10 Quotes You Need to Read About Heartbreak

Broken hearts are beautifully universal.

Shannon Ashley
Jan 3, 2020 · 7 min read

here are different schools of thought about heartbreak, and I doubt that many of them are wrong. I can read completely conflicting ideas about healing from a broken heart yet find great comfort in each one simply because my stance frequently changes.

Some of it is the way time changes how we see things. And some of it is because all heartbreak isn’t equal. Often, we can’t even explain why certain losses hit us harder than others.

They just do, leaving us with the feeling that the timeline of healing is completely beyond our control.

1. There’s good reason why a heartbreak hurts so bad.

“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”

- E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

How should we feel about a seemingly everlasting heartbreak? You know the kind‐. years, perhaps decades later, it still stings.

Even when significant healing has happened, there are aches that simply never die. In such cases, I think about this quote from one of my favorite books (and films).

I think it must be true. Love lingers, in some way, even long after being “over.” Often, our aching heart is just a symptom of love’s eternity. And there seems to be both a pleasure and a pain in feeling such love that never dies.

2. Getting through your heartbreak by helping others along the way is pretty bad ass.

“Be loved. Be known. Love people and know people. Be so brave as to raise a hand for help when you need it. Make friends and make sure they know they matter. Be loyal to them and fight for them. Remind them what’s true and invite them to do the same when you forget. If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace. It is a middle finger to the darkness.”

- Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For

This quote comes from another one of my favorite books. I am captivated by the imagery and this notion of giving a middle finger to the darkness.

I think some folks forget that not all heartbreak is hinged upon romantic love. Some have been broken over very different losses. Sometimes, it’s our dreams that break us. Or our children or other family and friends can break us too.

And some people will battle inexplicable heartbreak born from the sadness of being alone. Of facing depression and mental illness. Or enduring significant failure.

It doesn’t matter if a heartbreak is related to romance or not. It matters, and one of the most amazing things we can do is to be there for somebody else in the midst of their pain.

3. Not all heartbreak lasts forever.

“If it is possible for one person to be hurt by another... Then, it is possible for that person to be healed by another as well.”

- Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Basket

I grew up watching a great deal of anime, but I didn’t begin to read any manga until I was in my mid-twenties. Fruits Basket was the first thing I read, and it was epic. I recommend that anyone who’s interested in reading manga start with this one because it’s such an incredible mix of fantasy and reliability.

The original anime never did the story justice, but heartbreak is a major theme in the manga. Every character (there’s more than a dozen of them) has suffered a significant heartbreak. Some are healing better than others. Others are simply coping like so many of the rest of us.

The main character has lost her mother at the start of the story, and she learns a lot about heartbreak through her interactions with a magically cursed family. This realization that we can help heal each other’s hearts is a big one.

I’ll admit it’s something of a loaded concept. It’s easy to go too far in one direction by thinking we need somebody else to save us when we actually need to save ourselves. Yet I can’t refute our ability to be healed through healthy relationships and admit it’s something of a balancing act.

4. You’re not alone, though, if your heartbreak does live on.

“Pleasure of love lasts but a moment. Pain of love lasts a lifetime.”

- Bette Davis

One of the most famous Hollywood stars in history, Bette Davis knew something about heartbreak. She was married four times and one of her children wrote a famous tell-all book called My Mother’s Keeper.

Davis wan’t really “good” at love and would eventually credit her commitment to her career as the reason for so many failed personal relationships.

Perhaps that gives her a particular insight into one type of heartbreak that is eternal: one where we (at least partly) blame ourselves. Is regret a certain sort of heartbreak?

I’m inclined to say yes, and that it’s more common than you might think.

5. Some heartbreaks change you forever.

“I know my heart will never be the same but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay.”

- Sara Evans

Fake it til you make it. Don’t let them see you cry. I’ve heard a lot of different ways to deal with heartbreak, but at the end of the day, telling yourself that you’ll be okay seems to be at the top of the list.

