There’s more to midwifery than bringing in life. There’s working through life. All of it. The ups. The downs. And everything in between.
From time to time, I’m going to share about life. Maybe about love, loss, aging, growing up, breaking up.
That’s where we’re at today.
How to Heal a Broken Heart (when you’re really ready)
Join the crowd. You’re not alone – though that may be exactly how you feel right now.
Come on, it’s not that bad! Get over it, rise above it, move on! Or so we are told.
Don’t you wish it was that easy?
And don’t you wish I could wave my magic wand and help make that happen? Poof! You’re well again. You’re loved again. Because really, that’s what we want, isn’t it?
Only we both know it doesn’t work that way. You gotta go through it. You gotta sing the blues, sister. Sing it loud. Kick back the head and howl.
We need to honor that place. We need to let ourselves go there. Feel it. Experience it. All of it. Dive in. Go deep. Get dark. We need to be allowed to be brokenhearted. To wallow in our own misery. Seriously, we need to honor the lows as we honor the highs. That’s part of the process. It’s mourning. Working through loss.
Yikes. Scary. Not a happy place.
Can’t we just take a pill or turn to a bottle? Yeah, I’ve done that too, and that might be just fine for a little while. It might even feel like medicine. Only it’s not curing us, fixing us, or healing our wounds. It only helps us see things through a wishy-washy hazy daze where life looks a little better, or you really can’t see or feel much anyway. And I know – that does sorta help, doesn’t it? At least for a little while.
But at some point, we’ll straighten out, sober up, and still find ourselves exactly where we were.
Because unless we’re so shallow that we can bounce right back up and move onto the next and forget what was wrenching at our heart so powerfully, we need to honor this with clarity. We need to be mindful of what we’re going through. We need to take a good hard look.
It’s real and it’s raw and yes, it sucks. But we gotta go through it. At least, for a little while. There’s no formula. What works for me may not for you. You may need three months. I may need three years. Whatever it takes.
And then, how do we heal fully in the long run?
When you find yourself at that place, when you’ve had enough of the misery and mourning, when you’re ready to work through this and heal, read on.
Let’s start by justifying the broken heart. I’m going to be radical here. I’m going to call it a wonderful thing. Because really, I think it is. It means we love. It means we are lovers at heart. It means we are compassionate and passionate. It means we are living life fully.
And yes, I’ve been there. More times than I care to admit.
Though telling you I’ve been there, done that, devalues what you’re going through. And the past is past. We’re looking at now. And now it is your turn. Maybe it will be mine again next year. So get good at this, because I might need your help next time.
So, here’s my pep talk. And it’s not always peppy. Sometimes its kind harsh and hard to take. But if you are ready, this might be what you need right now. The soft sweet sugary words don’t get you too far.
I wish I could tell you what to do, or that there is an easy fix, or that this is no big deal, and this won’t last long. But I cannot say any of those things. Truth is, this sucks, it’s rough, and the emotions can linger for a year or longer. Even those that appear happily-ever-after still cringe in remembering heart aches.
Yes, a broken heart can leave scars on your heart. But scars need not simply toughen or harden us. Scars can be like battle wounds. Each with a story to tell. Each as testament to the heroic journey we survived. Each with a wide awakening resulting from the experience. It is the highs and lows of the heart which form us as much as or more than anything in life.
Hard and painful as heartbreak is, this is exactly what makes us compassionate – and passionate – human beings. You may be tempted to say you’ll never love again, we both know that won’t last forever. Heartbreak sucks, but love doesn’t. So be willing to try again. Hearts are made for feeling, experiencing, fully living life. This is not something you want to change, is it? Love is one of the most beautiful elements of life – and of you.
So, sappy words aside, there are some big things to think about here. First is how to get over her (or him). Because that is what you are working towards. Though this is not as easy at is sounds.
Working to continue the friendship? No. Period. Don’t do it. At least… not now, not yet. Please give yourself some time. “Continuing” simply lingers your longing and keeps your pain close, and festering just below the surface. Like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. Let’s look clearly at the broken leg and fix that. Though in this case of course it’s the broken heart. Harder. More complicated. More complex.
So set yourself up for success. Trying to keep communications open and be nice and wanting to be there for her and all that crap… that’s setting yourself up to fail. That’s putting fuel on the fire of your wounds every time. Truth is, you’re clinging. Stop it, and let go. Come on – give yourself a break. Don’t worry about her. Believe me, she’s just fine. We’re working on you here, right? So, take care of yourself. Give yourself the space you need to heal. Separation does work.
The key is in not hardening. Being mean, a bad person or otherwise acting unloveable (that’s not what you need, is it?) or being so afraid you never want to love again doesn’t serve you well in the long run, so don’t do it. And another thing. Don’t keep your wounds hidden. You’re better off exposing them, shedding light, understanding them, and learning to work through them. If left unhealed, wounds have this incredible power of festering in the darkness, and then bursting forth in the most inappropriate times. So I’m big on healing, on taking the time to do what it takes to heal wholly.
