“What if pain – like love – is just a place brave people visit?” Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior
Love Warrior is a book about how to turn pain and suffering into love.
This past October 27th, in Visalia, California, I watched Glennon Doyle deliver a sermon about becoming a love warrior. Her commentary about Jesus left me awestruck.
Just to be clear, Glennon isn’t a minister and doesn’t possess religious credentials of any kind.
I found myself sitting in the auditorium of love, listening to Glennon preach the doctrine of love.
So, back to Jesus for a minute.
Jesus never avoided the crucifixion, Glennon reminded us. He knew that pain and suffering awaited Him, but He didn’t shy away from His path. It was the pain, struggle and crucifixion that led to the resurrection.
It was the crucifixion that led to the rising.
Have you noticed that most of us usually try to run from our pain?
You and I would do just about anything to avoid feeling bad for a few hours.
Glennon made me question why we run from our pain when, in fact, pain will lead to our own personal resurrection. It’s the pain that will transform us and help us rise again.
In her popular memoir, Love Warrior, Glennon takes the reader on her life journey through bulimia and alcoholism to marriage, betrayal and divorce.
She uses her life story to show us that we, too, can become the alchemists of our own lives by transforming pain to love.
Here are 7 important life lessons from Glennon’s memoir, Love Warrior, to help you become a love warrior in your life.
1. Just the next right thing.
“I will go to sleep. The sun will rise. I will make breakfast. I will take the kids to school. I will come home and rest…Just the next right thing, one thing at a time.”
When, at a therapy session, Glennon found out about her husband’s betrayal, she panicked as she watched her life spin out of control. Not knowing what to do after coming out of that session, she did the only thing she could do with her life.
When you are in situations of panic or disaster, or have hit rock bottom, your plan can be as simple as hers.
Just take the very next step.
You may not know what all the right things are and what the future holds but you can do the next right thing. Whatever feels right next, do that.
2. Doing the precise thing.
When other people blamed or scorned her for her dissolving marriage, Glennon stopped asking for advice from others and pretending that she didn’t know what to do. She stopped fretting about whether her next actions were right or wrong.
“It’s about doing the precise thing. The precise thing is always incredibly personal and often makes no sense to anyone else.”
You have to do what’s right for you. The divine is speaking to you at all times and guiding you in your life. You know what’s best for yourself. The precise thing is the right thing for you to do next.
3. Tear down the walls and face what’s underneath.
When Glennon didn’t know how to fix – or whether to save – her marriage, she realized that it wasn’t about her marriage.
“All I know is that I need to tear down my own walls and face what’s underneath.”
You have little control of the circumstances and people outside yourself.
To become who you are, you must be willing to go within. To fix the outside, you have to start with the inside.
To progress and become who you are may require going backward and unbecoming who you were.
The journey to who you are requires an internal detour.
4. Sitting in the hot loneliness.
You have a sense of loneliness within you that you may have tried to escape, just as Glennon tried to do.
“I thought I needed to hide these feelings, escape them, fix them, deliver myself from them…I didn’t know that it would pass.”
Just like a hot yoga class that Glennon found herself in, sometimes all it takes is sitting on your yoga mat, feeling pain and not running out of the hot yoga studio.
The pain may be uncomfortable and the heat intolerable, as will be the loneliness. However, if you sit tight and allow the uncomfortable feelings to pass, you’ll realize that you can get through it. The feelings of discomfort are temporary and passing.
5. You are everything you already need.
“What if I don’t need Craig to love me perfectly because I’m already loved perfectly? What if I am the warrior I need? What if I am my own damn hero?”
Your true identity is one of love. You came from love and you are love.
Yet you look for love on the outside. You’re looking for a person to love and complete you when you don’t need anyone to do that.
You just have to observe and embrace the love that’s already there.
Once you’ve embraced your true identity as a love warrior, you will become the most powerful force on Earth.
6. Be real, not perfect.
“I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.”
If you choose to show up in the world as perfect, you have to be an inauthentic version of yourself.
If you choose to be real, you show up as a tender-hearted and vulnerable person. This person will likely suffer hurt more often but will be much stronger than the superficial version of yourself.
You don’t have to hide, terrified about what people think of you.
Show up as how you are with your faults and shortcomings. Your true self is your strength and your authenticity is your gift to the world.
7. Trust yourself.
“I will not betray myself. I will trust the wisdom of the still small voice…I will trust her and I will trust myself.”
It’s easy to let outside society dictate your decisions and actions.
Our intuition is strong, Glennon reminds us, and we should listen to it.
The inner voice that you usually drown out in the midst of a busy life is the voice of reason and wisdom.
The more in tune you are with that voice, the more you’ll take actions that are in your best interest.
Listen to it, trust it and know that it will guide you to what’s right for you in your life.
* Thank you to Adrianne Hillman for hosting the event. Pick up Love Warrior here in the Amazon store.
“Loving can heal. Loving can mend your soul.” Ed Sheeran
It’s officially been four years.
