Written By: Corinne Carter, Registered Psychotherapist & Relationship Therapist
In Part 1 of this post, which you can check out here, I wrote about three ways to help yourself heal a broken heart. Now, here are four more ways to move through heartbreak with love and compassion:
1. Learn to keep your heart open. When we're broken-hearted, in the grips of deep sadness, loss, and fear, we may choose to close our hearts as a way of protecting ourselves and re-establishing a sense of security in our lives. When we’re hurting, closing our hearts can seem like a great idea in order to keep ourselves safe! However, the safety we feel by closing our hearts is a false sense of safety; closing our hearts is about avoiding our pain, rather than embracing our pain with gentleness and letting it pass through us. If you've read Part 1, you know that avoidance doesn't actually lessen or heal our pain but, rather, has a tendency to prolong and intensify it. Closing our hearts moves us farther away from our true selves and from true healing. Love is healing and, in order to feel love for ourselves and receive love and support from those around us during this difficult time, our hearts must be open. How do we keep our hearts open? By paying attention to when we feel love, energy, and engagement with our experiences, as well as noticing when we don’t, and choosing to do more of the former no matter what the situation. Michael A. Singer, in his book “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself”, writes about this beautifully:
“Through meditation, through awareness and willful efforts, you can learn to keep your centers open. You do this by just relaxing and releasing. You do this by not buying into the concept that there is anything worth closing over. Remember, if you love life, nothing is worth closing over. Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over.”
2. Find meaning in your emotions to connect with yourself on a deeper level. Our emotions are important messengers, and they have a lot of teach us about ourselves and our values. When we feel happy and uplifted, it may be easier to receive the messages that our emotions have to offer because it’s easier to stay open when we feel good. But there is a lot to learn from our pain if we can stay open and be conscious to it. If the loss you experienced didn’t matter to your life or bump up against your beliefs and values in some meaningful way, your heart wouldn’t be broken in the first place. So, as you practice keeping your heart open when pain is present, you can also ask yourself questions like: what does this sadness that I feel so deeply suggest about what’s important to me? What can this fear teach me about my opportunities for growth right now? This is different from telling yourself that “everything happens for a reason”. It’s more about accepting that, even in the greatest tragedies, there are opportunities for profound personal, spiritual, and relational evolution. When you learn to embrace your pain, you can also begin to embrace its lessons.
3. Begin to move towards forgiveness. When we experience a broken heart, our sense of internal power may be shaken up. We may feel wronged by someone or something, and we may feel like our personal power has been violated. It's important to stay awakened to our inner power, and one way to do this is to move towards forgiveness. Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things to do, and it can also be one of the most liberating for our hearts. Forgiveness doesn't mean that we approve of a person's hurtful actions or that we like how a situation unfolded which caused us harm. It also doesn't mean that we forget what happened. Instead, forgiveness is about acknowledging the wrong-doing and then choosing to let go of the hold that it has on us, in exchange for our freedom and inner power. If we aren't ready to forgive fully (and it's okay if we aren't) we might wish to start by simply setting the intention to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice that we must make, often times not just once but again and again, to respond to the person or experience and say, "I'm hurt and my heart is broken, and I'm choosing to live my life fully and freely anyway." Since forgiveness is such a complex topic in and of itself, we'll be writing a full blog post about it over the coming weeks.
4. Build your life! When your heart has been broken, after you've done some initial processing and reflection, this is a time to work on building up your life and creating a life you love even more than you did before. What have you wanted to do for yourself that you haven’t had/made time for? What new activities have you wanted to try? What have you wanted to learn more about? How can you live in a way that honours the loss you've experienced and the lessons you've learned from it? What makes you feel your best, most fulfilled, and most alive? This is the time to do more of that!
Heartbreak is never easy. At the same time, it’s important to remember that heartbreak is a human experience and, if we approach it with love and compassion, we can not only move through it, we can also grow from it to become more fully ourselves.
Wishing you wellness, always <3