If you are amongst the brave, you have fallen in love and taken your chances. Inevitably, our hearts are broken, whether within a long-term marriage or a short-term relationship. In the following story, I share about my broken heart. Although my particulars may not be yours, please read the story with the intent to glean the wisdom that is meant for you or your loved ones at this time.
I’m grieving. “Sky rockets in flight and afternoon delights” crashed with the slamming of a door, shut tight, never to open again.
It was our first and only conflict. I am a highly sensitive person, and I felt agitated when he swore, calling men nasty names, harshly criticizing their character. Warriors fight for what is right. No questions asked. Take a stand. Confront rather than cojole. I was patient at first, accepting him as he was, but worried that this behavior might get turned on me. As days passed, this behavior increased. I chose to say something because two people have to fully show up if they are to have deep intimacy. We had agreed to “tell the truth faster.”
So I took a risk and sent an “I Message,” like I teach my clients to do. “I feel agitated when you criticize people, attacking their character, calling them names and using swear words. I love you, but I don’t like being around this kind of behavior. Would you be willing to change it around me?”
After a couple long discussions he concluded, “No. This is who I am, and I am not changing.” He ended the relationship.
I am so sad. There was so much chemistry, so much joy, so much potential. We lit up every time we saw each other. We had visions of sharing our whole lives together. We thanked God for bringing us to each other. But with one conflict, he retreated, concluding that we were incompatible. I tried to re-engage him. I wrote him a love letter. I accepted responsibility for my part of the conflict. I told him I was sorry for hurting him, and asked him to forgive me. I asked him to talk with me, but he refused.
So how do I mend a broken heart? How do I heal?
He said it was time to move on. I fought that at first, beaming love across the miles, hoping he could feel it. I think he felt my love, but my intuition told me that he had already retreated into his castle, closing the drawbridge. Done. Sealed.
How do I move on? How do I grieve well?
Elizabeth Kubler Ross told us about five stages of grieving: (1) Shock or denial … I can’t believe this is happening. (2) Bargaining … trying to get back what we lost (3) Anger … protesting the loss (4) Sadness or depression. When we drop into our feelings, realizing that the loss is real, healing begins to occur. Finally, we reach stage (5) Acceptance. We find a way to incorporate the experiences and the loss into our lives, making a place for it, and moving on. Stages 2 – 4 may cycle around and around until we get to acceptance.
I’ve passed through the shock and bargaining stages. I mailed him a love letter, expressing my appreciation. I sent a journal entry in which I debriefed our conversations, taking responsibility for my part. I sent him birthday presents, which he would have received four days ago. Today is his birthday. Bargaining, love, apology and reasoning didn’t work.
I’ve been very sad, not wanting to do much of anything. Moping, I’ve been unproductive at work. I coax myself to do constructive things, and find my center in God. I’ve meditated almost every day and exercised for an hour. I’ve talked with several trusted friends, asking for their support and feedback so I can look at myself and grow. I have been examining my part in the demise of our relationship. Did I come on too strong? Should I have not told him how I felt? Would the happy moments have continued? I hated for them to end. I always say, “How we handle conflicts either makes or breaks a relationship.” I showed up more fully. He left.
I am not angry. I’m sad. I coach myself to accept his choice, to look accurately at the reality of things. I affirm my choice to share my feelings and make a request. One part of me yearns for his return, but part of me thinks that he knows himself much better than I do. When he said that his daily demeanor is wholly incompatible with a highly sensitive person such as I, wisdom tells me that I should believe him. Grieve and move on.
I coach myself to be objective while I still feel sad. I ask myself, “What did I love so much about him? What is important to me? What gifts did he give me, and I him?” I remind myself to be grateful for our beautiful times. I loved his intensity, his passion, and the way we gazed deeply into each other’s eyes. I loved our lively long conversations, and the way we complimented each other all the time. He loved to make me laugh. We loved cuddling and kissing so intimately that time stood still. We loved beautiful sunsets and moon rises, and swimming in the mountain lake. We danced sensuously. We cooked together, and prayed before each meal. We asked God to be first in our lives, and we listened. That’s what I loved about him and us.
Surrendering to God, I prayed: “Holy Spirit, you made me the way I am. You know my needs. You know that I ache for intimacy on every level. You know my sensitivity. You know my heart as a healer. You know my love for people. You know my empathy and tenderness. You know my passion and integrity and intensity. You know who and what I need. Please bring me together with a man who is right for me, and I for him. I ache for a particular flavor of deep rich intimacy, grounded in transparency, compassion and healthy communication. Bring me such a man. Fill me with even greater love, your love, the love that passes all understanding. The love that is not dependent on a man, or anything outside of me. You are the love, you are the peace, you are the wisdom. Live big in me, Holy Spirit. Breathe into me, filling every cell of my body, mind and soul with You. I love you.”
The more I am willing to say good-bye, the more I am able to say a full-bodied hello.
P.S. This just in … Do you believe the Holy Spirit speaks through people? I do. This email just arrived from a stranger on a dating site. I really appreciate his affirmations, especially during this time of grieving.
“Just wanted to say ‘Thank you.’ Sometimes while perusing through the ‘entries’ contained on this mostly barren site, one is occasionally fortunate to view someone who probably could stop the world from turning if she so commanded it. Indeed … it truly makes me wonder just what the rest of us did wrong. Exquisitely beautiful and “stunning” might be the understatement. There is no match here whatsoever as I fall outside of your age parameters. Your profile is one of the finest I have ever read. It is quite succinct, endearing, informative, and “no-nonsense.” While not intending to be cruel and unkind, you rise to the level of a woman who most men would find far too classy, far too elegant, and perhaps far, far too much woman for most of us to handle anyway. (lol) Just saying … Good luck in your endeavor.”
Now It’s Your Turn. Journal Your Reflections.
1. Who or what have you lost?
2. How do you feel?
3. What processes help you feel your emotions without dismissing them, imploding or exploding?
4. How can you give yourself time to grieve? What does it look like for you?
5. What did you love most about the person, animal or thing you lost?
6. What are you learning about yourself so you can become more conscious?
7. Do you want to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love and wisdom?
8. Are you willing to receive … to breathe in Love into every cell of your body?
9. Have you asked your trusted friends for the kind of support you want?
10. Are you ready to open in love again? If not now, it’s OK. You will know when you are ready.
Would it help to talk with a professional counselor? I’m here if you need me.
Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor. I offer individual and couple’s counseling for S.M.A.R.T. women and the men who love them. Offices in Smyrna and Blairsville, Georgia. Life Coaching and Spiritual Healing via Skype, phone and intensive retreats at the beach and in the Blue Ridge Mountains. To reach me, please complete the “Contact” page on this site: www.Flourishing-Lives.com