“Every ending has a beginning,
it is when you choose
to teach what you have learned,
to accept what you have lost,
to smile from what you have cried
and to realize
that life is still beautiful
even if you have been hurt
by someone else.”
― Jelord Klinn Cabresos
Everyone keeps telling me that it will get better. That the pain will turn into purpose. That I will not just get through it, but that someday, I will get over it. Some days I believe that they are right. And on other days, like today, I am not so sure. What I do know, however, is that love once lost can have devastating consequences on our ability to love again.
Love as Tony Robbins once said, “Is oxygen to the soul.”
But, love is more than just oxygen to our souls. Love is that magical unexplainable “thing” that makes us feel as if we can fly. Love is that feeling of strength, power, vulnerability and passion all wrapped up into one other human soul that while it lasts is simply amazing. Yet, when it is over, we feel lost. We feel hallowed out. We feel like the sun will never shine again. All of us have been there. And if we haven’t yet experienced heart break, we will. It is an inevitable part of living, and loving other people.
Ironically, scientists have conclusively proven that “broken heart” syndrome is more than just an emotional feeling or depression. It has real and dire physical consequences. People have died from a broken heart or what doctors call: Cardio Myopathy. It is an actual physical pain and stress that results from the loss of a loved one, intense grief or emotional loss.
That is why, after a break up or loss that we feel as if someone has literally reached inside of our chest and is squeezing our heart tightly. Our stomach hurts. We cannot sleep or eat. We experience physical distress from our emotional distress. That is why couples that have been married for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years can often die within months of each other, if the other spouse dies unexpectedly or even of natural causes. The connection two lovers feel, and experience is spiritual. It is deeper than just eros (passion) or even agape (love between friends). To love is to allow another human being to come into your soul landscape and take up residence there. It is a sharing and intercourse between two souls.
We tell people that they have “soul ties”. Our souls become connected to people that we exchange words with, or breath with in the exchange of kissing, hugging, touching, talking, crying and intimacy. Soul ties don’t just happen with lovers. We have soul ties with our parents, our siblings, our loved ones, and dearest friends. So that when there is a sudden or painful BREAK in relationship that we hold dear, we are literally in physical pain. We experience a tearing, ripping, and searing of our souls. It hurts. It literally hurts.
So, how do you mend a broken heart?
It is an age old question, with few answers. After all, the human heart is a very fragile thing. The Bible tells us to “Guard your heart for it is a wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) What King Solomon was trying to say is simple: Your heart is the center of who you are, how you live, what you need, and how you breath. So guard and protect it from damage. From the wrong people, and the wrong kind of love.
Great advice, but love isn’t that simple is it? Love is complicated at best. But love should not hurt. By that I mean: love should build us, cover us, endure with us, and stay with us. Any kind of love that keeps hurting you, demeaning you, abandoning you, violating you, or mistreating you is NOT love at all.
Here are 3 things you must do (trust me I am going through this now after a break-up of a serious long-term relationship I was in, as well as some other emotional wounds I have experienced) to guard your heart but not “gate” your heart:
1. You must forgive yourself. This has been the hardest thing for me. I am such a control freak (or at least I was before I got the wind knocked out of me). But no-one can control love. You have to stop blaming yourself for missing the red flags. For teaching him or her how to “mistreat you”. By that I mean, you accepted behavior that you knew was wrong. You didn’t honor your value. And when that truth settles in, you become angry with yourself. You feel stupid. You no longer trust your judgement. But in truth, it is not your fault. You got caught being human. Forgive yourself. Let it go.2. You should seek the support of family, friends, Ministers and/or Professional Counselors. You cannot get through this alone. You must get through it with support love and time. The operative word is “through” it. Not everyone you expect to be there will be. This was a hard pill to swallow when I hit rock bottom a few months back. But there will be people who you can count on. Your true friends and family will stick by you. And if they cannot help you, they will find someone who can. That is where professionals come in. Get a therapist coupled with a person of faith who will pray with you. I did. And it helped.3. You must forgive the person who hurt and left you. No matter how they left you. It really is that simple. You cannot forgive what you will not face. You cannot forgive who and what you hold onto. I began to forgive when I started to “accept” what happened. I have forgiven. But it is the final step of letting go which only occurs when we accept what happened. Acceptance frees us. Acceptance says I am ready to move forward having learned something valuable, albeit painful. And acceptance says, I will dare to love again, only this time a bit more wisely.
These three steps are non-negotiable when you heart has been broken. It is not going to be a short process. It will be a long, and challenging process. But, if you want to heal. As I do too. You can’t take short cuts. Denial is not an option. Denial leads to deep depression and disaster. But here is the good news: hearts are resilient and they can mend. Bruised maybe. But resilient again and again.