I’m still here. You’re still here.
All of us – survivors of divorce, heartbreak and heartache – are still here and still standing.
Some of us are barely here, but we’re still here!
Over the past four years I had gone out of my way to close off all the personal relationships in my life.
I stayed behind my fort, my moat, my castle of unscalable walls so that I wouldn’t have to open my heart to anyone.
I liked being there – hidden, closed and impossible to hurt.
Until I had an awakening – until I started questioning my beliefs and becoming more mindful of what I was doing.
I had used one dramatic experience in my life – heartbreak and a marriage gone wrong – to make up my mind about all relationships and love in general.
To me, love registered as painful, life-crushing and destructive.
It was my reality, my experience and my journey until I realized – exactly – that it was my experience, my reality and my journey which gave me the power to change how I viewed these past events in my life.
Yes, I could stay in the self-created prison of sabotage and loneliness or I could break through, throw off the shackles of heartbreak and stand up again.
See, when I was a recluse, holed up and walled-in, heartbreak won.
When I decided, by free will and choice, that my past was no longer going to imprison me, love won.
And you know what’s really motivating me to love again?
Why I signed up for those dating sites, why I said okay to meeting women my family has been introducing me to and why I said okay to blind dates? Why I even responded to a woman my brother’s landlord tried to set me up – in another state?
Why yes to love?
Because here’s what I’ve found by opening my heart to love again – as Ed Sheeran points out in this soulful song above, love may hurt but love also has the ability to heal. And mend your soul.
You can do two things after divorce and heartbreak: 1) run away, hide and never love again; or 2) grieve, heal and open up your heart to love again. And in loving, find that you can heal your heart by loving again.
By opening your heart, you allow it to piece itself together. All those broken pieces gather and join back together. Your heartbreak has allowed your heart to grow and become fuller.
So, that’s why I need to love – and that’s why you need to love.
You need to take down the walls.
Let go of all the false beliefs. Let go of the anger and the bitterness you may be harboring toward your ex.
Believe that love is possible again and believe that love can help you heal.
Your heartbreak was experience, and the more you do something, the better you get at it.
The more we learn about what didn’t work, the more we can learn what does.
The more insight we have about ourselves, the more we can share with others.
You don’t have to wait for anyone to love you.
You don’t have to wait for some kind-hearted, compassionate, caramel-skin Indian woman who’s in her 30s, in the five-foot height range, into yoga and working as a pharmacist to fall in love with you – I mean, of course if you know that person and she’s in Southern California, dial the number 909-263-5463 as soon as possible. No, that’s not my personal cell phone number which I’ll pick up in one ring.
What were we talking about?
Oh yeah, you. And love.
And why you need to love again.
You need to love again. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, either. And you don’t have to wait for someone to love you.
Loving again means the following:
1) Making peace with your past.
Forgiving those who hurt you and forgiving yourself for your mistakes in your past relationship.
2) Saying whatever needs to be said for closure.
Don’t say it to your ex – write it down or say all those things you wanted to say but couldn’t, out loud to someone you trust. Say those things that will give you closure and help you move on with your life.
3) Start loving those around you.
The people who are close to you – friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and anyone who needs some love. What does loving look like? Read this post here, which describes ways to cultivate relationships and take action on love. Loving someone doesn’t have to be in the romantic sense – loving is simply giving, sharing and making connections.
4) Confront your disempowering and negative beliefs about love.
You likely have strong love blocks that you should examine. What are those beliefs or feelings that are preventing you from loving again? What are you going to do to work through them and to let go of disempowering thoughts?
5) Practice opening your heart.
Put yourself in situations that allow you to open your heart and give to others. Feel compassion and sympathy for people around you – donate your time or energy to improving their lives.
Practice saying yes to things that scare you when you want to say no.
Visualize what a loving and supportive relationship looks like and be open to that.
Be open to loving yourself – be compassionate to yourself and kind to your thoughts and the demands you have of yourself.
6) Take small steps of courage on the daily to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is saying that you’re looking for someone new in your life.
Vulnerability is putting up your dating profile. Vulnerability is uploading your photo. Vulnerability is telling someone you like them. Vulnerability is sending an email to someone you’re interested in. Vulnerability is responding to a message. Vulnerability is saying no. Vulnerability is saying yes. Vulnerability is saying yes to coffee. Yes to meeting. Yes to sushi. Yes to a movie. Yes to your friend who’s trying to set you up. Yes to your family who wants to introduce you to a friend’s daughter.
For my book, 10 Sacred Laws of Healing a Broken Heart, click here.
When I said “goodbye” to my Indian grandparents after a recent visit, I thought the encounter would end with a friendly hug, a small goodbye gift and good wishes.
And it did – until the last minute, when my grandmother become teary-eyed and emotional, wishing that I would get married soon and come back to visit her with a child.
