“How we Move On when the Person we Love Doesn’t Love us Back.”
Catchy title, huh?
And that little article summation? That’s killer, right there. Yup, it’s got all the hallmarks of an article that has every answer you need if you, like me, have lost someone you thought you’d be spending the rest of your life with.
Except this article really doesn’t. Nope, it doesn’t have a single answer you’re looking for.
How could it? I sure as hell don’t have any answers.
But that’s really what I’d like to talk about: learning to accept the hurt. And that, too, is something I don’t always get right.
So, right now you’re probably thinking “this guy really doesn’t know anything much at all.”
And you’d be right.
In fact (and this is where it gets all profound… you ready?) for the longest time I didn’t. Because I wasn’t living an authentic life. I was lost in the moment—all of them.
I was confusing a life of risks, external validation and living on a whim as a life well-lived: but you know, that isn’t what a full life experience is. That was just filling in the blanks because sometimes we find the quiet too revealing, and we don’t always like what we see.
But in filling all the silences I lost sight of something important: me.
A while back I met a rather remarkable woman. We became friends and were so for a long time. Then we started dating.
I was ridiculously happy. Like, annoyingly so. I fell in love with a woman who challenged me, excited me, bewitched me, bewildered me, set me alight; and I believe that she was in love with me, too.
Then we broke up.
And I broke down.
I just knew that if I could find the why, then I could fix it. I could save us, and the future I pictured us having together could still happen. It wasn’t too late, I could still do this!
So I read everything I could. I signed up for courses. I devoured everything I could find in order to be better.
Until someone asked me the simplest question there is: why?
Well, no. What she really asked me was: “What is it about yourself that you think makes you not worthy to be loved?”
And for me—perhaps for you, too—it was incredibly easy to list my flaws.
It was far more difficult to list the good.
And it’s not that I don’t have good qualities. I’ve got amazing qualities, thank you very much. It’s just that I was so used to framing my life in the negative—by what I didn’t have, what I feared—that reframing it in terms of what I had, what I was grateful for, seemed alien.
That’s where me living a mindful life began.
I suppose this is where I start bringing in quotes by Eckhart Tolle and Buddha. But I’m not going to.
Instead, we’re going to do something together; just you and me. Right here. Right now. (See what I did there, yeah, I’ve got this whole being-present thing sorted! I kid, I kid … If you hate that joke, you’re really not going to like the one about why elephants have flat feet…)
We’re going to talk about what we’ve learned about living and loving authentically, and dealing with hurt.
I’d like to begin by framing this as a question:
How can we expect to heal and grow and love when we really aren’t sure about what we want?
How can we heal a personal hurt we don’t even acknowledge?
How can we grow if we don’t know what we’re choosing to leave behind?
How can we love and be loved if we’re not even sure who we are?
The answer is simple: we can’t.
We simply can’t heal and grow and enjoy the full, beautiful love we deserve until we first accept ourselves and accept that we deserve the kind of love that threatens to rattle the world.
And we don’t have to be better than who we are. Of course, we can always improve and learn and grow—I think that’s what we’re all doing here—but who we are is just perfect. You are the best damn you ever. No one else can do a better job of being you than you are doing right now.
So this brings me to what I’ve learned about letting go of hurt and how to find the answers you need.
For hurt, there’s only one thing you can do.
You feel it.
You feel it grip your heart and threaten to squeeze the breath from your lungs.
You feel those dark waves of anger and despair and disbelief and frantic desperation crash over you.
Accept it. Feel it.
Feel the hurt. Don’t judge it or question it or fight against it.
It’s got a job to do: it’s here to teach you something. And the more you fight it, the tougher the lesson is going to be.
See it for what it is though: our fears and anxieties and wounds fighting to live on through you again and again.
It’s natural to want to rail again them—after all, we’re taught from a young age to fight hurt, to avoid it, to fear it. That to hurt is indicative of you being vulnerable and, worse still, weak.
But that’s not quite right.
Actually, that’s wholly not right. Being vulnerable is being honest and true. It’s crucial to living an authentic life. And it’s the bravest thing you can do.
It’s having the courage to let down our defences and to experience emotion fully; all the giddy heights and benthic lows.
And what a spellbinding gift that is.
That’s where the truth awaits you; that’s where we’ll find the answers we seek and the closure we need: inside ourselves, in those quiet, once-scary moments of stillness.
Because once we accept our own fears and doubts and see them for what they are, we become stronger, not them. When we look at ourselves with kindness, understanding and gratitude, we’re not ignoring the dark shadows inside, we just welcome them into the light of our own self-love and complete ourselves with self-knowledge.
And that, you crazy, beautiful bunch of people, is the magic that lies within us all.
Author: Richard James
Image: Youtube/Point Break
Editor: Erin Lawson