How can we gracefully allow love back in after a heartbreak?
Often, romantic, and even platonic, relationships that end with heartbreak and challenge can be the most difficult experiences to reconcile.
Whether it’s a friend whose priorities shift, a family member who no longer sees things the same way, or a lover who leaves without a word, these experiences often leave lasting imprints upon our heart and soul.
In the moments after a loss, often all of our insecurities, doubts, and disempowering self-talk not only gets louder, it seems to say these often unwanted guests will be with us forever.
When I work with clients through heartbreak and loss, the process I take them through focuses on three areas, feeling the body, processing emotions, and freeing the mind.
Feeling our body is often the most important, but also the hardest step. It requires that we be willing to face ourselves with courage and fierce presence.
It often means feeling all the sensations that have been numbed or avoided through addictive tendencies or avoided by focusing on outward activities.
Often one of the first things I offer my clients is the permission just to stop. To stop doing, to stop trying to make things better, to stop the rationalizing and understanding of the situation.
To simply Stop, Drop into the body, and Feel. I find this is best done through a combination of breath, movement, sound, and awareness practices.
As we show our body that it is safe to communicate with us, that we will and are listening, the process of healing can begin.
This takes us into the next step, processing our emotions.
We live in a culture that has more often than not told us that emotions are unwelcome. Often when we feel an emotion that is intense, unclear, or just plain unpleasant, we tend to avoid, disown, and ignore.
Sadly, this often leads us to be passive-aggressive, co-dependent, to seeking saviors, and to act out through other unhealthy behaviors, most of which are learned either from parents who didn’t know any better or the media that thrives on keeping us in cycles of drama.
Fortunately, there is another way, though it isn’t always easy. This is where we do the work of processing and integrating our emotions.
Instead of putting our attention outwards, processing our emotions means owning our emotional experience as a sovereign being. To feel them fully, finding new ways to relate with them, and to integrate them so we can once again find our wholeness and solid ground.
The good news is that on the other side of the tears, sadness, grief, and letting go, we find relief as our body and spirit find peace and stillness.
What can be interesting is how I believe freeing the mind comes last, even though often the mind that is most agitated and is seemingly what demands the most attention.
In fact, I believe that once the body is brought back to alignment, as a friend, not a foe, and our inner emotional dialogue is kind and loving, the mind naturally comes along for the ride.
Over time, our perspective widens, our clarity returns, and we are able to see our past with objective eyes that let us learn the lessons that will make the next relationship we step into be one that is more grounded, healthy, and empowered for everyone involved.
It’s important to remember that as humans, often what creates trauma and hurt comes more from how we’re processing (or not processing) the situation and how we relate to ourselves than they do from anyone else.
It has been said that relationships provide the most fertile ground for personal and spiritual work. All relationships, platonic or romantic, provide a gift and opportunity to know ourselves in deeper and more profound ways.
Aspects of past relationships will always stay with us. While this can be tragic at times, it’s good to remind ourselves that there is much beauty in having loved and lost.
Through all the tears and hurt, there are also seeds of hope and deep desires for peace, certainty, and expansive love just waiting to be nurtured and held.
It is often through the hardest experiences that we gain the most vibrant colors and depth with which to create the art that is our life story.