Today I got an email from my dear friend Sheila that called me out on my recent use of the word “heartbreak” and “heartbroken.”
Let me interrupt myself here for a moment and ask – do you have friends in your life who will tell you the full, unvarnished truth? Not in a mean-spirited or catty way, but in a loving way that helps you to see beyond the walls your mind has constructed? They are truly the greatest gift and miracle in the world. If you don’t have some of these people in your life, you need to expand your circle. Everyone needs a loving nudge sometimes and our friends are often the best people to provide it.
Back to the story. Sheila wrote me this morning and said (in part):
“I’m asking you to consider trying something new. I’d like to suggest that you hold on to the fact that you were in love and let go of the fact that you feel heartbroken. Stop saying it, thinking it and writing it. The reason I want you to try this is because I know the “better” love/relationship you talk about is out there waiting for you. Once you can stop saying, thinking, writing “heartbroken” you’ll be one step closer to the next “in love!””
As soon as I read her email, I knew that there was truth in it. It also crystallized for me how incredibly important it has been for me to go through this experience of heartbreak – and probably why I’ve continued to talk about it beyond the point that I really needed to.
Here is part of my response to Sheila:
“FEELING the heartbreak has been absolutely vital to my next step of growth. When I was a kid, I was so heartbroken by my father that I shut down and for most of my life couldn’t let love in at all. I began to believe that I was too cold/frigid/frozen to even be able to love. I had several good men pledge their love to me, and I couldn’t feel anything for them. Instead, I got involved in unhealthy relationships – maybe because they at least let me feel SOMETHING. But it wasn’t real love. It was some miserable facsimile.
At some point in each of those relationships I realized that I was too strong to remain that miserable for any longer, so I left them. Having never had my heart broken, I was afraid that I was incapable of opening my heart and loving deeply enough to feel these feelings.
Which means that actually feeling heartbreak now is its own sort of triumph – its own miracle.
Of course, there is a line between feeling them and wallowing in them. So I take your point. Yes, the time has come to move beyond the word “heartbreak”.”
So there you have it. I think this whole week has been about moving forward and moving on. I’m so grateful to know that I have people who love me and who are in the trenches with me.
Speaking of “in the trenches,” I’d like to send a shout-out to my dear soul sister Mona who is celebrating 20 years of sobriety today. What a remarkable achievement. I am so proud to call you my sister, Mona!