Tempting as it may be, the old “let’s be friends” doesn’t tend to work. A part of you will always think, “well, maybe…” And a part of her will always think, “oh, he still wants me.” Sure, maybe it works just fine for the person in her shoes. Yeah, for her it’s great. She can still get all the attention and love and ego boost and look good. She can have her cake and eat it too. But she’s not the one who needs to heal from this, remember? So for the person in your shoes – the person who needs the healing, and needs (yes, it is a need) the reciprocation of love, what good does holding on serve? So please, sever the cord. Give it separation, and time, and when you truly are healed (or enough to bring you strength and equality into your potential relationship together), then you can be friends again if you want. Until then, stay away.
Okay, but how? First and foremost, don’t be mean. Tempting as that may be, the last think you need is to feel like an ass, and if you’re mean, sooner or later you will. Harsh but true. So, be nice. Be honest and honorable. Think about what would resonate true for you. What would feel right, and respectful for you? Be the person you want to be now. Treat her like you wish someone would treat you. Practice up for the next relationship, the right relationship, a healthy and loving relationship. Start now. Maybe it’s karma. But who want to take the chance?
In any case, just do it. Separate. There’s no need to let it linger longer. That’s just putting off the inevitable: HEALING.
Right, okay, so… Time to separate.
This is hard to read, I know. I am sorry.
Completion is hard. It will feel wonderful sometimes, so strong and right. But that emotional “what if” and “maybe” will pop up and try to convince you otherwise. So the roller coaster ride may not be over just yet. But I can promise you, separation will allow it a space to settle down into smoothly soon.
Okay, so you took the leap. Now where’s the net? What do you do next?
Express it! (But maybe not to her.) Historically, heartbreak is one of the most creative times of the human experience. Some of the best poetry, writing, music, dance, paintings have risen from the ashes of a broken heart. Some of the greatest evolutions and revolutions were born in the wake of a heartache. So get out your pen and paper, or open up that old box of oil paints, or blast the music and dance… Let the passion move through you. Let the anger come out in bold strokes, the pain paint the page black, the deep desires splatter in red. Really, this feels amazing…
Heartbreak goes deep. Be willing to dive down after it to explore those depths. It is a time of inner reflection and contemplation – both of which are essential for healing. It is a powerful prompt for inner change. So, use this time as a period of deep awakening and poignant expression.
When you’re ready to let the wound be open and exposed, go for it. Get out the old paints and cover a canvas, or redo a wall in your apartment. Put on the welding helmet and start doing sculpture. Go into the woods and carve wood. Get back into poetry. Turn out the lights and dance, wild and primal. Work on deep, long meditations. Whatever you decide. Whatever feels good. Your heart is full, and needs to pour forth. Give it an outlet. This will not leave you empty and cold, but rather, free and open. To receive new. New love.
The next thing to consider is how to share your love in the future. Because clearly, there is a lot of love in side of you. This is a good thing. And sappy as this sounds, love is what matters most. Are you ready to try again?
None of us can make the right person magically appear. All we can do is work on ourselves – and our situation.
So let’s get to work. And have fun at it. I don’t mean to make light of it, but “fun” does matter. Otherwise, you might as well stay back in your misery. And we’re moving beyond that, right? Right??? (You’ll know when you’re ready to move on in the right direction when this sounds true and doesn’t trigger a cynical response.)
So, what can you do now? For one, remember that part about being the person you want to be, now? We’ve all heard that, but do we do it? Are you doing it now? Well, be him (or her). Now. Is he a whiner, or sarcastic or skeptical or a pessimist? No. That guy is un-dateable. Are you really going to get her being him?
I’m not suggesting you try to be something you are not. Honor who and what you are. But honor the positive parts of you. Don’t self indulge in the negative. When we start feeling we need to be loved and accepted for being exactly who we are is when we might just start finding ourselves alone. Whoever said trying to be a good person was a bad thing? So, it’s a matter of not trying to be somebody else’s good, but your good. Let your good stuff shine through. Look deep. There’s a lot of it. Express it. Polish it. Focus on it. Work on it. Remember, it’s not just relationships with others that require work. The relationship with ourselves – how we love, treat and express ourselves – takes work too. A lot of work. Being good to ourselves is actually one of the hardest things to do. It’s easier to treat someone else lovingly, and hope someone out there will treat us with the love we so desire. So this is going to be hard, but it’s worth it. You’re worth it.
How to start loving your self? Right… hard one. So, fake it till you make it, okay? But start. Pretend. In time, it’s not just “fooling yourself” but actually getting it. That self love thing matters. Maybe start with visualizations and affirmations. Maybe treat your body well – eat well, exercise, get fresh air, meditate. Take a class. Take a walk. Think this one over good and start making some baby steps every day toward being good to yourself. And slowly start loving yourself first. Body, mind and soul.
