophesying some rather unsettling events. Now, this may seem a little far-fetched, but there was a bit of twisted smarts behind it. Manson believed that, as it was predicted in the Bible, Revelation (Revolution) 9, four angels (The Beatles) would appear with hair like a woman's, breastplates of fire (electric guitars) issuing brimstone from their mouths (lyrics), accompanied by locusts (beetles) to usher in the end of the world.

Due to the title “The White Album” and the recent assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., not to mention songs like Revolution 1, Blackbird, Rocky Racoon and Happiness is a Warm Gun, Manson interpreted the message as one of an inevitable violent race war, and adopted the name Helter Skelter for the apocalyptic battle in his head.

After sending The Beatles countless telegrams in an attempt to convince them to join the cause, Manson decided they would have to start the race war themselves by showing “the blacks how to do it”. And we all know the rest: murders took place, including that of the pregnant American sex symbol Sharon Tate, who was stabbed sixteen times by member (Sexy) Sadie. And even more Beatles-y was their trademark of decorating each crime scene with Beatles' song titles using the victims blood, such as “pig(Piggies), and “Healter Skelter” [sic].

They got caught, and naturally all went to jail, Manson still living there to this day. And, of course, the lovey-dovey Beatles didn’t support this behaviour whatsoever, McCartney stating it was unfortunate that his song inspired people to do evil deeds, and Lennon confirming Charlie was "barmy". No shit.

The 10 Coolest Things The Beatles Ever Did: 01. The Beatles Influenced Every Subsequent Album On The Planet
01. The Beatles Influenced Every Subsequent Album On The Planet

I challenge you to challenge me. Pick up your favourite album, then check if any one of the following applies:

1. Does it have a concept?
Sgt. Pepper is often credited as the first album to popularise the technique.

2. Does it feature the lyrics in the cover?
Again, Sgt. Pepper was the first.

3. Does it contain a hidden track?
Once again, Sgt. Pepper was the first album to have one of these. Abbey Road was the second.

4. Does it feature multitracking?
It does. When only four-track machines were available, The Beatles would record their four, then bounce these recordings back into another single track, giving room for three more to play with. They were the first to think of it.

5. Does it feature feedback/distortion?
I Feel Fine was the first recording to purposefully utilise these processes.

6. Does it feature sampling?
Yellow Submarine is often hailed as the first song to sample.

7. Does it feature any backwards guitar and/or vocals?
Rain was the first song to feature reversed vocals. Tomorrow Never Knows/I’m Only Sleeping were the first to feature reversed cymbals/guitar.

8. Does it feature flanging?
Most likely. Automatic double tracking was Lennon’s idea, Abbey Road engineer Ken Townsend made it happen, Lennon named it. Tomorrow Never Knows was the first song to use it.

9. Is the artwork even remotely good?
Before Sgt. Pepper, album covers generally cost around £50 to make. They spent £3,000 on that image, and changed everything in the process.
Furthermore: The first printed copies of The White Album were individually numbered, an expensive gimmick beyond even what most artists would dare to attempt today.

10. Does it contain a song over 7 minutes?
Hey Jude is 7:11, the then longest single to top the charts, ever. Such a length wouldn’t even fit onto the vinyl, and they had to alter the grooves just to cater for it. The fade out was not intentional, the record was literally losing space.

Enough said? Almost...

And In The End:
If nothing else, I hope this article has proven to you that The Beatles were rad.
Like, did you know they were the first to produce seamless song ordering, where one song would run into the next without a gap, on Sgt. Pepper?
Or how about their 1964 Ed Sullivan Show appearance, where rumour has it not a single crime was reported in America during the hour of their performance, simply because everyone was watching them and because they were superheroes?
Or how about when they invented the rap beef, which I wrote about extensively in this article, here (point 14).
Or how about when they invented the Apple Corporation, which is different to Apple Inc., sure, but it did provoke countless lawsuits, and come to think of it, the Hard Days Night artwork does look suspiciously like an iOS prototype?
Or how about when their 1967 satellite broadcast of All You Need is Love was the first live global television link in entertainment history, being watched by 400 million people in 26 countries, the single largest television audience at that point?

Like I said, I could write a lot more, but my friends tell me that I ramble too much in these blogs, so I'll just leave it here, satisfied that I did good by assuming everyone had a nice time. xxx

Wednesday 5 March 2014

How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps

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How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps
If you have arrived at this article from a Google search, I can only assume you are currently dealing with the trauma of heartbreak. I extend my deepest sympathy towards you right now, as I know as well as anybody that there is no worse pain in the world. You probably feel nauseous. You probably feel inadequate. You are probably doubting your sanity and having those terrible thoughts that you will never find love again. Do not fear, for these are completely natural feelings, and you are not the first to experience them. Congratulations, you are human after all. However, here is some more bad news if you can handle it: there is no quick and easy end-all fix to what you are going through. You will suffer and you will hurt, and nobody can wave a magic wand and cure you of this distress, for if there was such a simple solution, it wouldn’t be available for free online. However, the good news is that there are steps one can take to ease the turmoil, some of which are widely reported, others of which I have discovered on my own. And because I am a nice guy, I have taken it upon myself to offer the following advice to you, in hopes that I can help you climb a little higher on your ladder of happiness.

You see, in November 2013, I was right where you are. After a three year relationship where me and my then-partner spent every day and night together, we split in the worst of ways. I am not here to slag anyone off, but what happened is probably what you imagined to happened. Other people were quick to jump into the picture and replace me. Friends conspired against me. Withheld information was exposed after the fact, which rendered the whole relationship a lie. And what followed was so much confusion and self-doubt that my mind degraded into that of a child. My emotions would run away with me, I’d imagine the worse, and nothing felt like it would ever be ok again. But unlike those times before, I refused to play the victim and decided to tackle the problem head-on, keeping my mouth above water and pushing the distance between the bouts of depression further and further apart. And as I write these words, I am ecstatic to announce that I am feeling fantastic, thanks for asking. I am 100% cured and standing in the perfect position to provide you with these points to put in place, which will not only grant you some instant relief but will also keep the progression progressing, which in theory could serve you forever.

