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”.
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.
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.