After coaching so many people going through a divorce, break-up, and heartbreak over the past eight years, I’ve come to believe that there’s no such thing as a broken heart, but only a broken dream, and a heart that is wounded, and getting ready to love more.
To be human is to risk being vulnerable and being wounded. To love someone is to risk having your heart-broken, or breaking theirs. Ultimately, being human, and being in a relationship with another human is really how we truly learn to know ourselves.
And to know yourself, as Kahlil Gibran says in his poem about love, is knowing the secrets of your heart…
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth… All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.”
– Kahlil Gibran
Having my heart broken – I can’t even remember how many times, what I experienced each time it happened, was that I learned more about myself, and deepened my connection with God, and Life itself.
It sucked, it hurt, I wanted to scream, run, die. I wanted the pain to go away, but after my heart healed, there came a renewed trust and enthusiasm for life, a new sense of opening to life and the possibilities that awaited me. As Ari Eastman’s mother best describes it, “It hurts like hell. And then one day, it doesn’t.”
As humans, we perpetuate this ‘broken-hearted’ condition by becoming consciously or unconsciously attached to the person or story we told ourselves about the relationship, and the more we hold onto it, the more painful it becomes. It’s actually quite paradoxical, the more we hold onto the story, and try to avoid or run away from the pain, the more painful it becomes.
How to Heal a Broken Heart
The only solution to a heart that is wounded is letting it heal. And in my experience, there are five steps we all have to move through to heal a broken heart and get you ready to let more love in.
1) Let your Heart Break Open
You cannot heal what you cannot feel. So, give yourself permission to fully welcome the pain, anger, helplessness, or any other feeling or emotion that you are avoiding. Welcome also your need to fix it, make it go away, ignore or blame someone else for it. Welcome your identification with the pain, the thought that it’s all about you and what someone else did to you. Welcome it ALL!
Let your heart crack fully open by allowing it to open to what is. It is through the cracks in your heart that the light, the healing, will get in. Resist the urge to engage in any behaviors that distract you from feeling the pain (fantasizing, sex, pornography, social media, drugs, alcohol, food, working long hours, etc.)
2) Take Responsibility
At some level, you are responsible for this experience. You either collaborated, participated, tolerated or allowed the set of behaviors or actions that ultimately led to a wounded heart. What were you avoiding or refusing to see about yourself or the other person? So take responsibility, acknowledge what happened as part of what you needed to go through so that you could learn more about yourself.
Realize that both you and the other person just did the best you could then. Most people don’t leave their home thinking, “I’m going to break this person’s heart.” They are simply just doing the best they can to be happy, and to get what they want.
3) Forgive and Let Go
Forgiveness is one of the most underrated spiritual practices. To forgive means to ‘give forth.’ What are you giving forth? The answer is, whatever it is that you’re holding onto that does not belong to you. When we forgive, we are actually doing the most loving thing that we could ever do for ourselves, which is simply to release a poisonous thought and emotion from within.
In my experience, forgiveness often involves a two-part process: first, it involves forgiving the person who hurt you and secondly, it involves forgiving yourself. Yes, often we put ourselves in situations of great pain and suffering because we did not listen to our own intuition, we had unrealistic expectations, we made unhealthy choices that went against our own values, or any of the hundred possible things we could have done that we now blame ourselves for. That’s why we forgive others, and we forgive ourselves.
4) Appreciate and Learn
Take some time to reflect on what you learned from this experience, or what you got from it. What new things did you learn about yourself, about life, about being in a relationship with others? Find something – and I know this might be hard – to appreciate about the person who broke your heart. Thank them for the lesson. Be willing to set them, and yourself free. Appreciation is the key to opening your heart.
5) Strive for Moments of Joy
After you’ve given yourself permission to feel your pain, take responsibility for the situation, and forgive yourself and the other person, it’s now time to create moments of love and joy that will allow your heart to heal and get ready to expand even more.
- Spending time with your favorite, most loving friends
- Going out on walks in nature, going to the mountain or beach
- Pampering yourself with bubble baths, massages, a good book, or anything else that brings you joy
- Day Dreaming about the future and the kind of relationship and partner you truly want to CREATE
- Spend time focusing on your big dreams, your career, or purpose in life
Moments like these are the building blocks that over time will allow your heart to open up even more and welcome the kind of love you know your heart has longed for. Just focus on creating more and more moments of love and joy. Each time you do so, your heart’s electromagnetic field will expand, and with it, increase its own capacity to radiate and manifest love.
Please Don’t Give Up!
If you’re sitting here reading this post thinking, ‘I’ve given up, I can’t do this anymore, I’m tired of heartbreak, I’m tired of feeling the pain, I don’t want to love anymore,’ please give these five steps a try. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to grow, and learn more about yourself, because one part of you feels that there isn’t hope, or that it isn’t going to go right.
Instead, take these steps. And be sure to TAKE YOUR TIME. Don’t try to bypass this process, in an attempt to just get it over with. Stay on each step as long as you have to and need to. You’ll know in your heart when you’re ready to move to the next step.
Let your heart heal by loving yourself so much that you’re willing to feel every feeling moving through your heart, take responsibility for your life experience, forgive yourself and others, find appreciation and ultimately start creating the kind of relationships that your heart is longing for… the kind of relationships, that, as Kahlil Gibran says, “unlocks the secrets of your heart”.
Feel free to leave your comments below.
From my heart to yours,
PS. If you’d like to go deeper on this topic, please watch my FREE webinar on How to Heal a Broken Heart after Divorce, Breakup or Death. Click here to watch it now.
Photo by Chloe Si