The Most Important Thing To Do If Your Heart Is Broken
If you’re reading this and you feel like your heart is demolished, I want you to know you’re not the only one. If you feel like nothing in the world matters because your pain is all consuming, I want you to know I’ve been there. Whether you’re suffering from a romantic breakup, mourning the loss of a loved one, or feeling the effects of your own painful choices, I want you to know I’ve been there. There’s something comforting in knowing that heartache and heartbreak aren’t personal. They are the side effects of being human.
Today my heart is not broken. And one day yours won’t be either, even though it may be difficult to grasp that feeling in the midst of devastation. When my heart was broken I wish someone had told me something, and this is what I’m going to tell you:
The most important thing you can do when you're heart is broken is feel it all.
Feel all the feelings. Deeply. Don’t hide from them. Don’t tell yourself you’ve cried too much. Don’t busy yourself. Don’t let your mind tell you anything about anything. Just feel the pain. Sit with it. Let yourself feel everything.
The only way to the other side of pain, the place where I’m living now, is to walk through it. You can’t skip around it, dig a hole under it, or build a bridge to go over it. You have to walk through your pain. You have to bare witness to it, to be present to everything that is arising.
And that is all you have to do. You don’t have to analyze it, manipulate it, or deny it. You simply have to accept it for what it is. And I know that simply is a harsh word for this work. Walking through my pain has always been the biggest challenges of my life.
When I was going through a deep heartbreak a year or so ago, nothing seemed to matter. Yoga was the only thing that made me feel somewhat alive. I decided to sit with my experience. I made a conscious effort to be with it. I sat in my room, silently, breathing and feeling. I devoted time and attention to my pain. I didn’t judge it. I didn’t push it away or try to make it different. Instead, I gave it a voice. I let it cry, I let it scream, I let it breathe.
Immediately I felt lighter. I felt like I had purged something. I was healing. I was learning to release the pain because I hadn’t known that it wasn’t something I had to hold on to. And if you didn’t know either, you don’t have to hold on to your pain. Most of us carry pain from various traumas throughout our entire lives. The weight eventually becomes difficult to live with. It expresses itself as negativity, cynicism, depression, anxiety. None of the ways we really want to live.
When you listen to your body you become aware of a divine intelligence. There is something deeper that is guiding us if we’re brave enough to listen. There’s a natural process of mourning. When you’re connected to your soul you know when it’s time to move on. When you’re battling the ego, suffering can go on for a lifetime.
When you choose to walk through your pain you are honoring the part of you that is wounded.
Emotional wounds are part of what it means to be human. If you want to love deeply you are going to feel deep pain. If you want to avoid that pain, you are going to carry it around with you, and likely end up hurt other people with it. When we are unconscious of our pain, when we build walls to avoid it, those barriers inevitably inflict pain on other people and often we’re unwilling to take responsibility for it. When you choose not to hide from your pain you're giving yourself a new path forward. You’re choosing to heal yourself.
If you’ve put on that fighter’s face and want to pretend like you don’t get hurt, I want you to know I see right through you. You’re afraid of feeling the pain. And if you’re crying and crying and feel really sad but aren’t willing to go deeper, I challenge you. Feel the feelings. The deep ones. The ones that you’re scared of. When you sit with the pain, when you bare witness to your fears, the truth you’ll discover is liberating. You’ll find that there’s nothing to be afraid of because underneath all of that fear, underneath all of that pain is love. It’s always there waiting for you to choose it.