The last thing you want to hear about after heartbreak is love.
After your heart has been shattered, your life turned upside down and your questioning of humanity begins, you wonder if it’s all worth it.
Is it worth it to put your heart out there?
Is it worth it to trust another person again?
Is love worth all the pain that you’ve gone through?
I didn’t think it was for several years after my divorce. Yes, there were highs in marriage, but the lows after divorce were so low that I didn’t think I ever wanted to return to that place again.
I never again wanted to swim in a place of loss, vulnerability and pain.
On my own journey back from this place of darkness, I realized that love is worth it. I realized that #!*!& cliché about it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is likely true!
I realized that one benefit of your heart breaking is that it breaks open. Your heart has the capacity to love bolder, stronger and deeper after loss.
Heartbreak won’t just open your heart; it can awaken your soul. There are so many parts of you that were sleeping that were likely shaken up.
Can the tsunami of the heart be your solid ground? Can the depths of despair and rejection be the seeds of new love?
I explore this topic below and at greater length in my new book, Love After Heartbreak, available on Amazon here.
Here are 5 ways to bounce back and open your heart again after heartbreak.
1. Process your emotions
You won’t be able to move on until you experience the emotions of heartbreak and loss.
You must let go of the resistance to feeling uncomfortable emotions.
You might feel denial and resistance is the way to go so you won’t feel the pain, but this will only prolong the time it will take you to heal.
If you grew up in a family that refused to experience emotions or denied emotions exist, this is going to be a life-changing process. I’ve found that emotions will not kill you.
To process your emotions, write it out (through journaling or a diary). Speak it out (to a friend or therapist).
Allow yourself to go to the darkest, most painful parts of yourself.
The intensity of your emotions will taper over time. It may feel unbearable in the beginning, but it does get better. Once you experience the emotional overwhelm, you’ll find you can sit with your emotions more easily.
2. Choose love over fear
Your grief and anger about the breakup will turn to fear at some point. You might think that one strategy to avoid this kind of pain is never to be in another relationship again. Brilliant! Except once you realize that, your colorful world turns to a black and white landscape where you’re barely living. Avoiding love is not the recipe for opening your heart to love.
You must choose love each and every time.
You have to choose to see your past relationship through a loving lens. You have to see your ex through the prism of love. You have to see your heartbreak as love.
You also choose love over fear in opening your heart. You realize that you have two choices: you can build walls and hide your heart, or you can venture out. You have a choice in every decision you make.
You can stay home or go out. You can put up a dating profile or take it down. You can speak to the Harvard woman your family wants to introduce you to or you can pretend you missed the email with her contact Information.
3. Take emotional risks
Loving someone takes a lot of emotional risk. You risk being hurt. You risk opening your life up to pain and suffering. You risk a marriage gone wrong, losing your house and splitting your kids with your ex.
Yes, a lot can go wrong with love, but there’s a lot to gain from love, too.
I’m dubious about love at first sight and loving by jumping all in. I prefer love to be more like how I enter a swimming pool. Some people say, who cares if it’s freezing cold? Just cannon ball in. Jump off the side and plunge yourself into the water. It may be freezing, it may be deep, but after 10 seconds in, you’ll adjust. I prefer not to enter a pool this way. I go in one toe at a time, until my body is immersed in the water.
You don’t have to jump all in after a broken heart. You can take it slow. You can share what you’re comfortable with. There aren’t just two degrees of relationships: superficial and committed. Take smaller risks each day.
4. Trust yourself
You are worried that you’ll make the wrong decision when you love again. You’ll wind up with someone else who breaks your confidence, betrays your trust and breaks your heart.
You have no guarantees or certainties when you open your heart to another person. You can’t trust or believe in anyone else; but oh, you can.
You have yourself. If you really think about it, you always know. When you’ve found the right person, you know. When you’ve found the wrong person, you always know.
99% of heartbreak begins before it starts. A sure recipe for disaster is to stay in a relationship with the wrong person.
You don’t have to trust anyone else. You only need to trust your judgment, your heart and your intuition.
5. Use pain as wisdom
Do you believe that your pain keeps you stuck in the past and prevents you from finding love again?
What if your greatest weakness, your pain, can be your superpower?
Your pain can be see through the prism of loss and heartache, or through the prism of wisdom.
If you survived heartbreak, you understand others and yourself better.
If you survived heartbreak, you know who’s right for you and who’s not.
If you survived heartbreak, your heart’s more attuned to what you want.
In the pain is your wisdom. In your wisdom is your strength. In your strength is your ability to love again.
You can do this.
You can read more about how to open your heart to love again in my new book, Love After Heartbreak. Learn how to let go of the past, bounce back emotionally and love again. Pick up the book on Amazon here.
I didn’t want it.
I didn’t welcome the pain that came along with heartbreak.
I would have done anything to stay together just so I wouldn’t feel the soul-crushing breaking of my heart. I had never experienced profound loss before and didn’t think I could take it.
So, I avoided feeling the heavy, overwhelming and life-consuming pain.
For some time, I pretended the breakup wasn’t happening. Later, I imagined that it was all a bad dream and I would wake up from it soon. I wanted to disappear from the world all together so I wouldn’t have to face this heaviness.
Little did I know that I waiting for me in my life’s greatest pain was my life’s greatest lessons.
In my heartbreak was the peace and freedom of my untethered soul. In Michael Singer’s book, the Untethered Soul, I learn that my inner thorns were really the guide and source to inner awakening.
You can remove the prick of the inner thorns and learn that it’s acceptable to feel inner disturbances. In fact, getting through the pain and landing on the other side is the key to freedom of your innermost being.
