I’ve been thinking about this term, heartbreak, recently, as I struggle with the knowledge that a dear, tender, special and much-hoped-for relationship is not working out the way I would have chosen. I’ve been heartbroken often in my life, because I’ve chosen, over and over again, to open my heart to people [...]
I’ve been thinking about this term, heartbreak, recently, as I struggle with the knowledge that a dear, tender, special and much-hoped-for relationship is not working out the way I would have chosen. I’ve been heartbroken often in my life, because I’ve chosen, over and over again, to open my heart to people I see as potential intimate partners. Even though the pain of disconnection is excruciating to me, more painful than is probably healthy, I keep opening because I have no other choice. This is who I am. For the same reason I write about my inner experience on blogs, I keep opening, sharing, being authentic, even though I’ve consistently gotten the message that I’m too open, too authentic, too needy, and too emotional. I keep opening, changing my tactics in response to lessons learned, tactics which may or may not get the response I’d wished for, then when the hurt comes, I retreat to lick my wounds and to think about what just happened. Then, inevitably, even despite myself, I find myself opening again. And again. And again. I’m either very brave or very foolish.
Right now, as I feel waves of sadness, love, confusion, anger, self-pity, loss, and grief, I wonder about the word ‘heartbreak.’ What does it mean?
- Heartbreak means we must let go of expecting someone else to give us the sweet, tender caresses that carried us through many a night.
- Heartbreak means being tossed out of a comfortable nest. Perhaps, hopefully, helping us learn to fly.
- Heartbreak means the heart breaks open, wide, wider than it was when we were grasping at the beloved. In my life, heartbreak has often led to amazing moments of connection with the wider world, and the humans around me, most of whom have felt the searing pain of this experience.
- Heartbreak means that our future plans and hopes must fade away, as the castles in air that they always were.
- Heartbreak means facing the inevitability that everything we love will someday be gone from us.
- Heartbreak means letting go of habits and rituals that we shared with the beloved, and being open to new habits, new rituals.
- Heartbreak means letting the other person’s happiness lead our actions, rather than grasping at what we’ve lost.
- Heartbreak means sitting with the waves of pain and not letting them derail us or send us down into darkness, but striving towards the light the way a surfacing deep-sea diver swims towards the sun.
- Heartbreak means continually going back to the mantra “I send you all my love” to the one who is gone, even when every fiber in our being wants to beg to be let back into that tender and comfortable embrace, or rages in anger and disappointment at the beloved, for making the choice to let us go.
- Heartbreak means taking care of ourselves, letting ourselves cry, letting ourselves rage, letting ourselves reason and rationalize, and, in the end, knowing that none of it is true, it’s all fleeting emotions that will shift through the coming days and weeks. Heartbreak means being patient, knowing that we will need to be brave during this time.
- Sometimes heartbreak means falling to the floor in tears, begging the universe for some comfort, any comfort, even if only numbness. And sometimes, heartbreak means the universe answers with a presence wrapping us in warmth and unconditional love. I’ve been lucky (if that’s the right word) enough to have this happen twice in my life, and it’s magical.
- Heartbreak means reaching out to others, even while the instinct to hole up and isolate is overwhelming. It means using the pain as an impetus to open to the other love that’s in our communities.
- Heartbreak means questioning ourselves, deciding what was right about how we acted and what might not have been as skillful.
- And heartbreak means accepting ourselves fully, even the parts that we wish hadn’t surfaced or we’re told shouldn’t have surfaced, knowing we did our best, as did our partner.
In this situation, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be authentic. For my next post, I’ll discuss that. I’d love to hear from others about what you think it means to be authentic. I’ll post that on this blog in the coming days.
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