How to heal a broken heart.

Many people come to me in a broken hearted crisis.  Their relationship has ended, and their hearts are writhing in pain.  They want to do every imaginable thing they can to escape the pain of heartbreak.   They vow, “I will never love or trust again!  It’s too painful!”

What comes with a broken heart?  A desire to close, to resist, to allow fear to take hold and shrink you down into a small, dimmed down version of you.  A broken heart leaves you clinging to fear, instead of the embrace of love and all of her miraculous healing.  Heartbreak creates a bitterness so strong it dilutes the taste of joy in your life.  That’s what comes with a broken heart.

Imagine how small your heart might become after years of heartbreak.   Where will there be space for your light?  How hungry might you feel when your heart has been starving for love for so long?

The key is to keep your heart open.  Keep it vulnerable, but strong, and o-p-e-n. Even if you think you can never open again.  Denying your potential for love is poison for your soul.

You might be thinking…. Seriously?  You want me to keep my heart open?  How do you open your heart when the door has been closed on it so many times?  Keeping your heart open doesn’t mean going on a date right after a break up.  It doesn’t mean drinking bottles of wine or shopping until your credit card is denied.  It means that you become present with your pain.  You take time to heal when your world has shattered.  Let your pain rise to the surface and trust that it is ok to feel it.

Every emotion is like an ocean wave.  They are all temporary.  Some are tsunamis, some are gentle waves that disappear on the shore.  Your task is to ride the waves much like a surfer.  You learn to surf the waves of emotion with no fear.  Embrace a courageous anticipation that the wave is coming, and trust that you can ride it to the shore.

Take time to be gentle with yourself.  Cry when you need to cry, get angry when you need to get angry.  Talk to your people.  Let them love you.  And most of all, love yourself in every way you can.  Remember you are human, and so is this person you loved.  You were both just trying to be loved.  Sometimes when we’ve closed our hearts because of past pain as children or adults, we do everything we can to prevent another heartbreak, even if that means pushing away the person we love.  We work against our own best interest.  We hide from great intimacy and love because we believe that if we get too close to it, and it is taken away, it will close our hearts forever. 

Be willing to look at what happened between two vulnerable people.  What do you need to different next time?  Can you see this person as your teacher and not your enemy?  Maybe your lesson is just to stop dating insensitive partners!  Maybe the lesson is to love yourself so much that you only allow kind, compassionate souls with open hearts into your own open heart.  We all have a different lesson.  There can be a gift in every heartbreak if you look for it. 

Once your tender heart has healed, get up, and open to love again.  Yes, I said it. This time let your heart be more open, more vulnerable, more trusting, because you know that to live in fear of heartbreak will serve only to push your next love away.  Decide that perhaps, this time around, your goal will be to expand your love instead of allowing your heart to shrink in fear.  With every new love, you have the opportunity to open, to love and be loved more deeply, or to close off, put your walls up, and shrink in fear.  When you trust that you can surf the pain of heartbreak, again and again, you don’t have to fear it.  There will be storms and calm seas.  Keep your heart open and trust that love, not fear, is the answer.