Here are 6 practical and actionable from the Unthethered Soul to melt the pain and embrace your inner freedom
1. Know that you have two choices.
Just like being pricked by a thorn, you have experiences which prick and disturb you. This thorn is a constant source of disturbance and your choices are to make sure nothing touches the thorn to avoid all pain or to take out the thorn.
If you do nothing about it, the thorn will run your life. You will have trouble sleeping because of it, you will have trouble staying focused on your job and trouble with everyday interactions. As people, we have so many sensitivities that can be triggered at any time. One way to go about life is to make sure that no one triggers these sensitivities.
“If you’re lonely, you must avoid going to places where couples tend to be. If you’re afraid of rejection, you must avoid getting too close to people,” Singer advises. Of course, this becomes life-consuming and takes work!
The alternative? You notice this inner disturbance and realize that YOU and the inner disturbance are not one in the same. You don’t want the weakest parts of you running your life.
Realize that your consciousness is separate and that you can be aware of these things.
2. You are not your pain
“Wake up and realized that you are in there, and you have a sensitive person in there with you. Simply watch the sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need and fear,” Singer suggests.
As you experience pain, become aware of the pain without interfering with it. See it, feel it, pay attention to it and observe it. You are having the experience of a human being when you experience this pain.
“If you pay attention,” Singer counsels, “you will see that they are not you; they are just something that you’re feeling and experiencing. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this.”
Once you realize that you and your pain are separate, you will start feeling a different energy within you, called Shakti or spirit.
This deeper, wiser part of you is the inner wisdom or the greater divine, what you decide to perceive it as. It is your inner being who realizes that it’s not the same as the pain that’s passing through your body.
“Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.”
3. Your pain is temporary.
A way to see that you and your pain are not one, is to see pain as something transient that will pass through your body.
You can view pain as a temporary shift in energy.
You are pained every day in small and big ways. You are pained by your heartbreak and you are pained by seeing your ex with someone else. You are pained by loneliness and you’re pained by your favorite ice cream flavor being out of stock at Movenpick.
So many things can cause you pain on a daily basis. It becomes less of a problem when you realize that pain passes. It’s a temporary feeling that you’re experiencing.
You can actually learn to get comfortable with it. All the feelings that come up are just feelings. You can handle feelings that are a normal part of life.
Feelings are just things that are passing through your system like a cold, for example. You notice the cold, you experience the cold and you know that once your body processes the col, you’ll be relieved of the cold.
Have fun with the temporariness of your feelings.
“Laugh at it, have fun with it, but don’t be afraid of it. It cannot touch you unless you touch it,” Michael Singer writes in the Untethered Soul.
4. End the addiction to your mind.
Your mind is a great contributor to avoiding pain and being a misleading guide to safe places.
Your mind is always telling you something isn’t right, how to fix something or how to do something differently the next time so you avoid pain. It concocts a book to read, a course to take or a life change you need to make. It tells you it’s the external things that matters.
“That is why people have so much trouble with relationships,” Singer explains. “You begin with a problem inside yourself, and you tried to solve it by getting involved with somebody else. That relationship will have problems because your problems are what caused the relationship.”
If you didn’t have neurotic, continuous replaying of thoughts inside your mind, you could live and experience life without thinking about what’s wrong.
Singer makes a funny and outrageous claim that we have to end the addiction to our minds. You have to stop listening to all the problems it comes up with, which don’t really exist.
Stop asking your mind to fix what’s wrong. Don’t even ask it what the problem is!!
“The mind is simply a computer, a tool. It can be used to ponder great thoughts, solve scientific problems and serve humanity. But you in your lost state, told it to spend its time conjuring up outer solutions for your very personal inner problems.”
Get quiet and watch the mind do it’s mental gymnastics, trickery and quackery. Watch your thoughts. Don’t become aware of the thinking mind but observe the thinking mind.
“You are just in there, aware that you are aware.”
So when someone doesn’t say “hi” to you that you know or you don’t get invited to a party, don’t allow your mind to hijack your being and your life. Watch the melodrama of your mind instead of becoming an actor in this bizarre movie. Your mind doesn’t need an Oscar!
Don’t let your mind drive you crazy over nothing.
5. Welcome in pain by opening your heart
No, not welcome in pain like you would welcome a stroll down the Champs Elysses in Paris or a weekend of skiing in the northern Sierras.
Welcome in pain so that you’re not afraid to experience in. No one likes pain but doesn’t mean you have to spend your life running from pain.
Your heart regularly wants to pull away and avoid the pain once you’ve been hurt by something once.
“If life does something that causes a disturbance inside of you, instead of pulling away, let it pass through you like the wind.”
You might want to avoid feeling anger, fear, insecurity and embarrassment. You might want to run away from heartbreak or the sadness from losing a loved one. You might never want to feel rejected again so what do you do?
Run. Avoid. Build walls and keep the pain out. You tell yourself that you’ll never ever do x,y, or z and stay far away from so and so.
As your heart is trying to push all this away, do the opposite of closing your heart. Relax and release towards the unthethered soul.
“Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain and then relax and go deeper.”
“Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you,” suggests Singer. “It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.”
6. On the other side of pain
If you can endure, experience and feel pain, without running away from it, you’ll become free.
Everything you want is on the other side of pain: ecstasy, peace, freedom, joy, beauty, love.
As the pain goes through you, you could feel hot and uncomfortable. You might feel breathless and experience unwanted feelings.
Yet, you go through this pain, by relaxing into the energy, knowing that there are good things coming out on the other side.
This is how the work of spirituality becomes a reality. This is what the works look like. This is what freedom of the untethered soul looks like.
“When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you’ll be free…You will then be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.”
There is an ocean of love under the pain. Getting through the pain is how you reach this oasis that’s waiting for you of the untethered and free soul.
On the other side of the pain is the life of freedom and awakening waiting for you.
Pick up a copy of the Untethered Soul here.