In less than 60 seconds, our goodbye went from a friendly parting to an emotional and dramatic experience. They cried. I cried. They wished me a family and a baby and I left feeling like I had just walked off a taping of Days of our Lives or Vani Rani!
What had just happened, I thought to myself as I headed to the airport for my flight back to the States.
What had happened? What had turned two perfectly normal grandparents into emotional messes? Why were they experiencing so much pain and loss for me when I wasn’t quite sure I was feeling that myself?
Yes, it’s been a few years since the breakup and the divorce. Yes, it was hard on me, and yes, it must have been hard on them.
But life has moved on. I’m in a new place and I’m happy where I am today.
I don’t feel any big void in my life or feel incomplete being single. In fact, the last year or so has been the happiest of my life, with travel, family, writing and coaching.
Life has been great, but in the eyes of my grandparents, I felt pain, loss, sorrow and sadness.
I felt worthless and inadequate.
I felt ashamed for having failed.
It’s not unlike the shame I’ve felt being around other family and friends.
The stigma of divorce
In the Indian community, there is a strong stigma surrounding divorce.
When people hear that you’re divorced, they speculate about what went wrong, whose fault it was and who destroyed the relationship. They want to know about the couple’s relationship struggles, their families’ involvement in the failed marriage – yes, they want it all, the gossip, the rumors, the innuendos and all the dirt in between.
While they want to equip themselves with as much information and gossip about your situation as they can, they really don’t want you in their presence. When you’re divorced, it can feel like you’ve received a brand in the shape of a scarlet “D.”
People in your community often ignore you and scatter in your presence. You get the feeling that they think you’ll spread the disease of divorce to them – like divorce is a contagious and destructive bug, and you’re the carrier!
You’re the buzzkill at a happy occasion.
You’re the third wheel at any event – out of place, standing out like an unrecognizable alien, broken and displaying what happens when a life goes wrong.
You’re a misguided soul with a temper and a drinking problem who cheated on your wife.
Or a misguided soul with a man-hating independent streak who refused to “adjust” and be a “good” wife or “obedient” daughter.
The shame of divorce
On top of the stigma, you carry around with you the shame of divorce. As does your family.
In my case, I’ve felt shame around most people who have known me throughout my life. More so if they knew my ex-wife and me. And more so if they attended our wedding.
I feel like I let them down.
Like I failed and didn’t live up to their expectations.
Like I’m doing something so different from what people expected of or wanted for me.
In fact, I think it was likely the shame of my divorce that kept me isolated from most of my immediate and extended family for a couple of years.
I felt so ashamed, I didn’t return phone calls, answer emails or see anyone I knew because I felt bad about what had happened. I felt guilty, like somehow I was knowingly hurting them or would be inappropriately sharing my heartbreak with them.
I felt awkward for bringing something so devastating and a topic so toxic with me wherever I went. My divorce was not the elephant in the room. I felt like I had become the elephant!
You may feel the same shame about your divorce.
You may feel inherently flawed, messed up and broken.
You feel naked in the eyes of the judgmental, harsh world around you.
You let glares bully you, silent whispers softly attack you. You feel like the never-ending rumors that swirl around you are quietly killing you.
You feel ashamed for being alive.
A message for healing
If you’ve gone through a divorce, you can likely relate to the stigma and shame I’m speaking about here – one that your family, community or culture makes worse.
You know what it’s like to attend a holiday party or family gathering nervous that the conversation will turn to you. You’re holding your breath, hoping that no one talks to you. And by mistake if someone does, he or she avoids the topics of partners, spouses, relationships and family!
You’re terrified of every conversation that can serve as an opening to the topic you most fear and are most ashamed of – your failed relationship.
Today I’m writing to you who are silently suffering through the shame and stigma of divorce.
I want to remind you that you don’t have to hide, you don’t have to feel terrible about yourself and you don’t have to feel like disappearing from the world.
Yes, your marriage might have ended, but that’s no reason to feel like a failure in life or to let your inner circle perpetuate the pain of your shame.
Here are 4 ways to cope with the shame of divorce.
1) Recognize the feelings of shame.
I believe that awareness is the true power you have when confronting shame. Once you become aware of anything in your life, you have the insight to understand what’s going on and to change it.
You don’t have to feel lonely and isolated in your shame.
Recognize it for what it is and write down your thoughts so that you can get your heart around it. Once you put down the feelings that are swirling through your mind, you’ll have a better idea of what those feelings look and feel like.
If you’ve not allowed yourself to experience your shame, feel free to do so. Permit yourself a deep and soulful cry.
You’ll feel like having these feelings many times. Every time they come up, welcome them into your life like familiar guests. It’s time to stop resisting your feelings and the strong emotions that well up in your life.
Let the feelings of shame sit with you so that you can share some space with them.
Recognize, absorb and familiarize yourself with the feelings of shame. Become friends with your feelings of shame – intimate acquaintances.
Recognize where the feelings of shame are coming from in your body. Where do they palpitate the most and feel strongest?
