You feel abandoned. Thrown away like a garbage bag. Maybe even humiliated and betrayed. The future you dreamt of, is not the future they dreamt of: that was clear the moment they told you: ‘I don’t want you anymore’. The one who’s the kindest, cutest and most beautiful to you, wants to look for a better match or –even worse- already met them.
It’s a punch that unsettles and undermines, dear lovesick one, and nothing less. Everything you thought was certain, everything you built your life around and based your future on, was broken down. Your basic safety is shaking. At first, maybe you escaped into all kinds of thoughts, just to keep the panic away. You still hoped the mistake would be put right, or got into the super positive ‘it’s for the best, for all of us’ mode. Your mind protected itself by taking the news in bit by bit.
Anger, sadness and tears
You probably got angry too – with yourself, showing destructive self-reproach (you did it all wrong, no wonder they wanted to leave) and with them (what an incredible douchebag / tart, you were always out of their league). You may have tried to analyse the relationship, yourself and your ex, obsessively, as if there was a code you needed to crack that would explain the break-up and, thus, would make it possible to undo it.
And then came grief. The heavy, pitch black grief about a loved one and everything you had together – maybe even a family. In the deepest abandonment, you feel a loneliness that –how inconvenient- can only be changed by the one who left. Grief pushes you to the ground, makes you broken-winged and deeply sad. Say it out loud. Say it in front of the mirror. ‘It’s over.’ And cry.
Cry, knowing that the pain you let in, and allow to move through you, will never come back. All the tears you cry, can’t be cried again. It’s like having contractions: every contraction brings labor closer, every twinge of pain brings liberation. You’re not exaggerating, dear heartbroken one. Heartache leaves the same tracks in the mind as the flu, depression and addiction. The withdrawal symptoms can make you sick, literally sick. So be sick, and take good care of yourself.
This time has something to offer you
You may not believe it now, but this time of pain has something to offer – if you’re willing to fully experience it all. This time will help you to learn about yourself, your attitude in love and the lovers you pick. It will motivate you to dig deeper, look closely at your life, get rid of old garbage and discover new aspects of you. You will turn grief into power, and gain courage from fear and disappointment. Believe me, I’m a survivor of heartache.
Let yourself fall ill
‘If you desire healing, let yourself fall ill, let yourself fall ill’, are the words of poet Rumi that my co writer Marion Pauw and I chose for our book about heartache. Let yourself fall, and you’ll find yourself at a foundation that’s stronger than the ground of supposed certainty you were standing on. It’s your own foundation, you can’t fall through.
The reward for letting yourself fall is that your heart will be open. You’re not putting a bandage on your broken heart, you’re taking care of the wound until it heals. It’s unnecessary to armor your heart and prevent it from getting hurt again.
Dare to fly
Don’t rush looking for a new love, dear left one. The new love will appear, life will take care of that. It’s far more important that you’ll find the courage to love again – yourself, and, one day, someone else. With an open heart, more than ever. No longer uninhibitedly, because you’ve learned romantic love keeps changing and ends sometimes.
Mark my words: you’ll have the courage to fly, because you’re prepared to fall. Falling is OK. After all, now you know how to get up again.
With love and respect for how you’re handling this painful experience,
Text: Susan Smit - Photo: Kinga Cichewicz