While discussing the sorrow and pain of one of the most common experiences—a heartbreak—Rashmi Rawat recommends effective ways in which we can overcome it
Ever got ditched in a relationship? Encountered career failure? Or got betrayed by a friend? Ever found yourself creeping off to the bathroom and bursting into tears just to avoid crying in front of your co-workers? Ever went through a phase where no matter how much you try to pick yourself up, you end up slipping into a burrow of sorrow? Have you ever found yourself sunk into the memories of the time spent with your loved one who is no more? This is when you are broken. Heartbroken. There isn’t a person worth his salt on this earth who has not experienced the distressing emotions of a heartbreak.
What is a heartbreak?
Technically speaking, a heartbreak is an overwhelming distress. It is the agony you feel after any kind of a relationship ends. It is also associated with various other areas of life where we hit rock bottom assuming we will never be able to rise again. The pain is so excruciating that it can feel like the end of the world to the person undergoing it. Sadness, depression, and hopelessness are the new sentiments you find yourself submerged in.
Imroz Hassan, 25, had agreed to date Deepika Shukla, 24, even though he was doubtful about the longevity of the relationship because of their religious differences. Deepika had convinced him that she would do anything to marry him and not let religion come in the way of their happiness. But barely after a year of being together, Deepika dumped him citing religious differences. Imroz was shocked and shattered. He had never wanted to go the distance with her simply because he wasn’t sure if it would end well, even though he liked her. He had relented only because Deepika had been very insistent. It was devastating for him to be so badly treated and have his feelings played with by her.
Later, he found out that Deepika had started to date another man and religious incompatibility was just an excuse she had used to wriggle out of the relationship she no longer wanted to be in. Imroz’s pain intensified on getting to know this. Unable to heal his pain, he left the city he was living in and went to Chennai in order to leave the painful memories behind. “I was known to be the strong boy in my family. Nobody had ever seen me cry, but now I cannot stop the tears from flowing. I am unable to focus on my work and keep praying to God to heal my pain,” he confided in a friend.
Why is it heart-wrenching?
Life just doesn’t work the way we think it should. When our heart harbours misplaced expectations, we often face disappointments, especially in the case of a relationship.
Speaking on why a romantic heartbreak is so painful, Sadhguru, yogi, mystic, and founder of Isha Foundation says, “You are a huge heap of memory in many ways. And memories are formed through all the five senses. What you see or what you touch are the deepest forms of memories. Especially what you touch creates a certain level of memory in you. So, with a spouse, there is a certain level of memories. And when the toxicity level increases you try to rip that memory off. Which is not going to be easy for various reasons. The memories of that bond are now a baggage that you are unwilling to carry. Though you want to get rid of the memories, they are compulsively stuck to you. And when something compulsively sticks to you, there will always be pain.”
Not all heartbreaks are romantic in nature
Undoubtedly! Heartbreaks are just not limited to romantic relationships alone. There are many aspects of life where we can get unexpectedly devastated.
Rahul, a cousin of mine, was a defence aspirant. Very determined to carry on the family legacy of joining the Indian Armed Forces as an officer, he burned the midnight oil to clear his exams. He cleared the written exam and was all set for the interview, when just a week before it, while riding a bike, he met with an accident and lost his index finger. Considering it to be the worst incident of his life, he was completely shattered and heartbroken, as one needs to be medically fit to be selected for the armed forces. His grief knew no bounds because his passion could not get fructified due to the unalterable situation encountered by him.
To what extent does it affect you?
Heartbreak is the hardest emotion one can go through. And the pain? It’s real. No amount of pain has ever felt so stabbing and concentrated. You cry, lock yourself in a room, avoid social gatherings, and are no longer excited about things that used to once give you an adrenaline rush. Your self-esteem plummets, and everything you come across seems to be mourning. You are depressed and, in worst cases, find yourself addicted to drugs, alcohol, and even settling for less (in terms of a romantic relationship) just to escape the pain of a severe heartbreak.
Well! It isn’t something that’s all in your head. When you are internally broken, your brain reacts as it does during the time of a physical injury. Scientific studies show that heartbreak not only affects you emotionally but also has an adverse effect on your body. Naomi Eisenberger, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, says, “The area of your brain that lights up when you’re hurt physically is the same area that lights up when you suffer from heartbreak.”
Some nights, you will not be able to shut your brain long enough for you to fall asleep. You just mentally review your past, which can be a sign of a serious mental health condition like anxiety. Your eating habits get affected when you deal with the heartbreak. Psychologically, we either tend not to eat at all, or eat more to numb our pain and end up overeating. So, binging and starving, both can be seriously harmful. These after-effects of the heartbreak may lead to some acute and chronic diseases like obesity, weight loss, high blood pressure, malnutrition—the list goes on.
How to heal the heartbreak?
“Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant,” says Paulo Coelho. In the case of a heartbreak too, realise that even though difficult, it’s not the end of the world and that every cloud has a silver lining. If you are confronted with someone going through a heartbreak, be sensitive to them and never say things like “It happens to everyone. You are not the only one going through this. You know time is a healer, right?” Even though it’s true, these talks are unhelpful in alleviating someone’s pain. Then how to deal with it?
Feel it all
The first thing is to not feel sorry for what you feel. It’s okay to not be ‘okay’. Sometimes, when it’s hard to ‘hold it together’, it’s okay to burst and cry, rather than paste a smile on your face. It’s okay to mourn the loss of things you were passionate about. However, make sure you remember, that certain things are out of your control and are inevitable. To allow yourself to feel is to allow yourself to really live.
Bhaavin Shah, a Mumbai based trainer, healer, life and business coach says. “When we are okay to stay with the agony, without being in a rush to repair it, then, by and by, we heal. Time doesn’t heal but experiencing the agony fully–something that happens over time—heals the wound,” he says.
Acceptance helps in healing
Says Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, “Everything is falling together perfectly, even though it looks as if some things are falling apart. Trust in the process you are now experiencing.”
Nothing lasts forever. Same goes with the hardships and happiness. Sometimes, life is neither fair nor unfair. Whatever needs to take place will happen, regardless of your resistance to it. So why be critical of things we have no control over?
Just like we welcome the feeling of happiness with open arms, we should also accept the feeling of being broken. This is how we are supposed to live. Instead of running from the feeling, you should be brave enough to experience and learn from it.
When you love someone, you want them to be compassionate towards you the way you are to them. But sometimes, things just don’t work out the way you want them to. And you learn to be okay with it. A heartbreak often teaches people to love what they have, instead of having what they love. They become less self-centred as they open their eyes and learn to distinguish fantasy from reality. And they realise that, ultimately, what happened was for their highest good.
Methods to heal a heartbreak
Describing heartbreak as an arduous process, Suzy, author of 7 Karma codes and a transpersonal therapist, believes that half the battle is won when one reaches out and asks a responsible and technically-equipped person for help. “Emotional processing is the quickest way to end this suffering but, again, this needs a trained therapist who specialises in this approach,” she adds.
Throwing some light on esoteric solutions that put the healing process on a fast track, Bhaavin Shah says, “One can supplement the ‘feeling it all’ process with the divine herb Tulsi (basil) which is a great remedy to heal heartbreak. It is the signifier of divine love (Tulsi is offered to Radhe Shyam), and divine love can heal human hurt. Chanting the Devi-Mantra ‘kleem’ too heals the heartbreak.”
Standing beneath the full moon and looking at it also has a cathartic effect vis-à-vis a heartbreak. The full moon has the power to help you release your pain and absorb it in its silver glow.
Veechi Shahi, Transformational Life and Wellness Coach, says, “When dealing with heartbreak, it is always good to move your energy by involving yourself in any physical activity which allows your energy to move and release the pain you are going through. A healthy group of friends with whom you can laugh, dance, cry, meditate, and have a fun time together can freshen up your stale energy.”
Roshani Rai, a young woman from Darjeeling, suffered a massive heartbreak when her boyfriend of several years decided to marry someone else. She sank into melancholy and deep depression. One day, when she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to go for a run early morning. She ran as fast as she could and, at the end of the exercise, realised that her heart was not hurting as much. Later, she launched a campaign called ‘Run with Roshani’ and ran many marathons in India, bringing focus on the Gorkha community.
Veechi also recommends practising Osho Dynamic Meditation. It is a meditation in which one consciously releases emotions in five stages, and each stage prepares one to let go the pain and grief. As it happens at a deep conscious level, it is the space which precedes one’s way to come in contact with oneself, rather than one which analyses the cause of the pain. She believes that learning only happens in the deep state of silence.
The Sound Therapy too works wonders in healing a heartbreak. In it a singing bowl is placed over the chest of the person and healing sounds are produced by hitting it with a padded hammer. The sounds thus produced have the power to heal the pain at a very deep level.
Heartbreak teaches important life lessons
In the journey of life, a heartbreak is an important milestone. You are not the same person again as you come out of it. You get to learn a lot about life, yourself, and the world. It makes us wiser and more mature. The lessons learnt are as under:
Heartbreak transforms you into a better human being
It’s true. A heartbreak is like a deep cut to your consciousness, through which the light of awareness, empathy, and humility enters your heart. Over time, you become more mature as a person, and your character ceases to be shallow. Someone who has gone through pain, alone can understand the pain of others and extend kindness and help.
Sunny Pawar lost the love of his life, Arti, after she slipped into a coma following a car accident. His world came crashing down, but he stuck by Arti and her family during the days of her survival that lasted over four years. His sleep was flooded by nightmares, and he became a zombie after she passed away. He could have easily succumbed to depression and unnatural ways to vent the pain, but he did something different. Today, he has kept her alive by living her dream of helping others. Currently running Minim Charitable Foundation, an NGO in Mumbai, Sunny is all set to empower people in the best possible way he can.
