Who hasn’t experienced this bitter mix of feelings where Love and pain, hope and despair, joy and misery are all pulling in different directions at the same time. It is painful and perplexing. Even your sense of self is no longer recognized. Things lose colour and taste and waking up every morning turns into a nightmare you wish you never had to deal with. Feelings of being abandoned even if you have plenty of people around and a deep sense of loneliness. Your chest is contracted and you can hardly breathe and your eyes are generous with their tears. And your heart, Oh little heart, how tough life seems to be!
You probably saw yourself in some of the lines above. Yes heartbreak is a common human experience but it is very personal and unique. And people experience heartbreak at different levels. Some heartbreaks are quite mild and the person gets over it in a few days; some are really overwhelming and the person suffers for years or even a lifetime.
When someone’s heart is broken, their functionality suffers a great deal and it could reach a stage where the person is unable to live a normal life at all. This obviously could lead to serious consequences such as losing one’s job, friends walking away, resorting to alcohol, drugs and other forms of addiction to medicate our pain.
I am writing this article to offer you ways to handle a heartbreak with minimum damage to your psyche and your external life as well. You don’t have to live captive to such a negative experience. You can recover to a great extent and start a new life.
Here are seven keys. Each offers you a world of possibility and new hope and promise for freedom and recovery. Some may resonate with you more than the others. Take what works for and keep the others in mind as their time may come at a later stage.
One: know that it is normal to have a heartbreak. Your heart is broken because you most probably offered love to someone and then that person rejected your love or let you down. Most of humanity have experienced heartbreak many times in their lifetime. This is just a normal experience. Although yours seems to you different and unique, yet the common thing among us all is heartbreaks are pretty common.
Realizing that it is common and fine to go through this experience will create wanders in helping you recover. When you realize you are not the only one and this is a common experience among the rich and the poor, the nice and the ugly, the young and the old, males and females, your burning feelings of loneliness abate for a bit. This will stop you from seeing your predicament as the worst ever experienced by mankind. The world is not conspiring against you. The only thing there for you to figure out is this is how life goes for you and for others.
Two: If your love was genuine, you should feel good. You only had love to offer. The fact that the other person did not appreciate your love or didn’t see value in the love you offered them indicates nothing wrong about your feelings or your personal worth. And here is why: we humans flourish on love when we find it. We often offer love to get love. In a sense we search for love outside of ourselves and we only offer love from within when see love coming from outside as well. This is conditional love and this is the reason your heart is broken. There is a well of love inside every human being and that love is the source of our power and strength. When we offer it on conditional basis we make ourselves vulnerable.
We search for love outside because we feel a void inside of ourselves and in our seeking we wish to fill this void. This will definitely put us in a state of imbalance and lack. When we believe we are empty of love and only an external source can fulfill this need we have identified ourselves as an empty vessel of love. But the reality is genuine love cannot come completely from an outside source; it comes mainly from within.
The secret here is to look within yourself for the love that is your essence and bring it out into the world. Your life should be an expression of your innate love to Allah and His creation. When you do that, you will find love streaming back into your life in recognition to your being true to Allah and your nature. I understand this is not an easy offering but it is far easier and more fulfilling than living with a broken heart.
We crave love because it is our very essence, and when we fail to look for it within, we frantically search for it in the external world. This puts us in a position of neediness and lack. You cannot get genuine love when you approach others from this weaker position. You might get pity and empathy, but not genuine love.
My message here is to take this moment of heartbreak and use it as an opportunity to wake up to the higher quality of life and love you were missing out on. This love is the only type that can fill that void.
Three: look at other things you love doing; things that inspire you and give your life meaning. When you are able to look inside and read yourself more carefully, yourself will open up and tell you what it is created and designed for. We are all born with a calling, a destiny that we are meant to fulfill and bring to life in this lifetime. Living negligent of this beautiful aspect of who you are is a prescription for a miserable and empty life.
When you find out what your passions and gifts are, you can design and plan your life in a way that strikes a balance between your spiritual and psychological needs on the one hand, and your practical life on the other.
