Breakups aren’t the only type of heartbreaks we can go through. Sometimes we meet someone and develop feelings for them that aren’t reciprocated. That rejection can break our hearts just like breakups do. Sometimes, it’s even worse. With breakups, we can generally assess afterward what went wrong, but the question of what could have been? Sometimes that can hurt the most.

I’m a 20-something girl whose heart has been broken many times. I’ve searched and scoured the internet for advice that will work for me and have come up short. Most secular dating advice columns don’t seem to fill my needs as a person who dates with a religious worldview, but some religious dating advice columns can be very cringey.

If you’re in this situation, this article may be for you. Here’s my guide for dealing with heartbreak as a Christian.

1. Cry and contemplate

If you can, go to a safe place in nature where you can be alone. Take a deep breath and take in your surroundings. Allow yourself to cry and feel all your emotions about your heartbreak, but then start a conversation with God. Talk out loud to God and process what happened with Him. It doesn’t need to be a formal prayer, it can be a conversation. After all, God wants to hear from us.

2. Find what you can do to improve your life

The first thing that I do after heartbreak is clean my room and deep condition my hair. Cleaning my environment around me instantly gives me a mood boost and the feeling of soft hair gives me a confidence boost. Take little steps to make your environment more conducive to your success. The physical activity of cleaning also generally boosts my spirit and my serotonin.

3. Spend more time with your religious community

In addition to taking steps to improve ourselves and our lives, community is proven to help us feel better. It might be time for you to talk to the single mom with kids who sits in the back row of church each week and see what you can do to lift her up.

It might be time to call that older woman from your church who taught you as a kid. Find out when your next church activity is and go to it. Spending time with others, especially helping others, helps us to put our heartbreak into perspective.

4. Be honest with yourself

This doesn’t mean just being honest with yourself about the fact that your relationship is over and that you are hurt about it. Look at heartbreaks as an opportunity for self-improvement. It’s not your fault that your relationship ended or that someone didn’t like you back.

You should do this because when we take care of ourselves and are honest about our flaws, we can improve. Our confidence might be lower after a breakup, but being honest and kind about our flaws and taking actionable steps to improve ourselves can help us to gain our confidence back. Celebrate your progress.

5. When you’re feeling a little better, think more clearly about who you are looking to date

I have little pieces of paper from throughout the years where I was asked to write down attributes of the person that I would like to date or marry one day. Some of these papers (from when I was younger) contain a long list of oddly particular characteristics, like “plays James Blunt songs on acoustic guitar,” but as I have gotten older, I’ve realized something valuable.

I’m looking for someone to help me on my journey back to God and for someone who I can on their own journey. When I frame relationships through this lens, my heartbreaks seem more like opportunities and less like failures. I’m able to consider what I’m looking for and what I should be looking for.

6. Recenter yourself on God’s purpose for you

It’s easy when you are in a church or religious community that prioritizes dating and relationships to view your lack of marriage or your lack of a significant other as a character flaw. Resist the urge to do this. If this is a goal that you have, you can take actionable steps to get there, but it doesn’t just depend on you. And your relationship status is not the only interesting thing about you.

You have many other qualities and purposes in life. And if you focus on those, too, I have a feeling that everything will work out and fall into place.