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Growing up on the rom-coms of the 90s and ’00s, I had the concept of heartbreak ingrained in me.
When the time came for my first few encounters, I was a clichéd mix of sad romantic songs on loop, ice-cream in bed, and snot-ridden tissues surrounding me Bridget Jones style.
It’s tough to tell where my actual emotions ended and the stereotype began. Not to say that the pain wasn’t real, but over the years, I have found the culturally created box for the word heartbreak quite limiting. It’s completely romantically driven and gives little space for emotional movement.
As humans, we experience pain and rejection on a multitude of levels. What happens when you feel unloved by a parent? Unsupported by a bestie? Backstabbed by a work friend? Used by a mentor? Betrayed by a relative? There are a variety of such situations where you feel the rug pulled out beneath you and everything that you know is questioned. A place that was once of love and knowing now becomes one that doesn’t make sense or feels safe. These situations can’t be categorized in our societal understanding of heartbreak.
What I found helpful was calling these moments a Soul Break.
My understanding of the soul is what we carry as our knowing—our beliefs, our trauma, our passions, our love, and everything that makes us feel like us. These moments of soul break are so underrated yet hurt as deeply, if not more, than heartbreak. You feel cracks in your foundation and your standing faulted, yet there’s no proper place to grieve and experience the pain.
Our natural response is to escape these unpleasant feelings—to numb, replace, distract, or destroy. To brush it off and run away from the pain and quickly move to a place that makes sense again. But without proper healing, that pain doesn’t go away. Carrying years of such wounds leaves us in a place of confusion and constant discomfort.
A Rumi favorite that has been quoted multiple times stands tall and true in such a situation.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
In such moments, by leaning into that break, though extremely unpleasant, we find our remedy. While we don’t have control over others’ actions and may never be able to make sense of why such a break occurred, we can learn something about ourselves.
By experiencing the break of the soul, honoring the pain, and letting it wash over, we can then understand what lies beneath. We can discover facets of ourselves under the benevolent veil such as unhealthy behavior patterns, outgrown coping mechanisms, long-held false beliefs, or masked toxic relationships.
We can learn what caused the pain, from our perspective. We will begin to know ourselves again and things will start to slowly make sense. The true magic of the soul lies in the fact that it is multidimensional and ever giving. As long as we have life, we have a soul to ignite.
Life will never cease to have moments of soul break but when they occur, we will be able to identify them as moments of our soul speaking to us. It won’t feel so scary and alone because it’s a familiar feeling and at the end of the journey lies the gift of self-discovery.
We’ll experience the pain, slowly soothe it, and with time, find ways to light up the soul again.
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