“Trauma and grief teach us a lot. Pain and death are inevitable, but suffering is optional. We cannot improve our past, but we can surely improvise; we are the co-creators of our destiny. I follow the principle of SAI which means Survive, Adapt, and Inspire,” says Sunny.
Love is not enough
You might have heard people say, “Despite loving each other, we decided to break up.” Relationships are erected on the foundation of trust, honesty, and compassion. If you don’t water your relationship with quality time, patience, and healthy communication, then love alone will not be enough for the relationship to pull through. Break-ups serve a big lesson in self-knowledge.
They reflect on us the areas that are unhealed or unattended in us and pave the way for our further evolvement. The ones who feel left out in the cold get a big opportunity to introspect and assess where things went wrong.
While many people choose to close their hearts to others in order to avoid such an eventuality in the future, others realise that by blocking off love they also block the opportunity to be in a meaningful relationship to be with someone better. But a situation does not change unless we change from within. Selfishness, jealousy, fears, possessiveness, ego, neediness, co-dependency, emotional unavailability, wanting to control the partner, and insecurities are many reasons that cause a relationship to fail. Therefore, it is important to honestly introspect and work on our shortcomings in order to avoid future disappointments, without judging ourselves harshly over the break-up. Try to surround yourself with the people who not only help you to focus on your goals but also enable you to effectively deal with the failures in life.
Never lose yourself
Oftentimes, our need to be in a relationship is so strong that we ignore the obvious red flags in it, only to be shattered later on. Whereas if we placed self-love, self-respect, and dignity over anyone or anything else we would be able to foresee if a person we want to be with is the right one for us or not and prevent a major disaster from happening. If your lover is disrespectful to you, doesn’t care for your feelings, manipulates, controls, emotionally blackmails you, or forces you to be someone you are not, then it’s time to stand up for yourself and choose yourself over the relationship. It is advisable to test a person before entering a relationship. Never abandon yourself, your priorities, career, friends, and goals for someone who deprives you of these things in the name of love. When you are happy inside out, only then will you be able to nurture your relationship with happiness. Try to be as authentic as you can be. Be you—the world will adjust.
Never make being in a relationship your primary objective in life. This way, you are setting yourself up for a series of heartbreaks. Always prioritise self-growth, career, and hobbies as your means to be happy. A great relationship is a part of an overall satisfied life and happens when you are not looking for it to fill your voids, because you are deeply absorbed in enjoying your own life.
The same applies to heartbreaking circumstances too. My cousin, Rahul, after losing his fingers in an accident and feeling devastated about it, slowly started thinking of possibilities. He was good at teaching and decided to start his own coaching centre. Today, with his parents’ support, his dedication, and hard work, he runs a successful coaching centre which prospers year after year.
Learning to forgive
It is important to get the charges of hurt, anger, pain, and betrayal leave your mental and physical body for you to move on and begin life on a new note. After you are done learning your lessons, attempt to forgive your partner. Not all love stories are meant to have a happy ending. Oftentimes, our lovers are our teachers in disguise who enter our lives to teach us important life lessons. Once their work is done, they leave. On viewing your condition from this perspective, it becomes much easier to forgive our betrayer and move on.“When a tarot card reader told me that my shattered dreams were causing me pain and not the other person, I found it much easier to forgive my partner who had cheated on me with another woman. I realised that he, in his current state of evolution, was unfit to be my ideal partner. I also saw how his walking away had made me realise that I needed to raise my standards and not settle for anyone simply because of his looks or flattering talks,” says Meenal Jain, an engineer based in Gurgaon.
Don’t be afraid to love again
Just because someone told you that they loved you and didn’t mean it, doesn’t mean that love doesn’t exist. Don’t run away from love just because someone lied, cheated, or broke your trust. Love doesn’t hurt you. The false promises and let-downs hurt you. Never give up on love. Rather use every heartbreak to find more about your strengths and weaknesses.
Nurture your strengths, work on your shortcomings, raise your vibrations and become the kind of person you would want to attract as your life-partner. Come from a space of wanting to share the abundant love in your heart, instead of looking for it from an external source to feel complete. Soon you will see that not only have you met someone who values you, you have also become a beacon of unconditional love and attract love and appreciation wherever you go.
Measures to mend a broken heart
• Firstly, accept that you are broken and be ready to get healed.
• Make a note of the things that bother you and just eradicate the unnecessary things that
• Words can describe almost anything going on in your life. So create a new playlist that goes with your current feeling.
• Change your routine. Go for a walk. Inculcate the hobbies you have been ignoring.
• Sit with a coffee mug and read a good book.
• Go trekking. Listen to each breath while climbing to the summit, and you will experience that you can accomplish more than you think.
• Self-talk: Do positive self-talk which will increase your self-confidence and curb all the negativity.
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