October 2, 2016

When they Don’t Love us Back: It’s Okay. I’m with You. Say “Yes.”

courtesy of author, neelam tewar

“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories…water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés


Ah, this place. Sigh.

I have felt that same tug at my skin as I watched helplessly, my heart brimming with love smashed into tiny, beautiful and what at the time seemed like irrecoverable pieces.

I am sorry you are here. I see you hurting. I am sitting with your heart as if it were my own.

Thoughts gatecrash your somewhat precariously balanced moments and shamelessly tank your solitude. Each arrival, a painful reminder of possibility, hope—and then you are back where you were, facing them. That place you were so magically vulnerable. You replay: every word, every movement, the weather pouring in, the words, the words unsaid lining the stale air and then, how their eyes and heart looked at yours. And yet, they did not choose this immense love standing right in front of them. They didn’t choose you.

You look for answers. You ask the same questions, a countless number of times in different ways:

Why not?
How could this person not see what you saw?
How could they not feel back what you have felt for them?

Many hows and whys fire inside your mind and heart. Some days, these hows and whys are quiet passengers in your mind. Some days, they are in the driver’s seat.

I am sorry. 

What follows eventually is silence, hopelessness and frustration.

This is what I know to be true: You have to stay here. You have to really be here. Ugh, yes. You have to offer stillness till the questions vaporize. You have to be here till you have felt it all a thousand times over. You have to stay here till forgiveness finds its way into your entire being—both for you and the other person.

This is where I started: I took care of me.

I also inherently knew I had to choose for both of us when the option of “being good friends” was presented to me. I chose to say that I can’t be in his life right now. I chose to step away. Completely.

Heart beating. I chose to focus on feeling it all. I have always believed we cannot heal if we bypass and avoid feeling our feelings. I believe numbing a feeling is a disservice to our soul’s journey. I chose to become the fire. I chose to embrace my darkness, and my soft, torn, aching heart.

I really listened to myself. I paid extra attention to me. I kept raising my self-care game. I took naps. I went for walks when my heart was heavy and my sweet feet were burning as if all the feelings made their way there, to the bottom.

I spent time with family and friends. I was honest. I told them what was happening with me. Asking for help is a difficult thing for me. Oh, but they did what they do best. They showered me with love, their hearts and a listening ear—in person, on Skype, FaceTime and the phone. I spent time reading books that’d uplift me. I watched movies that let me cry it out (my go-to: P.S. I Love You, The Little Prince and, wait for it, The Gladiator).

I slept at seven p.m. because my soul was tired. When she wanted to rest some more, I told her I was fine with it. Whatever she needed, I did. My body did not want to witness daybreak. I honored her wishes. Whatever you need to do, I am here with you, I told her. I did not forsake her. I promised I was there for her. I kept telling her I was here with her in whatever she needed.

I can promise you one thing, if you stay here, be here and feel it all, there is a gold mine of your own inner healing, strength and radiance waiting to be excavated. There are so many gifts for you here. In time, you will find them.

I’ll share some of mine with you:

  • Your worth is not determined or diminished by someone not seeing your magic. You are good enough. You are beautiful. You are wounded. You are not broken; you are a shining creation of a warrior-heart breaking open.
  • Their realization of your worth, your brilliance or what they had or could have had with you is none of your business. Absolutely none of your business.
  • Grieve the way you need to. Let sorrow and sadness in. Grieve for as long as you want to. You do not owe an explanation to anyone. Even yourself.
  • It is okay to hurt. It is okay to be angry. It is okay if you don’t want to smile. It is okay if a jar of Nutella is your new best friend. It is okay to yell at the skies and cry into your pillow, on the street, in the train, in the bookstore near the fiction aisle, during meditation, under the blue skies and sun.
  • It is okay to love big. It is okay to have a heart like yours. And it is okay to keep on loving the way you love.
  • Massive yes to feeling the pain. Big resounding no to blame.
  • Shutting down is fine, but you cannot shut yourself to you. You have to be there for you. You cannot reject yourself. If you haven’t taken this stance before, you will learn to. It will be scary as hell but I promise you, you will grow into it.
  • Forgiveness is a wonderful sentiment. It takes time to forgive, too. Clarissa Pinkola Estés has my favourite thought on how to know when you are close enough:

“How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.”

  • Not everyone can love the way you do. Not everyone has been gifted with a heart like yours. Sometimes, a situation like this shows us how much capacity the other person had to receive and hold love—not just yours but theirs too. And love, real love needs courage, communication and vulnerability on both sides.
  • Nothing that is deserving of you will let you bypass them. Nothing that is yours can miss you.
  • You must keep giving the love you want in return.

The pain? Well, it will pop in for a visit every now and then. Mine does come back and has wanted me to skinny dip in its unknown depths. I never know how many laps it’ll ask of me, but I get into the water. Sometimes, drowning is involved.

I have never tried to resist its invitation, because if I don’t let it in, it’ll thrust itself into my world again and again.

My dad at the time said something to me that colored what I was going through in a different hue. He said, You aren’t being rejected. You are being redirected, sweetheart.” Tears filled my eyes again as I took those words in. I heaved as my mouth ran dry. My entire body soaked in the powerful wisdom of my father’s words as I said to myself, “redirected, not rejected.”

I decided to say yes to being redirected.

I said yes to being redirected to myself. I said yes to healing. I said yes to packing up my New York City apartment I called home for over seven years. I said yes to not returning back to corporate America. I said yes to moving closer to family. I said yes to re-directing my attention to my writing and poetry. A series of yes’s took me to Austin. The same yes’s took me to starting my own business and in a few weeks, I am giving my first talk on how to get unstuck: in life and with our creativity.

I simply kept saying yes to where my feet and heart were drawn.

Thank you, redirection.

Here I am. The same glorious woman who still has moments and days of trembling through her pain.

Here I am. The same beautiful woman who had the courage to love and let her love be seen, heard and felt without excuses or fear.

Here I am. The same warrior woman with a mended heart who finally walked away from any and everything that did not say a hell yes to her in return.

Here I am. Here I am with you. Here I am sitting with your heart.


Author: Neelam Tewar

Image: Neelam Tewar on Instagram

Editor: Toby Israel


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