Right now I’m writing this article curled up on the bathroom floor, my back leaning against the tub, wet hair wrapped in a towel and my feet cramped against the wall.
My boyfriend broke up with me about an hour ago.
I’m writing in the bathroom because the other rooms are too bright and filled with light, too much a reminder of life. I got in the shower after he left because I didn’t know what else to do.
I sobbed, crouched on the tub floor with hot water steaming around me. I switched the faucet to cold after I realized I was numb.
I don’t know how long I was in there.
I’m an experienced observer. I’ve practiced meditation for many years. I am often amazed by how fluidly emotions can transform through a single day. In a breakup, this same experience is occurring only in an intensified way. One moment you might feel like you’ve got a grip on everything and the next you’re crumpled over, sobbing and asking yourself, “Why?”
Our entire lives are a series of moments that move from light to dark and back to light again.
Everything is always changing.
When we allow ourselves to see this truth, especially when our hearts are broken, we can begin to acknowledge that it’s not always going to be like this.
This truth is my saving grace.
I keep reminding myself that this moment is just for now. My heart is broken and maybe your heart is broken, and we’re in so much pain.
There are other people all over the world, maybe thousands of people, who have broken hearts right now.
There are millions of other people in the world who have felt this very way at some point in their lives, maybe several times in their lives.
This is what it means to be human. We take risks.
Our hearts break sometimes. We feel pain, and then it passes. It seems the more I’m capable of loving, the more deeply I hurt when it ends. But I never close my heart because I love love.
Love is the most incredible part of being human.
And then I remember that love is not just with one person.
Love is everywhere. Right now, the person I love may not want to be a part of this life experience with me, but I love many other people and many other people love me. I have the ability to continue giving love to the world and receiving it. My heart is full even if it’s broken.
One of the most important things I have done when my heart is hurting is to allow myself to feel it. I don’t busy myself or push my feelings away. I sit with the pain. I cry the tears until there are no more, until my body is lighter.
Feeling everything is the only way to heal. When we push our pain away, it’s stored deep in our bodies. Time does not heal. Walking through the fire of our pain, being really willing to see and feel everything—that is what heals.
So I let myself cry until everything is purged. In the beginning that means I am crying a lot. When I am done for that session, I get up and do something for myself. I make a smoothie to nourish my body. I practice meditation to strengthen my mind. I send love and light to my ex and work on forgiveness.
All of these things are steps for me to mend my heart, so I do them, even if it’s hard.
Being broken up with can bring up a lot of deep traumas we’re often unaware of. For me, it brings up feelings of unworthiness, that I am unlovable and that I messed everything up. But there is always a deeper part of me that is connected to the truth.
I know the truth is that I am worthy of love. I am lovable, and there is no way to actually mess everything up. So any time my mind tries to convince me that something is lacking, I connect to the deeper part of myself that knows I am enough as I am right now.
Finding compassion for yourself and giving yourself the love you feel has been taken from you is the first step to empowering yourself in this separation. Nothing can ever be taken away from you. You are never unworthy. You being alive, you just being here is an amazing gift to us all.
No other human being defines your worth aside from you.
If you get quiet enough with yourself, sit with the feelings and cry the tears until your body is lighter. You will find peace. In that moment you will know the truth. There is always a part of you, even if it’s only a faint glimmer, that knows you’re going to be okay. You are always okay.
You are strong and powerful and incredible exactly as you are in this moment.
Even if you are sobbing on the floor.
Author: Michelle D’ Avella
Volunteer Editor: Tess Estandarte / Editor: Catherine Monkman