I’ve recently been reminded of the stinging pain of heartbreak. It ranks right up there on the Things That Really Suck list.
If we want to experience love, we are going to inevitably experience its less appealing flipside of heartache and sometimes, ugliness. Despite this, I still think it’s worth it.
It’s not my heart being broken this time around — but a high school couple who just ended their “first love.” Heartbreak is part and parcel of those tender school years, and is only exacerbated by our immaturity.
It feels so devastatingly Armageddon-like.
I remember my first break-up with its sharp unrelenting feelings like it was yesterday. In fact, I recently wrote a novel about a girl navigating through high school and had absolutely no problem calling up my feelings of over three decades ago to fuel my character’s every move.
This may be because I still am that girl — with the added bonus of wisdom, clarity and several years of experience.
And yet, my heart lurches watching this scenario play out. The anguish of a first love breakup is extra challenging, but losing love at any juncture is painful, especially if things go south and the split gets nasty.
When we’re new to love, we can’t imagine our mates (or ourselves) could ever turn hostile, callous, insensitive or cold.
I’ve learned that love and hate are just opposite ends of the same continuum, as odd as it seems. It’s the only way I can make sense of two people who once co-existed in peaceful, loving bliss becoming name-calling, malicious crazy folks.
If I could write my naïve younger self a letter about lost love (with the hopes anyone currently in anguish will benefit), I think it would look something like this:
I know you feel like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not. Not even close. It’s actually a beginning. To something new, something unknown.
Those are the best types of beginnings, because you are like a Phoenix who will rise from the ashes. You’re torched now, but your next blindly beautiful experience is just around the corner.
I know there is pain. And disappointment. And dismay. There’s probably also anger, resentment, and frustration. I’d wager you’re experiencing huge doses of denial.
Maybe you thought he was The One. Maybe you feel betrayed. Maybe you thought the relationship was better than it was.
You have likely seen your former soul mate act in ways you never thought possible. Maybe he’s been mean, or cruel, or started dating already.
It is unimaginable. Gut wrenching. And so incredibly unfair.
You gave him your heart. You gave it your all. You have nothing left.
But I’m here to tell you that you do. You have everything left.
Find grace. Hold it close. Act from it as often as you can. Aim for 100 percent.
When you act from a place of grace, it’s hard to let the ugliness take over. And you know what I mean — those feelings contorted by jealousy, pride, and rage.
Your highest self will protect you so connect with her and use her as a shield.
Breaking up might seem like the worst fate on Earth, but you will get through it. You have integrity, strength, and compassion.
You are strong — so much stronger than you know.
You are resilient, and this trait will carry you through life.
Lucky for you, you’re also willing. You will always get up and get moving, no matter what life deals you.
The best part is that love is really never-ending. It surrounds us, becomes us.
There is always more room to love, and be loved. There are always more people to love — and who will love us. The love is in between us all the time; we just have to look up and see it, claim it, give it.
You will fall in love again. You’ll be surprised and excited and giddy when those moments come.
And you may experience heartbreak again, but it is just part of the process of becoming you.
Have I told you how beautiful you are? You are exquisite and you are worthy of giving and receiving love in abundance.
So pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Stop moping around. Get dressed. Wash your hair. Eat breakfast. Act as if until the ifs melt away.
Take it one day — or one minute — at a time. Break it down into manageable bites. One foot in front of the other is all it takes and soon you’ll be walking out the door and into happier times.
You are a Viking. A titan. Wonder Woman in the flesh.
Your next chapter awaits, and all you have to do is show up.
You’ve got this.
This column appeared in The Journal on April 12, 2015.
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