And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
And how can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart
and let me live again.
(How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Bee Gees)
This week has been a week of broken hearts for me. Each of these broken hearts has a different story but all share the same feeling of sadness. I find it ironic that this broken heart week comes just before Valentine’s Day. As I sat and cut out red and pink paper hearts and taped them to the walls this week at work, I thought about how cute and joyful they looked when I put them up around the room. These paper hearts are the symbolic opposite of what the people around me were feeling.
My first broken heart encounter was with friend who was coming to realize the gravity of her newly changed relationship status. Her heart was breaking in so many places at one time that she found herself unable to cope. Who among us has never experienced a time when our grief became all that we are? This is a raw place, a place that knows no bounds for a while. Just when we think we couldn’t feel worse, we do, and then just when we think we can’t take anymore, the blackness begins to subside. This kind of broken heart heals slowly and shows us what we’re made of. Once healed, a newly formed layer of strength resides around your heart.
The second story comes from another friend whose broken heart came from being left out of something that had to do with her adult child. She was left with questions of why and a broken heart born of a missed opportunity to love and nurture someone whom she dearly loved. This type of broken heart can sometimes leave permanent scars. It can cause distance between those involved who may take things too personally although this is not the case with my friend. She may feel the hurt for a while, but she will do whatever it takes to clear her soul of anything that may carry forward and hurt her future relationship with her child. This friend knows her stuff when it comes to inner work. I am proud to call her my mentor.
The other broken heart is my own. The break comes not only from my own personal pain, but from the pain of others. For as long as I can remember, I have been able to feel the feelings of others. What I feel most profoundly from others is their pain. I can feel it in individuals and in the environment around me. I am an emotional barometer; I can sense even the slightest variation in emotions. Being like this helps me to work with people, to be able to fully empathize with their situations, but it also takes a toll on me. Being an emotional barometer is both a gift and a curse. I love it when people begin to understand themselves and how I feel their joy with that new experience. I also frequently feel drained from others’ emotions and have to sequester myself away from the world in order to regain my strength.
So, what can you learn from a broken heart? I think you can learn how resilient you really are, how to monitor and heal yourself from within, how to connect with others, and most important, you can learn of your heart’s capacity to grow despite the fact that it was once broken. Your heart is you at your core and it makes sense to take good care of it. How do you mend a broken heart? What have you learned from your experience?
Yours in transformation and healing,