Janthopoyism: Your New Religion

To use this guide, I suggest reading it once through, and then deciding which parts are relevant to your circumstances and which are not. I have used the word “steps” very lightly here, for even though they have been ordered very specifically, some may not apply to you in this exact formula, and perhaps you may want to reorder them to fit your distinct needs. But whatever path you choose, I wish all of the luck and love in the world to you, for even if you were in the wrong, nobody’s life was designed to be lived in permanent struggle, and you are worthy of moving on.

How To Get Over Someone In 20 Steps, Step One: Life Is A Game
Step One: Life Is A Game

“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.” - Oscar Wilde

The leading step of any guide is usually the most important, providing the foundation for the rest of the process to come, and this is no exception. For the very first thing you have to come to grips with is exactly as the title suggests: this is a game. There is a degree of luck involved with this game, but more predominantly, it is one of strategy. It’s not necessarily a nice enjoyable game, granted, but right now you are currently at a fork in the road of your life story. This is not a dead end, for you are not dead, but rather you are now faced with a challenge as well as an opportunity, one which could potentially change and define you as a person for all your years to come. The sooner you choose to accept this as your reality, the sooner you can begin to fight for it.

“Life’s a game, all you have to do, is know how to play it.” - Anonymous

This is what I suggest: buy a paper notebook. Pick one which looks pleasing and makes you feel happy with its presentation. Behold, this will be your diary on the matter, your best friend and own personal advisor. Give it a positive name and label it accordingly (mine was titled Operation Fix Up, FYI). Open to the first page, and begin by writing down a set of goals. What are you hoping to achieve? When are you hoping to achieve them? Examples may include “I will not contact so-and-so for six weeks”; “I will go on at least one date before the end of the month”; or “in five weeks I will be completely over whatshisface/whatsherface” (please note: you should never write down their real name, because their real name is not worthy of your attention nor the space within your holy diary). Do not worry if you fail on these goals or if they seem a little ridiculous at this point in time, for while you should try to keep them relatively realistic, this is not the point of the exercise. What matters the most is that you are making strong and conscious decisions to move forward. The most valuable aspect of this entry is the development of promises to yourself, cementing intentions which are attainable by taking small baby steps towards eventually achieving them.

Because that is the exact idea. Every single day, do one small thing (or more) designed to approach these objectives. And then at the end of each said day, turn the page, write the date at the top, and then note what it was you did in the previous hours to aid your advancement. If you are stuck for ideas on what to do every day, do not fear, for by the end of this article, you will have many, as it’s the very basis of this whole blog. Maybe you buy yourself some flowers for your room. Maybe you cook a meal for a housemate. Maybe you trim your pubic hair. Maybe you go see a film. It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something, one tiny little thing every single day which gives you a break from the thought of said person, and then you keep a record of it. Because then it becomes a project, and (dare I say it) even fun. How do you think this very article was started, hmmm?

"Anything in life worth having is worth working for." - Andrew Carnegie

One final note before we move on: if something negative happens to you (your ex texts you asking for his/her cds back; you hear about your ex out partying etc), take note of it too because it’s healthy to get your feelings out of your head and onto paper. It’s easier to deal with it there. But do not write it within this diary. Write it in a different place, and then hide those notes from yourself or even destroy them. Never ever write anything bad in your diary, for this is your sacred place. It is yours, not theirs. Keep their poison away from your clean precious pages.

How To Get Over Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Two: Do Not Lose Your Dignity
Step Two: Do Not Lose Your Dignity

“One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalised and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” - Michael J. Fox

Very often the hardest part of break-ups is that you are left with so many questions and pent-up anger, which compels you to continuously contact the ex in an attempt to make them feel shit or to guilt trip them into changing their mind. The issue with this one is that you look pathetic, and it usually results in the opposite of the desired effect, driving the person further away rather than convincing them of their wrongdoings.

At the same time, I appreciate there is a certain sense of closure one feels when they get all those horrible thoughts off of their chest, which is why I am in two minds about how to approach this specific problem. But what I will say is this (and heed with extreme caution!): if you are simply writhing with insults to hurl at your offender, do not do it as a heat of the moment type of explosion, for once again, you will look weak. Take your time and build up everything you would like to say. Write your feelings down in letter form over the course of the next few weeks, until you are truly satisfied you have covered absolutely everything you have to say on the subject. Address it to your ex, and then, best case scenario, keep it to yourself or even throw that page away, fulfilled that it was merely a part of your therapy and you aren’t reliant on their response.

However, you may find yourself very proud of your letter. Perhaps you have nailed your standpoint in such an articulate potent well-written manner, that you decide you simply must send it on to said person. And I cannot stop you. But may suggest the following: sit down and rewrite your letter in a happy voice. Remove all bitterness and anger. Be polite, be logical, and be concise. For trust me, if you are looking for a reaction, nothing is more attractive and nothing will hurt as much as someone who sounds like they have it all together. Furthermore, for God’s sake, do not phone them or speak to them in person. Send your letter via email, because this should be one sided. Your side.

“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” - Abraham Joshua Heschel

Finally: remember what this is. This is not a discussion. This is you, dumping your thoughts onto paper, your final final word on the matter. End the letter with the request that they do not respond, for if they do so, you will not read it. Chances are, they will respond, and when they do, if you have any strength within you whatsoever, delete the message without reading it and without thinking about it. You will question if this was the right thing to do. You will wonder what it was they said. But if you read their words, it will only set you back and give you a whole load of new things to say. If you want to get over this person (and I am assuming that’s why you are here), do not entertain their responses. You have now said your conclusion, you cannot top it, who cares what their opinion of it is? You are putting them behind, you are moving on, and this is how you do it:

How To Fix Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Three: Cut Them The Fuck Off
Step Three: Cut Them The Fuck Off

“Life is too short to hold grudges, true, but cutting people off for self preservation isn't a grudge, it’s applying wisdom.” - Unknown

Probably the most well documented method of healing heartbreak is this one: remove them from your life completely. Now, it is up to you how far you want to take this, but there are a few givens. Avoid them at all costs. Do not go to places you know they will attending. By now I’m sure you’ve already made the decision whether or not to delete them off of Facebook, but if you haven’t, let me tell you why I personally did not go down that route. It’s because to delete/block someone from your social networking circles (while still an acceptable approach if you’re comfortable with it) feels like a drastic statement, and statements are once again the tools of the weak. Personally, I just hid the enemy from my newsfeed, and so unbeknownst to them, I didn’t have to see their updates while they probably still saw mine, giving me the upper hand.