So that’s kind of like working on healing your life, right? Then it’s time to open your life to receive. This is the natural progression. After the needed time of withdrawing to heal your wounds, it’s time to open your wings, and your heart. Scary as it may be, you need to reach out. Yes, it’s possible she’ll find you hidden in your own little hole – but not likely. Increase your odds. This may mean making choices that will increase your likelihood of meeting the right person. Get out there. Take the first step. Then the second. Think simple and safe… or think big, think wild, do something you haven’t done before. Now is the time to not only open your heart and mind, but to open your circle. “She” is out there somewhere. Go find her. Make some brave choices to increase your chances of finding her – and her finding you.
Are you ready?
If you’re turning your back and trying to tell me love isn’t really that important, I’d say you’re not. That’s okay too. Give yourself more time. We both know this matters.
Honor your broken heart. And when you are ready, work to heal it. Allow yourself inner reflection and creative release. Work on finding the best parts of yourself, and being the person you want to be. And then, shape your life to reach further and increase your likelihood of finding her. She is out there waiting. Probably feeling lonely and maybe heartbroken right now too.
Embrace the ten thousand sorrows as you embrace the ten thousand joys. Such is the deep ocean of life. And yeah, it won’t happen if you’re not willing to get wet.
When you’re ready, dry your tears, lick your wounds, join the crowd, and get back out there. Polish up your battle wounds. Display them proudly. You’ve earned them. And joined the ranks of the best of us. Scars are okay. Remember, every one has a story. That won’t scare the right person away to know you loved and lost. On the contrary, I can pretty well promise you.
That, my friend, is life.
Don’t stop living.
If you want to learn to surf, first you’ll have to learn to crash.
And if you keep at it, you know what will happen.
It will be a beautiful thing.
Is it worth it? You tell me.
I thought I’d share this with you too. Continuations on a conversations with a dear one dealing with this heartbreak thing now. Here’s some actually advice. Just five little points. Sounds real simple. You’ll see, it’s not. So print it out. Tattoo it on your face. Post it on the mirror or the fridge. Whatever it takes to drum this message in. Work at it. Honor it. Honor yourself. That’s the only way you’ll create the change that you so dearly do want.
Oh, and remember this. Life IS about change. All life. Look around. Plants, trees, animals, the river, rocks in the river bottom. No change = no life. So embrace it. Allow it. Work for it.
Now, onto those tidbits of wisdom for moving forward (when you’re really ready) and finding “her”…
First is being the person you want to be, the person you want to be for her, and working on your self. We all need work. That’s why we’re here. Yes, we all have inherent qualities – strengths and weaknesses – and we can learn to use them, or balance with other learned skills. We’ll always be the same person, but we work to be… what ever we want to be. The best painter, writer, cook, poet, lover… None of this comes without a lot of work. Be willing to work at it. Be willing to work at yourself. Remember I once said, “Be the person she’ll want to wake up next to?” Yeah. That. That’s what you’re working on. Basically, it’s not trying to be something you are not, but being the most and the greatest of you. It’s learning to work through your negative traits and shine with your positive.
Second is planning/creating your future. For two things. First, so you enjoy it most. And second, to increase your chances of finding her. Don’t wait for the world to hand you the offer on a silver platter – start paving your own road. Find your own unique balance of flow and taking charge – but get something done. Like life.
Third is working on opening. Opening what? Life. Heart. Chances. Risks. Making the first move. Leaning over to kiss. Writing the crazy love poem. Singing a horrid song out of key. See what I mean? We all love this stuff. Don’t we? And how few are willing and able to risk not looking cool, or getting hurt or dumped or dissed… so they never try. Try. Dang it, this is the really fun stuff. This is the stuff that blows doors open.
And fourth is working with every single person as the potential HER. Start treating every person you speak with, work with, interact with, with the same love, interest, caring, compassion, excitement… showing each person that beautiful side of yourself. Don’t wait – share it now. Maybe it’s just practicing. Good. That’s great practice. Each and every person you can imagine, if this was her… how would I like to treat her. And you’ll get good at it. And you’ll also start really being the person you want to be – or awaking that part of you that you’ve suppressed. Don’t wait to express your positive side. Share it now. Start being him now. Because you also never know where she is… or who she is connected with.
Fifth is being present. This one is maybe the biggest and hardest because it sort of is a part of all of them. But this is the one that can change your life. All of them can. But this one goes down to the core, and is not affected by situation or circumstance. This is when you really start living. Now. Not tomorrow. Not after you loose the weight or get the job or buy a new pair of jeans or grow your hair out. Now. Today.
Okay, friends. Practice, practice, practice. And please let me know how it goes. I too am learning. We are here to learn from each other. I’ll have more to share on this topic soon. This is a juicy one. This is the stuff that really matters.