For many of us, heartbreak is the most difficult and painful thing that will ever happen to us.
How could it possibly be a great opportunity?
In order to understand, we need to look at the concept of love from a slightly different perspective.
The general outlook in today’s world is that when you fall in love with someone, you get love from them. However, this is not the ideal. The ideal is that you love yourself first to a point where you do not need love from anyone else, and then, at that point, you give love to another.
When a healthy person truly loves and respects themselves, they are able to meet other people who love themselves, and then form amazing relationships of cooperation, accomplishment, love, and joy. When a person does not truly love themselves, they have no idea how to have a truly healthy relationship with another. Instead, they attach to others and expect to get love from them.
When we expect to get love from the person we are in a relationship with, we are attached to them. This is not the same as giving love. Attachment is described in contemporary psychology as codependency. Codependency is commonly referred to as a condition that affects a small number of people, but is, unfortunately, the norm in our society.
In a healthy relationship, each person gives love but does not want to take love. They receive the love the other person is giving, but they do not need to take it from them.
What usually happens in love relationships is that both people in the relationship are giving some love, but they are also taking love—as much as, if not more, than they are giving. When this is the case, both partners are attached—or codependent, if you like.
In this case, when the two break apart, all of a sudden there is a hole where the love from the other person once was. Now that love is gone and we suffer greatly from the loss. Since we never had the ability to fill this hole ourselves, we have no idea what to do.
However, when two people in a love relationship both love themselves truly and completely, when the relationship ends, there is no need to go through the devastation of heartbreak. We may be sad, we may miss the person, but we will not have an unfillable hole that can make us feel like we are dying.
The most obvious way to solve this problem is, of course, to learn to love yourself completely. Then you will not be in a position to have your heart broken, since your heart is always filled with love by you.
However, learning to love ourselves truly could be a lifelong journey. What do we do when our heart was just broken yesterday? I will provide practical tools later in the article.
The ironic thing is that, when your heart gets broken, it is the perfect time to learn to love yourself. My experience has found that learning to love yourself when your heart is broken is enormously more productive than learning to do it under normal conditions. We will look at how to take advantage of the unique opportunity that heartbreak provides to make miraculous progress in self-love in a short period of time.
During the period of heartbreak, there are different tools that we can use to heal our heartbreak and learn to love ourselves permanently. We are the only one who can fill that empty hole, and when we do, it will stay filled.
Unfortunately, when most of us have our heart broken, our friends and relatives are often of little help. Usually, people will tell you to do one of two things: either they encourage you to be angry and tough (advice often given to men)—which makes you bury your grief and sadness—or they advise distracting yourself.
The list of recommended distractions includes: go out and get drunk or take other drugs; sleep with somebody else; focus on your work; get a prescription; eat enjoyable food; go shopping or treat yourself in some way.
Now, when the pain is quite severe, it is okay to do some things to distract yourself, but only on a limited basis when you absolutely need to. Ideally, you would distract yourself at bare minimum and spend the rest of your time focusing on actually filling the hole inside your heart. Most people do not have the tools to do this, so they are left with only distractions.
Distractions will only bury your pain for later. You are simply ignoring the problem. When you bury your emotions, they grow. You will have more to deal with in the future than if you deal with it now.
There are many problems with burying emotions. It leads to a higher risk of every kind of psychological and physical illness.
When we bury our emotions, they do not just disappear. The energy is stored in the organs, bones, and tissues of our body. This is the cause of much physical disease. In the meantime, even before we develop an illness, our organs function less effectively, and our immune system, endocrine system, and lymphatic system can be compromised to varying degrees. This also sets up the conditions for higher levels of stress, which in turn can cause more disease.
The psychological effects can also be very pronounced. When we bury our emotions and ignore them, they begin to control us without our knowledge. We have all of these feelings we are not addressing, and they will start to come out sideways. This can manifest in passive aggressiveness, explosive anger, or being manipulative.
One of the emotions that we bury with heartbreak is fear. And when we bury fear, yet believe that we are not afraid, we begin to treat others poorly because we are afraid of them. We then need to make up complex reasons to justify our actions.
Our brain is excellent at coming up with reasons for any behavior. This in turn detaches us further from reality.
This is why most of us who have been through heartbreak could be served greatly by doing an emotional release technique to free some of the emotions we have already stored.
