Things happen at times in life that hurt us, that make our hearts ache.
Most of our society still seems to feel uncomfortable with sadness, with grief, with the ache that comes with loss. Instead of just sitting with the feelings and feeling them fully, most of us try to distract ourselves, get busy, talk ourselves out of our feelings.
Those around us try to give seemingly well-meaning encouragement to “get over it.”
We try to force ourselves to move forward or move on—but there’s no moving beyond unless we go through. We have to let ourselves feel what we’re feeling. We have to let ourselves be with it, move through it. And this cannot be forced.
It hurts to feel hurt; the ache of sadness, of grief, of loss hurts, but we have to let ourselves feel it.
Here are five healing things to do when your heart hurts:
Get present. Breathe. Allow yourself to feel the sensations in your body—the tightness, the pull, the pain, the ache. Watch it. Feel it. Observe it. Allow it. Be there with it. Breathe through it. Breathe into it. You feel what you feel. You’re going through what you’re going through. You can’t force yourself to get out of it or be over it (even if you wish that you could). You just have to find a way to let yourself be with it, to feel it, to allow it.
2. Ride the waves.
Even when your heart hurts, you’ll also experience other things. Beauty. Joy. Presence. Love. Connection. Excitement. You may feel all sorts of things. Even if you’re going through something that feels hard, you’ll have moments that make you smile, where you feel good, where you feel light. You’ll feel joy at watching the sunset or connecting with someone you love. You’ll feel inspired or excited about something in life. And then you’ll also have the moments when you feel sad, when you’re in the thick of the pain. This flow, all of it, is natural. And all of it is temporary. Just move with it. Allow the tender parts, and feel into the good-feeling, wonderful parts. Notice how even in the more painful moments, there’s a beauty and warmth and softness in simply being present with yourself.
3. Connect with what is meaningful to you.
Do things that bring you peace, joy, connection. Centeredness. Do things that ground you, that move you, that make you feel connected to life and to yourself and to that which is bigger than you. What do you love? What soothes you? What does your heart long for?
4. Release expectations.
Consciously let go of expectations—those of your own and those of others around you. Other people may have good intentions when they tell you something about moving on or getting over it or how you should focus on something else, but the process can’t be forced. Try to notice your own expectations. Try notice if you find yourself judging yourself for still feeling sad or for not feeling “healed” or “over it” at a certain time. Things will happen at their own pace. Let your process, your time, be your own. Move more slowly, more gently, if you need to.
5. Connect to yourself.
Connect more deeply to yourself and to the deepest parts of you. Breathe; turn inward. Seek to connect with the sturdy, loving space within. Focus on you, on what you want and need and how you feel. Move with what feels right to you. What do you need in this moment? In this breath? In this space? What do you need right now?