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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

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