Four: Check the real source of your heartbreak. We take that answer for granted but a lot of the heartbreak cases are nothing but a fear of rejection. Most of us were hurt as children to the extent that we have developed a fear of being rejected. We would avoid coming face to face with this at all costs. You need to analyze your feelings in order to find out exactly if this applies to you. This diagnosis is necessary in order to heal and recover from the experience. The problem with fear of rejection is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your fear will make you anxious and suspicious and this will lead others to reject you and so on and so forth. If your heartbreak boils down to a fear of rejection, at least you have made an accurate diagnosis and you know the source of your pain. In this case you will be able to address it rather than going around in circles and beating around the bush.
Fear of rejection requires a separate treatment that insha’Allah will be treated in a future piece of writing.
Other sources of heartbreak could possibly be a high level of emotional dependency on others. There is nothing wrong with being attached to someone but there is a subtle yet profound difference between emotional dependency (which many call love) and genuine love. When drowned in dependency, one’s sense of self primarily depends on those around him or her. Whereas in love one’s sense of self is quite balanced despite having strong connections and feelings toward others.
Five: Engage in pursuits that satisfy your passions and goals in life. You need to be daring to do this. Most people are so comfortable in their daily routine that they won’t even consider such an undertaking. Living life fully takes a lot of heart and those who settle within their comfort zones will not be able to see for themselves what this means. Such pursuits will fulfill other sources of meaning in your life and this would take a lot of the weight from your heartbreak. In a sense, a broken heart is one that has lost its sense of meaning due to a loss of a dear person. We have many sources of meaning in our life and we should strike a balance to keep ourselves immune to such heartbreaks. Having a project for your life will give you access to those sources of meaning such as
– Exercising and expressing your passions, strengths and talents.
– Making meaningful connections with people who share your goals and values.
– Producing some product or service into eh word that is a mirror image of the beauty of your soul.
– Making a difference and contributing to the quality of other peoples rights.
– Finding a sense of purpose in your endeavours.
Six: Manage your attention. This is one of my favourite techniques and I readily find it the most helpful. It doesn’t occur to us that our attention is shaping our thoughts and our feelings.
The thoughts we place our attention on gain power and vitality and thus dominate our experience. The common symptom among those who suffer greatly from their broken hearts is that they let their attention dwell on the cause of it. If it was a break up they focus their attention on everything that has to do with it. This intensifies their pain and takes them on a downward spiral. This will also colour their perception to the extent that everything they see or hear becomes a reminder of their predicament.
What is interesting is that we have much more control over our attention than we think we do. Yes our emotional trauma has a powerful pull over our attention but we have another force at our service, and that is our will power. You can systematically and consciously put your attention on engaging activities and thoughts that will take you away from your source of pain. If you do this long enough, with discipline you will soon faze out from that heart break and recover. Your attention fuels whatever you put it on. So place it on your heartbreak and it will get deeper and more painful. Take your attention away from it, it will shrink and ultimately move on to your history records.
So place your attention on doing things that resonate with you. Do this within the frame of working towards a goal you believe in and deeply cherish. This will serve two great purposes. First your heartbreak will shrink and eventually fade away. Second, your life will start moving in the right direction and you will be achieving results. All of this helps you regain your self- esteem and feel an empowering sense of control and volition; the very antidote to a heartbreak.
Seven: Find the love of Allah in your heart. This is the mother of all other keys to handle heartbreak or any trauma in life.
We are born in a state of fitra and into a pure human nature. This is defined by love for Allah; our source of being. The longing for love in our hearts is in reality a longing to meet Allah and have Him in our lives. Our hearts crave connection to Allah but because we are stuck in our physical reality and are heavily weighted in our sensory perception we turn that power outside and search for love among those we come in contact with. However, if you turn your attention inward and attend to that innate longing for Allah in your heart, you will discover a sense of richness and satisfaction that cannot be found by turning your deep sense of love to a human being like you or something else of this world. Only then will you be able to offer unconditional love to your fellow human beings and will become an instrument of Allah’s mercy to the world. Your presence will become a source of inspiration to others because the love of Allah has made its presence known within you.
When you find this love of Allah you will realize that your desperate attempts to have another human being love you was a misinterpretation and misdirection of a higher form of love. At that moment, you heart will not be breakable. For a heart that loves Allah cannot be broken, though it may feel hurt.
How to benefit from this article?
I recommend you read it carefully a few times. Then take note of the seven propositions it offers. Practice them daily until they become a part of your life. Recovery is not easy and there is no shortcut to it. But This approach will accelerate your freedom and growth out of this debilitating experience you call heartbreak. With these secrets you can turn your pain into an opportunity to flourish!