I’m sure you’ve all heard the old saying that you shouldn’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. But how often do we look the other way and try to ignore an issue that really does need to be fixed?
How often do we keep adding extra oil to the car instead of getting the leak repaired, or avoid going to the dentist, hoping the toothache will just go away? And how many of us prefer to just ‘make do’ and go through the motions of living rather than face the pain and challenge of dealing with emotional trauma?
There are many reasons to procrastinate – other priorities, expense, fear of pain or failure, lack of knowledge or feelings of inadequacy. Instead of looking at all the obstacles, let’s focus instead on the benefits and beauty of taking the time to heal.
There is an old Japanese tradition for mending ceramics called Kintsugi. Instead of throwing away a broken piece of pottery, it is pieced back together and the cracks are filled with precious metals, like silver or gold. The beauty of this technique is that once the piece has been mended, its value increases. A broken and repaired piece is more valuable than one that is unblemished and brand new.
We can apply this same principle to a journey of healing. The strength and wisdom we gain along the way can make us more valuable as individuals.
“If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion.” -- ECKHART TOLLE
As we dig deep in those dark and challenging hours we can find strength we never knew we had. Those cracks within us can be filled with precious gifts, abilities, wisdom and new truths.
Here are several suggestions that can help you move forward on your healing journey.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is okay to not be okay. Don’t bury your emotions and pretend they do not exist. If you feel like crying, then cry. If you feel moments of sadness, let them wash through you. If you feel angry, find a constructive way to release the anger. Journaling is a simple way to pour your emotions onto paper and express the present moment, releasing feelings as they come up instead of letting them accumulate.
A simple technique to help calm heavy or hard emotions, is to simply acknowledge them. "I see you -- my anger. I know that you exist. I believe you are real." Somehow, in simply stating that the emotion is present -- without resisting, judging, or burying it, it begins to subside. What we can see and touch, we can heal. See your anger. Allow yourself to touch that sadness. You will be surprised at the results of honoring all that you are feeling.
2. Allow Yourself to Grieve
A broken heart is usually associated with loss of some kind. It may be loss of a loved one through death, loss of a relationship, or loss of opportunity. Whatever the cause of the broken heart, know that there are stages of grief you may go through as you are healing. Those stages are typically described as 1) shock or disbelief, 2) denial, 3) anger, 4) bargaining, 5) guilt, 6) depression, 7) acceptance and hope.
Allow yourself to experience all of these. One technique to help get through the difficult moments is to simply breathe. Deep breathing in those moments of sadness or anxiety can quiet the mind and soften the thoughts. If you feel pain somewhere in your body, place one hand on that area and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
3. Be Aware of Your Thoughts
Reflection is a good way to remember the positive things that transpired, and analyze things you might want to change going forward. But over-thinking or re-playing scenarios again and again may cause you to feel stuck and continue to feel the pain of those circumstances. Don’t allow negative thoughts and fears to take over your life. Don’t dwell on thoughts that are not true (even when they might feel true!). Connect to your heart, get still, and ask the heart if that thought you are believing IS true. The heart will let you know truth.
Pay special attention to what you are thinking and feeling about yourself. The loss of a relationship or an opportunity will often take a toll on your self-esteem. When we feel unloved or rejected we believe we are not enough. Write out statements of truth and put them where you will see them. “I am” statements are particularly powerful: “I am enough.” “I am loved.” “I am important.” “I am capable.” Surround yourself with the strength of truth and show love to yourself.
4. Take Time for Self Care
If you broke an arm, you would certainly understand the need to nurture that arm through the healing process. You would slow down activity and protect your arm. You would expect less of yourself knowing how much of your energy is directed toward healing the body. It is no different with a broken heart. Take some time to rest, to nurture yourself, to take a nap, to be okay with less work or less socializing. Allow your heart time to heal.
Prayer, meditation and mindfulness can also be part of this heart-care regiment. Pray for strength and understanding. Pray for the ability to accept what has happened. Pray for the comforter to surround you and for the Savior to heal your heart. Whatever your heart is in need of, ask for heaven’s help. Meditation and mindfulness can help you be present in the here and now. We realize that we are safe in this moment, we have everything that we need right now, and all is well in our world.
5. Let Forgiveness Set You Free
When you are ready, forgiveness is an important part of healing a broken heart. Forgiveness does not mean that what happened was right, or that the other’s actions were okay. Forgiveness means we no longer want to be bound to the pain of the past. Maybe you need to forgive yourself. Releasing the hurt, anger or bitterness of the past frees you to be open to a bright new future. As we forgive and then feel ready to let go, we trust that God has another plan for us and we are being guided to something better.
Never Give Up
I heard an inspiring talk about the heart from a woman who was single until the age of 52. She shared with us that dating was a heart-wrenching experience for her. The pattern was exhausting. She would date someone. They would break up. She would get angry and bitter. Her heart would get broken and hardened. But she learned to take her broken heart to her Heavenly Father. He would always be able to put it back together and give her the hope and courage to keep trying. She said she was glad she never gave up. She was a newlywed the day she gave her talk and said with a smile that blind date #2,568 was the answer to her prayer! She is now happily married and found an incredible man to share her life with. I loved her honesty, her faith, and her courage.
“Listen to God with a broken heart. He is not only the doctor who mends it, but also the Father who wipes away the tears.” -- CRISS JAMI
If you are dealing with a broken heart and want to begin your healing journey, please join me and other strong, courageous women seeking to move forward in their lives. I designed the Bravehearts Healing Retreat for Women to guide you step by step along the way. I will be right there beside you on your journey.
Living with the pangs of heartbreak and deep sorrow can leave us longing to become whole and truly live again. We can turn to God and ask for the Savior’s grace to piece us back together. Faith must accompany our works as we strive to heal a broken heart. You can find your path to healing. Trust yourself, trust the process, and trust your heart!
You are deeply loved.
Big hugs ~ Robin
PS Our next Bravehearts group starts the end of March. Hope to see you there.