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What chance my experience of heartbreak forever?

What changed my experience of heartbreak forever?

What chance my experience of heartbreak forever?So last week I gave you the first of my answers to the question “Why does heartbreak hurt so much?”

The second answer that came to me when I asked the question “Why does heartbreak hurt so much?” tends to apply more when you feel like the decision to end the relationship has been completely out of your hands.

When this happens, we feel like the victim. We feel out of control. We feel ‘wronged’. We feel like this is something that has been done ‘to’ us.

…and when we’re in this place of feeling like it has been done ‘to’ us, the lack of choice, the lack of control makes it even harder to process.

We’ve been forced into this situation of having to deal with these emotions without any choice, any say, and (often it feels like) no consideration.

What I have to say now might be difficult to hear if you’re currently going through heartbreak.

I know, because I’ve been there, and it was hard for me to consider at first too.

But really hearing this, really understanding it can make a huge difference to your experience…and to your future experiences too.

The path out of this feeling of being out of control, of feeling like the victim, the wronged party, is to understand and accept that it is your own choices that have brought you to this moment in time.

(Take a couple of moments to shout and swear at the screen in front of you if you’d like…that can sometimes help too! 🙂 )

This side of heartbreak can be hard to face…

I can almost hear your thoughts “What do you mean?! They’re the one who did this! It’s their fault! I did nothing wrong!” …and I know how this feels, because I’ve felt it myself.

But the reality is that the choices that you have made have led you to the point you are at now. What you’ve done and haven’t done, who you chose to date or not date, what you allowed from other people and what you didn’t allow, how you showed up and how you didn’t show up.

Now, let me be perfectly clear about this…this is not about blame.

This is not about blaming yourself for what has happened (or the other person for that matter)…it’s about understanding that you can take responsibility for your part in how the situation played out.

Whether it’s in that you prioritised your work over your relationship, or that you didn’t always bring the best ‘you’ you could to the relationship, or simply that you chose to be with someone who wasn’t willing or able to meet your needs, or whose wants and needs you weren’t willing or able to meet in return.

This is not about looking back with regret or shame…you’re at this point now because there’s something you need to learn for yourself…and without this experience the lesson wouldn’t be as powerful and wouldn’t make a difference to how you choose to live your life going forward.

Simply understanding this, simply getting to the point where you can see it, and take responsibility for your part in where you’re currently at is the point at which you can shift from feeling like a victim, to feeling empowered.

If your choices have helped create the situation you’re in right now, your choices can help to create something different in the future….they can help to create what you really want for yourself.

I’m not going to lie. This was hard for me to understand at first…and a part of me didn’t want to understand it.

It was easier to blame someone else for how I was feeling.

I didn’t want to accept that I could have done anything that could have changed the situation I was in and the way I was feeling.

I wanted to make him the ‘bad guy’ because it made me feel momentarily better about the fact I wasn’t with him anymore and I had someone to blame for the pain I was feeling.

But when I really took a moment to honestly look at it, I realised that I had played my part in it too.

I’d played my part in each one of my heartrbeaks

Every heartbreak was different, and my part in it had been different too.

There were some in which I’d simply chosen a person that I was fundamentally incompatible with. They didn’t have the capacity to be the man that I wanted to be with long-term.

There were others where I simply wasn’t giving him what he deserved, because I’d not been ‘getting it’ from them first.

There were others where I’d held back for fear of getting hurt, and in doing so I never gave the relationship a chance to see what it could really be.

There were others where I ignored warning signs of dishonesty and just ‘hoped’ that it would get better.

The list goes on. I had to accept that I had a part in the every one of those relationships coming to an end (even if that part was just in starting the relationship in the first place!)

…and here is the part where the power lies.

The gift in heartbreak…

Because if you can see how your choices have helped create the situation you are currently in, you can choose (if you want to) to make different choices in the future.

The awareness that this brings is the key to finding the gift that I mentioned in my earlier article…because the gift is the learning. The gift is being able to understand yourself better, understand what you want in the future, and grow in a way that will enable you to have it.

To make new choices that will empower you and that will create a different outcome, and that will get you close to the life and relationship that you desire and deserve.

…and as a last note, I’ll say this:

This is a very powerful part of the experience of heartbreak. It is also something that needs to happen at the right time. This is part of the ‘acceptance’ stage of the 5 stages of grief that I mentioned in my last article.

