One day all is well and the next day it is as if a merciless smug burglar invades the private chambers of your heart swiping your happiness. Immediately you shift your focus onto your Rolodex of flashbacks of what could possibly have caused this wound. Heartache may be brought on by the disappearance of a commitment from a loved one, loss of communication, loss of companionship, loss of a dream, death, divorce and rejection of love to name a few.
When your heart of compassion feels like turning to a heart of stone there are things you can do to help yourself. Do remember that if your heartache is not caused by a death of a loved one, you are still experiencing grief. There is no amount of knowledge that can prepare you for that kind of emotional unleashed lava.
Try to examine what is really broken in your heart. What does a person take from your heart when you believe they are never coming back or they have changed the rules of the playing field? Does it tamper or rob you of your spirit, your pride, your perception of life, your family, and/or your expectations for the future? Does it rob you of your self-worth? Whatever it does – it hurts.
Know that you can’t escape from the pain. It is an emotional laceration. If it were a physical injury you would reason that it takes time, patience and proper treatment for healing. It isn’t any different with emotional injuries. They take patience, time, understand along with the proper treatment.
The following ideas may help you move forward when all your mind wants to do is look in the rearview mirror of the unwinding events that caused your pain.
- Create a direction of order. Write things down. What are the facts? How do you feel about those facts? What do you believe would have changed the outcome? What do you believe you have learned from the situation?
- Step back and try to look into the situation from an outside perspective.
- Determine what you want and what you need to do in order to move forward.
- Don’t create internal distress by the “what ifs”. Worry stumps your thinking rather than opening it up.
- Accept help from others. Even though no one knows how you feel, many with heartache may have much in common with your experience. Even though the communication and support may not seem direct enough right now – down the line you may find that it helped more than you realized.
- Talk to a mental health professional or your doctor. When you are emotionally crushed it may be helpful to have a nonjudgmental person who does not have an emotional investment in your situation to listen and hear what you have to say to help you interpret your own feelings.
- Be proactive in your healing. Set boundaries for healing. Determine for yourself what is negotiable and what is not.
- Realize this is not a time to fix people or relationships. This is a time to heal. Refer to the order in which you placed your priorities.
- Don’t try to figure it out. You may not be able to connect the dots to make it fit into a logical pattern. Sometimes things happen because they do.
- Be aware of your own behavior. Being hostile or disagreeable will not help matters. Watch your own comments. It isn’t unusual to lash out with anger, which is fear and hurt but be careful. Words and actions do scar.
- Don’t judge the other people in your heartache. Try to accept they have a side to their actions. The truth lies somewhere in between your perspective and their perspective.
- Find ways to safely express your feelings.
- If a person has withdrawn from your life, deal with their left belongings in your own way that allows you to stay in your comfort zone.
- Take comments from others with a grain of salt. People want to help and try to help but woe is me -they don’t know the correct things to say!
- Get back to your responsibilities and your life. Get outside. Eat right and try to get the right amount of sleep for you.
- Be the first to make a move to make things balanced. Does it matter who was right or wrong? Perhaps it was simply being different from one another. Someone needs to rise above it and move forward first.
- Try not to make major decision when under duress.
- Do you have a conviction to a belief system or faith? Many people find solace in prayer.
What all this is saying is to take the time to grieve your heartache. If you don’t acknowledge the ache, you may leap into a mistake just to dull the pain or distract you from the necessary work for healing.
There is valuable space in our hearts for forgiveness and understanding. With the above bits of information you should not be stuck in the mud hole of helplessness. You can stabilize yourself by accepting the fact that the way you want things and how things exist are two different things. Only you can change how you look at experience and/or relationship. When you think you can’t go on one more day – you and only you have the ability to determine you are capable of going on.
Sometimes we have to simply let go. Releasing the past involves the freeing of the bonds that keep us tied to the way things used to be. When heartache happens – nothing is ever the exact same. You can’t help the way you feel but you can help how you think about the facts.
There comes a point when the heartache is reasoned with and accepted as a stepping stone to new levels of understanding about yourself as well as the situation that was the catalyst for the heartache. Working through this complex and troublesome time, no doubt you have experienced tears dispersed as cloudburst and have struggled with strangled forced words helping to get you through the days. Then one day you will wake with envisage of clearness about the day. It will appear filled with light and brilliance giving you the comfort of knowing the strength of your soul is thriving. There isn’t anything easy about life’s disappointment and losses and coming up with a pragmatic interpretation of the situation is a courageous lesson in truth. When you are in crises remember these three little words: reclaim, recover and restore. Reclaim your self worth, recover from the pain and restore your life to your greatest expectations.
Copyright Sherry Russell 2004
Updated: October 14, 2013