Of course, the curiosity will eat you alive and you will often feel the overwhelming desire to Facestalk them. In a word: DON’T. Avoid that at all costs. Just by seeing one photo of them having fun or witnessing some attractive stranger writing on their wall can completely fuck up your day, for you will always think the worst and take things out of context, setting you a step back. Curiosity is an uncomfortable feeling, true, but make peace with the fact that curiosity is a better feeling than the confirmation of fears. You think you want to know, but believe me, you do not. Rather, take this one day at a time as a self-challenge, "I will not Facestalk today", and before you go to bed, write in your diary with pride that you survived another run without visiting their profile.

“I think the very word stalking implies that you're not supposed to like it. Otherwise, it would be called 'fluffy harmless observation time'.” - Molly Harper

There are ways to go even deeper into this step, and depending on how far down the rabbit hole of desperate depression you are right now, you may want to go all the way. Remove everything that reminds you of them from your life. There will be a huge sense of liberation in deleting all their emails, their phone number, the songs in your playlist which remind you of them, as well as untagging all photos of the two of you together, and throwing away every single present/reminder you own from them. Personally, I am far too sentimental for this type of a movement, for I knew one day I’d surely (surely!) get over them, and when I did, I may enjoy looking back at the memorabilia as some weird part of my life story rather than the nightmare it was at the time. Which is why I opted to place all incriminating material into a box, and then hid said box in my attic, out of sight, out of mind, yet not lost forever. This is all up to you, of course, but the idea remains the same: you do not want to even think of them, especially in the comfort of your own room.

“Empty packets of hot sauce remind me of the love I used to have for her. Now all I’m left with is this yummy taco. ” - Jarod Kintz; A Zebra is the Piano of the Animal Kingdom

How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Four: Status Updates Are A Weapon
Step Four: Status Updates Are A Weapon

“Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps.” - Lemony Snicket; The Blank Book

While we’re on the social media topic, here is another step which follows on with the trend. Look, I know more than anyone that there is this strong urge within you to dump your depression onto the world, especially in the form of Facebook updates and the Like. You probably feel the desire to let everyone know of the wrongdoings you are experiencing right now, possibly in some hopeful attempt to bring them onto your side. And it may even work too, for a while anyway. But, once again, this is one of the fastest and more modern ways of losing face. It is faaar more powerful to say happy (or at least more positive) things as often as possible, keeping your status updates light and even humorous in your times of darkness. The reasons are endless. For not only will they help you on a personal level to come to terms with the split, but even more so, they will give others the impression that you are dealing with your emotions in a constructive manner. And believe me, if it is revenge you seek, these updates will most likely reach your ex anyway, and in turn hurt them a lot more than fishing for sympathy will. Perhaps this isn’t the healthiest reasoning for doing so, but the approach itself is much healthier than the alternative, and you will feel much better for it.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." - Thumper's Law

That said, there is little-to-no value in blatantly pretending to be happy when you are knee-deep in suffering. Which is why, if you do not feel comfortable in posting something optimistic, rather post nothing than risk looking miserable, because at the end of the day (and as much as it sucks), nobody but yourself well and truly cares, nor do they have to. Be considerate of other people's lives, and don't be a downer.

“Misery loves company, but company does not reciprocate.” - Addison Mizner

How To Heal Heartache In 20 Steps, Step Five: Surrender to Sadness
Step Five: Surrender to Sadness

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” - Jonathan Safran Foer

One thing that is fairly unavoidable when it comes to heartbreak is this: you will go a little bit insane. It is in your best interest to accept this. You are not superhuman, and sadness is a part of being. You are not a bad person if you feel sorry for yourself, especially in the beginning of this mess. Do not beat yourself up over it. There are countless upon countless of therapy-related writings detailing the dangers of burying agitations. Do not push this aside. Do not skim over it. Cry. Shout. Hate. It is one of the most important stages of healing, and you have to grant this its time. It is ok.

“Crying is cleansing. There's a reason for tears, happiness or sadness.” - Dionne Warwick

There is a nifty little concept called the Kübler-Ross Model (aka the Five Stages of Grief) which is often applied to the heartbreak scenario. It states that we follow an emotional pattern when it comes to dealing with such traumas, which consists of: Denial (inability to admit that things are truly over, perhaps not even feeling sad whatsoever); Anger (blaming the ex or even oneself for the onset of pain); Bargaining (desire to plead the ex to take you back, thinking you could change as a person or do things differently); Depression (the obvious and most written about result of a break-up); and finally, Acceptance (making peace that the relationship is over and taking the steps to move on from it). It is your duty to recognise where you lie in any given period of your course, and then embrace it, for like a wound to the skin, there is a process going on right now which will eventually heal you.

“I remember watching the mascara tears flood the ivories and I thought, ‘It's OK to be sad.’ I've been trained to love my darkness.” - Lady Gaga

That said, it is still beneficial to place a limit on such suffering and attempt to push for breakthroughs. There is a wonderful book I swear by for any occasion titled Ask and it is Given by Abraham-Hicks. It states that at any given time, we are somewhere on the following Emotional Guidance Scale (1 being the best; 22 being the worst):

1. Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2. Passion
3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4. Positive Expectation/Belief
5. Optimism
6. Hopefulness
7. Contentment
8. Boredom
9. Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelment
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

The point of such a scale is to illustrate how huge the jump from sadness to happiness can be. In fact, unless you are bipolar, the jump is practically impossible. So instead, study this list, locate where you are at right now, and then look at the point directly above it. That’s the next emotion you should be grasping for, and it should be a relatively simple and painless movement to guide your thoughts upwards toward it, wherever you may be. For example, if you are feeling jealous about someone who is hanging out with you ex (20), attempt to feel hatred for them instead (19), which shouldn’t be too hard, right? If you are feeling frustrated about the lack of sympathy people are giving you (10), attempt to give in to the pessimism that nobody will ever feel sorry for you (9), which still sucks, sure, but it should be a much more comfortable position to dwell on rather than the previous irritation.

“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” - Charles Dickens; Great Expectations

One by one, climb this list as high as you can get, consciously and on a daily basis. It will be gradual, but you will sense the improvement and relief slice-by-slice, and immediately. Do not try and pretend you are suddenly doing fine and are “over it”, because that is the sign of denial. Rather feel the pain, refuse to ignore it, tackle it straight-up and attempt to morph it into the next most logical emotion. And eventually ... eventually ... you will find yourself entering the realms of hopefulness; of optimism; and of enthusiasm. Take control of this internal war. And then steadily beat the living shit out of it.

