At some time in our life, all of us have suffered a broken heart, usually when a romantic relationship has failed, when we have lost somebody through death, or when we experience a deep disappointment or failure. The pain of a broken heart can take us to our knees and make it very hard to continue on with life. It can damage our work and health and it can make it very hard to find a new partner or to enjoy life again. In this month’s article I am going to explain why we suffer heartbreaks and why they can be so debilitating. I also want to give you some help with healing any heartbreaks that you may be currently suffering or are holding on to from the past.
The word heartbreak is a good one, because it describes very well the sensation of losing somebody important in our life or of experiencing a crushing disappointment. It feels as if our heart has broken in two or been shattered, and sometimes we will have great pain in the chest around this vital organ. We think of the heart as the emotional centre of the body and our art, literature and music uses this imagery all the time. Physiological studies are showing that the heart and brain are very much connected and that the heart’s functioning and rhythm are very closely associated with our emotional and indeed spiritual state. It is therefore not surprising that when we experience a heartbreak, that the pain can be excruciating and our world falls apart. It is common to feel deep and unrelenting sadness and hopelessness. Often we will feel so bad that we will believe that nothing can repair the emotional damage – that we will have to live with the pain forever. We assume that the only way to be happy again is to return our life to the way it was before the heartbreak.
These are all typical symptoms of a heartbreak, and we will tend to assume that it has been caused entirely by the person or situation that has let us down. Whilst these do trigger our heartbreaks and people can be hurtful and insensitive, the key to understanding them is to realise that the heartbreak was already within us before things went wrong. In other words, we were holding on to a heartbreak from the past, that was triggered by the problem that we are facing today. The current heartbreak is an echo of an original heartbreak that most likely occurred when we were children. The bigger the original heartbreak, the greater the pain that we will experience when things go wrong later in life. Worse still, if we are subconsciously harbouring an old heartbreak, our thoughts and behaviours will bring on further heartbreaks later in life because the defences that are required to keep them hidden will tend to create emotional separation in our relationships. Understanding our heartbreaks in this way requires great emotional maturity because it means that we must stop blaming our partners or a particular situation for our painful feelings and accept that a heartbreak is showing us that we need to heal something within us.
To heal an adult heartbreak we must identify the emotional issues that we have carried with us from our childhood. A heartbreak in a romantic relationship today is our way of saying to the people around us that they have treated us badly. This means that we have a belief that we were treated badly in the past, or that significant people in our life did not love us or care for us in the way that we expected. Ultimately we must heal these types of heartbreak at their source, otherwise they will keep hurting us in all our current relationships. To do this we will need to forgive the people, most commonly our parents, in our original heartbreak and accept that we can find the love within that we have been expecting other people to give to us.
If you have a broken heart at the moment, notice the feelings that underlie the sadness and hurt. What is it that you so miss about the person you have lost? Those qualities are within you (but you may have suppressed them) and you can bring them into your life by being willing to receive and embrace them. Whatever you feel you have lost, will be what you thought you lost in your original (probably childhood) heartbreak and that is what you will need to focus your healing efforts on. You can also start healing a heartbreak by giving the quality that you feel you have lost to anybody close to you who is also suffering. Giving truly to somebody in need will open your heart and allow it to heal naturally.
Healing childhood and adolescent heartbreaks is at the core of the Psychology of Vision approach to relationships. It is a very accountable self-development path but it has the power to transform your life. It is during our childhood heartbreaks that we turn away from our natural essence of love and connection and it is only by healing the issues that are contained within them that we can rediscover who we truly are and find lasting happiness. They will certianly help you to heal your borken heart.
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