Trying to go through this process when you’re still deep in anger, or denial or bargaining, or depression is likely to make you feel worse, not better…because it will be used as a tool to enhance your current stage. You’ll feel more angry (normally at yourself!) if you try and do this from the anger stage…or feel more depressed about the situation if you do it during the depression stage.

It’s a very important process to go through, but you will only get the real benefit of it if it’s done at the right time.

During my last heartbreak I remember ranting to a friend and shouting, “I know this is all happening for a reason, and I know that there will be a gift in it eventually, but right now it just sucks…and I just want to be with the fact that it sucks, because that’s all I have the capacity for right now!!!”

So be gentle with yourself…allow yourself to experience all the stages of grief and all of the emotions that come up fully and in your own time.

…and then when you’re ready (and not a moment sooner!) take yourself through this process to find the gift for you.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Heartbreak

Why does heartbreak hurt so much?

HeartbreakLast week I shared an article to answer the question “Does a broken heart ever heal or are we just left with the scars”, and I was very touched by the reaction the piece received.

A lot of people shared how the article had come at the perfect time for them, because they were dealing with heartbreak themselves, and it gave them another perspective to look at it from.

When I started hearing this, it took me back to some of my own personal experiences of heartbreak.

If a relationship has ended, at some level it wasn’t working. If you’re truly honest with yourself, I’m sure you don’t want to be in a relationship where you’re unhappy and unfulfilled or in a relationship where the other person is unhappy or unfulfilled, for whatever reason, because we know deep in our hearts that neither of those scenarios make for a good relationship in the long term. But that doesn’t stop it from hurting….and hurting deeply.

I know. I’ve experienced it first-hand many times.

…and I can vividly recall the times where I’ve felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world.

My experience with heartbreak…

Those moments in time where it felt like an effort just to keep breathing in and out.

The pain, the sadness, the numbness, the confusion, the fear…the complete and total overwhelm of experiencing so many emotions and thoughts at the same time, and not being able to make sense of any of them.

Mind and heart reeling, with no way out, only through.

When I brought these moments of my life to mind, I started to think about heartbreak, and why it hurts so much. As soon as I asked this question, two answers came to me.

The first you’ll no doubt have heard before. The second may be a bit of a surprise…

So why does heartbreak hurt so much?

So the first answer that came to me is that we’re experiencing a loss, which brings with it a sense of grief.

Whether a relationship has come to an end because we’ve chosen to end it, because someone else has chosen to end it, or because it’s been mutually decided that it’s for the best, we are still losing something.

We may not be grieving for the relationship as it was, but instead for the relationship that we thought it was going to be, the relationship it had the potential to be, or the relationship we wanted it to be.

It might seem strange to be grieving for something that you’ve never actually had…but losing the POSSIBILITY of something, is still a loss, and we still experience a sense of grief when the possibility appears to be no more.

We miss the other person…or maybe we don’t, maybe we miss who they used to be, who we thought they were, or who we thought they would become.

Whatever it is that we’re losing, whether it’s was something we had, something we thought we had, or something we thought we were going to have, it’s important to honour the fact that we will experience a sense of grief when the loss becomes a reality.

Most people have heard of the 5 stages of grief (or the Kübler-Ross model) where you go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance…but what most people don’t know is that the best way through all the stages, is to fully experience each stage, feel complete with it and then transition through to the next stage…in the timeframe that is right for you.

Do you allow yourself to ‘go through’ heartbreak?

When it comes to heartbreak though, a lot of people don’t allow themselves to go through this grieving process fully…they expect to just ‘feel better’ at some point, get told to snap out of it by someone trying to ‘help’, or distract themselves from really experiencing the feeling because it’s uncomfortable (whether that’s through alcohol, TV, another relationship or any other way to avoid the feelings)…and therefore get ‘stuck’ in one stage.

As I’ve said before, when you’re in this kind of emotional experience, the best way out of it really is through it…allowing yourself to fully feel each aspect of what you’re experiencing in order that you can then release it.

So if you’re in it right now, start to notice where you might be wanting to avoid or distract yourself from how you’re really feeling…because that in itself can be keeping you ‘in it’ and preventing you from moving through it to the other side.

The second answer that came to me when I asked the question “Why does heartbreak hurt so much?” hit me hard.