After you’ve experienced a bout of shame, lead shame to the door. Thank it for coming and sharing an experience with you.
When it comes back, welcome it again and learn more about it.
Know that you can experience feelings of shame, but also know that you’re welcome to allow those feelings to leave for a bit. Interestingly, the more vibrant and intensely you experience feelings of shame, the less intense they will be the next time around.
2) Return to wholeness and your truth.
“You yourself as much as anybody in the universe deserve your love and affection.” Siddhartha Gautama
One problem with shame is that you feel inadequate, broken and flawed.
Once you reflect on your life, you’ll realize that your shame didn’t come from only your divorce.
More than likely, you’ve experienced shame in other areas of your life and have vividly imprinted those memories.
More than likely, shame has been an ongoing, lifelong struggle.
The ultimate key to overcoming and healing from shame is accepting yourself and reminding yourself that you are enough.
Unlike what your friends told you or your parents made you feel, you’re not inadequate, incompetent, lacking or invisible.
Your task is to remind yourself of this and learn this powerful truth.
The key to self-compassion and self-acceptance is to treat yourself like the person you love most.
Be aware of the words you use to yourself, the judgments you make about yourself and the things you do to yourself.
Find ways to cultivate self-love within. Here, you can find 21 ways I’ve talked about previously to create a self-love within.
Commit a part of each day to taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself and loving yourself.
Gift yourself with those activities that make you feel good, that help you relax and feel peaceful.
Reduce the volume of critical, judgmental and comparative thoughts that are running through and ruling your mind.
Learn to listen more and to let your compassionate inner guide, intuition and spirit lead you.
Do the internal work to help you get clearer on who are you – what your authentic personality is minus all the layers of society-conditioned behavior.
When you get to this inner truth about yourself, there’s no act to put on and no reason to be another person.
It’s from this place of truth where you can truly be yourself.
When you know yourself and are comfortable being yourself, there will be no need to run away and hide.
You can get to this point through self-care, compassion, truthful living and a journey within.
Whatever you do, remember that this is your assigned task – finding the path back to your most powerful, most beautiful, most whole self.
In this place of wholeness and completeness, you will see that there is nothing else to prove, no place where you must hide.
In your wholeness is everything. Here you can be present and seen. Here you can shine. Here you’re unstoppable.
Tap into this power more and more in your life.
Learn to live and see the world from this place of self-acceptance, self-compassion and truth.
3) A new perspective on shame.
As you continue to treat yourself with compassion and increase the amount of love you have for yourself, you’ll come to realize that you’re not a person of lack and deficit.
You’re not inherently broken and flawed.
You grew up in a way that made you question your self-worth.
You also went through a traumatic experience that made you feel like a failure.
Now, consider changing your perspective about shame.
First, identify what it is you feel shame about. Then remember that shame is not going to define your life.
Your shame is no longer going to be your weakness and your flaw.
I want you to answer these questions:
What about your divorce has made you stronger than ever before?
3. What did your divorce teach you about yourself and who you are?
3. How did surviving divorce make you who you are today, in a positive way? 1.
How are you going to show up in the world today, as a survivor of divorce? 1.
Now that you know shame is your strength and your secret weapon, how are you going to use it for good?
How are you going to serve someone who’s dealing with the shame of divorce or of anything else in his or her life?
Who are you going to show up for during his or her moment of shame?
4) Your shame has nothing to do with others.
Here’s the most important thing I want you to know about shame.
You may feel ashamed because of other people, but does shame really come from them?
Shame comes from within – from not being good enough. Others may have caused you to feel shame, but your way out of shame is through yourself.
The more you can be comfortable in your own skin and accept your true nature, the less room you give shame in your life.
You have the ability to heal your shame by accepting yourself. The key to healing shame is an internal one, not an external one.
It really has nothing to do with friends, family and nay-sayers.
They only increase the noise of worthlessness that you may be experiencing internally. Their words resonate with you only if you allow them to. Their words resonate if you’re not showing up for yourself.
When you see yourself as complete, valuable, kind and whole, you don’t allow anyone else to define you or shame you.
While you continue to experience pangs of shame around family and friends, use these feelings as reminders that you must continue your internal work toward healing and wholeness.
Thus, every person who raises this feeling of shame within you is your teacher and guide. This person is reminding you that you are feeling shameful and that it’s time for more compassion, more love and more self-acceptance.
You are NOT your divorce.
You are NOT what happened in your marriage.
You are NOT what people think of you or how they judge you.
You are NOT the passing comments, rumors or innuendos.
You are NOT the lost cause, sad case, troubled person or unhappy soul.
You are NOT the bitter ex, headstrong daughter or disobedient son.
You are NOT a mistake.
You are NOT a failure.
You are NOT the story you’ve been telling about yourself.
You are NOT the story others have been trying to spread about you.
You are now powerful beyond measure because you’re realizing your worth, loving yourself, claiming your power and living your truth.
The compassion and love you’re cultivating for yourself will be the light you use to find your way home.
