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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

Everything is perfect…but it’s OK for it to hurt at times too…

Happy SadFollowing on from last week’s newsletter article, I had an interesting conversation that prompted me to write today’s article.

The person I was speaking to had read last week’s article about the fact that “Everything is Perfect” and they asked me a very interesting question.

The conversation went something like this:

“I read your article about everything being perfect, but aren’t there times when something happens and that you just get caught up in the emotion of the moment, and you feel angry or sad even though you know you should be thinking positively?”

I am so grateful to the individual who asked this question (you know who you are)…because it occurs to me now that reading my post from last week you might think that I’m this impossibly happy and positive person who relishes every upset as an opportunity for personal growth.

…and I do believe that every upset is an opportunity for growth …eventually!

But in the moment, I feel all of the raw emotions the same as everyone else does.  It’s natural.  It’s human.  It’s the way we’re built.

Not only is it natural, but it’s necessary.

You see, if a situation comes up where you get hurt and you don’t acknowledge and honour that emotion, instead trying to move directly onto the ‘positive aspect’ of it, the emotion will stay with you.

It might be buried or ignored for a bit, but sooner or later it will pop up again and say hello…or a greeting that is much less friendly!

I’ve had an experience this week that has really reminded me of this.

Over the weekend I was relying on a very good friend of mine to complete some crucial work for a part of my business.  There was a deadline that couldn’t be moved and it was fundamental to a project I was working on.

I had offered to find an alternative solution last week if it wasn’t going to be possible to complete it and less than 24 hours before the deadline I received confirmation that it was in progress and it would be done.

So when said friend dropped off the radar with no communication and no warning that it would not be completed at all, I was completely shocked.

The deadline came and went with no word, and the work was not completed.  At the last minute I had to find an alternative solution myself so as not to let down people who were relying on me.

In that moment, and for several moments after it, there was a lot of emotion.

It was raw.

It was intense.

It was overwhelming.

I felt hurt, let down, angry, disappointed…and a whole lot more too.

I reached out to friends.  I vented.  I cried.  I allowed myself to feel it all completely.

Because once it had been felt…it was possible to release it and let it go.

…and it was also possible to see the gift in it.

I got to prove to myself that when I’m in a difficult situation and the pressure is on, I am able to find a solution.

Also, there have been several occasions in the last few months where I’ve been presented with opportunities to show compassion to, and actively help, people who have hurt me.  This was another one of those opportunities.

Not making what they’ve done OK, or ignoring it.  Acknowledging, expressing and facing how they have made me feel, but still choosing to show compassion for them in spite of that.

Because as hurt as I had been by it, I know that the intention had always been to help.  …and as disappointed as I was to be let down by a good friend, I knew that they weren’t a bad person…they’d just made choices that had led to a situation that caused me to feel bad.

I found a quote that really summed the situation up “Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting someone’s apology, it means understanding fully that a person made a mistake but is worthy of a second chance” ~ faithlovestoreblog.

But as much as there was a ‘silver lining’, it was just as important for me to acknowledge, feel and experience the intense feelings as and when they came up, as it was to eventually see the gift in the situation.

…and when in that moment of feeling and experiencing those intense emotions the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you is to allow yourself to be with it, feel it…but avoid reacting from that place.

Let the intensity of the emotions release before you act and you can then choose to respond rather than react.

As you know, one of the core aspects of femininity is to be emotionally connected…so in order to really embrace our feminine we need to also embrace, embody and experience our emotions in order that they can freely flow into and out of us.

That way we can honour them, without holding onto them…and we can then eventually see the gift.

Stay fabulous,

Claire x

The day I fell apart…

Falling ApartOver the last few weeks I’ve been hearing the same comment on a regular basis….”you’re dealing with your breakup really well”.

Sometimes it’s said with surprise, sometimes it’s said with an element of hope…at other times with a slight hint of dismay.

At a lunch meeting a while back, a colleague mentioned to me that I was one of these women who seemed to always have it together…and she wondered if I ever have days where things just get too much.

Well, I do 🙂

I’m just like everyone else in that sense.

So today I thought I would share about one of my more ‘challenging days’…so that you can see that I have them, just like everyone else.

As you know, a couple of months ago I went through a difficult breakup when the boyfriend I was living with left unexpectedly the night before Valentine’s Day.

I shared a bit about my experience on my blog to help other women who might be going through a similar situation.

Unfortunately it was never going to be an easy split because he was involved in some technical aspects of my business…so as much as it would have been easier at that point to have had a completely clean break with no contact (at least for a while until the wounds begin to heal), this wasn’t the reality of my situation.