How To Get Over Someone In 20 Steps, Step Six: Change Absolutely Everything
Step Six: Change Absolutely Everything (You v2.0)

“When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Viktor E. Frankl

Ok, so now that you’ve placed your ex in a box and you’ve identified your core emotions, the time has come to take the practical steps in dealing with yourself. My first recommendation is to change. Everything. Every. Single. Thing.

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” - Coco Chanel

Get your haircut. Dye it a colour you’ve never had before. Buy new clothes. Buy a necklace and an ankle bracelet. Get a piercing. Get a tattoo. Get an extra limb sewn onto your body if you’re into that. Because literally, every single aspect of your physical appearance you could possibly stomach changing, should change. Absolutely everything you can think of. The reasons should be obvious: you will look better and, as a result, you will feel better. Even more beneficial, people will give you more attention, and of course (heaven forbid), if you do so happen to have an accidental run-in with your ex, at least your presentation will be set up nicely.

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” - Hillary Clinton

But why stop there? Change your room around. Everything that isn’t nailed to the floor must change position. Move your bed, rearrange your sock drawer, change your sheets, replace your posters, everything. I had a beautiful moment when applying this step. I was moving my exceptionally heavy bookshelf from one side of my room to the other, and all hell broke loose. I lost my balance and it tipped over, books and DVDs and the like rained painfully upon my head as I screamed, trying the best I could not to be crushed and killed by my own furniture. Do you think my ex was on my mind when this was going down? No. I was much more concerned with not dying.

“A change is as good as a rest” - Proverb

While you’re at it, don’t stop there either. Spring clean. Finally organise your bank statements. Reformat your laptop. Throw all your clothes onto your floor and then group them by colour. Get rid of the old sweaters you haven’t worn for years. All of these things will distract you while you work towards a goal, and the end results will be so tangible that, despite your internal conflict, you will taste satisfaction if even for just that brief moment.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” - Mike Murdock

In research for this article, I found many writers swearing by the magic of routine, and as I am OCD about my own longtime developed customs, I agree. Structure is important and keeps you moving, which your diary should aid you in obtaining. However, whether you subscribe to this practice already or don’t, now is the time to shake it up. Change your brand of toothpaste. Do your hair before you put your shoes on. Walk a different way to the tube station. Drive a new route to work. Once again, change every minute detail that you could even perceive as being changeable.

In many ways, this step can be the most powerful of them all. Before you know it, you and your life will feel fresh, shiny and brand new. Which is as exciting as it is the perfect method to eradicate every single reminder of you-know-who.

How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Seven: Clean Insides By Cleaning Outsides
Step Seven: Clean Insides By Cleaning Outsides

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” - Ancient Hebrew Proverb

This step is an extension of the previous step, but is one I found so particularly useful that I granted it its own space. Everyday, I’d set aside half an hour to clean an area of my house. And as I live in a shared home where cleaning isn’t exactly a regular thing, there was a lot of work to be done. So off I’d go, perhaps today I’d clean the toilet, or vacuum the lounge, or distribute the ever growing pile of post, or organise the cupboard underneath the sink. I’d never bust my back on any one task (for example, cleaning the shower took me three days worth of half hours), but each time as I reached the end of a job, I’d stand back with pride and everyone in the house would be grateful for it, which would make me feel even better.

“I look forward to spring cleaning and putting things in their place. It's therapeutic for me.” - Kimora Lee Simmons

The main purpose is that cleaning does have a peculiar therapeutic value about it. It’s almost as if it represents your mind, and even though I loathe housework, the end result was always one of happiness and accomplishment. So much so, that I even started washing everyone’s dishes on a daily basis. It kept me busy, it kept me useful, it gave me purpose. And, best of all, it didn’t take long until the house started to look in better shape, which itself was a much happier place to come home to. Half an hour a day is all you need, and you will adore the benefits.

“I love cleaning, weird but true. It really relaxes me.” - Jessie J

How To Heal Heartache In 20 Steps, Step Eight: Medicate Wisely
Step Eight: Medicate Wisely

“Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night—be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” - Frank Sinatra

Now, this is one of those controversial steps which I am sure many a professional would disagree with. But the one thing that truly took its toll on me, was how difficult I found it to fall asleep. In my head I’d have visions of The Girl fucking the other guy, and of course, within my imagination, his dick was much bigger than mine and he was a much better lover than I was (impossible). I’d jump at every noise, praying it was her coming into my room to make amends, to cuddle me back into dreamworld, and it drove me fucking mental. So when you take this lack of sleep and couple it with the already underlying pangs of heartbreak, you were left with days which became progressively more and more difficult to deal with.

Eventually I reached breaking point, and ordered these cool little (legal) benzodiazepines called Etizolam online. I took one an hour before bedtime, and was not only relieved by the lack of anxiety it granted but also the nightly rest my poor body so desperately craved. Of course, the last thing you need to develop is a dependency on something, so as part of your goals in your diary, set a date (perhaps a month later) when you will stop taking them, and fucking stick to it.

“The first thing in the human personality that dissolves in alcohol is dignity.” - Unknown

On the flip side of all of this, is alcohol. It is the most popular of all self-medication substances, and yet in so many ways, is the worst. I found when I got drunk, I turned into a monster. I’d become bitter, and I’d become aggressive. I’d suddenly have a thousand things to say and none of it was nice. I am ashamed to admit that at times, I smashed everything in my room—my mirror, my clothes rack, my cupboard, my hairbrush—which in some ways felt great, but was still a horrible mess to deal with the next morning, hungover. Which is why I quit drinking for quite some time during my own mission, because I wasn’t dealing with things properly in that way. However, if your preferred method of escape is to get motherlessly drunk, ensure you do so with a good friend rather than alone, and give them the following strict instruction: do not let me drunk dial. As much as you may suddenly find you have a million clever things to say whilst intoxicated, force yourself to sleep it off before you do so. I guarantee that you will awake grateful that you did not spill your guts whilst impaired, and more often than not, you won’t want to do it once you’re sober anyway.