Because it was probably one of the hardest things for me to understand and begin to accept about my own experiences with heartbreak…and it was also the single, most powerful realisation that transformed my experience with heartbreak forever.

So join me again next week where I will be sharing the insight that changed how I experience heartbreak…and which helped me reach the point where, as I shared last week, I began to eventually be able to see each one as a gift.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Does a broken heart ever mend, or do we just end up living with the scars of heartbreak?

Does a broken heart ever mend or do we just get left with the scars of heartbreak?Heartbreak.

Unfortunately most of us will have experienced this at some point in our lives.

That agonising pain that comes with the end of a relationship, when it feels like you’re the only person in the whole world feeling like your heart has been torn in two.

The desire to eat every comfort food consumable to try and feel the empty hole in your heart.

Wanting to forget.

Wanting to remember.

Wanting to talk.

Wanting to not have to talk.

Feeling like your whole world is crumbling around you.

Not wanting to be alone and yet not knowing how to be around others.

Wondering if the pain will ever subside.

Thinking that you will never be the same again.

Feeling like you’ll never want to put yourself out there again, because you don’t feel like you could take going through this again.

That awful time when just remembering to keep breathing in and out feels like an effort.

I know, from personal experience, the pain of heartbreak

Heartbreak and I are old friends…we’ve spent many a day and sleepless night together.

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Every time I’m in it I always say the same thing “I just wish it was 6 months from now”.

Why?

Because I know I’ll get through it, I always do. But I also know that in order to get through it I need to be in it. I need to feel it. I need to feel it all.

…and that isn’t easy, in fact it’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to deal with.

So when someone reaches out asking for help with heartbreak, my heart goes out to them. Because I know where they are. I’ve been there, many times.

This week I saw a question “Does a broken heart ever mend, or do we just end up living with the scars?”…and I felt moved to respond to it in a very personal way.

…and today I want to share that response with you, because I know from the messages and comments I receive that it might be relevant to you too.

So, my personal story of heartbreak…

My sister has been what most people would consider very “lucky in love”. Her first long-term boyfriend turned out to be the man who she fell in love with, married and now very happily has a little boy with.

Her husband is wonderful and I’m so pleased that they found each other and have created their lovely life together. As a result, she’s been ‘lucky’ enough to never have really experienced ‘heartbreak’ as you and I might know it.

On the other hand as you may know from my previous articles, I have experienced many heartbreaks during my lifetime.

There is a part of me that at times in my life has been slightly envious of my sister’s experience. Because she never experienced heartbreak, she in some ways kept the innocence and naivety that comes with first love. She never had that part of her life ‘tainted’ in any way by a negative experience. Being that she’s my sister, I am grateful that she’s never been through this.

However, as much as I wouldn’t wish the heartbreaks that I’ve been through on anyone, much less my sister, I know that because of the experiences I’ve had my life, I am a changed person…and every one of those changes in me has been for the better (in the long term).

My life has been richer for walking the path I have, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have grown in ways I know I wouldn’t have without those experiences. Each one has tested my emotional resilience in ways I couldn’t have imagined…and yet each one has brought with it such a gift of growth and personal learning too. It has made me the woman I am today. I have a depth of compassion, of self-knowing, of emotional experience, of love as a result of it.

I appreciate love in a way I wouldn’t have done, had I not lost it at times along the way.

My heart has been changed for those experiences.

Some might say that it’s been scarred by them…but as with scar tissue in the body…those parts of my heart are actually stronger for it.

Remembering those ‘scars’, the heartbreaks, the experiences I’ve gone through, the pain I’ve felt, helps me to continue to choose every day the woman I want to be. It’s helped me learn what I want for my life, what I will and won’t accept (both for me and by me), and it helps me to be the best woman I can be for myself and the man in my life every day.

As a result of these moments in my life I don’t take love or life for granted, which sometimes people who haven’t experienced them can.

My experience is that in time (with a compassionate approach of truly processing the emotion and the experience), the pain subsides, the wounds heal, the lessons are learned and we move on into our next chapter forever changed.

That change can be our greatest gift if we allow it to be.

Heartbreak has been a real gift to me

…and this is why I describe heartbreak and I as old friends, because that’s what we are. Though our relationship has never been easy, it’s brought me more than I could have ever imagined.

Without the heartbreaks in my life, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, doing the work I do, helping people around the world to create deep, mutually fulfilling relationships.

