Heartbreak Clinic Founder ‘La’Toya Hart’ Says Single for Valentine’s Day, Gets the Ring in Six Months
For many, particularly couples, Valentine’s Day can be filled with love, intimacy, and heartwarming romantic gestures, but for others, it can bring about feelings of deep sadness and despair, especially after a recent breakup or just from being single. Over the years, the holiday has evolved from being about the love one gives another but embracing self-love, which can lead to a healthier relationship not only with yourself and can inevitably lead to your happily ever after. It had been that way for La’Toya Hart, who found herself single a few weeks before Valentine’s Day after ending her seven-year relationship with her high school sweetheart. “When the relationship ended, I felt like I lost so much; in hindsight, I now know that I have gained so much by standing up for myself and walking away,” she explains. Hart has not only experienced heartbreak first hand, but she is also using her experiences to help other women as the founder of Heartbreak Clinic, an organization that aims to provide resources for women navigating breakups, which can be beyond difficult, but sometimes for the best; Hart notes that though she felt a deep sadness in the aftermath of her split, staying in the relationship had done more harm than good.
“I faced sadness, depression, low esteem/confidence, isolation, and abandonment during the relationship. Although I was not a single woman, I felt so alone. Sometimes we believe that we need others’ presence to escape loneliness; the truth is we can experience loneliness in others’ company. The cure to loneliness isn’t in having others be there for you; it’s in being present for you and practicing self-care.” In the weeks after her relationship ended, Hart admits that she felt isolated and had trouble completing daily tasks like getting out of bed, eating, getting dressed, managing her finances, and being productive at work. So her friends decided to stage an intervention in the form of their first-ever Galentine’s Day.
“Sometimes, when you are in a relationship, you spend most of your time with that person. For many years, we were all in relationships. For the first time, we were all single. We went to see Kevin Hart at The Laff House in Philadelphia, a night full of sisterhood, love, laughter, and independence,” she remembers. “Girls night allowed me to see that life exists outside of relationships. Most importantly, it let me know that I was not alone on my healing journey. When healing after heartbreak, the essential thing you need when recovering is a tribe of women in your corner cheering.”
According to Hart, this night of sisterhood set her on the path to recovery that would inevitably prepare her for a chance encounter a few months later while studying at Wilmington University. While leaving the store on the Fourth of July, she struck up a conversation with a stranger holding the door, and he happened to ask her an unforgettable question. “He asked, ‘how is your heart.’ His question was significant because, for the first time, I could finally say my heart was in a great place,” she explains. Six months later, right before Valentine’s Day, Hart would be engaged to her now-husband of 10 years. Hart knows from experience that Valentine’s Day breakups are the worst, and though she could reach her happy ending, it was by no means a linear journey. For those dreading the holiday, she has the following tips on what you can do to help you as you move forward.
Ask yourself, “how is your heart?”
“Emotional trauma can leave deep emotional wounds,” she explains. “These wounds can impact your ability to thrive. It’s important to ask yourself, “how is your heart” because when your heart is in a great place, it will allow you to practice self-care and self-love. It will also allow you to extend that love to others.”
Celebrate yourself year-round
With Feb. 14 just being one day out of the year, Hart encourages you to celebrate how beautiful and wonderfully made you are whether or not you are in a relationship. She also suggests you always treat themselves well.
“Suppose you want flowers simply because it is Thursday, have flowers delivered. If you enjoy chocolates after Sunday dinner, you should buy yourself the best chocolates. The love we attract into our life is a reflection of the love we give to ourselves,” she says.
Embrace being single, especially on Valentine’s Day
It can be easy to allow a made-up holiday to make you want to go into hiding if you’re single or have recently had your heartbroken. Hart wants you to embrace Single Valentine’s Day and plan how you choose whether you decide to spend time with yourself or with girlfriends. “Find something to wear that makes you feel unstoppable and plan a day full of pampering, self-love, and self-care, whether it’s a shopping spree, a spa day, a night at the movies, or checking out a new restaurant,” Hart suggests. “Plan a day full of love and laughter. Don’t forget to bring a few good friends along.”
With the pandemic still in full swing, paint parties have become popular, and Hart’s Heartbreak Clinic will host their first virtual paint party on Feb. 13, which will consist of girl talk, laughter, and celebrating sisterhood. All year round, Heartbreak Clinic offers printed workbooks, ebooks, worksheets, and 1:1 chat coaching via text messaging for women who value mental wellness but have a busy schedule. They also have online classes and 1:1 private sessions, which allows dedicated time with an expert to unpack the hurt, identify old habits and patterns that could be damaging, and create a strategy for you to heal so you can attract true and authentic love in the future.
Author: Megan Sims
Photo Credit: Kendrick Oliver