Over the past month or two we have had to stay in touch to try and work out the details and come to a conclusion about how things will be resolved, including a few financial issues.

So it has been challenging, but all in all, I’ve been doing pretty well. There have been good days, and bad days, but I’ve followed my own advice and felt whatever emotions have come up in order to begin to release them. I’ve had some health problems along the way, but generally I was doing OK.

…until last Tuesday.

Now, I love social media…it’s a great way to stay in touch with my many friends across the world, but there are times (like this) where I really wish that we weren’t so connected.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from a friend.

Unfortunately due to a problem with my friend’s phone I wasn’t able to have a proper conversation with her….I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me…so I just had to listen, sat on my own in a venue in London.

She told me that few days before, through the magic of Facebook, it was announced that my ex was on holiday with his new girlfriend.

I felt a rush of emotions all at once….hurt, angry, betrayed, used,…you name it, I felt it.

I completely fell apart.

The challenge with this was that I got this information literally minutes before a meeting in London that I was supposed to be leading.

The women walked into the room to find me in tears.

A few years back, I would have ‘pulled myself together’, put on a brave face, and powered through.

Not on Tuesday.

On Tuesday I allowed myself to share what had happened. I was completely open, I was completely vulnerable and more importantly I allowed these amazing women to be there for me.

It didn’t stop the hurt, but it certainly did help.

What was interesting was the more I shared…the more the ladies there shared that they had had similar experiences…and it helped to know that there were others who had been where I was in that moment.

That completely honest connection with another person where you understand each other’s pain, you’ve walked in each other’s shoes, creates a bond. It gives a real sense of understanding, strength and hope.

So I’m sharing this today for one reason. I know that there are other women out there, perhaps you’re one of them, who are going through a situation like this.

It’s OK that it hurts. It’s OK that it’s painful. It’s OK that you don’t always have it together. It’s OK to sometimes have a hard time dealing with things. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK if you need to fall apart for a little while. It’s OK to lean on others….even if you’re supposed to be doing the leading.

We’re human.

None of us are perfect…myself included.

So the next time you have a moment when it just gets too much…give yourself permission to lean on the people around you.

You do so much for them, that it’s good for them to have the gift of giving back to you…especially at the times when you need it the most.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Thank you to the stranger on the train…

TearsYesterday was not a good day for me.

In fact, being honest, it was really awful.

It’s not very often that you’ll hear me say something like that…but in this case there’s no other way to put it!

I got some news which was very upsetting, and which caught me completely by surprise.

If you want to know the full story, you can find it in today’s newsletter (You can sign up here if you haven’t yet: http://feminine1st.com/free-gift/)

I was in London at a meeting when it happened, and so on my journey home it all started to sink in…and the next thing I know I’m sitting on a South Eastern train with tears streaming down my face.

It was one of those “once the flood gates are open” moments.

Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.

I was very aware of the fact that I was on a public train, surrounded by people, but it didn’t matter. I was feeling very upset, and at that moment I needed to let it out.

The guy with the drinks trolley went past and very kindly handed me a couple of napkins as he went.

But then something interesting happened.

A guy who was sat a little further up the train walked up to me and said “I’m really sorry, I’m not trying to hit on you, but I can’t just sit there and watch you cry….would you like to split a beer? Or I could just sit here and talk random rubbish at you for the rest of your journey?”

Now, a few years ago, if this had happened my instinctive response would be to say “It’s OK, I’m fine”.

Not yesterday.

I looked up at him and said “You know what, that would be really great”.

So he sat down and we started chatting.

Not the stuff of great conversations that will go down in history, just random chat to pass the time.

It was just what I needed…a little random kindness from a stranger.

What was really interesting is that had the situation been reversed and I’d seen someone crying on the train, I’d have done exactly what he did.

When I told him this and said how grateful I was for the random stranger who came and talked random stuff at me to pass the journey…he simply replied, “Ah, but it wasn’t random”.

It was really reassuring to know that what you put out in the world, does come back…sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes randomly…but often when it’s most needed.

I’ve mentioned the concept of paying it forward on here a few times, and my last post about it was on remembering to receive it forward as well.

Well, yesterday I got the chance…and it felt good to receive.

So thank you to the stranger on the train who helped me to dry my tears and made me smile.

The next time you see someone who you think could use cheering up, don’t be afraid to say hello…it doesn’t cost anything and it might just make all the difference to someone’s day.

…and the next time someone offers you a kindness at a time when you really need it…allow yourself to receive it. It might not take away the sadness or whatever it is that you’re feeling…but it certainly does help.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x