“People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.” - Ann Landers

Finally, there is no shame in seeking professional help. They deal with this kind of stuff all the time, as heartbreak is a well documented cause of serious distress, although they’ll probably just prescribe you something to chill you out anyway. Perhaps none of this appeals to you, and like any of these steps, do not feel obliged to take this route if it seems counter-productive to your cause. However, if you are truly at the end of your noose, give in to a crutch for a while, rather than lose sleep, do something stupid, or dread every single day.

“I've realised therapy is incredibly therapeutic.” ― Lisa Schroeder; I Heart You, You Haunt Me

How To Get Over An Ex In 20 Steps, Step Nine: Admire Other Fish, But Rebound Cautiously
Step Nine: Admire Other Fish, But Rebound Cautiously

“Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting.” - Dave Barry

Another great and easy method to (if nothing else) realise the opportunities involved with a break-up as well as get excited about potential, is this one. Go through all of your Facebook friends, and make note of the ones who are single and attractive to you. Perhaps these are people you may have once had a chance with. Perhaps these are people you may have very well hooked up with if you had been single at the time. Even if some are better than others, I suggest trying your best to make a list of 10 potential people you somewhat fancy. And then, one-by-one, send them a message. Your intention must not be about meeting up or getting laid. You must not mention your recent break-up to them. You should simply ask them how they are and find out how their lives are going. Some of them will probably be boring, giving you one word answers and the conversation may end abruptly. Others may really engage you in interesting chatter, and you should reciprocate. But no matter what the exchange, remember that this is about finding your footing again and opening yourself up to new discussions and good-looking friends. It is not about finding the next person to date. You are merely re-accessing the fun flirty side of your personality, reminding yourself of your self worth, and by doing so with people you already have some sort of a rapport with, you will minimise the awkwardness and desperation one may find on, say, a dating website.

“I always say don't make plans, make options.” - Jennifer Aniston

Speaking of which, I actually recommend joining a dating website too, once again not to find a partner but rather to get a feel for what is out there, just for lols. It’s a fun process setting up your profile and it’s beneficial to become aware of the vast amount of characters that are out there, waiting for someone just like you. Personally, I joined a few, but didn’t utilise them for anything other than browsing a bit. I’d get emails stating “so-and-so has viewed your profile” or “this person is highly compatible with you” and that was exciting, if not a bit weird. I never followed through, but in my mind, I knew I could if I wanted to, and that sparked a touch of excitement to my otherwise lonely existence.

“Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness.” - Mandy Hale

But whether a dating site or Facebook, I don’t recommend rushing too hard into anything. Just play it cool. Harmless messaging is great for self confidence, but running out into the open with “I’m single and ready” pasted onto your forehead not only looks desperate and will attract the wrong person, but is also the equivalent of using a plaster to cover an axe wound. You should deal with your heartbreak properly before giving up yourself to someone else, otherwise you will never offer them the real and best person you are. Don’t get me wrong, I’d never suggest fighting against chemistry, and if you find yourself talking more and more to one specific person, relating to them on all sorts of levels, cautiously toy with that path if it feels right. For perhaps they will, in fact, be “the one”, who is to say?

“The best way to get over a man is to get under a new one." - Ryan Turner (played by Charlie Sheen); Good Advice

Which brings us to the classic “rebound” technique. Now, rebounds are a highly debatable topic. I have many an intelligent friend who swears by them, some of which claim it is “the only way” to get over someone. And, granted, it truly is a great manner in which to feel better about oneself, like prozac or some other temporary relief mechanism. However, this was never really my style, because it appears to be a method for treating symptoms rather than cause. It’s disrespectful to yourself as well as the other person to simply go out and grab the nearest quickest fuck, because in moments of heartbreak you don’t know who you are, and this is not fair on anyone. I consider it much more admirable and dignified if someone takes the time alone to rediscover themselves and fix their personal turmoil first before eagerly running towards the easiest escape route.

That said, take this advice with a pinch of salt. Rebounds are probably the thing most of your friends will prescribe and it is a hugely popular practice in forgetting your troubles. If you wish to go down this track, I am sure it will grant you a piece of what you are looking for, but depending on how deep your injuries run, I am doubtable it will solve the issue. You are in danger of repeating your past mistakes, and it could even make you feel more used and worthless than before, as well as taint your reputation. I’d suggest you wait a month or two before doing so, or you may never know yourself again.

“Rebound relationships are a great way to boost your ego while completely shattering an innocent person's life.” - Unknown

How To Cure Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Ten: Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
Step Ten: Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

“The best way to mend a broken heart is time and girlfriends.” - Gwyneth Paltrow

Yet another step unanimously agreed upon by every article written on the subject, is the value of friendship. That said, I still feel like so many miss and misuse the point of having friends in the first place, which is this: it’s a two way street. Even if they are at a strong point of their lives at this current moment and can take on some of the weight of your misery, you will still be a drain on their happiness and a bore. If you keep this up for too long, they will associate you with having a bad time, and they will begin to loathe your company.

My rules were simple. I’d meet up with and speak to any friend who would listen, one at a time. But I would never repeat myself to any of them. There are only so many times you need to tell someone you are hurting or how so-and-so mistreated you, but there is absolutely no point to it or even an end in sight. Tell them what happened. Tell them how you feel. Make sure they understand your position. And then move the discussion along, using them for what they are meant to do: make you feel better.

Here is another powerful tip: when it comes to the mutual friends of you and your former partner, do not slag your ex off to them. Rather (and as hard as this may be), try and focus on the good factors about your ex without disguising your hurt in conversation. And above all else, always, (always!) request that mutual friends keep it neutral. There is something so incredibly liberating about this. It feels like you are rising above the situation, and the mutual friends will appreciate how much you eased their awkward position on the matter. Think about it: if your ex is demanding mutual friends pick sides, while you are requesting they don't, whose side are they most likely to take?

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” - Epictetus

Talking is the second most important aspect of this step. The most important aspect, is listening. Sometimes you will find your friends will turn it around, and even though you are the one hurting, they will try relate it to their past, by saying something like “I remember when me and (x) broke up 2 years ago...” or “I know exactly what you are going through right now, it’s like when I...” etc. This is annoying, but go with it. Do not focus solely on yourself. Listen to their clichés, give them the time to speak. And then, do whatever they tell you to do.

