Healing a Broken Heart
"I loved her. She was the sunshine in my morning, the joy throughout my day, the star in my night. I mean, I thought SHE was THE ONE! How could I be so foolish? Without her, I simply can‘t see how to go on..."
"He was my everything. I miss his touch, his smile, his warm voice in the night. What will I do without him? My life is a complete wreck. I loved him so much! Without him in my life, nothing matters to me anymore. I feel broken and empty: a shell of my previous self. It‘s been weeks and I‘m still crying about this..."
Is this you?
You feel this way, yet you know that the two of you can no longer be together....it just didn‘t work (too many fights, too much distance, some other problem). Whoever said, "It‘s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved" has never experienced this feeling of loss. What I‘m talking about is a broken heart.
I‘ve had my own heart broken, too, so I have considerable empathy for your situation. The advice "take it one day at a time" often seems cliché. We think we‘ve crossed the hurdle and are out of the valley of tears or sadness when suddenly we hear a song, see a movie, or have some other action or event trigger our memory of our past love. How does it ever get easier?
Here is what I‘ve learned about overcoming a broken heart:
Act proactively, rather than reactively. Allow ourselves time to process, grieve, or whatever else we need to feel from the situation. Go ahead and be angry if we have to. Do not project our anger, guilt, or sadness onto our ex, that will only create difficult feelings for both of us. But DO allow ourselves to feel the feelings. And be proactive in the process. How can we change our feelings from those of reaction to proactively making our life better? The feelings eventually do pass. I won‘t tell you how long it will take, because for some it takes days, for others weeks, for others years. However, we can accelerate the process by owning our actions and becoming proactive, rather than reactive.
Leave judgment to God or nature. The victim may stand in the best position to condemn the offender; however, by showing mercy the victim has shown true love. When we have a healed heart, our heart is no longer concerned with how we were hurt; rather, our heart is concerned with how to love. We must forgive the past and move on to loving our self and others again.
We must create a plan. How will we set boundaries with our former partner? How will we deal with anger when we feel it? How will we deal with sadness? How can we learn the most, then grow from this experience? When we write our plan down, we give it power. Then, when the challenges come up (and they always do) we can consult our plan, then take the action we‘ve already determined will make us most healthy and happy, rather than just reacting any other way possible.
As we forgive, we will be forgiven. How can we plan to forgive without digging up the past? As we show mercy, mercy will be shown to us. How can we show mercy to others? As we have fun, with joy, kindness, and happiness, we will reap more joy, kindness, and happiness. How can we plan to begin creating this in our life again? As we live according to our PROACTIVE plan, we can begin making a difference again in a healthy and happy way.
Reframe the relationship in our mind. Rather than seeing the relationship as "the only one" where we could have received love, or could have known so much about each other, or felt the loving was so darn good and no other will compare, it is vital that we see the relationship in different light. No, they weren‘t "the one" -- if they were, it would have worked out far better than it did. What the relationship was, in fact, was a learning experience. What did we learn? How can we improve our lives as a result of the experience? What can I take into the next relationship that will be HEALTHY? There are many other people who we can connect with, many others who will love us right, and many who might treat us FAR better than we ever dreamed, and this relationship ending was simply a necessity in order to bring the NEW and exciting one in!
Rebuild my life. What makes me smile? What makes me want to get up in the morning? What am I truly passionate about? These are the things I need to do again in order to start rebuilding my life and becoming happy and in love with ME again! It has been said, in order to love another, we must first love our self. This is very true. We must love our self, and the only way to do that is to start living our aspirations.
It is important in this step to not immediately replace love for our self with love for another. If we immediately date someone new, we run the risk of reliving the mistakes all over again and not learning, rather than facing our fears and challenges and growing stronger because of them. My heart is with you in this effort as it is our biggest challenge in healing our broken heart: facing our own shadow side. Often, what hurt us the most from our partner and the breakup involves facing that part of ourselves which is hardest to look at. In order to love our bright and happy side we must also love our shadow side. Acceptance is a key to our success with loving our complete self.
Recognize the people around us for the blessings they are. Rather than look for how people let us down, look at how people inspire us. Look for the good in others. This will help us to reach out and love again. This is also a key to becoming happy again.
I remember reading a story by Dale Carnegie about a woman who was depressed. She hadn‘t been seen at church for a while, and people thought something was wrong. Then one day a visitor pointed out to her that she had this incredible gift of raising African Violets. Why not use this gift and give violets away to make people‘s lives more happy? That‘s exactly what she did. Year‘s later, scores of people showed up at her funeral, as she became known as the African Violet Queen! How can you become queen or king of a little part of making the world a brighter place? We ALL have unique gifts and talents, and even the smallest of these can make a difference.
Find ways to laugh, learn, love, and live. If we aren‘t looking up, we‘re looking out or down. This makes us feel down. Try looking up -- it always elevates my mood. Also, try smiling as much as possible. Even if it feels fake, at first, to smile for any ole‘ reason at all, it eventually will replace our gloom with happiness because happy people attract other happy people (like attracts like). Rather than becoming a member of the "ain‘t it awful" club, we can get back to being the "isn‘t life grand" club. It‘s much more fun, really. We can promote our self esteem by learning a new hobby or interest, like dancing or a foreign language. Then we can take a trip to a new country to put our new interest into action. Knowledge, without action, is fairly meaningless. Knowledge, with action, is powerful.
Reach out. The last key to healing a broken heart is to reach out to others. By reaching out, we can do a favor. Call an old friend. Or, perhaps, simply just do something kind for a stranger. One of the ways I reached out was to make trips to visit each of my family several times in six months. I did this to let each other them know how important they were to me. As a result, I feel a closer bond with my family again. If the people do not help you feel better, then avoid them. But at some point, if we do not reach out we run the risk of becoming recluse. And reclusion is not a recipe for happiness.
Our value does not come from who we are with. Our value comes from who we are.
Rather than worry about being in a relationship, try creating MANY new relationships, not just lovers, but friends everywhere we go. Why do we want to become friends with someone? Because we RELATE to them through common interests, because they‘re nice to us, because they accept us for who we are, and perhaps show ways we are special to them.
Our relationship with a significant other or life partner does not determine our happiness. Our own thoughts determine our happiness. So, why not choose thinking that will support our highest celebration of our self?
We can treat ourselves to a night out. We can make it a point that even when we are alone we will reach out and find ways to connect with other people. Not from the perspective of what they can do for us, but rather what can we do for them. In doing so, the law of abundant returns will automatically kick-in. We really don‘t have to worry about payback. Just give out good, relate to others by asking them questions about their life, their interests, compliment their talents, and watch how they light up with a smile.
We can make a difference. Why not start by becoming proactive, making a plan for our happiness, and reaching out to love and live again? The time is now!
The world is full of opportunity for you to express yourself exactly the way you want to. Enjoy and make the most of your unique gift of life, let people know you believe in love, and take the time to heal. Eventually, you will meet someone who you will love and more than likely you will look back at this time as when you laid the foundations of a future you truly deserve. Best of success to you in healing your heart and loving again!