I don’t know that there is a single, specific answer--one cure-all that will magically whisk every pain away. If there was, no one would ever need to suffer after a heartache again. Yet so many of us do. We’ve had our feelings hurt, our hearts seemingly are broken and our lives and our worlds temporarily torn apart. When you’re in the middle of it, nothing else matters. You just want to find a way to stop the anguish and return to a place where you feel healthy, whole and able to face the world again.
Every hurt is unique; so is every healing.
And every hurt is an opportunity for deeper healing and understanding to take place. It’s a chance to revisit old, untended wounds and bring new tenderness and compassion to that fragile, vulnerable part of ourselves. Chances are if you find yourself in the throes of grief or suffering, it’s stemming from more than the immediate situation or newest emotional assault.
Deep emotional pain is only possible where there is a deep emotional attachment. (and notice I said attachment, not connection) But here is where it gets tricky, where it is so easy for us to unwittingly deceive ourselves and those around us; it’s when we attribute the deep attachment solely to the person or situation at hand. Profound emotional agony rarely stems from one traumatic incident. More often, it’s an old, reopened wound, begging for our attention, longing to be healed and free.
This is particularly poignant when it’s a “repeat offense” or a recurring pattern or experience in our lives. If you find yourself in the midst of heartache, looking for some comfort and relief, read through the suggestions and scenarios below and see if there is something that is right for you.
First, be gentle with You. This is not the time (nor is there ever a time) to beat yourself up, ask “How could I? How did I let this happen? Why didn’t I see it coming? Why didn’t I leave sooner? Why me?” Or “Not again!” If you are suffering, first of all, my heart goes out to you. We’ve all been there and it’s such an agonizing place to sit. So be gentle with You. Treat You like someone you love and care about. Imagine a dear friend, a child or perhaps a pet; what would you do if any of them were suffering? Show yourself the same kindness and care.
Be good to yourself physically. I understand the temptation to stay up all night crying, indulge in too much alcohol, chocolate, or other comforting but unhealthy foods, and maybe even drugs, prescription or not. But ultimately you are depleting the best resource you have, You. Your body, like your heart, is under an enormous amount of stress at the moment. Be good to it, make extra healthy food choices - fresh, raw fruits and vegetables (we’re made up of live cells, so live cells are important for our nourishment) and if you can stay away from processed foods (anything with a label) alcohol, caffeine and sweets, and anything else that may interfere with you functioning optimally and getting enough sleep.
Be sure to do things that are good for your body; take an Epsom Salts bath, use your favorite essential oils, go for a massage, sauna, or steam.
Know that you are whole. This may feel unbearable at the moment, and like your heart is shattered and will never be undamaged again, but I’m here to tell you that’s just not true. You are whole. You always have been. And no one can ever take that away from you. There may have been significant emotional injuries or traumas along the way, and if that’s the case, I am so sorry. But you are whole. And your body, mind, heart, and soul absolutely have the ability to be restored, renewed and healed.
Commit to the solution. This is especially important if this is a repeated hurt or old pattern. Recently, I watched a very close friend have her heart broken again, in exactly the same way as it has been wounded before, with the relationship ending and her not feeling “good enough”. The man showed up in the way they often do in her life, treating her in a manner that enforced the “not good enough” belief, not being present at critical moments, and ultimately leaving her for another woman. She has been through this exact relationship repeatedly for more than a decade. But this time, this beautiful, kind and accomplished woman had other incredible things going on in her life, so “not good enough” didn’t really add up. In the midst of the tears and anguish, we talked. She was finally in a place to see the pattern for what it is - just a pattern. One that stems from childhood and parental relationships, and one of that is calling her to treat herself like she matters, while also creating stronger, healthy boundaries for herself, instead of immediately being willing to merge with someone else (who always happens to be unkind and inappropriate) out of a deep, and ancient desire for companionship and connection, no matter where it comes from.
The issue and the healing that has taken place since are far more complex than I’m describing here, but the real miracle came in her commitment to finding a way through this instead of looking for a way out. That commitment led her to deepen her spiritual practices, get clear about what is really going on, steadfastly adhere to her boundaries and find healing practitioner who could guide her through the transformation. This time, she committed to herself and to her own healing and well-being instead of enduring the story of victimhood and pain.
Allow the anger but look for the root. Anger is a healthy emotion. It lets us know that our boundaries have been violated and that something is wrong in our world. But anger is always a secondary emotion. We are angry because we are frustrated, hurt, scared, embarrassed, disrespected etc. Figure out what is the root cause of the anger for you, the primary emotion, and you’ll be one step closer to the solution.
Let the other person or people off the hook. I know, this may be the hardest part. We want to make someone else responsible for their actions, and responsible for our anguish and pain. And it’s natural when we’re hurt to want to hurt back in defense. But if you’re suffering, it is too late for defenses. The wound has already been inflicted, so your energies are better put to healing yourself. Shakespeare once said that “Staying angry is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” This is so true. Ultimately, no one can be responsible for our well-being other than us. And do you really want them to be? People can offer love, support, companionship, and guidance, but they cannot make us emotionally well. By the same token, they can’t break us either. Being responsible for your own emotional well-being gives you your power and control back. It says to the world and the other person ‘You have been important in my life, but not more important than my life.”
Every hurt is unique; so is every healing.
Take the time you need to heal, but do so mindfully. Resist the temptation to languish in the pain, prolonging it and it’s detrimental effects on your life. Use the tools above, and any others that speak to you, and commit to small steps daily. Letting go of the hurt doesn’t minimize the intensity of your feelings, rather it signals to the universe that you are no longer willing to experience that suffering and you’re ready for greater happiness, love, and joy as you move on.
From My Heart to Yours,