Once you do, please leave the light on for others who are traveling the same path that you are.
To pick up my ebook on self-love, called the Self-Romance manifesto, click here. Learn to treat yourself with compassion and love.
When I was twenty-four years old, I met a man at a bar on a girl’s night out. My girlfriends and I were about to leave the bar and head home. It was a normal night filled with drinking and dancing the night away.
As I came out of the restrooms, I locked eyes with a set of sparkling brown eyes. He stood a foot away and smiled. The alcohol pulsed through my body.
But even before I consciously knew, my soul knew. My heart commanded me to not go anywhere and against my wishes, I smiled back.
He asked me to dance and we made small talk. I don’t remember anything about our conversation, except that I kept thinking how tall he was. He was six feet three inches. I am five feet tall and even with my heels, I felt like a dwarf.
We switched numbers. He called me and we went our first date. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong. He suddenly changed the location of our first date minutes before I was to head to the restaurant. A band played loud music literally right in front of our table. I couldn’t hear a word he said.
After dinner, he paraded me across San Jose downtown in my brand new heels. My feet bled and we had to sit down at a park. (Several of these moments inspired key scenes in my debut novel Enchanted Silence!)
While sitting on that bench, we spoke about our views on marriage which would determine the fate of our relationship.
He confided he didn’t wish to get married. He came from a family of divorces and had mostly been involved in flings throughout his life. I revealed I saw myself being happily married with children in my future.
Despite our differing views, we kept on meeting and eventually fell deeply in love with each other. That day on that bench, neither of us could have predicted that.
We were perfect for each other in every way. We shared a love for adventure and possessed intellectual minds. We had a goofy sense of humor. We both even shared a fear of intimacy and commitment.
But four years later, that main difference wedged its way into our relationship. Today, I know we had to happen because I had to learn and grow from this experience.
Here are seven honest lessons I learned from falling in love with a commitment phobic man:
1. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable.
I am uncomfortable expressing my emotions. I can be crumbling inside, but I will barely show it. Being the oldest in my family, I feel a sense of responsibility and commitment. It was ingrained in me that being emotional is not what gets the job done.
As a result, layers of emotion and pain were stuck energetically in my body. This carried into this relationship. I believed that I had to be guarded and hold myself together all the time.
If I cried or broke down in front of him, I believed he wouldn’t want me anymore. I would come across as weak.
But you cannot be truly intimate with someone until you learn to be intimate with yourself. Daring to show your true self is the key to a meaningful relationship and having a true connection.
2. Relationships are mirrors.
He had a deep seated fear of intimacy. That became blaringly obvious over the years. He would often cite divorce statistics and avoid the topic of marriage. I never knew too much about his childhood and the relationship he shared with his father.
He barely dropped the walls to let me in. But why had he come into my life? Although I wanted marriage and children in my life, I was terrified of commitment and relationships. I had drawn sturdy walls, too.
The difference was he was openly a commitment phobic and I was a closeted one.
Every relationship teaches you about yourself. This person is aligned to your soul and meant to stir different parts in you so you can turn inwards and clear your inner blocks and fears.
3. Love without attachment.
During this relationship, I had a pattern of striving for happiness and self-worth through him. When he called me, I felt happy. When he didn’t call me, my mood plunged. My state of mind completely changed.
I found that I started overanalyzing and over thinking. He does not like me. He is getting bored of me.
And then I would drive myself crazy on whether I should text or call him. Is it too much? Am I being lenient?
When he did respond to me, I would breathe a sigh of relief yet hold resentment towards him. And I would not express these feelings to him and instead become cold.
When you become your own source of love, you do not love someone else from a place of fear and attachment. When you want to express your feelings, you do it. When you want to text or call him, you do it.
When you want to show love, you do it. You don’t do these things expecting anything in return. You do it because that is your desire and this comes from a beautiful space within you.
4. Keep your ego out of the picture.
This one is tied to the previous point. My ego came into the way sometimes. When he didn’t call or show me love the way I wanted, my ego reared its ugly head.
I used him to validate my self-worth and when he didn’t respond the way I wanted, I became angry with him. I turned icy cold and shut him out.
I am not saying you must accept wrong behavior or let someone walk over you. Rather, be conscious that you are not perfect and neither is your partner. It’s about not judging yourself when you respond from a place of control, fear, or insecurity.
Peel the layers of ego off and instead be real with yourself. Observe yourself, ask yourself why you are responding the way you are, and do the inner work.
5. Is he capable of loving you?
During our relationship, he always treated me beautifully. I was blessed in this respect. Because of his support, I was able to realize my dream of writing a novel.
But because his fear of intimacy and commitment was greater than his love and respect for me, he was never able to drop his protective walls and let me in completely.
He kept me at a distance. This created emotional turmoil in me. I questioned myself and our relationship a lot. Though he was a good person, he didn’t love me the way I wanted to be loved.