But most importantly I don’t believe I would have had the experience that I personally needed to be able to create the level of connection, communication and compassion that I have in my two most important current relationships – the one with myself, and the one with my partner.

I wouldn’t change any of the heartbreaks I’ve experienced in my life for anything.

Although I experienced terrible pain through every single one of them…I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart for each one of them and the gifts that I eventually allowed them to bring me.

In Japan there is a practice called “Kintsukuroi” which means “to repair with gold”. It is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver laquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

So I invite you to repair any ‘cracks’ you may feel as a result of your heartbreak with gold, or silver, or another gift that is valuable to you, and begin to see the beauty in them too.

Stay fabulous,

Claire x

The 5 most important things to help you deal with a broken heart…

By now, I’m sure you know that recently I’ve had to face one of the more difficult challenges that life has to offer…how to deal with a broken heart.

Broken Heart

After going through the normal reaction involving tears, above average chocolate consumption and an extra glass of wine here and there, the question I asked myself was “How could this experience help the women that I work with?”

The answer I got was to share with you the 5 most important things to help you deal with a broken heart.

Heartbreak is never easy, always painful and can take some time, so finding ways to make the journey a little more bearable is important.  So, following on from last week’s “How to deal with a broken heart” here are are the 5 most important things to help make the journey a little easier:

1. Feel the emotion – This was obviously the main focus of last week’s newsletter, if you missed it, you can catch up via the blog here.  It can be easy to put the barriers up, and close yourself off to try and protect yourself from the pain.  But by doing that you only end up hurting yourself in the long run.  It’s so important to stay open and feel the emotions fully as and when they come up, in order for you to then be able to let them go and begin to heal.  In order to make this a little easier try and remember to stay “R.E.A.L.”

Recognise – Recognise an emotion as it comes up, no judgment, just be aware of how you’re feeling and allow yourself to face it rather than finding some way to distract yourself or avoid it.

Experience – Let yourself feel the emotion completely.  Don’t hold back, just allow yourself to feel how you need to feel.  If you need to cry, cry, if you need to shout, shout, if you want to laugh, laugh…but allow yourself to experience the emotion fully.

Accept – Accept the way that things are.  The situation as it is and what has happened.  Give yourself permission to feel how you feel and accept that it’s ok to feel sad / angry / disappointed / upset or whatever it is that you’re feeling.

Let go – Release the emotion…let it go.  Once you’ve felt it there is no reason to hang onto it anymore, it won’t serve you to do so.

2. Take some space – When you go through a major life change like a breakup, it’s important to give yourself a bit of space.  If possible, don’t make any major decisions for a month or two, to allow yourself to adjust to the changes in your life.  Just give yourself a bit of space and time to feel what you need to feel, begin to heal and work out what you would like for yourself next.

3. Focus on you and your needs – As you no longer have to worry about a partner’s feelings, wants, needs or desires, now is the time to focus on you.  What do you want? What makes you happy?  What makes you smile?  What would you like to do?  I’m not talking about big-picture long-term stuff here, I’m talking about day-to-day, what would make you feel good?  Work out what it is, and make sure that you are meeting your needs and wants.  Whether that’s a walk in the country, a night out dancing with the girls, or an indulgent day to pamper yourself.

4. Let others be there for you – If you are lucky enough to have people around you who care for you and want to be there for you, let them.  If they were going through a tough time you would want to be able to support them, so let them do the same for you.  Having people around who care about you, even if its just company while you watch a film, can really help.  …and if they give great hugs, even better 🙂

5. Be Kind to yourself – Be gentle with yourself.  Don’t expect yourself to feel instantly better overnight.  Allow yourself the time and space you need to heal…and treat yourself kindly on the journey. If you missed the post earlier this week about being your own best friend then check it out here: ……. It gives some great tips for being kind to yourself, and for giving yourself the love that you need to get through the pain of a broken heart.

I know firsthand how difficult dealing with heartbreak can be…as you know by now, I’ve faced it a number of times.

But believe me, if you can remember these 5 important things it will make the journey a little easier…and someday soon, after a bit of time for you, you’ll be ready to love again.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

How to deal with Heartbreak…

A question that I get asked on a regular basis is “How do I deal with a broken heart and still stay in my feminine?”

As we know, being feminine is about being open and embracing the ability to be vulnerable. So I’m going to be completely open about my current personal situation…

As you may or may not know, unfortunately I have recently experienced heartbreak first-hand.

