How to Heal a Broken Heart (MUST READ!)

Lord knows we have all had them. That gut wrenching, dry heaving, fetal position sobbing breakup.

It hurts like hell and feels like it will last forever. Gosh, I hate breakups. I hated them when I was single and I hate them for my friends and family now.

But what is the cure? What if I told you that someone had the perfect advice? That he knew  exactly what you are going through and is so raw that you would feel so validated and understood! 

Well … good news (and if you just went through a breakup, I know you could use some), we’ve got you covered!

When I watched this video by the incredibly talented musician, TJ Stafford, I knew he would have the perfect advice! You can tell by this beautiful song and the emotion on his face in this music video that he was pulling from such a real place. 

I just had to get inside his head because so many of my AMAZING readers reach out describing their broken hearts over loss and I wanted to help! 

Sometimes just knowing you are not alone  makes all the difference in the world. I know when my depression started at 13, music was the only escape from my loneliness. I know the feeling of full body sadness that makes you wish you could pull your heart out of your chest. 

But … you’ve got me … and now TJ!

how to heal a broken heart




how to heal a broken heart

It’s an epic song and video isn’t it? Once I watched it, I had to ask him how to heal a broken heart. Once you read his answer, you will know why he is one of the wisest people I know…. Enjoy!

Ps … There are some curse words in this post – I know I don’t usually do that but I wanted to share his exact thoughts without changing the words. I hope you understand!

What is your cure for a broken heart?

Oh, God. I don’t know. I’m fighting the urge to be deep and philosophical right now and expose all of the cognitive knowledge I’ve acquired over the years. I could tell you that the first step is to feel the heartbreak deeply, to actually look it in the face and acknowledge that “this feels like shit. It hurts …badly.”

I could say that I cured it through intense self examination, long hours of working to glean the good out of the situation, to properly identify what went wrong and what went right, then to learn and correct mistakes. I could point to surrounding myself with great friends and family whom I know loved me for no other reason than that they just loved me. I could even say that there was a hint of desire for revenge that helped … wanting to make sure that I turned myself into such a person that whoever broke my heart would see me and deeply, eternally regret it.

I could say all of that stuff, and that stuff was definitely there during the process, but the truth is that it’s all bullshit. True heartbreak, and I mean the debilitating “suck the life out of every fiber of your being” kind of heartbreak, trumps all logic and self-help strategy. At least in my experience.

Really, the only cure I’ve found for that kind of heartbreak is to keep moving.  Because that kind of heartbreak can convince you that you’re crazy, that the rules of the world you once thought existed no longer do. Hence, the ubiquitous self help rules for getting over heartbreak no longer seem viable. It’s on those days when my brain no longer seemed a trustworthy companion (which was most days) that I would literally say out loud, “the next step.” And the next step varied from the utter heroic to definitively mundane. I’d open my eyes in the morning, realize that the heartbreak wasn’t a dream and say “next step.” That ‘next step’ was usually just telling myself to sit up. Then my internal dialogue would turn into what sounded like a human directing a highly emotional slightly mis-programmed robot how to act human:

“Next step?

Get out of bed.

“Ok. Now what?”


“Yeah, shower.”

Good, now put on normal people clothes suitable for wearing in public.

“Cool. Next step?”

Coffee. Eat something. Answer just one email. Answer one more. Pick up the guitar. Don’t worry about playing it yet, just pick it up. Answer another email. Put on workout clothes. Start jogging…na…fuck jogging.

“Shit, i’m crying.”

Ok. Cry.

“Next step?”

Breathe. Realize you’re breathing. Good. Now stand up. Wait, before you get up, do a push up. Do 25 more. Now get up.

“Next step?”

Look up therapists. Call one. Schedule an appointment. Put it in your calendar. Make it a pretty color in iCal. Pretty colors are cool.

“Fuck, i’m crying again. Next step?”

Cry. Say out loud that it hurts. Breathe. Breathe again.

“Cool. Next step?”

Get in the car. Drive.


Don’t know.

“Next step?”

Let loose the most guttural scream you’ve ever heard. Ok. Good. Drive to the book store. Go inside. Breathe. Appreciate the smell.

“Next step?”