When someone does not love you the way you want, it does not mean that person is not a good person. It means they have to sift through their own emotional baggage and clear their fear and blocks. And that is not your responsibility to fix.
6. Learn to receive.
Giving is an important part in a relationship. However, receiving is equally important. One of the most beautiful things I learned from him was learning how to receive. I was used to being the giver in my relationships with my loved ones and friends.
I found it difficult to receive actually. I remember he once remarked how I didn’t know how to take a compliment. It was a simple comment, but it stuck in my head.
I didn’t know how to receive because I did not know how to give love to myself. I didn’t know how to be intimate with myself.
If you have trouble receiving love, then start practicing becoming comfortable with opening yourself and receiving love. Treat yourself to a massage or favorite meal. Look at yourself in the mirror and compliment yourself.
7. Forgive and lead with your heart.
When you go through a challenging relationship, you want to just close your heart and shut off. But it is during this time that you must keep it open even more.
When you are walking around with anger and resentment towards that person, you are only hurting yourself.
If not for that person, you will need to forgive for your sake. It is the only way to move forward.
I took the time to process all my pain and anguish. I did whatever soothed my soul. I woke up several nights drenched in my sweat. I ate take out. I spent hours crying on the phone with my best friend.
Don’t try to avoid the pain. Dive deep in this process so you can fully heal yourself and keep your heart open. Because then you will be opening yourself up to beauty and love in all its forms in your life.
If you came out of a challenging relationship, keep your heart open. This was meant to awaken your soul so you can create an amazing relationship with yourself!
Priyanka Yadvendu is passionate about supporting women to listen to their enchanted silence to live an inspired life. Her upcoming book is Enchanted Silence, represented by Holloway Literary. To savor a peek of the first chapter and enjoy her free e-cards and helpful resources, visit http://www.priyankayadvendu.com/
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”—Maya Angelou
Your wedding day is filled with hope, dreams and unbounded expectations of happiness and joy.
And if you’re Indian, it’s filled with over-the-top ritualistic exercises that remind you that marriage is a soulful (permanent) union to last the rest of your life (and maybe even a few lives after). Your ceremony symbolizes the planets aligning, families joining and even ancestors waking from the dead to celebrate your coming together.
The flower garlands you place around each other’s necks sing with angelic praise, blessing your future life together. The fire ceremony calls for divine intervention and blessings. Every step around the fire confirms your unending loyalty, commitment and sacred vow to stick together throughout this glorious ride.
So you can imagine how separation and divorce go over in a marriage (and culture) like this.
(Stop the music!)
Not very well.
When the flower petals lose their fragrance, the gold stops glittering and the whispers of sweet nothings turn first into bitterness and then silence, thousands of thoughts enter your mind.
Is there something wrong with me?
Am I good enough?
Am I attractive enough? Kind enough? Nice enough? Loving enough?
Am I broken? Unfixable? Unlovable?
Following my divorce, so many thoughts ran through my mind and have continued to occupy my thoughts and my life for the past three years.
These are thoughts you experience while going through the most profound and deep-rooted pain. When the world as you know it shakes you up violently and your heart shatters into a million sharp-edged pieces.
If you’ve gone through a divorce or are going through a breakup now, you can’t imagine better days ahead. You’re in a place of darkness and hopelessness. You think it’s never going to get any better.
You can’t get out of bed.
You can’t think about anything but the pain and sadness you’re experiencing.
You think you can’t trust anyone ever again.
A divorce sadder than a melodramatic Bollywood movie and Jennifer Aniston’s love life.
When my heart was broken after my divorce, I wallowed in sorrow, marinated in self-pity and basked in sadness.
The person whom I had counted on being there for the rest of my life was no longer in it. The person whom I had envisioned all my dreams with and whom I had planned my future with was out of the picture.
The exchange of wedding vows and flower garlands and the tying of the knot (a sacred golden necklace that we call a thali) replay in my mind.
Rituals and traditions that had so much meaning suddenly become meaningless.
When something so tumultuous occurs in your life, you hope you’re in a nightmare and will awaken soon.
But then you realize that you are awake and that everything happening in your life is real: the heartbreak, pain and loss.
As you grieve, you try to find ways to believe again. To become vulnerable again. To trust again. To open yourself to another relationship in your life.
And you know what? It’s damn hard.
It’s hard to put yourself out there, even though the possible pleasure far outweighs the pain you’ve experienced.
You won’t be as excited about that game of laser tag after you’ve served a couple years of military duty with the 2nd battalion in Afghanistan.
And you’ll certainly stay out of the Florida swamplands if Gretchen the alligator once took a bite out of your ankle.
It’s safer to write off the world and sit with cynicism.
It’s drier under the umbrella of pain than it is frolicking in the cloudy weather where violent storms await.
But you can go forward and walk away from that umbrella.
Why? Because maybe, just maybe, there’s not a violent downpour out there.
Maybe there’s sunshine out there.
There’s love out there.
There’s healing out there…
…and there’s wholeness out there.