Maybe you’re not okay today. You know that you will never be the same. But still, there’s something deeply comforting in this idea that one day, someday, you will be okay.

Someday, you’ll have all that you need. In fact, you might even find out that your heartbreak gave you something. A change in perspective. A lesson in love.

Something.

6. A broken heart can be a brilliant muse.

“Perhaps someday I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.”

- Sylvia Plath

There’s a reason why artists keep crafting more art out of their heartbreak. Broken hearts make good muses.

That’s why we will never be finished with books, movies, songs, poems, or paintings aimed at capturing the poignancy and pain of lost love. Again, it doesn’t even have to be romantic love.

Every single one of us has lost something. And that often makes the art we create out of our pain beautiful and highly relatable.

It’s not as if anything in the world can make a horrible heartbreak “okay,” but when something beautiful comes out of the pain like some fiery phoenix, I can’t help but think that’s a pretty worthy way to cope.

7. Healing a broken heart often happens when we least expect it.

“The saddest thing about love is that not only that it cannot last forever, but that heartbreak is soon forgotten.”

- William Faulkner

Some heartbreaks leave you with this notion that you’ll never get better. Never move past the pain. You try to drown your sorrows in a pint of ice cream, or at the bar, or, you know, anything.

It occurs to you then that you will never smile again.

But almost as soon as you resign yourself to the idea that happiness will never again find you, something steps into your life to replace all of that pain.

Maybe it’s another person, a new opportunity, or something else. But whatever it is, your heartbreak may be forgotten sooner rather than later. There’s something very bittersweet whenever that happens.

8. Heartbreak needn’t be the end.

“The heart will break, but broken live on.”

- Lord Byron

Regardless of the type of heartbreak you endure, living on happens, even when it seems impossible. At the start of a new year, you can’t even imagine what new forms of disappointment await you.

Yet, another year will come and you’ll discover that you somehow managed to go on.

In the writing world, and in other industries fueled by self-expression, we talk a lot about “broken people.” But the truth is that we’ve all been broken.

Some of us simply relate more closely to the adjective than others. And we share this common trait that heartbreak needn’t be the end of our stories.

9. A heartbreak cannot tarnish the beauty of real and reciprocal love.

“The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

- Eden Ahbez

Many of you are familiar with this quote because it was so heavily featured in Moulin Rouge. For a song that’s often referred to as “otherworldly,” it is unbelievably relatable and has been recorded by multiple artists including Nat King Cole and David Bowie.

The writer, Eden Ahbez was what you’d call an early hippie, and these words were written from his interpretation of the social movement of “life reform” known as lebensreform.

Ahbez wrote the song Nature Boy in 1947. In 1963, his wife Anna died from leukemia. His son, Zoma, was just 22 when he drowned in 1971.

I doubt he ever could have known just how much heartbreak would come his way after writing that “The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” And I wonder if he held those words as tightly to his chest like so many of us do today.

10. Heartbreak is perfectly natural and human.

“The heart was made to be broken.”

- Oscar Wilde

I suspect there are a million different kinds of heartbreak, but perhaps Oscar Wilde said it best.

We have these hearts that can break, and they do break. Maybe that means they were always meant to be broken.

Maybe heartbreak is necessary and the actual equalizer in real life. Not death, nor education. At least, not in the ways we’ve been told.

Heartbreak reminds us all that even when we feel alone, we aren’t alone, not really. We are united in our experience of loss that pulls us apart and claws at our hearts.

And I don’t know what’s more perfectly human than that. Do you?

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Honestly Yours

Essays with heart

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, full-time writer, ex-vangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. shannon.ashley.medium@gmail.com

Honestly Yours

No topic is off-limits, and nothing human is unmentionable. Read on.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, full-time writer, ex-vangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer. shannon.ashley.medium@gmail.com

Honestly Yours

No topic is off-limits, and nothing human is unmentionable. Read on.

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