Don't waste a good breakup.
Updated: Nov 6
Therapists don't typically talk about themselves but as you may have suspected, we are human, and go through things just like everyone else. We may decide to share something personal when we think it might be helpful, and that's what I'm doing here.
A while ago, I went through a hard time in my personal life. It was a life-quake with some hearty aftershocks. So I did what people do after a break-up - I looked outward for answers because looking inward was painful. I had blindspots that were keeping me stuck. I reached out to friends, my own therapist, and of course, the internet. I came across this podcast jillian-on-love and the hosts chatted on about how you shouldn’t waste a good break-up. Before I fully understood what they meant, it seared into the wisest parts of me and became a mantra. It begged the desperate, mysterious, and hope-filled question, “What could emerge from this heartbreak?”
After grieving for a while, (grieving is normal) I began to unfurl. I began to say YES to new things as a way to actively participate in my own healing. I said YES to gentle retreats, gentle friendships, nature, and adventure. Adventure can be physical or emotional, and for this blog, I’ll be sharing about an emotional adventure that propelled my healing process and I hope it can serve to inspire those going through a challenge.
In one of my YES moments, I signed up for an oral storytelling workshop. Basically, I signed up for public speaking, which has always been outside of my comfort zone, particularly without notes to lean on. This felt like wild, terrifying, new territory, but an emotional adventure nonetheless. So I sweated through the first class, instinctively scanning for the exit doors, but I kept my butt in the chair, and that made all the difference.
I began this experience scared, and stayed scared (safely, of course) throughout the process. And I soon realized - that’s where the magic was. I was scared and did it anyway, and quite simply, that made me feel brave. After the first class, a new space, a chasm, opened up inside of me and it felt as if it made room for more happiness, joy, playfulness, connection. I felt myself healing each week as I faced this new way of being brave within this safe yet challenging space. This experience was so impactful that I became curious about the intersection between healing and bravery and how it might help clients.
So let’s start where it started, with heartbreak. Heartbreak, as we know, is a universal human experience that can leave us feeling shattered and overwhelmed. The pain of a broken heart is often excruciating, but within this emotional roaring rumpus, there exists a powerful force that can help mend wounds.
Bravery is inherent when we acknowledge the depths of our pain. It takes courage to confront the raw emotions of loss, rejection, and grief head-on. Bravery nurtures resilience. It's about picking up the pieces and building a stronger emotional foundation.
Heartbreak often comes with a sense of vulnerability, and recognizing this vulnerability is brave and the first step toward healing. When you feel ready, I’d encourage you to share your heartbreak with trusted friends, or a therapist. In my case, I did both, plus, I trusted a group of lovely, playful, brave women who eventually became a community of friends.
During difficult times, it takes bravery to connect with others. Lean on your support network, share your story, and allow yourself to be vulnerable with those who care about you. These connections can provide comfort and reassurance.
Bravery guides you to seek closure, whether it's through open and honest conversations, or finding your own sense of closure without others’ involvement. You can seek peace and closure through artistic expressions, rituals, nature, writing, and many other ways.
One of the most courageous acts is to rekindle self-love. Heartbreak can erode self-esteem, but bravery involves recognizing your own worth, practicing self-compassion, and rediscovering and strengthening your sense of self-love and appreciation.
Bravery also encourages self-reflection. It's the willingness to examine relationships, your contributions, and the lessons learned. In doing so, you can grow as an individual, and better understand your needs and desires. You pave the way for healthier relationships in the future. This is a gift you can give yourself.
There are so many opportunities for bravery in heartbreak that support your healing. In the realm of heartbreak, bravery is an unsung hero that guides the path to healing.
Take good care!
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