Are you willing to step out and learn to trust again after heartbreak and pain? Are you willing to let someone else, someone new, into your life after your divorce?
Here are tips on healing a bruised and broken heart: 9 ways to trust again in your next relationship.
1.You’ve acquired experience; some call it wisdom.
You can’t pay for wisdom but you can acquire it through your life experiences. A broken trust and a broken relationship can be great sources of learning and reflection.
You now know that people can be untrustworthy, that everything they say is not true and that their actions might not reflect their intentions.
You know what to look for and you know the warning signs in a relationship.
Hopefully, you have a better idea of what trust looks like and you’re better able to recognize trustworthy people in your life.
You might not have asked for it, but you’ve received a priceless and lifelong lesson about trust that you can now use in every aspect of your life.
2. Learn to have healthy expectations.
No one gets married thinking they’re going to get divorced.
No one goes to their stockbroker thinking they are going to lose money.
And certainly no one goes on a trip around the world thinking they are going to get SARS!
But life happens. Just because we don’t see it coming or can’t imagine it happening doesn’t mean that life won’t get rocky at times.
If you were jaded and idealistic before, you’re welcome! Life’s woken you up to realize that people change, circumstances change and relationships change.
You’re learning that changes happen, even the most unwelcome ones. You can now live life expecting change, which means you’ll experience less shock and despair in the future.
You’ll not only learn to survive the winds of change, you’ll be able to successfully navigate your sailboat for the rest of your life.
Also, you’ll set healthier expectations. Things don’t necessarily happen the way you want them to. The more you want things to go a certain way in a relationship, the more disappointment you’ll face if you don’t get it.
In terms of my own experience, I didn’t reach the point of “no expectations,” but now I’m more realistic about what can happen: the good, the bad and the unpredictable. All circumstances are possible.
3. People might break your trust and it has nothing to do with you.
“How could he?” or “How dare he?”
You immediately think that when someone does something hurtful or harmful, he or she has it out for you.
Maybe. Or maybe not.
Others are going through their own journeys in life. They are at different places than your own. They change. They have different perspectives. They are on their own paths toward healing and growth.
Theirs just might not coincide with yours.
They’re human. They might have made mistakes.
They might not have known what they were doing.
They might not realize until later what a good thing they had going.
The point is, the way they hurt you or broke your heart may have nothing to do with you. It’s very likely that it has to do with them. In this case, “it really isn’t you, it’s me.”
If you don’t feel as though your ex was intentionally sabotaging you, you’re less likely to take everything he or she did as a vendetta against you. You’re less likely to feel the sting of your ex’s wrongdoing. Less likely to see yourself as a victim.
4. Learn to trust yourself. Listen to your intuition.
You’ve been learning about trust from your partner, but how about learning to trust yourself?
Go with your gut feelings and be more open to your internal voice. That’s your intuition speaking, but we hardly pay it any attention.
The more in tune you are with your intuition and your inner voice, the smarter decisions you’ll make about people. And the smarter you’ll get about trusting others.
Create more silence or complete a mindfulness practice to tap into your intuition. When you have too much internal noise, you’ll have a hard time tuning in and listening to your deepest, most sacred voice.
5. Know that heartbreak breaks you open to trust more genuinely.
You’re probably thinking that your separation or divorce is the hardest thing that has happened to you—and you’re probably right.
The pain and suffering that comes with heartbreak and divorce is brutal, but it is life changing as well.
When you’re broken open, you’re ready for your life’s greatest breakthrough.
Through the pain, suffering and broken dreams, you’ll find yourself. The masks that we all wear, as well as all the other BS, drop away so that we see ourselves as we really are.
From this more authentic place, you’re able to see the superficiality around you and the games people play.
When you’re coming from a place of authenticity and truth, you can connect more freely with others and have a better sense of whom to trust.
6. Think of people you trust and how you have many trustworthy people in your life.
Sometimes our recent experiences cultivate false beliefs.
You might think that just because your relationship ended, everyone else will try to end their relationship with you.
Or you might believe that everyone is a heartbreaker. Or that trusting others is simply setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
But for every false belief you have, you likely can look around and find contrary beliefs and examples.
If you look around in your life, you likely have a group of trustworthy and supportive people surrounding you.
And if you look at your past relationships and experiences, you’re likely to think of many trustworthy people who have crossed your path in life. Don’t permit one life event to color your view of the world.
Leave disempowering beliefs behind. Know that there are trustworthy people out there and keep those people close to you to remind yourself that a trusting relationship is possible.
7. Your past experiences don’t have to repeat.
Just because you experienced and ended your last relationship with pain doesn’t mean you’ll see more of that in the future.
You’re smarter now, you’re wiser now and you’ve at least learned what kinds of people not to trust.
You’re more familiar with untrustworthy behavior and know the kinds of people who will let you down.
When you have more insight about yourself and other people, you make smarter decisions about trust.
