Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

How to heal a broken heart through comics, by the woman who did it herself

heartbreak 3.jpg

It is a truth universally acknowledged that going through the pain of a break-up can be complete and utter hell.

From the torment of losing your closest companion to the fear of being alone, experiencing the breakdown of a relationship can test the very core of our being.

And while there are a number of tried-and-tested coping methods that can help to ease the impact of heartache, an artist from Singapore believes she has struck upon a universally applicable way of mending a broken heart: through the medium of comics.

Cherlyn Chong, 29, first stumbled upon the healing power of comics following the breakdown of her relationship with her then-fiancé, a man who she thought was the love of her life.

heartbreak

After the split she put pen to paper to chronicle the emotional stages she went through as she grieved the loss of the relationship, experiencing crushing pain, a sense of isolation and the feeling that no one really understood what she was going through.

heartbreak

Chong found herself detailing the stages of heartbreak

As she began to heal, so did the character in her comic, until they both finally learnt how to move on.

Titled A Stupidly Happy Comic About the Very Real Pain of Heartbreak, and posted in full on her site Steps to Happyness, Chong’s comic struck a chord with viewers across the world.

The response was so overwhelmingly positive that she even quit her job as an assistant brand manager at a Fortune 500 company to became a grief coach, helping others to heal their broken, fragmented hearts through comics, laughter and plenty of first-hand experience.

heartbreak relationship comic

Chong's illustrations have struck a chord with the heartbroken

But what is it about comics that makes them such a good tool for dealing with emotional pain? For anyone who hasn’t read one since their childhood, or counts The Beano and The Dandy as their only forays into the world of comics, it can seem a perplexing choice of therapy.

However, Chong believes their appeal lies in their relatability. Speaking to Stylist.co.uk, she says, “I personally think it has to do with how safe comics make people feel. It's comforting to have someone else come out and say, ‘Hey! This happened to me too! I got my heart broken too, and this is how I dealt with it. You're not alone! It hurts just as much halfway around the world.’

“They see their own situation reflected back at them, and they go, ‘You know what, if she could do it, I can too’.”

heartbreak relationship coach

The illustrator found herself healing through her comics

Chong also believes the therapeutic benefits of comics extend to other emotionally distressing situations, such as periods of depression, bouts of anxiety and self-esteem issues. She explains, “Comics can be used to introduce healing stories, techniques and concepts.

“Even very simple ideas presented through a comic can significantly change the way one thinks.”


How to heal a broken heart

Chong has devised a strategy, aptly named The Relationship Importance Algorithm, to help others move on from a former relationship. She has created the algorithm as a comic for Stylist.co.uk, below.

“A large part of why people hurt so much after a break-up is very much due to how important their former relationship was to them,” she says.

“When you put your former relationship ahead of yourself, this means you define your self-worth, and hence possibly your whole life, on your relationship. But when you put yourself ahead of your former relationship, you will start to heal.”

 

Relationship coach

To people putting their former relationship ahead of themselves, she explains, “That's exactly why you're still hurting. That's why you're still devastated. And I can't go into your head and un-important the relationship for you. Only you can do that.

“I'm sure that you've heard of people doing really cool things like vigorously training for a marathon, or travelling the world after a break-up – and that's because they placed the importance of running or travelling before their former relationship. You need to start ranking your former relationship compared to everything else that is happening right now in your life.

“Insist on making something else in your life more important to you. It might just save you some really horrible days.”

Related

iStock_000078590717_Large.jpg

The most exciting new books of April

iStock_000068707217_Full.jpg

Can't stand bad grammar? Then we have some good news for you

aday 4.jpg

How to launch a lucrative fashion brand

wentworth miller dc legends of tomorrow.jpg

Wentworth Miller pens powerful message on depression after online jibe

caitlin moran.jpg

Read Caitlin Moran's open letter to troubled teenage girls

satisfaction.jpg

Married people are the most satisfied with their lives

nat geo penguin

Penguin swims 5,000 miles a year to visit the man who saved his life

eleni.jpg

Woman writes honest obit for sister to help those suffering depression

iStock_000073088015_Medium.jpg

How living like a Danish woman made me happier

Comments

More

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

An Avengers-style Disney princesses film could be in the works

24 Mar 2017

All the new emojis set to light up our keyboards

From breastfeeding to broccoli

24 Mar 2017

There's a sex side-effect which benefits you for 48 hours, study finds

It's all about what's known as the sex "afterglow".

by Hayley Spencer
24 Mar 2017

This is how much the houses in Big Little Lies cost

Spoiler: they're VERY expensive.

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

Scientists reveal why you need to stop flaking on plans with friends

Don't flake it 'til you make it

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Mar 2017

Revealed: the number one reason that women break up with their partner

The truth hurts

23 Mar 2017

Been zombied? There’s now a name for this confusing dating behaviour

It's time to talk about the zombies of the dating world...

23 Mar 2017

10 female anthems to share with your mum this Mother's Day

The most moving anthems about motherhood by our favourite female artists.

by Alice Vincent
23 Mar 2017