“I had to get over [him]. For months now, a stone had been sitting on my heart. I’d shed a lot of tears over [him], lost a lot of sleep, eaten a lot of cake batter. Somehow, I had to move on. [Life] would be hell if I didn’t shake loose from the grip he had on my heart. I most definitely didn’t want to keep feeling this way, alone in a love affair meant for two. Even if he’d felt like The One. Even if I’d always thought we’d end up together. Even if he still had a choke chain on my heart.”
Your heart is broken. It can’t let go of what you miss, of what she did to you, of how devastated you are. You keep slipping back to the past.
It’s always about the heart. Unfortunately, it heals more slowly than the head. Your mind will tell you to move on. Forget about it! Get on with life. These words may also sound like some of the people in your life. They mean well but they don’t feel what you feel. No one can climb into the place where it hurts the most and know what you know.
So be patient with yourself. Your heart is in a cast like a limb that has been broken. It has to heal.
How? How do you move to the place where the hurt doesn’t sneak up and pounce on you at every turn?
The secret you are looking for is to live in what we call the “present”.
Here is something concrete to practice. This will get you started.
1. STOP – Let yourself cry or rant or be angry. But then suddenly STOP! Focus on something around you. The texture of the carpet your face is planted in, for example. LOOK at it – touch it and feel how it feels. Notice the color and how the threads look. Or touch the couch or chair you are sitting on. Feel how solid it is. It’s real.
Silly? Yes, it sounds like it but what you are doing is pulling yourself back to this moment right now. That’s important.
2. LOOK! Now practice this everywhere all the time.
You slip into a memory and you feel the sadness washing over you. You hear the questions beginning, “Why couldn’t…?” “What was wrong with me?” “How could she…” You know the blank parts.
Now STOP! LOOK around you. What is happening right now? What color is the sky? What do you hear around you? Who is the person near by? What do you suppose is his story?
How about the child right in front of you – what do you love about him?
These are the things that are here, right now. The past is the past. If you live there, you will be blind to the wonder in front of your face right now waiting for you to notice it.
3. Listen to the Big Picture. Surrender. Slowly. Or quickly.
Surrender means to accept that it hurts. The worse thing to do is to bury the hurt, pretending that everything is alright. It leaks out on you then – as anger and cynicism. Yes, it’s true. And the pain will solidify into “fear” that will keep you from ever trusting again.
Surrender means that you accept that it happened. It’s not instant forgiveness but it’s a teeny start toward that. Just remember – it was something you walked through not something that defines you. It is another thread in the tapestry that is becoming the big picture of your life.
Surrender means admitting:
“He or she wasn’t able to be who I needed him/her to be.”
Or, “I was young and immature. I didn’t realize how I was acting that out and hurt her.”
Or, “It’s so sad – but it happened. I will learn from it. I am going to be wiser. Look at what I have in my life to be thankful for now.”
So Stop, Look and Listen:
1. Stop – just stop in the middle of what you are feeling. Put it on hold for even a tiny second at first. Don’t stop feeling it – just change your focus.
2. Look around you. Touch something solid – the ground under your feet, the couch you are one. Look at the color of your coat, the sky, the hat in the head of the person walking by. Focus there.
3. Listen to the Bigger Picture – Surrender. It was part of your path but not your whole path.
Practice, practice, practice this. It will begin to pull you out of the funk you are swirling in. You have hope. You have a future. But you are the one who has to walk yourself toward that.
One foot in front of the other, my friend.