If you met me, you’d all say the same thing: This girl is a badass. Everyone who knows me thinks the same way about me: I’m not easily bothered.

Even my closest friends will tell you this. Whenever we talk about our heartbreaks, they all reach the same conclusion: she’s never grieved for a boy in her life.

I’ve had my share of painful breakups – nobody argues against that. In fact, if we look at things objectively, we’d all agree that I’ve been through more devastating experiences than the average girl.

I loved men who didn’t love me back. I was used, cheated on, and left behind. I was treated like trash, and I was even abused.

But despite all of this, I never had a hard time moving on with my life.

No matter what I’d been through, somehow, I would always find a way to brush the sadness off my shoulders and restore my true self.

The most fascinating thing about it all is that my recovery process was always fast. Each time, I would be as good as new in the blink of an eye.

Every time I was heartbroken, I would heal at an incredible speed. At least, this is how it looked. This is what everyone around me thought. The hell with it, this is what I thought.

Until it hit me: I was never healing. Instead, all this time, I was just forcing myself to forget. And these are two completely different concepts.

blonde woman in red top standing on the street

You see, when you’re forcing yourself to forget, you pretend that your traumas never happened. You engage in something called self-deception, and that can never be healthy.

You do your best to sweep things under the carpet. It’s like you have a magic wand, and you expect it to erase everything bad you ever experienced.

You continue with your life exactly like this – as if you’re not damaged and as if your heart is still in one piece. Sounds like the perfect recipe for happiness, doesn’t it?

Well, the problem is that this approach has one fatal flaw: it’s utterly impossible. The things you run away from find a way of catching up with you sooner or later.

Sometimes, your old demons come knocking on your door years after you’ve convinced yourself that you were done with them. And once they do, there is no chance of escape.

In fact, this time, all of your traumas become even more agonizing. After all, this pain has been pilling up for years, and now it has become a monster you have to deal with.

So at the end of the day, I’m not the tough woman everyone sees me as. I’m not strong.

Instead, I’ve been the biggest coward of them all. I’ve been weak all along – too weak to face my emotional aches and even weaker to handle them in a healthy way.

Luckily, I realized all of this before it was too late. It hit me before I lost my sanity completely and in time to make things right.

woman in striped top looking at mountain

That’s why I’m begging you not to repeat my mistakes. I know that looking your pain in the eyes is scary as hell, but it is something you MUST do.

Repressing your emotions will only send you down a road of no return. The self-deception I practiced will seriously mess with your mind the same way it did with mine.

One day, you’ll wake up shattered in pieces, feeling like the entire world’s sadness has fallen on your chest.

And you know what the worst part is? You’ll have no idea what’s going on. Where is this coming from? Why are you feeling like this?

It will take you a while before you realize that your old friends are paying you a visit.

It will take a while before you figure out that the pieces of your broken heart are actually stabbing you from the inside.

When this happens, you’ll have to dig deep into your past to find the source of your emotional bruises.

You’ll have to scratch open those scars and turn them into wounds all over again. But this is the only way you’ll really heal.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advising you to let your hurt consume you when you get your heart broken. I’m not telling you to allow your torment to become your only focus.

But whether you like it or not, you’ll have to welcome your pain before you bid it farewell. You’ll have to process your emotions before you leave them in the past, where they belong.

Only when you are capable of doing this can you call yourself a strong woman. Only when you manage this can you be healed for good.