This occurred to me when I was talking to a friend this week about breaking up. There is so much of literature available on love – how to find it, how to handle it, how to make it happen, how to make it last. But what about the sometimes inevitable – loss of love? There must be a reason that this post remains one of my most popular ones to date.
We are born with a capacity to love. But breaking up and letting go is a learned act…a lesson that comes with a lot of pain. While I can’t find a way to make that experience any less painful, for those of you who face it, maybe this will make it easier to deal with.
Breaking up is never a dignified process. And yes, it is a process, not a step, not a one-time act. There will be moments when life seems to be about normal and then long days when it feels like it isn’t. If it truly has been an emotional attachment then there’s no escaping the fact that it will be difficult to let go, baggage and bad memories notwithstanding. Emotions are messy. That’s why psychiaterists, spiritual guides, counsellors and people like John Gray have a job. Don’t make it worse for yourself by piling guilt on top of pain. Just give it time and eventually the moments of normalcy will grow into days and the days of pain will cease to be – well, quite so painful. Time really does heal wounds.
Beauty magazines and self-help books usually advocate ‘pampering’ yourself which is taken to mean buy things for yourself or get a beauty makeover. Personally I find the concept of sending myself flowers silly and it makes me feel worse. I’d say celebrate yourself in whatever way you party. A relationship can have a way of sapping up all your time and energy. When it ends, it frees up all this extra time for you. Don’t be overwhelmed by it. Do something that you like, read, write, play a sport. People also have a way of getting into a self-defeating spiral, essentially punishing themselves for a relationship gone bad.
Try and think of somebody you are very fond of; preferably not the one you’re breaking up with but someone else like a parent, a cousin, a friend, a child. And think of what you would do for them if they were down and out. How compassionate we are with people we love and how hard we are on ourselves! Discover yourself. If it feels like no one loves you, well hey! That’s all the more reason for you to love yourself. Because if you don’t, no one else ever will.
If you’re tired of hearing that experiences are lessons, I am afraid I’ll only add to that. Yes, you certainly will learn something. About the person you loved, about the world, about relationships but most of all about yourself. You may wonder whether any lesson is worth such a price. To that I ask you – what are you worth to yourself? What would you give to receive the highest truth in your life?
You hurt today because of how much you’ve loved, how much of yourself you’ve given and how much it is tearing you to let it go. You have loved and for that I celebrate you. I hope you celebrate yourself as well.