A broken heart—we’ve all been there, right?
It’s rough. It’s exhausting. It’s depleting on all levels.
It feels like we will never, ever fall in love again—and why would we want to?
One of the ways I handled this particular heartbreak differently was the way I treated myself through it.
Instead of chastising myself for my pain, I soothed. Instead of telling myself to “get over it,” I asked myself what the pain was, where it lived, and what it felt like. Instead of shoving down my triggers or convincing myself I was okay, I allowed myself to ugly cry in my car while listening to JoJo sing her heart out about her own broken heart. I know, JoJo, I know.
It felt so freeing to allow myself the space for my grief. To be human. To be raw. To be vulnerable and unhinged at times. To be petty one minute and miss him the next. To be broken open.
Through my dark nights of the soul on the journey back to the light, something occurred to me about why heartbreak can feel so devastating. Yes, we may have ended something with another person, but there was something in us that was drawn to that energy. A part of us that was screaming to be seen, understood, and accepted.
When we end a physical connection with someone, it’s tempting to believe that that part of us can only be let out and acknowledged because they were around. But it was always inside of us, even before this particular person showed up.
It hit me: in order to make peace with this, I must accept and love the part of myself that wanted this person. The part of myself that found a connection with this person. The part of myself that found solace with this person. Because that is the piece of me that I have to love better. That is the part of me that I have to accept, nurture, and comfort.
My spiritual teacher said it best one day. She told me to get under the heartbreak and asked me what it felt like. I told her it felt like loneliness, but a loneliness for myself—for my own light. The light that I let out when he was near and the light I dimmed when he was gone.
It was alluring to believe that the loneliness was about him no longer being around, but it really wasn’t. It was for the part of myself that I allowed to be expressed when he was around, and the lie I told myself that only he could draw that out of me. That was the heartbreak—the lie I kept telling myself.
So, she told me to claim that part. To allow it some air and some breathing room. To allow it to have a voice, whether he was in my life or not.
Because it’s actually mine—this loneliness. Just like the love is mine, the pain is mine, the grief is mine.
The light I chose to share is also mine. I claim it now.
That is what self-love is: it is the acceptance of all the parts, pieces, nooks, and crannies. It’s inviting all the components that make us who we are and allowing them a seat at the table. It’s knowing that we did the best we could with what we knew and had at the time, and offering ourselves some comfort.
As painful as this has been, it awakened me to a depth of comprehension about myself that I would not change for the world.
It allowed me to claim all that I am.