If they suggest you watch a certain movie about break-ups which is guaranteed to make you cry, do it. If they inform you of a comedy which would cheer you up, go and watch it. If they speak about a self-help book which guided them through their tough times, go out and buy it. Get lead to water, and drink. Because even if none of this helps and you really don’t feel like you can be assed, it will still provide the sliver of hope you are chasing. Write it down in your diary and move forward using the hand of others.

“Listen to many, speak to a few.” - William Shakespeare

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How To Get Over Heartache In 20 Steps, Step Eleven: The Fastest Way To Help Yourself...
Step Eleven: The Fastest Way To Help Yourself...

“The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” - Gordon B. Hinckley; Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

This is a tried and tested method, which follows directly on from the last step. Find someone who needs help, and help them. A selfless act (if indeed such a thing exists) will bring you joy, and by helping another, you will in turn be helping yourself find that warm vibe which is ingrained into us when aiding those in need. Give the love you don’t have, and then you will have it.

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.“ - Napoleon Hill

One way would be to meet up with someone else who is having relationship troubles. Go to their side, and do not talk about yourself. Listen to their problems and fight the urge to focus the conversation upon your own problems. You may even find your troubles shrink in the company of their much greater issues. You may even feel guilty for getting so wrapped up in an incident which, as always, could be much worse. And this kind of progression will be invaluable to your own journey of healing.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” - John Bunyan

There are many other ways. Give money to the homeless. Give up your seat for the elderly. Help a stranger carry a box. Smile at random people on the street. Even if this goes completely against how you are feeling right now and it is a painful effort for you to achieve, we as animals are hardwired to look out for each other because it is beneficial to our species. You will feel better, simply because we are designed that way.

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Teresa

Finally, another thing I did as part of my daily diary routine, was to send one email every afternoon to someone, simply to thank them for being my friend and express my gratitude for something they had done for me in my past. I wouldn’t talk about my problems, I’d simply let them know they were on my mind and I appreciated their existence in my life. The responses I got back were always such a lift to my day, and I built upon my friendships as a result, which I needed desperately at the time.

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” - Maya Angelou

In summary: it’s about realising you are not the only person in the world with problems. And then thanking God (or whatever) for that.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." - The Beatles; The End

How To Beat Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Twelve: Look Out For Number One
Step Twelve: Look Out For Number One

“Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, 'No thank you' to desert that night. And for what?!” - Erma Bombeck

That said, you are still the only “you”. You are the only one who knows how it feels to be inside of you right now. It is nobody else's duty to feel or to even understand these things, and as a result, you and only you can fix this.

Fuck it. That’s the step here. Just, fuck it. Pamper yourself. Get the massage or the manicure. Splurge. Buy something you’ve wanted to buy for ages and worry about the cost later, as retail therapy is a tried and tested method for happiness. Ride the roller coasters, eat the ice cream, go out for the fancy dinner. It’s the step where all the other steps temporarily don’t matter, where you forget about trying to fix yourself and simply let go of it all for a moment. Spoil yourself, be spontaneous and impulsive about it, and do so guilt-free.

“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” - Mick Jagger

Don’t listen to Mr Jagger up there, for there has to be limits. This advice is best used in sudden moments of inspiration, perhaps when you find yourself having a particularly bad flash of pain and need some instantaneous relief. It is not in your best interest to make a habit out of indulging in chocolate or buying everything that catches your eye, for then you will end up fat and broke. Rather, use this method when you feel hopeless, and turn it around by spoiling yourself, sending your insides the message that you love them after all, even if it is done in a superficial manner. And after that place, you will find all the other steps that much easier.

“Look out for Number One. If you don't, no one else will.” - Arnold Rothstein

How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Thirteen: Wash Yourself Out
Step Thirteen: Wash Yourself Out

“To keep the body in good health is a duty ... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” - Buddha

On the flip side of this indulgence, you should also want to start building hope by clearing yourself out, mentally and physically. The most obvious ways to achieve this is to eat better and to exercise, even though I am sure these are the last things in the world you feel like doing right now. But the benefits are endless: they will release dopamine in your brain, which brings happiness; they will energise you and relieve stress; they will help you sleep at night; and (best of all) your body will show the results, which will boost your self confidence. Perhaps you already hit the gym on the regular, and if so, keep it up, or even increase your schedule. Perhaps exercise is something you’ve never been interested in, in which case start small, for example: doing a few crunches at home whilst your computer boots up, or running up and down your stairs a couple of times. Even going for a nice brisk walk will benefit your body as well as help the clearing of one's thoughts as you observe the world around you and take in the fresh air. Join a dance class, take some ice skating lessons, play some basketball, do anything to get a little more active. A touch of fruit and veg on top of that, and you’re good to go.

“To dream by night is to escape your life. To dream by day is to make it happen.” - Stephen Richards

Much like your body, your mind too can be exercised into health. Meditation is one of the greatest forms of finding peace in the world, and simply by sitting in a quiet room for half an hour a day and releasing your troubles into the Universe by focusing on one specific abstract thing (perhaps an imaginary dot or an interesting word), you will be amazed at how much stronger you will come out the other side. If you are religious, find relief in prayer, or even if you are not, do not be embarrassed to give a quick thank-you to Life itself, and then request better feelings. You don’t have to believe in a higher power to be grateful for, say, your eyes or your hands, but just these feeling of gratitude alone will push things forward dramatically.

Furthermore (and most important of all) you need to visualise your future. No matter how silly it feels, imagine a better existence. Plan what you would say to your ex when all your dreams have come true and they have lost everything. When you win the lotto, what is the first thing you’ll do with the money? Where would your next ideal holiday be? What is the colour of your next car? Live the life you want to live in your mind, even if only for 10 minutes before you go to bed, and then cling on to how that feels.

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." - Albert Einstein

How To Get Over Him In 20 Steps, Step Fourteen: They Don’t Know What They’re Missing
Step Fourteen: They Don’t Know What They’re Missing

“I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” - Lucille Ball

Of all the points on this list, I found the following two to be the most fun and perhaps the most beneficial. The first is to buy a notepad and a pen, and then label it with some variation of the following title:

100 Reasons Why I Am A Great Partner
(for interest sakes, I actually titled mine “100 Reasons Why I’m The Illest Motherfucker Ever”, but each to their own)

And then you do exactly what you’d assume. Start off by writing a quick 10 reasons why you are a catch. These could seriously be anything at all, for example: “I can talk about my feelings”; “I earn a decent salary and am independent”; “I am forever improving myself”; “I am relatively attractive”; “I can cook a killer pasta” etc. Once you have your initial 10, stop, and put it away.