I won’t go into details, except to say that a few weeks ago my partner took the decision to leave. …leaving me to deal with a broken heart.

Broken heart

Luckily or unluckily, depending on which way you look at it, this is not my first trip around this merry-go-round. So as painful as it is, at least I know what to expect.

Every breakup is different, but the emotions are often the same or very similar.

You have either lost or had taken away from you something that you cherished…so there is a real feeling of grief and pain.

Most of us know that there are 5 theoretical stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (of which I’ve experienced at least 3 in the last few weeks…)

But knowing the stages that you’re going to experience doesn’t actually help you to deal with them.

So how do you deal with it and still stay in your feminine?

Being open, emotionally connected and vulnerable is painful when you are going through a breakup. But from my own personal experience, the alternative can come back to bite you …

I experienced my first real heartbreak at the age of 24. It was with the first man who I truly loved and who I had moved to a new area of the country to be with.

The split came totally out of the blue for me. I had no idea that it was coming and it was a complete shock.

It was like someone had just pulled the bottom out of my world.

As we lived together, and I had very few friends in the area where we lived, I had to leave in the middle of the night and went back home to my parents’ house.

For three days I completely fell apart.

…and I mean completely and totally fell apart.

I was inconsolable.

The worst part of it wasn’t actually the pain I was experiencing, although it was gut wrenching. As strange as this may sound, the worst part was watching my family watching me going through it.

We have always been a very close family and seeing the pain on their faces, watching me going through it while knowing there was nothing they could do to take it away, was unbearable.

After three days I’d had enough.

I was tired of crying. I was tired of feeling so awful. I was determined to take control again. So given that I was going to be moving to be closer to my friends and family there were plenty of things for me to focus on.

I was focused on getting a new job, finding a flat, anything and everything to distract myself from feeling as bad as I did.

…and for a while it worked.

I moved, I started my new job and began my new life.

Until one day, about 6 months after the split, I was walking back to my car after a long day at the office when it hit me like a freight train.

All of a sudden, I was experiencing all the emotions and pain that I had felt immediately following the split.

I no longer had anything to distract me from it. I hadn’t dealt with it…I’d just buried it.

…and although I’d done a good job, it wasn’t going to stay buried forever.

I was a mess.

I asked all of my friends for help.

“What do I do?”

They all came back with the same reply.

“You just need to deal with it”.

Well, as helpful as that sounded, I was none the wiser. Because I was happy to deal with it, I WANTED to deal with it, I just didn’t know how.

When I asked them “OK, so how do I deal with it?” I got nothing but blank faces in response.

So I muddled my way through and after a rollercoaster couple of years, I eventually felt that I was over it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t my only experience of heartbreak.

A few years later I found myself in exactly the same situation. Another breakup from out of the blue…and another broken heart.

Again, for a few days I totally fell apart…but this time was different.

This time I had the wisdom of “Sex and the City” to guide me through.

You see one day, not long after this second breakup, I was watching an episode of “Sex and the City” which provided me with all the answers I was looking for.

The episode is in season 6 and is called “One”. Charlotte finds out that she is pregnant, but after a brief moment of joy she loses the baby.

She is plunged into a state of depression and Harry (her husband) tells Miranda (one of her best friends) how worried he is about her. He doesn’t know what to do.

Miranda’s response is simple.

“She’ll be ok, she just has to feel it”

Light bulb moment.

You have to feel it.

That’s how you deal with it. You feel it.

What I’ve since learned is that it’s only when you allow yourself to really feel and experience the emotions fully, that you can release them.

Anything else results in just burying the emotions, and no matter how deep you bury them, they will still be there, still hurting you.

What’s worse is at some point they will bubble up to the surface…often when you least expect them to, and usually at an even worse time.

So cry if you need to cry, shout if you need to shout, feel the fear, the pain, the hurt…all of it, as and when it comes up.

…and when you’ve felt it completely, you can then let it go.

Although it might be painful in the short-term…letting yourself feel these emotions means that you can release them and begin to heal.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does get you through it as quickly as possible.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Feeling what I need to feel, as and when the emotions come up. Acknowledging them, feeling them completely, moving through them and then finally, bit by bit, beginning to release them.

…and next week I will be sharing the 5 most important things to help you deal with a broken heart.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x