6 Books to Read During Your Breakup


Breakups, man. I know the pain of them well. Two years ago someone reached into my chest, pulled my heart out, and walked out the door. It was the worst and then it turned out to be the best. 

When I learn my lessons I learn 'em good.

I went through a whole lot in order to get to where I am today. I can tell you without hesitation that if I didn't take the long journey of healing my deeper pain I would still be harboring resentment from that relationship.

Digging deep into healing post breakup is essential in order to understand where our pain is coming from and how to give ourselves what we need so we can be in a healthier relationship in the future.

I thought it might be nice to share with you 5 books that can help support you while you process your breakup:

1. When Things Fall Apart

This classic by Pema Chödrön is the book to read if you’re going through any of your lowest life moments. I picked this book up when I was in a deep depression, and I found Pema’s words to be incredibly comforting. She doesn't ask you to change or deny your pain. Instead, she acknowledged the fundamental truth of life—that things fall apart, come back together, and then fall apart again.

Why It’s Good for Breakups
Pema reminds us that to feel pain is to be human. We are so wired and conditions to try to fix everything that we miss the big opportunity to surrender to the nature of life.

In Pema’s Words

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”  

Get your copy here.

2. Love Warrior

Pick up Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir and be prepared to devour it in a few sittings. Her words will resonate with anyone who has experienced the deep heartache of feeling lost in your own life.


Why It’s Good for Breakups
Every time we’re back in emotional pain we forget that we’ve been here before (unless this is your first merry-go-ride—in that case: Welcome to your initiation!) . We also think we can figure out a solution to our pain with our minds. This is why so many people get back together after breaking up—to avoid the pain.

In Glennon’s Words

Questions I Can Answer
1. Am I loved? Yes.
2. Are my children loved? Yes.
3. Did I survive Rock Bottom before? Yes.

I stare at the last question and remember something I just read—that the word disaster comes from astro: stars, and dis: without. This will only be a disaster if I lose all awareness of light. There in front of the computer, I feel darkness setting in. I need to find some light.

Quickly, I make one more list:

What I Know
1. What you don’t know, you’re not supposed to know yet.
2. More will be revealed.

Get your copy here.

3. The Untethered Soul

This is a book you can read over and over again. Michael Singer speaks to our essence and our humanity. Whether you’re just embarking on your journey inward or have been on the path for a while, this book will take you deeper.


Why It’s Good for Breakups
When our hearts are breaking we instinctively want to protect ourselves. The way we have learned to do this is by closing. We want to curl up in a ball and protect our tender hearts.

The problem with closing is that it cuts you off from love and love is what heals. So instead of healing, we end up creating long term pain. The healing happens through the pain. You have to be brave enough to stay open to it.

In Michael’s Words

How you learn to stay open is up to you. The ultimate trick is to not close. If you don’t close, you will have learned to stay open. Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it. When your heart starts to close, just say, “No. I’m not going to close. I’m going to relax. I’m going to let this situation take place and be there with it. Honor and respect the situation, and deal with it. By all means deal with it. Do the best you can. But deal with it with openness. Deal with it with excitement and enthusiasm. No matter what it is, just let it be the sport of the day. In time you will find that you forget how to close. No matter what anyone does, no matter what situation takes place, you won’t even feel the tendency to close. You will just embrace life with all your heart and soul. Once you’ve attained this very high state, your energy level will be phenomenal. You will have all the energy you need at all times. Just relax and open, and tremendous energy will rush up inside of you. You are only limited by your ability to stay open.

Get your copy here.

4. The Bright Side of a Broken Heart

Ok, to be fair this is my book. BUT it’s the book I wrote during my heartbreak. I took Pema’s advice and surrendered to the grief and used it as an opportunity to learn about myself through it. What I discovered was that the grief I was experiencing had so much more to do with my own personal pain than it had to do with a man who left me.

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Why It’s Good for Breakups
I wrote this book as part of my healing journey. In it you’ll be on the journey will be from the beginning, when I was lost on my bathroom floor. This book is a raw, vulnerable, and honest journey through heartbreak and into the reclamation of self.

A Review from a Reader Named Ryan

Most of us would prefer to gloss over the painful parts of life. It’s easier to push pain down and bury it than to face it, let it tear you apart, and rebuild yourself from the pieces. But that process leads to true healing, as Michelle shows in her book. She takes us into the aftermath of a breakup with the man she loved, spiraling into a darkness that threatens to eradicate her. At the bottom she discovers who she truly is and rises up from a foundation of love and self-acceptance. It’s not pretty, but it’s beautiful in its honesty and openness. This book can offer solace to anyone going through anguish and despair, but it’s not only for them. It’s for everyone who wishes to know the depths and heights of the human heart.

Get your copy here.

5. If The Buddha Dated

Charlotte Kasl’s book on the journey to find love is essential for anyone who is ready to move into a truly healthy relationship.

Why It’s Good for Breakups
So many of us seek partnership to fill something within ourselves that we’re not really willing to look closely at. We jump back into relationships before we really understand ourselves. But how can we give to a partner when we’re not able to give to ourselves? Charlotte’s book is a guide into understanding yourself better in preparation for love.

In Charlotte’s Words

Our growth begins when we realize we are facing parts of ourselves that have always been there. It’s not the relationship, it’s not the other person. No one made us feel that way, they simply touched a place in us that was not clear. It’s not easy. We moan, Oh, God, I just agreed to see a movie I hate. I just had sex when I didn’t want to. I smiled when I was angry. I pressured my new love to stay with me when I knew she wanted to go home. Don’t be afraid. You’ve thrown a log on the spiritual fire. You’ve hit an edge, now sit with it, don’t run away, don’t eat a cookie, don’t turn on the TV, don’t go shopping. Sit down and simmer. Breathe. Be gentle, make friends with that part of you.

Ohmygod. Isn’t that some damn wisdom for ya?

Get your copy here.

Do you have any books that have helped you through your heartbreak? Would love your feedback in the comments below!


6. The year of magical thinking

Joan Didion is a magical writer. Funny enough this book was recommended to me by my ex. I sat in bed with him next to me at night while I read about Joan's first year without her husband. While I read this book before my breakup, it was one I felt within me as I was mourning my loss.

Why It’s Good for Breakups
This story is about Joan's first year after the sudden death of her husband. It's about grief and loss. My blindsiding breakup felt like a death and Joan goes deep into the experience of grief.

In Joan's Words

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe their husband is about to return and need his shoes.

Goodness, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Get your copy here.

Do you have any books that have helped you through your heartbreak? Would love your feedback in the comments below!

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