Twenty-four stories up, she was hanging on for dear life. Far below tiny cars and people were going about their business as if nothing was wrong. She, on the other hand, had been pushed over the edge and was now suspended in mid-air, feet flailing, so terrified she couldn’t even scream. Why wasn’t she falling? A hand around her wrist held tightly trying with all his might to pull her back to safety.
When your heart has been broken, it’s so easy to reach this place. Alone, afraid, a failure – nearly dropping over the edge.
Your brain is having to work overtime. The pressure of all the decisions zaps alot of your energy. It’s easier to put your heart with all the hurt on hold. In fact, it’s easier to just shut everyone out and look strong, never letting them see you cry.
But it’s all about the heart.
You can’t do it alone.
It’s true that there are those in our lives who take sides.
There are those who do not have any idea what we are going through because, let’s face it, a break-up of your love, your family and your home is not something everyone has to experience – thank goodness! They see the “facts” but they can not empathize with the pain unless they have been there themselves. Even so, they will try to give you all kinds of advice.
There are those who will criticize.
There are those who will lose patience and tell you to get on with living, get over it!
There are those who will not look you in the eye and who will avoid you for a while.
There are those who are depending on you because they are devastated, too.
You pull in to protect yourself from what you fear may be more hurt.
May I offer you a little bit of coaching here? If you are falling into the trap of shutting off your heart and pushing others away in order to preserve your sanity, remember these things:
- Your heart still needs to find “certainty” somehow in the middle of all of this. Find the “for sure’s” to stand on. It feels like shifting sand under your feet so look for the unchangeables. This is a time to look up and reach up to God who understands and loves you no matter what. Forget that little voice that condemns you and belittles you in your head. That’s not God. You need his solid strength right now.
- You also need those who are always there for you even if they don’t know how to help – they are the parents, a brother, a close friend who are never going away. Tell them how you need them to be there and how not to be there for you.
- Your heart still must fill it’s need for “variety”. Shake up your routine. Change where you shop, how you “do” mornings, where you buy your coffee if nothing else. Have a bit of fun even if it’s not laughing out loud. Take your kids to McDonald’s to the Play Place for an hour and watch them enjoy the climbing. Force yourself to notice the sunshine or feel the rain on your face and let it sink in. Feel it!
- Your heart must fill it’s need for “significance”. Journal. Journal. Journal. This is a time to acknowledge your heart as unique and special. Give it permission to be angry, to be sad, to dream, to desire. Don’t fill yourself with self-condemnation and the poison of hating your ex.
- Your heart must fill its need for love and connection. Even if you can only stand it for a half hour, be with those who love you. Yes, they may be doing all the wrong things to try to help you but they do love you. See love in its many, many forms – not just in the romantic, one and only way. Hug your child and feel it; really see into your mom’s eyes and feel her love; hear the caring in the voice of your best friend. Ignore the words, if you must, and feel their love.
- Most importantly for you right now – determine to grow. Growth and giving back freely are the two elements that cause us our hearts to overflow. You are learning about so many things. Recognize that and let your curiosity expand.
- And, from the depth of your open wounds, there is no better time to have compassion and caring for someone else who is hurting. Push yourself to take an evening or a Saturday and volunteer to help out somewhere. Take your eyes off of yourself for a time.
There are so many hands that reach out to lift you from the precipice. It’s difficult to accept and you may only be able to let a little bit of love in at a time but the important thing is that you do let them in. Jump back up onto the safety of solid footing. It’s a good feeling to know that you are not alone.