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May 1, 2024

How to weather the storm // Heartbreak 101

Imagine walking barefoot in the woods. It’s a little dark. It takes everything in you to stand in the whipping wind. And all you can see, through tightly squinted eyes, is pelting rain. This shaken-to-the-bone desperation is, to me, what heartbreak feels like. It’s akin to the rug being pulled out from under you and freefalling into the abyss. Heartbreak is a form of grief. It is fluid and can overcome you in any moment, at any time. Whether it’s the unexpected ending of a relationship, the blow of divorce, the slow fade, or the sting of betrayal, the pain, sadness, and heartache can be overwhelming.
It’s been my experience that in all of this, there is a glimmer of opportunity that can have a remarkable impact … this glimmer is a choice. And while it’s not without effort, it is a choice to either accept or deny. We can opt for avoidance, denial, and anger, or we can choose resilience, growth, and healing. Don’t get me wrong, when we choose the latter, we will still feel anger and maybe even want to run away… but when we make a conscious choice to learn from the heartache, we are halting self-destruction and stepping forward in a way that will help us with the inevitable next hurdle that life may toss our way.
There’s no denying that loss, in any form, cuts deep. It leaves us reeling, questioning, and sometimes, utterly shattered. But in any moment, we get to choose the next step, one baby step at a time. We get to choose love for self. We get to choose to believe that we are worthy, good enough, and more than lovable.
I have always believed that there is a reason for everything, and I think it’s this belief that has me consciously look for it. I look for it in books, in my journal, and in a multitude of strategically selected podcasts. Upon reflection, I can see that this has been my way of helping myself accept what is in front of me. Acceptance, while it can sting at times, sounds better in my head and seems to calm my heart.
It’s often surprising to me how much in life is about acceptance and/or resistance. And in this case, acceptance is an essential part of the healing process. It is an acceptance of what is true, here, now. It is an honest acknowledgment of the relationship. It is the opposite of denial and avoidance. Denial and avoidance can have a tendency to cause more pain, hold us hostage, and maybe even take up residency in our physical body. Accepting the end of a relationship isn’t as easy as the flip of a switch, but it is a solid first step to moving through.
Nine out of ten people that I talk with are surprised to see that they were accepting things that they were not okay with. And yes, this is hindsight, but when we can shine a light on the flaws, we can start to peel ourselves up off the floor and see that maybe this isn’t because “I’m not lovable enough.”
Whether this is rejection, your choice, their choice, or even the best choice… heartbreak can feel and be life-altering. But it is my belief that it can be life-altering in all the right ways when we choose to see it for what it was, forgive ourselves for accepting what contributed to the dissolution, and take time for enough self-inquiry that we don’t land here… the same way… again.

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