Relationship endings can be powerful new beginnings if we choose to let them be.
Just as the earth orbits the sun, we, as sentient beings, are drawn in by the gravitational pull of love. We yearn for it. We idolise it. Books and poetry and songs are written about it. We offer it to others, at times impulsively, recklessly. And we accept it gladly when it is offered to us in return. But love does not exist in isolation. Like any other thing on this planet, love can come into our lives and it can leave us. And it is the loss of love that leads to its antithesis: heartbreak.
Like love, heartbreak is just another facet of the human condition. If you have had your heart broken before (and – let’s face it – the majority of us have at least once in our lives) then you will know that it can be an inordinately painful experience. The clue is in the word, after all.
Breaking up with attachment
When something we have become attached to is lost or broken, we feel a sense of desolation and helplessness. This is because we often derive our sense of self from other things and people. We can become totally dependent on them for our happiness.
In these instances, when we have given someone the only set of keys to our heart and placed them in the sole position of caretaker to it, we imagine that without them we are somehow incomplete. As a result of this – coupled with the overwhelming pressure that society places on us and that we (to an even greater degree) place on ourselves – we scramble to make ourselves whole again. The only remedy, it seems, is to win that person back or to quickly find someone else to replace them. We go looking for our perfect match, our soul mate, our other half: someone who we hope will love and, ultimately, complete us.
But how do we change this false narrative that we keep telling ourselves; the narrative that denotes the only cure for a broken heart is to find solace in the love of another?
Making up with ourselves
First, we need to recognise that the pain we are experiencing on a visceral, cellular level is not only masking a fear of being alone by ourselves but also a fear of being alone with ourselves. The real root of our unhappiness, then, is not the absence of outward love but of self-love, for which there is no substitute (because any other substitute you find will only ever be temporary or, at the very most, superficial).
Secondly, we need to stop acting as if singledom is a pseudonym for singledoom. Being on our own and taking the time to personally reflect on where a relationship went wrong (instead of jumping headfirst into the next one) is not only wise, it is crucial. How else are we meant to avoid making the same mistakes in the future? Or, worse, if we’re caught in a vicious cycle of disappointing, unfulfilling or toxic relationships?
Finally, we need to learn to embrace heartbreak, rather than rush through it or shy away from it altogether. Yes, pain is uncomfortable. It is unsettling. But it can also be illuminating. The great irony is that sometimes, in order to put ourselves back together, other things need to fall apart. And it is when we recognise this – the true healing power of heartbreak – that we begin to see a breakup for what it has the potential to be: a breakthrough.
Enjoy the present
So enjoy your newfound freedom. Focus on cultivating your own happiness. Live your best life. Give yourself permission to do all of the things you always dreamed of doing in your past relationship/s! Don’t hold yourself back from doing them out of a misplaced sense of obligation or guilt any longer. Flatter yourself – do not wait for external validation from others. Like trying to fill a sieve with water, what good will it do you if others call you beautiful, smart, and kind when you cannot even see (and refuse to believe) it yourself?
But, most importantly, practise self-love. Remind yourself that love is not merely a construct or an emotional or physical expression. Love is a state of being. If you remember that you are love then you will find that you attract what you embody, instead of having to chase after it or needing it to sustain you.
As The Beatles say: “All you need is love.” And if all you are is love, then you are all you need.
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