The ball is rolling. From here the idea is to relax and let the rest come to you. Next time you get that small sliver of pride or someone gives you a compliment, take note of it as a new point. There is no factor which is too small either, so don’t worry if some may seem insignificant, because you are writing 100 of these fuckers, so naturally some will be dumber than others. “I know a lot about fish”; “I keep my keyboard clean”; “I always cover my mouth when I sneeze” - all of which are perfectly acceptable entries.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” - Marilyn Monroe

I don’t care who you are. Nobody is perfect, and nobody is completely useless. No matter how inadequate you are feeling right now, you could pull enough content out of your bum to fill ten times as many lists like this. Perhaps it may take months, but the elevation of your self worth will be priceless. And the best thing about this game is that you should have fun with it. In fact, if you aren’t having fun when you attempt this, you should probably put it aside and try again a bit later, because it is just that. A game.

Take it away Hermione:

“It sounds like a cliché but I also learnt that you're not going to fall for the right person until you really love yourself and feel good about how you are.” - Emma Watson

How To Never Feel Heartbreak Again 20 Steps, Step Fifteen: Design A Lover
Step Fifteen: Design A Lover

“Don't look for a soul mate. Make one - out of the complex fabric of the human being already with you. Instructions are never included. They vary with the strength of your ability to see, the measure of your selective blindness, the limits of your mercy, and the intensity of your desire.” - Vera Nazarian; The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

This point follows directly after the last one. In the same notebook, perhaps at the back, start a new list, and title it this exactly:

Thank You So Much For My New Boyfriend/Girlfriend. I Am Grateful For Them Because...

Underneath this title you will be writing 100 points, each of which will separately complete the above sentence, all describing your perfect lover exactly. Once again, there are no right or wrong answers here, and above all else, you should have a blast writing absolutely anything which comes to mind, no matter how ridiculous... “they have a cool haircut”; “they kiss really well”; “they smell like candyfloss”; “they love to sleep in”; “they are smart but not as smart as me” are all brilliant inclusions. You will literally be designing your ideal partner, and by doing so in present tense, you will amplify the emotions of what it would actually feel like to have them in your life.

“Having experienced everything you don't want in a partner over time, it starts to narrow down to what you actually do want.” - Jennifer Aniston

To me the most powerful result from this exercise, is that you start to work out all the things your ex wasn’t. You will hopefully start to feel more deserving, not only in the way that you will find love again, but in the way that you will find something even better than what you had before. I know this may seem like a tiresome journey or perhaps a new lover is the last thing in the world you want right now, but mark my words that no matter how much in love you are or were with your ex (or even how hard you try to avoid it), you will fall in love again, if you let go. It is inevitable. Because there are literally a million people on this planet who would kill to have someone like you, no matter who you are.

“I used to believe in one true soul mate, but not anymore. I believe you can have a few.” - Paul Walker

How To Get Revenge On Your Ex in 20 Steps, Step Sixteen: Success Is The Best Revenge
Step Sixteen: Success Is The Best Revenge

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.” - Neil Gaiman

You can summarise the majority of these entries with one word: distractions. And nothing will distract your mind as easily as good old fashioned hard work. Immerse yourself in your job, take on big projects and watch the hours fall out of the day’s bum. Get involved with activities after work. Something I found a lot of upon researching for this article which agreed with my own personal experience, is that weekends can be the hardest, which is why you need a hobby immediately. Perhaps you have one, and if you do, this should now be your priority. Perhaps you don’t have one and you have no idea what to do with your new found lonely time, and then finding a hobby should be your priority. Have you ever tried to knit a jersey? Tried indoor rock climbing? Painted a post-modernist masterpiece? Trained for a marathon? Written a short story? Starred in a play? Mastered the harp? The possibilities are endless, and even if you try one and hate it, do not worry, simply throw it aside and try another one. Distractions, that is all you are looking for here. Drown yourself in them.

“The best revenge is massive success.” - Frank Sinatra

But there is more to this than meets the eye. The first is that a large (large!) portion of good art and success stories in the world today, have stemmed from the emotions you are currently feeling. It is on par with love itself, as one of the most powerful feelings a human being can experience. If you can turn it around and use it as a tool of inspiration, the results will rain down with fury, tapping into parts of your creativity that you only have the window of access into right now. Take a bad situation, turn it into a good something. It’s a tough thing for me to admit, but once I start to heal a broken heart, I almost miss it because the potency of my art decreases substantially.

And yet deeper still, imagine one of these projects really turn into something? Suddenly you are rich. You are revered. You are famous. You are It. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will make your ex want you more, and nothing will make you want your ex less.

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognise them.” - Ann Landers

How To Get Forget Your Ex in 20 Steps, Step Seventeen: A Super Special Level Up Secret
Step Seventeen: A Super Special Level Up Secret

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

This little tip may not be relevant to your current circumstances, but it has a special kind of power involved with it, so if you can apply it to your life, I highly recommend it.

Besides your ex, is there someone you currently dislike? A person who you have recently had an argument with or, even better, hate with a passion? Now is the time to make amends with them. I know this may seem silly and completely unrelated to your current position, but there is method. It places focus from the heartbreaker onto someone else, and then opens yourself up to let them back in. This is an exercise in practicing forgiveness, of growing as a person, of being the bigger human, and working out the finer details of what it takes to let something go.

I took this one very seriously in a way that nobody expected. Without getting too personal, I emailed the so-called “friend” who had been hooking up with my ex while we were still technically together. I told him I had nothing against him as a person (lie). I told him that if anyone was fucking my ex, I was glad it was him (lie!!!). I told him it would take me a while to get over the situation (truth) but I hoped he was having fun (lies lies lies). It didn't matter that I failed to mention that I wanted to cut out his throat and force feed it to him, because what good would that do? Instead, I caught him (and everyone) off guard, including myself in a way, and in that moment, I grew a foot taller than the situation.

His response was one of shock but also one of gratitude. I like to believe that deep down he harboured some guilt in fucking me over, and was now relieved that I’d cleared the air a bit, as well as perhaps a little regretful that he’d handled things the way he did. Personally, the process made me sick to my fucking stomach, but I still felt liberated in the knowledge that I had been the better person in the conflict, and had done the right thing. Jesus would have been proud.