Far away from the self help section. Fiction. Pick one. A big thick one. Chuckle that you just internally said ‘a big, thick one.’ Buy the book. Pay for it.

“Next step?”

Coffee shop. Public, people, other lives. Stand in line. Order. Say ‘thank you.’ Notice the happy couple in the corner. Mumble ‘fuck them’ and wish the destruction of hell on their and everyone else’s romantic lives.

“Next step?”

Look up and whisper ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. I don’t mean that.’ Forgive yourself. Next step, sit down. Lose yourself in thought. Open the book. Read a sentence. Read a paragraph. Cry.

‘I’m crying again?!? Seriously?!?’

Next step, feel anger. Feel it deeply. Picture punching the imaginary guy you made up in your head that’s hanging out with your ex … picture your ex witnesses your maturity and starts running toward you saying ‘i’m so sorry!!! I was so wrong!!!’ and……Ok. Breathe. Breathe again. Stare at the ground. Imagine yourself as a character in a John Hughes movie. Feel cooler. Feel ridiculous. Get in the car. Drive to the beach. Stare at the ocean. Feel inspired. Feel small and insignificant. Feel deep and contemplative. Feel like a bitch.

‘I’m crying again?!?!?! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!’

Nod at the old lady staring concernedly at the grown man sobbing and talking to himself.

“Next step?”

Drive. Eat. Watch tv. Shut off your brain. Shut it off more. Realized you just laughed at a scene in New Girl. Feel weird about it.

“Next step?”

Shower. Don’t put on pajamas. Just get in bed. Say ‘thank you’ for no apparent reason. Say it again. One more time. Stare at the ceiling and think about who broke your heart….and pray for sleep.”

Repeat daily.

Then, inexplicably, after weeks, maybe months of the above, I realized I was getting through a day with limited direction from my internal voice. And then, after more weeks, maybe months, I realized I was happy. And, even more surprisingly, I realized that I’d actually accomplished something over the course of heartbreaking months. And not because I set goals and followed sage advice. I literally just kept moving.

Deep, right?

Rachel: Isn’t he AMAZING!?!? I really hope this helps you in your journey! I know it is so hard to deal with loss. I have lost people in my life and the pain is just so intense! But I hope the words above help you heal your broken heart!

TJ is just amazing. I love him so much. His music, heart, passionate, wisdom … he is an incredible guy! Please follow his incredible work:

Want more of TJ now?

Below are a few things you MUST know about him!

how to heal a broken heart

How did you get your start?

I was 5 years old and my mom put a guitar in my hand and said “you’re taking lessons.” Essentially, I was forced. Thank God, because I think my then current path of eating Playdo and making GI Joes and Barbies do the things I’d seen on mom’s soaps was a dead end.

What inspires you everyday?

Honestly, regret. My biggest fear is to someday lay on my death bed and have regrets. It’s got to be the worst, most helpless feeling in the world to know that time is up and there are things left undone, un-pursued.

I realize that ‘regret’ sounds like a pretty negative motivation, but it’s actually lead to a lot of freedom. The freedom to disengage from pettiness, to distance myself from the opinion of others, and, realizing through trial and error that most regret comes not from poor actions but from the lack of action, the freedom to face fear and smile and risk failure.

What are your 3 tips for making it in the entertainment business?

  1. Realize you are owed and entitled to exactly dick.
  2. Be really good and continually improving at your craft.
  3. Keep moving. Never stop. (see above ;-))

how to cure broken heart

CATCH Video Credits

Produced by: TJ Stafford @tjstaffordmusic and 202 Pictures @202pictures
Directed by: Tony Woo Joun @filmanian
Hair/Makeup: Julie Patel @thelookbyjulie
Starring: Camilla Greenberg @camillagreenberg
Photography: Kelly Lee & Mulberry Tree Design Studio @mulberrytreeds

Love you so much! Thank you for reading!

Rachel McCord

If you enjoyed this article please share it. You never know when someone who follows you on social might need a little extra inspiration today!

Follow and tag me #socially @iamRachelMcCord and @TheMcCordList #TheMcCordList to stay inspired to stay connected.

Have something to share on The McCord List blog? Send an article to hello(@)themccordlist . com, “c/o Rachel McCord” and you might see the post up on!

Sign up here for exclusive giveaways and occasional notes from me!