Relationships and Love

Restoring Your Heart After Heartbreak

I can come across confident, strong and in control, even after heartbreak. But ask any of my close friends and they will tell you otherwise.
I had been dating a man, who wasn’t all in. We broke it off, then in an email,  I told him I had worked through my pain over the weekend and was fine and ready to move on. I saw him at church the next week and he was all cheery and happy because he apparently  believed my confident statement!

thumb_COLOURBOX10043124 I’m curious how we all manage the stages between “I am going to step back a bit from this relationship” (death knell is now ringing loudly in your heart) to never hearing from him again and knowing it’s over (relationship coffin is now being lowered into the ground; you are throwing dirt over it.).

I’m not sure length of time in a relationship determines the length of time it takes to restore your heart after a heartbreak. I have to unpack the relationship and all the dynamics. I have to see all the possible ways I could have done it better. I usually experience shame and failure. I am too hard on myself. I tell myself stories of how it would have gone different if I just had…

I act as if everything that has happened is the result of just me. What? He wasn’t in the equation as well? And so I give away my power to this other person. And believe me, it takes a lot of effort to get it back.

The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity. Brene Brown from Rising Strong

I make up stories that aren’t true: I make the guy the hero with me the villain. I make the guy the jerk with me the victim. I make up that I can’t be me because that’s too scary for a man to deal with (because we all know men are put off  by a strong woman) .The list can go on, but you get the picture.

All these stories I tell myself only take me down a road of self-abuse. And what is worse, I make my good friends go down the road with me. I process things by talking. They patiently and lovingly listen to all my stories.

There is a song I came across recently titled, “Be Kind to Yourself.”  Lyrics and song by Andrew Peterson:

You got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean
And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well
I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice
You would rather be anyone else

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He made your precious heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit
Is pointed like an arrow at your chest
When the voices in your mind are anything but kind
And you can’t believe your Father knows best

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He’s shaping your heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

How does it end when the war that you’re in
Is just you against you against you
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

You can’t expect to be perfect
It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit
You belong to me whatever you do
So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself
Let’s put this in perspective: We are all struggling with creating intimate relationships. The problem is we are all pretty lousy at doing it and our stories get in the way of the real truth.  We aren’t being kind to ourself.

So where do we go to restore our heart? Where do we find and tell the real story? For me, it is turning to a spiritual walk, to a spiritual God that loves me. I am looking for hope at this point: hope that I will return to my true self, love myself regardless of failings and misgivings, and yes, even release the person with forgiveness because in his own way, he was trying to do the best he could in his own journey.

And once I have gone inward, I go outward. I look at those dear friends that have heard my stories and tell them how awesome they are. I take long walks and drink in the beauty of the sunshine filtering through the leaves of giant trees and branches. I listen to music that feels good. I count my blessings. And if a friend is in need, I reach out to give them compassion and a listening ear.

And I stumble along the way, but each time there is an emotional hiccup, it’s easier to get up and dust myself off, not repeating the false story, but telling myself a new one, a good story about how I am brave, how I am learning and growing and loving myself, and how there is a jewel of a man who won’t run or be blinded by his own stories but see potential in what we both have to share with each other.

If you have ventured this far, I’d love to hear how you restore your heart after a heartbreak. Do you tell yourself false stories that come from a past? What have you learned along the way? How do you want it to be different next time?

We have much to learn from each other. Please share!

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