Did you know that ‘broken heart syndrome’ is a recognized medical condition?
This is the scientific proof that heartbreak is really not just in our heads. The pain of losing someone we love can really impact our bodies and affect our overall state of health. It is really one of the most painful experiences we go through in a lifetime, but it is also an essential part of learning how to love.
Like any other obstacle we overcome, ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’. So long as we can focus on moving forward and letting go of the past, we can transform this excruciating pain into a powerful engine for growth and expansion.
If you’re reading this, it is very likely you are struggling with the end of a relationship. You’re probably not the one who decided it was the end. You may feel powerless and stuck in a place where there are no answers and no way to get them.
You may be looking for a way to go back to how it all was. Or you’re feeling angry with yourself and the other, inevitably falling deeper and deeper into depression.
All is not lost!
I know these feelings well! They are the normal emotions we experience anytime we lose something that mattered to us. But there is hope. Sooner or later you will heal, will be able to let go of your attachment to the past and accept that it was all for the better.
In the meantime, just because I want you to get there as soon as possible, here are three questions to ask yourself that will facilitate this transition and help you find peace.
1. What did I learn in this relationship?
Everyone we meet teaches us something fundamental about ourselves. This is a good time to reflect on what gifts your partner gave you that you will be able to enjoy for the rest of your life. It may be that you’ve never truly felt safe before and being in this relationship taught you it IS possible to trust someone so deeply that all your worries are gone. Or maybe you’ve never experienced true passion, you’ve never felt so wanted or never felt so ‘heard’. Whatever these gifts, make a list of them and write a Letter of Gratitude to your partner for everything you learned. (You never need to send it but writing it will make a huge difference).
2. What is this teaching me about myself?
When someone walks out of our life, it’s time we finally acknowledge we’ve seen all the red flags but we were unable/unwilling to accept them. Mostly because the things we hate in others are nothing but reflections of ourselves we are not prepared to recognize. When we reject parts of ourselves, we choose to ignore all the details that don’t fit with the fantasy we created in our head. It means we put the blame on the other and this is what’s stopping us from taking responsibility for our own contribution to the breakdown in the relationship. To truly move on and let go of the past, list out all the things that really annoyed you or you tried to change in your partner. These are indications you are not giving yourself those things and were expecting your partner to fill that void. Once you understand the reason for this separation is for you to learn this lesson, you can truly move on.
3. What am I not willing to compromise on the next time around?
The beauty of endings is that they always bring the opportunity of a new beginning. However, a lesson learned means we will never experience the same pain again. Focus on what is it that you want to avoid the next time around. This is a great opportunity to determine your minimum acceptable standards for your next relationship by listing out what you are not prepared to tolerate. Maybe this time you didn’t know how to ask for what you needed and felt like you were never getting enough. Working on your communication skills and confidently asking for an equal give and take will make all the difference with your future partner. Keeping your standards high and your expectations as realistic as possible is the best way to ensure your future relationship is going to be exactly what you dreamed of.
There is a lot more to explore to ensure you take on all the learnings this experience was meant to teach you. Keep asking yourself questions and use this experience to look inside yourself and discover new ways to grow.