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” - Oscar Wilde

As I mentioned, I don’t expect you to follow this story note-for-note. Rather, think of someone who you are currently not on good terms with, and fix it. It’s about practice. It’s about letting go. It’s about remembering that this is a game, and even with factors that have nothing to do with your current troubles, you can grow as a person from it and start your new life by using your turbulence as a turbo-booster.

How To Heal Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Eighteen: Freak Yourself Out
Step Eighteen: Freak Yourself Out

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” - Neale Donald Walsch

A lot of this article has been about changing yourself and your routine, in hopes that reminders will fade and you as a person will feel some sort of a transformation. But nothing (noooo thiiiing) can achieve this faster than doing something that completely scares the shit out of you.

Book a solo holiday on a remote island. Go skydiving. Do a photoshoot. Go sing karaoke in front of a room full of strangers. Go hold a snake. I guarantee you that in the planning and anticipating of these events, your thoughts will be completely devoured by dread and, as a result, free of your ex. You will be far too preoccupied with nerves and excitement to even bother with the idea of them. It is an instant relief, whenever you want it. If you are in the worst place you could possibly imagine right now, book a shark cage diving course and realise you were wrong. This could very well be the most useful step out of anything on this list for your circumstances.

“It's good to feel stupid sometimes and do things that are out of your comfort zone.” - Mary-Louise Parker

Me, I got suspended. That’s when these people shoved two large hooks into my shoulders and lifted me into the sky by my skin. Do you think I was heartbroken when they pierced a huge chunk of my flesh? How many times do you think my ex crossed my mind whilst I was impaled in the sky, adrenaline pumping throughout my system and blissful agony replacing every single cell of my body? I’ll give you a hint: none. For in those moments (as well as the moments leading up to it), I was free of everything negative, reaching new levels of self discovery, which stuck with me for days afterwards and still hasn’t fully left me.

It’s the tried-and-tested greatest method of escaping your current mental space, and from your new found platform of fear, it is much easier to structure a permanent escape route. If you are in a rut and need a kickstart to get out of it, here is your motorbike.

How To Get Over Heartbreak In 20 Steps, Step Nineteen: Be Patient
Step Nineteen: Be Patient

“Only time can heal your broken heart. Just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.” - Miss Piggy

Above all else, you must accept that time is the greatest healer. You could do everything I say in a week or so, and while you may find a substantial degree of relief, you will never ever find an instant fix. It was never going to be easy, and it’s not supposed to be, because this is life, with its extraordinary ups and downs, beauty and pain, light and darkness. You may be low right now, but you cannot stay low forever, and each and every step you take forward, each and every hour you kill, each and every smile you manage or laugh you take, will be one small but definite progression in the right direction.

“I'm extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end.” - Margaret Thatcher

If you remember one thing, remember this: You will get over them. Even if you follow none of my advice and fight the healing process and dwell on the depressions of the past, at some point, you will no longer be in love with them, even if (heaven forbid) it takes 10 years. Furthermore, someone else will come along and steal your heart, if you are open to it. You will fall in love again, and, yes, perhaps you will even get your heartbroken once more. It’s just the way it works, and you will only make it worse if you fight against it. For this is the beauty and the tragedy of being human, and the risk we take by being open to new experiences. But for now, my guarantee is as follows: one day you will look back at this interesting chapter of your life and you will laugh at how this insignificant person once managed to make you feel. Maybe not right now, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually this will turn into a distant dream-like memory, and if you use this time constructively, you will marvel at the person you have become because of it, and perhaps even be grateful for it.

Just wait in faith. Time heals all wounds.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” - Aristotle

How To Get Over Heart Break In 20 Steps, Step Twenty: Make Peace
Step Twenty: Make Peace

“It's not a persons mistakes which define them - it's the way they make amends.” - Freya North; Chances

And when you are ready, the time will come to forgive and make amends with the person who has hurt you, even if you are in the wrong. This does not have to be said out loud and it definitely cannot be rushed, but when you feel your uphill climb turning downward, it will no longer be in your best interest to hold a grudge against them or the things they have done. A very clever man once explained it best to me. He told me that it is not down to us to forgive an individual, for we are not “God” or some other authority on who deserves forgiveness. Rather, by holding animosity towards someone, we are in reality only hurting ourselves, and as a result, forgiveness has very little to do with them, but more to do with finding peace within ourselves. Do yourself a favour when you feel you are in a position to do so, and forgive them.

“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” - Chuck Palahniuk; Diary

However, if you feel strong enough to do this in person, I recommend considering the following: Be polite about it. Do not look for a response. Be the bigger person. Do not grant them the satisfaction of losing your cool and then getting trapped in some argument which will set you back. Do not even try to be their friend, if you don't want to. Simply let them know you are no longer affected by the human they are, and then turn your back to face the sun, walking away with a smile on your face in the full knowledge that you handled this to the very best of your ability. And never think of them again.

“Sometimes you only get one chance to rewrite the qualities of the character you played in a person's life story. Always take it. Never let the world read the wrong version of you.” - Shannon L. Alder

Final Words
I've always struggled with conclusions. Initially I wrote some garbage along the lines of "you are special, my only hope is that I at least help one individual, you can turn this into the best thing that has ever happened to you" blah blah blah blaaaauurrrghh. Sure, there is some quality truth in all that, but at this point, I just wasn't feeling it. And that alone made me question this whole article. Do I actually believe in what I am saying here? Who do I think I am pretending to be? Some self proclaimed authority on this very delicate and complex subject? And do I even care?

That's when my sister pointed out the obvious: the answer was right there in front me this whole time. The testament to this article's power lay within my very own experience with the article itself. I had written so extensively about my approach to healing heartbreak, researching other people's misfortune and pedantically analysing my own emotions, that I had become well and truly bored of the thought of break-ups. I was so over this article and I was so over the monotony of heartache, that it actually made me indifferent and desensitised to my own feelings. Which is to say, I am cured beyond the point of even giving a rat's ass about being cured. And so, if nothing else works, I'd recommend you try writing a blog just like this one, and before you know it, your problems will become so dull that you will have no choice other than to move on.


“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” - Douglas Adams; The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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