Tuesday, 24 July 2012
There’s a tightrope-thin line between acknowledging, ventilating, & honoring your pain and indulging/clinging to emotions that render you paralyzed.
If you're the repressive type, purgation is *precisely* what you need. By all means -- GET. IT. OUT. Enter the fire. Feel it all the way. GO THERE.
But if you're anything like me (chronically expressive with a sometimes-supersize-side-of-masochism)... if you tend towards not only GOING THERE, but also STAYING THERE, and GETTING LOST THERE... then eventually, distracting and diverting may be a whole lot healthier than lying around, marinating in heartbreak.
Sometimes, a hardy cry is the -only- antidote for the bruised n' weathered spirit. But if your tears are no longer serving as a vehicle for catharsis, if they're heightening and intensifying your raw sadness, as opposed to enabling you to release it, I lovingly implore you to take a step back. Perhaps your pain has become habitual. Perhaps you've gotten stuck in a toxic, truly counterproductive cycle.
As my good friend, Lisa once said (regarding her four-year-old daughter), “Sometimes, crying only leads to more crying.” And truly, we're all just big four-year-olds: hungry for comfort, hungry for love, frightened, frustrated, & bewildered when life doesn't go our way.
Everyone's recovery-timeline is different. Grieve. Let it out. Talk to your mother, your sister, your therapist, your friends. Journal. Scream into a pillow. Spend the day in your pajamas. Watch Titanic, The Notebook, Blue Valentine. Eat an extra bag of peanut butter M&Ms. (I've done all of the above...) But be firm with yourself: learn when (and how) to walk away from the temptation to cradle your misery.
Think of your hurt as a baby bird -- initially, it needs to be nurtured, incubated, coddled, cozied up to. But if you don't kick that little guy out of the nest in due time, you're going to find yourself with a major, major dilemma on your hands. The question is: what constitutes 'due time'? When does pain become self-pity?
Self-pity is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It looks soft and fuzzy, but its fangs and claws will F#%*. YOU. UP. It postures as an ally. Believe me, it's not.
Big, fat *DISCLAIMER*: I'm no keep-on-the-sunny-side Polyanna. I'm of the firm belief that if you've recently undergone a heartbreak, you have *EVERY* right to feel like a living, breathing disaster. That said, remember — alone as you feel, you’re anything but. Heartbreak begets grief. Grief makes us human. And so, I welcome you to humanity, comrade. You’ve joined the ranks of millions of people who fought the good fight, put their soft, malleable hearts on the line, and tragically — yes, tragically — lost everything they so bravely dared to risk.
It sucks. It hurts like hell. I know it does. I really, genuinely do.
And so, when you've plunged down a rabbit hole so deep, you have no idea how you're going to make it back up... when you feel alienated from everyone and everything in your life... when you begin to doubt love, G-d, basic, human goodness, the people (or person) you once considered your salvation, your future, your instincts, your SELF... when you suspect that no one on this Earth has ever suffered quite as much as you're suffering right now... please bear in mind that human beings have experienced this particular breed of heartbreak, among many others, millennia before you even took your first breath. Pain is a deep, visceral experience — you don’t have to feel it as emptiness. Pain is universal — you don’t have to feel it as isolation.
My point, beautiful ones: You're absolutely, positively entitled to your pain.
That said, you're *equally* entitled to release it.
No matter what, you don't deserve to hurt this much for this long.
You're entitled to feel alive again.
You're entitled to pleasure.
You're entitled to happiness.
It's your birthright to love and be loved.
As a very wise person once said to me, “Things you can’t even imagine are already moving towards you. You just have to show up and be present to recognize them.”
Hold out. Hold on. Be brave, and show up for yourself in your own life.
Don't shut your eyes so tight that you miss the beauty all around you. And believe me -- there's a hell of a lot of beauty to be seen.
How have you coped with past heartbreaks? When (and how) do you draw the line and say that enough is [more than] enough?