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Why the Most Important Thing to Do Is Often the Hardest When Someone Breaks Our Hearts

Don't do it. I know you want to. I know you want to pick up that jagged rock and just chuck it through their window. After all, they broke your heart. Worse, they threw it to the ground, danced on it, and then kicked it aside. But you don’t have to resort to criminal activity. There are better ways to get over your broken heart. 

The following is excerpted from Don't Throw Rocks at His Window: Real Advice to Mend a Broken Heart.

Whether your heart is broken intentionally or quite by accident, it is easy to turn the pain of rejection into anger at the person who rejected you. The world will tell you that anger is justified and that vengeance is sweet. But the world is wrong.

On my mission in the Philippines, I had a Filipino companion who loved to cook, and I loved to eat her cooking. I had been in the country for only a few weeks when she cooked a meal that included peppers in the sauce.

Now, I’m not talking about red or green or yellow peppers. I’m not even talking about jalapeño peppers. I’m talking about the tiniest, hottest, most brutal pepper known in that part of the world—the siling labuyo, or bird’s eye chili. Everyone in the Philippines knew they weren’t supposed to actually eat the peppers. Except for me. Because, you know, I was in a foreign country and nobody told me.

So there I was, happily eating this delicious dinner, when I suddenly bit into a volcano. It was beyond hot. I actually stopped breathing for a minute; it was such a shock. Tears started streaming down my face, and my nose ran like a faucet. I think I even screamed. (Okay, I know I screamed.) I grabbed a cup of water and poured it down my throat, but the water just slid right by the heat.

I jumped up and tried in vain to find something—anything—to stop the pain. But there was no antidote in sight. I ran around the kitchen, coughing and gasping and crying all at once. I thought I would die. It hurt so much.

My companion sat there and calmly watched me behave like a lunatic. Then she said, “You know, you’re not supposed to eat the peppers.”

Yeah. Thanks for telling me that—now. If she had told me before dinner not to eat the peppers, do you think I would have eaten them? No!

Well, holding onto anger is like putting a wicked-hot pepper in your mouth. It will hurt. Since I have lived in the land of broken hearts before, I will give you the warning that I wish someone had given me: don’t eat the peppers. Don’t even put them in your mouth. In other words, steer clear of anger. Don’t take it in, don’t carry it around, and don’t make a place for it in your heart.

Forgiveness isn't just for sins.

Anger will eat at the most tender parts of your heart and make you hard-hearted, bitter, and jaded. A hard heart cannot feel the gentle touch of the Holy Ghost. A bitter heart cannot taste the sweetness of forgiveness. A jaded heart cannot believe in Christ’s power to heal all wounds.

If you turn your pain to anger, and if you feed that anger and let it harden your heart, you will become separated from the One who would be your constant companion—the Holy Ghost. And the pain of a broken heart will feel like a paper cut compared to the amputation of the Comforter. Your anger will harm you much more than it will ever harm the person you’re angry with.

Holding onto anger will hurt. A hard heart cannot feel the gentle touch of the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know what the antidote for that pepper was, but I do know the antidote for anger. It is forgiveness. You must forgive the person who broke your heart. Holding onto anger against them just keeps the wound open and raw. Healing comes when we move on and when we change our focus from anger to forgiveness.

But what if you can’t forgive the person who hurt you?

If you find it difficult to forgive, you are not alone. It is one of the great challenges of earthly life. Under the law of Moses, it was “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38). But when Christ came, He taught a higher law, saying, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

It isn’t romantic love that this scripture is talking about. It’s charity, the pure love of Christ, that you need in order to love your enemies. Sometimes, even though I want to do what this scripture says, I simply don’t have the right kind of love in my heart. (Have you ever felt that way?) Sometimes, when I need it most, I discover that my well of charity is bone-dry.

Thankfully, charity is given to us as a gift from heaven. Charity can be poured into our hearts so that we can love the way Christ loves. And the way we receive it is so simple, yet so important.

Mormon wrote that we must “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48).

So pray with all your heart. Pray for the ability to forgive. Pray for the person who hurt you. Pray to be filled with the love of Christ. And the Lord will fill your well of charity until it overflows. Even if all you have is the desire to forgive the person who hurt you, it is enough to take to the Lord. If you will bring Him the desire, the Lord will provide the miracle of forgiveness.

Pray for the ability to forgive. Pray to be filled with the love of Christ. And the Lord will fill your well of charity until it overflows.

Forgiveness can go a long way toward healing a broken heart. Forgiveness can keep the experience from becoming baggage that you carry around with you. Forgiveness can help you look past the pain of the ending and remember the happiness of the beginning again. Forgiveness can open your heart to love again, and to be loved again. So start forgiving today. Right now.


Using humor, common sense, and honest, heart-to-heart advice, author Julie C. Donaldson lays out four simple rules that will help you mend your broken heart (including Rule #1: Don’t be pathetic).

 Don’t Throw Rocks at His Window is filled with practical remedies and fun, interactive ideas that will help you strengthen your heart, keep your perspective on what matters most, and find comfort through Heavenly Father’s blessings.

It is possible to survive a broken heart. What’s more, it’s possible to love again with a heart that is strong and sure and whole. So drop the rock, toss the tissue, and take the journey from hurt to healing.

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