8. Take small steps of courage to open up to trust again.
If you’re ready to trust again, start by forgiving the people who hurt you. Release them from your life by forgiving them, no matter how badly they let you down or broke your heart.
Start trusting people by their actions and not by their words.
See how people respond to small commitments.
Does he say what he’s going to do? Show up when he says he will?
Does he keep his promises to you?
Does he flake on dinner with a last-minute text? Does he disappear to the bathroom when the check shows after dinner?
Pay attention to red flags.
Build relationships over time and see if the person you’re dating keeps up with small commitments. Don’t jump in like you did the first time.
Send the charmers, the smooth talkers, the big promisers and the showmen on their way.
9. You’re now able to make room for a more trustworthy relationship.
Now that you’re divorced, you’re single again and have more time and space to invite a new relationship into your life.
You can evaluate each person whom you invite into your life, testing his or her trustworthiness. You can be more selective.
You can better listen to yourself. You’re more knowledgeable about what to look for. You’re a survivor of relationships that lacked trust.
You’re ready for a person who’s going to commit, a person who’s going to stay. You’re ready for the one.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness,” Eckhart Tolle has said. “How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you’re having at the moment.”
Your journey has brought you to this place today, where you’re more ready than ever for a happy and healthy relationship.
Imagine growing up as a child in an alcoholic family.
Continuously confronting people in your life who were under the influence and behaving oddly. Bouts of anger, violence and confusion in your life?
As a child, you’d probably ask yourself questions like – were you the reason your parents or alcoholic loved ones drank?
Would they stop drinking if you changed your behavior or attitude?
Were you making it worse by causing more stress in their lives?
The story she lived.
Jody Lamb, is a Michigan-based children’s book author who lived this very story. She grew up with alcoholic loved ones and was pained by the family members in her life who drank.
As a child, all she could do was try to adapt to their behavior and lifestyle. She sought understanding but felt all alone because alcoholic family members were not discussed in public. In fact, she thought she was the only one going through such experiences.
She also kept a diary during her childhood to try to come to terms with what was happening at home. She found writing as a way to help her understand what the adults in her life were doing to her and to give herself hope.
The story she wrote.
In her twenties, Jody continued to confront the behavior of her alcoholic loved ones, especially as they hit rock bottom. She also reflected on her 8-year old self, her childhood dreams and if she was doing what she really wanted to with her life.
In this midst of her “quarter-life crisis” as she calls it and by reflecting upon her childhood journals, she decided to start living her purpose and changing the world – one child at a time.
She wrote and published a children’s book, Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool about 12-year old Easter Ann Peters, a child of an alcoholic mother. The story is not only about how Easter survives middle school but creates her own Operation Cool to live a cool life in spite of the craziness of her home life. Her plan includes making friends, being more social around boys and standing up to bullies – especially the world’s jerkiest seventh grader, Horse Girl.
Easter’s mother spends most of the day asleep, hardly reaches out to anyone around town and has become a person Easter no longer recognizes.
The tween novel explores life living with an alcoholic loved one and trying to maintain a sense of normalcy despite all the other social pressures facing 12-year-old Easter. The story culminates with Easter’s mother being sent to rehab and restoring a sense of normalcy in Easter’s life and her relationship to her mother.
This is a story about hope triumphing over isolation, confusion and sadness written for children going through similar circumstances.
I initially met Jody through one of my other favorite blogger’s blog, and realized that Jody was doing something remarkable in that she was taking personal pain and struggle to help others – especially children.
Not only through her books and writing but also through her advocacy, like this video here she filmed for Children of Alcoholic’s week:
Jody reminds all of us that we too can take our stories of pain and hurt and turn it into something positive and uplifting.
1) We all have stories of heart-break, pain and suffering from different parts of our lives. If you have journals from your younger days or when you were going through difficult times, reflect upon them.
2) What lessons did you learn? How did you become stronger, smarter or wiser from those lessons?
3) What are you willing to do with your story? Can you share it with others? Can you write about it? Can you send it into publishers, even if you get rejected 30 times? Can you make a public service announcement? Talk to a community group? Share it in a blog post?
4) Can you start an advocacy group or join one which talks about the issue? Are you willing to raise public awareness and public dialogue about what you experienced? Talk to the media so you can help others facing similar situations?
5) Are you willing to embrace your vulnerabilities?Some of the stories of our past and our struggles are sad and embarrassing. We don’t want others to know about the unpleasant and prickly pieces of our life. The defeats and low points.
They say a diamond is a just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well. We want to shine as the diamond and stuff the charcoal pieces into a drawer no one will ever see.
Do you have the courage to tell us who you are?
6) Are you ready for the world to accept you as you truly are? Are you ready to allow your personal story to help, embrace, and uplift others?
Jody’s story truly inspires me and hopefully, you, to talk about the things that matter in your life. You never know who’s out there who needs to hear you.
You may be the one person who someone in pain or struggling can benefit from. It may be a child, someone being abused, someone in fear or in a vulnerable place.