Falling passionately in love with someone is one of the most exhilarating feelings, as if you had wings and you are flying high in the sky, feeling the wind romantically blowing through your hair. And usually, when love ends, it feels as if you’ve been dropped like a rock in mid-air. You scramble to grab a hold of something … anything, as you witness your body falling at great speeds, and then shattering on the earth below.
Whether we’re talking about breakups, or facing the reality of a one-sided romance, it is painful. So much so that it disrupts our normal flow of experiences, causing us to not function normally.
With so much emotion invested and our identities tied in with these experiences, it’s no wonder that this is the number one topic requested by readers. Over the past year, I have regularly received email from readers sharing their own takes on painful breakups; tales of guilt, of fear, of regret, and of resentment. Although the stories were different, the underlying message was universal and one in the same, “I am in so much pain from not being with this person - what can I do?“
Sometimes, the pain of lost love is so intense that it can shake our beliefs about romance and relationships. When these emotional bruises are not understood and have not healed properly, they become invisible baggage that drag with us into the next relationship. This article focuses on the healing process from “love lost”.
Personal Story: The Gift of “Love Lost”
I categorize myself as a very passionate and emotional person. I cry easily at movies and at the sight of passers-by with physical disabilities. When I love, I give it my all, and when it ends, the pain of feeling abandoned can become overwhelmingly and cripplingly intense.
In fact, my journey into personal growth began when I was confronted by a painful breakup five years ago. Out of despair, I had picked up a copy of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - the only personal development book I had heard of, at the time. Although I would recommend a different book now for similar circumstances, at the time, this book introduced me to new concepts that helped me make sense of my emotions, and I was hungry for more.
Over the next few years, it was through dealing with recurring relationship issues that I experienced several rewarding revelations and was able to trigger several major growth spurts in my own self-improvement. While these emotionally-infused episodes of “love lost” might have seemed unbearably painful at the time of happening, they were also the catalyst for personal growth, and played a critical role in my becoming a more wholesome and complete person.
The Origins of Love and Pain
Before diving into the practical how-to of healing, let’s first look at what love is, where it comes from, and why we experience so much pain when it ends.
I believe that love is a universal energy infused in all forms of life. It is something that lies within the core of every one of us. When we are in a state of conscious awareness, the intense feeling of love and connectedness is clear and undeniable. When we are in this state of clarity and inner peace, our thoughts and actions are based in love and truth.
Within the depths of our souls, we are all connected by this unifying and essential energy of life - love. We occasionally experience glimpses of this deep connection through various and accidental happenstances, such as:
- A gratifying and intimate conversation with another person. Sharing and expressing your thoughts honestly and openly.
- Creative expressions such as playing music, writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, designing or even computer programming.
- Meditation, prayers or communing with your chosen religious group.
- Communing with nature during a hike, a walk or while sitting by the bed of a river flowing beautifully in front of you.
- During sexual orgasm (The Dalai Lama has written about this.)
When we fall in love with another person, we are essentially experiencing the love that was within us all along. The person is merely acting like a mirror reflecting our soul back at us. Technically, we can’t “fall” in love, because we are already made of love. The other person, much like a musical instrument, is the catalyst allowing us to recognize the beauty that’s already within us.
Because of our lack of understanding that love resides within us, and that we actually have the power to invoke it on our own, we credit it to the other person for giving love to us. This feeling is so strong and extraordinary, that we become addictive and possessive. We want to capture it and keep it fixed, so that we can - at last - keep this heightened feeling forever.
The desire and dependency to keep this form fixed, becomes a source of self identification that artificially justifies who we are as physical beings. We become attached to the fixed idea of how our relationship should go and our ego quickly becomes the main investor in this fund of a relationship.
The truth is that, everyone and everything is in a constant flow of change. The changes in us and in our external circumstances are inevitable and undeniable. When we change, the dynamics of our relationships change - not just romantic ones, but also friendships, family ties, and our relationships with co-workers.
Over time, some relationships strengthen and some grow apart. When people grow apart, it doesn’t mean that either one of them was a bad person, but rather that they’ve learned all that they needed to from the other person, and that it’s time to move on.
When it’s time to move on, we hold onto this invisible box that contains an idealized and fixated form of how things should be. We unconsciously and instinctively fall into the false believe that we must stop the love when we are no longer romantically involved.
Because we attribute love as being ‘to’ this other person external to us, pain happens when we forcefully try to kill the love, which is actually within us.
Let’s repeat: Pain happens when we forcefully kill the love that’s within us.
When we forcefully try to kill the love within us, it physically feels as if someone has stabbed a knife into our heart, and a sharp pain surfaces in our chest area. In reality, we are that someone doing the stabbing, because we are trying to sever our innate connection to love and our Soul is now bleeding. Our Soul is crying for help, asking us to stop the stabbing, to stop the pain.
A Love Affair & Emotional Freedom
“When it comes to love,
you need not fall but rather surrender,
surrender to the idea that you must love yourself
before you can love another.
You must absolutely trust yourself
before you can absolutely trust another
and most importantly you must accept your flaws
before you can accept the flaws of another.“
~ Philosophy: Falling in Love
My preferred suggestion to healing from love lost is the same as the one for finding love: to love yourself, first.
In previous relationships, we probably depended on our partners to make us happy, to make us feel special, to make us whole and complete. Our self-worth may have been wrapped up in how much attention our partner gave us. This is a ‘lose-lose’ formula that works against our personal happiness, because it relies heavily on external circumstances beyond our control and is not sustainable in the long term.
Truth is, nothing external to us can give us the security we need. Only we can give that to ourselves, by loving and accepting ourselves completely.
By learning to love and appreciate ourselves, not only do we free ourselves from the chains that keep us in pain when a relationship ends, it also makes us more attractive to the outside world. Even when you don’t explicitly speak about it, something in the grace of your movement will spread that message to others, like a summer breeze softly blowing the scent of a flower to neighboring plants.RSS (What is RSS?) or subscribe via email at the top of this page...