Healing a broken heart
Image: Victoria 1 | ShutterstockWhy can it sometimes take so bloody long to get over someone? And how can we speed up the tedious process?
by Liisa Halme
My wild guess is that we’ve all experienced heartbreak at some point – that excruciating pain and a feeling of emptiness, like nothing else is ever going to matter again. We can’t do anything without its being there, and nothing seems to alleviate the nauseating feeling. If you know what I am talking about you’ll also know that it usually eventually eases off and finally goes away. But why does it sometimes take such a hell of a long time? How can we feel so completely broken, even after a relationship that lasted a relatively short period of time – and other times get over someone relatively quickly even if we have shared much more of a history together?
Pain out of proportionSometimes the heartbreak over a relationship can seem so out of proportion because we are actually simultaneously grieving about many past loves lost, all the way from our childhood.
Let me explain. There are times in our life when the pain of loss is simply too great to take. This could be a rejection by or loss of a parent, a break-up of a family when we were little, even the death of our first pet and best friend – any and all of the incidents where we have not let ourselves feel and express the full extent of our grief and sadness.

We may have unconsciously shut down our pain just to cope, even wondered how we were off the hook so easily. This is how. The pain didn’t actually go anywhere. It stayed buried until it got another outlet to be felt and expressed again.
Broken dreams
Over and above the love or loves lost, there is often yet another aspect to our grief – the broken dreams. The future that we attached to that particular relationship and imagined with this person, and the possible realities that we allowed ourselves to live in our head as if they were already real. This in itself is not a bad thing, but when we have invested all our dreams in one person alone, and that person is no longer willing to play the part, we feel like the whole dream is lost forever. It’s like we’ve not just lost what we had but also all those things we could have had as well. Ouch! We may be unconsciously unwilling to let go of the pain because it is the last thing that connects us to this person and the dreams we had.
It’s helpful to remember that most of the time, even if it feels that way, it’s not personal.

The meaning we give to the events (I am not loved / I am not loveable / I will never find love like this again, etc.) is only in our head and may have nothing to do with the other person’s reality. The fact that he / she wants different things doesn’t mean anything about us. Our worth is ultimately not dependent on them and what they think or feel about us.
Getting through itWhen we are in pain our tendency is often to avoid the pain at all costs – party our heads off, over-indulge, work, shop, or exercise in excess – anything to numb the pain and distract us from it. But unfortunately these avoidance tactics just postpone and prolong the process. The only way to get through the pain is to literally go through it! What this means in practice is to allow ourselves to feel the pain to its full extent. Including the pains of the previous losses and hurts that have been triggered. It’s not always obvious what they are – so we might need to do a bit of digging to get to them.

A good way to do this investigation is to stay with that actual feeling you have around the heartbreak. Just allow yourself to feel it in your body, without the story of who did or said what and what it means. Keep your breath deep and free. Then ask yourself, What does this feeling remind me of? What was the first time I felt something similar in my life? Let the answers come from the subconscious mind rather than from the analytical, rational mind that is likely to keep covering up the original pain.
Once you have the answer, even if it doesn't make sense to you straight away, allow yourself to stay with the emotions around that older incident. Just feel it without getting caught up with the story.
Let it out
Sometimes this means that we have to cry for a really long time. Crying is actually the body’s own natural cleansing and healing mechanism; it’s a way to let go of the resistance.
After a good, healing cry we normally feel better, our heart is more open and we are less defended, more authentic. After expressing and letting out our grief, all our energies flow better; we are no longer holding on and staying stuck in the pain and the story; we are actually physically, emotionally and energetically releasing and letting it go. There is an expression, ‘a broken heart is an open heart’.

When we finally let go of the past and the fixed ideas of the future, we are opening ourselves to a new future with more love than we could have imagined.
Image: Firstname Lastname | UnsplashAbout the author:
Liisa Halme is a breathwork therapist, yoga therapist, hypnotherapist, and the author of A Crash Course in Emotional Freedom. She specialises in helping people break free from anxiety, emotional issues, and trauma – and LOVE life again. https://www.liisahalme.com/
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