I like to use this analogy:
Say you have a glass. When the glass is full, you love yourself completely and become impervious to heartbreak. The glass is half full right now, and you want to eventually fill it. You have put in a lot of work in the last couple of years and are able to add one drop on a normal day, or two on a super productive day.
During a time of heartbreak, you get to put in 5 to 20 drops a day. This can add up. After a few weeks, you will have made enormous progress, and the more you work on it, the more progress you will make.
It is a lifelong goal to fill the glass, and many people never achieve it. If you take the opportunity of heartbreak to fill your glass, it now becomes a doable thing. You have a real opportunity to actually fill your glass, and when that happens, your life will change in many ways. Now is your opportunity.
Here are some tools you can use when your heart has been broken. They can help you to fill the empty hole within you with love. Remember, you are getting an exponential benefit at this time, and it really helps to know that. To know that you are in pain but you are making great strides.
Here are 10 things you can do to fill your own heart with love—not only to heal your current heartbreak, but also to make great progress on your own self-development:
Ground yourself and be as present as you can. Do a grounding exercise at least three times a day for two minutes.
2. Emotional release
Do an emotional release technique. This technique does not fill the hole directly, but it does empty out things that are blocking you from filling it. There are many types of emotional release such as the Sedona Method.
Lie on your bed for a couple of hours, or as long as you can, and feel your emotions in your body. Put your hand on the part of your body the pain is coming from and say, “I love you unconditionally.” Hold your pain as if it is a small living thing you love. Comfort it and protect it. Treat yourself the way you would treat a newborn baby someone has just handed you (you should always treat yourself this way).
4. Minimize distraction; feel your emotions
Be aware of distracting behaviors and minimize them. Be alone with your heart as much as you can.
5. How to distract yourself
If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is perfectly fine to distract yourself. However, when you do, make it as healthy as you can, and do it in moderation. Watch funny movies, read a funny book, drink a moderate amount of wine or beer. Smoke a moderate amount of pot. Socialize with friends in a healthy activity, like sports, hiking, or exercise. (Only if these activities are legal for you to do in your area, of course.)
6. Avoid drugs
Be aware that taking pharmaceuticals or other strong drugs will most likely not only stop you from processing your pain but will also put a halt to any growth you are making—which is the last thing you want to do. Doing so will most likely amplify the pain and suffering you will feel in the future. (This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor regarding medication.)
7. Be with supportive friends
Talk to and be with healthy people who will support you in going through your pain and not distract you from it. If they are recommending you get drunk or get laid, you may want to think twice about hanging out with them.
Connect with a community or support group in your area. Here is a small sample of groups, there are many more: The Human Awareness Institute, Ecstatic Dance, Contact Improv, ZEGG Forum, acting classes, yoga, and retreats. You can do a search or check meetup.com and find a group in your area that fits your needs and interests.
9. Embrace the opportunity
Remember that this is the greatest opportunity of your life, and for every bit of pain you feel now, there is a larger amount you will never need to feel in the future. For every bit of pain you avoid, there is even more you will need to feel later—and less happiness and joy you will feel as well.
10. Be in nature
Be in nature as much as possible. This can help support you in several ways. It can help you ground. It can help lower your stress level and make the pain less severe. It can distract you from the situation and at the same time give you connection to the real world. This is a powerful support system that many never take advantage of. A wild place is best, but even a city park will help.
To sum up
These concepts, actions, and tools will help you learn to love your own heart so that you will no longer be dependent on another to do it for you. Even if you have not had a recent heartbreak, you can still use most of these tools to support a past heartbreak, no matter how long ago.
If you think about it, a big part of being an adult is being able to provide your own love for yourself. You need to be able to be your own parent. You are not a child anymore. It is your responsibility to love yourself.
Now, the pain may still be quite severe this time around. When you first use these tools, they will likely reduce your current suffering, but, more importantly, they will reduce your future suffering enormously and set your life on a new path toward happiness, love, and success.
What is the alternative? Is it to spend your life being a hostage to the love of others and to never really grow up and take responsibility for your feelings and your life?
Remember, at the end of the day, the love that supports you comes from one place: inside you. When you love yourself, the love others give you will create joy. When you do not love yourself, the love others give you just stops you from drowning. This is the position many of us find ourselves in.
Life can be so much more than this. Try some of these tools and begin to create a life of love and joy.