Article by Erin Janus| Pain in life is something that we can not avoid. And if you walk this planet, you are likely going to experience heart-break (and more than once!) I think the feeling of heart-break is one of the worst feelings that we can experience. It’s kind of like having a little flame in your soul get blown out by a cold, loveless wind. Cheesy, but true. And society has taught us that the best way to deal with heartbreak is to eat, smoke, drink or distract ourselves into an oblivion— but that’s the path to emptiness, not emotional healing.
For me, my most recent and current heartbreak is the worst I’ve ever experienced. It was betrayal, manipulation and deceit at its worst. And it has taught me that the worst wounds are inflicted by those we love and trust the most. So let’s do this, together, shall we? I could use these reminders, myself:
1) Be kind to yourself
Your heart, mind and overall physiology is vastly affected by how you treat yourself, and feel about yourself. While heart-break can make you feel worthless, unloved, disregarded and downright depressed— it’s so important to be kind to yourself, and take care of yourself the way you would if you were your own child! (Weird, right?)
But seriously, have a warm bath, relax in the sun, and make the time and space to allow yourself to do things you enjoy. Treat yourself the way you would treat a sad little kid that needs a hug. Because when we’re heart-broken, we are stripped of confidence, passion, and happiness— and that is when we need self-love the most.
And what I’ve realized from my experience, is that being heart-broken is a powerful opportunity to develop self-love and appreciation that was NOT there before, but should have been, and should always be.
2) Be grateful for everything you still have
While any kind of heart-break is awful, it is always worse when we lose sight of all the blessings in our life. They should be the center of our attention, nor blurred out in the background of our pain. Hey, my boyfriend may have valued a sick, sexual and nostalgic fantasy with his first girlfriend more than what he had with me, but I still have an amazing little cat, people that care about me, a bright future ahead of me (IF I CHOOSE IT), and talents that I can develop and use to enrich my life and others.
No matter how much pain you are in, there is always so much to be grateful for. So while you may have lost something extremely special, be grateful for everything you still have. It’s okay to feel deep pain for what you have gone through and are experiencing, as well as gratitude for what you have now and ahead of you.
3) Let the seasons change
Our lives are not just one big blob of random events. If you take a moment to reflect on your life, you will notice a pattern of seasons, (or chapters, if you fancy), where people have come and gone, played roles in your life, helped teach you valuable lessons, and changed you. And throughout this insane journey we call life, not every season is going to be a tiki tropical summer. Some will be cold and difficult, and even lonely, but you must move and grow through those seasons. And they will change, and pass. So let that happen, and be as strong as you can be throughout it all. Be like the trees.
4) Express yourself and your pain
Express yourself and what you are feeling. If you need to let the person know just how badly they hurt you, then do that. If you would rather write a song about it, then do that— but make sure that expression does not get bottled up inside you. What you are experiencing is real, and it ought to be let out, for the sake of your psychological and spiritual health! You do not need to be ashamed of feeling broken or pained, you need to love and respect yourself enough to release, through expression and honesty, what you are going through.
5) Cut the cords and take your power back
It’s very important to cut the cords or ‘soul-ties’ that have been created with the person that you loved, who hurt you, or that you still feel attached to / affected by. You can do this with meditation, an affirmation, or with the help of a spiritual teacher or practitioner. While it may seem painful to finally let go, that’s exactly why it must be done: to release you of the attachment which has and is causing you pain.
And we must take our power back. When we have a ‘broken heart,’ it’s common for us to feel powerless, and that’s precisely because our power is outside of ourselves and in the hands of someone else. Don’t allow your emotional state to depend on whether somebody truly loves you or not. Take your power back and do self-work so the way you feel is in alignment with your intrinsic value— which has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks, feels or doesn’t feel for you. While this may seem like an impossible task, just try it. Assert and visualize that all the vulnerability and power you gave to the person who broke your heart is being re-claimed, and that your power resides only in YOU. That’s where it should be. Not in the hands of someone else— especially someone who took advantage of you or took for granted the vulnerability, intimacy, trust and presence you gave to them.
While having a broken heart, or being drowned in humiliation and depression can make you inclined to completely isolate yourself and give up on your hope and goals, you need to remember that there is so much healing that needs to be done on this planet, for all life. You are not alone in your pain, and if you can come out of it stronger, wiser and more grateful, you will be able to positively affect the lives of so many people, animals and the miraculous planet that we live on. Let go and release who has dishonored you and wounded you. Forgive them when you can. And embrace all the opportunities and potential that is still out there, for yourself, and to help others.
My name is Erin Janus. I’m a (heart-broken) video-producer, journalist, activist and aspiring musician. Thanks for reading and feel free to share this article, or send it to someone who could use it. You can connect with me on facebook, twitter, youtube, and join my mailing list here.