“Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have is not permanent.” ~Jean Kerr
Here’s the thing no one tells you about dating—it sucks. The uncertainty, the inconsistency, the stress. Dating has always been easy for me. Or so I thought.
The more I think back, the more I see I accepted things I really shouldn’t have in all of my relationships. I allowed my needs to be put last, I took on blame, and I stayed when I wasn’t made a priority. For what reason I am still not entirely sure. But I can tell you this: When you meet someone in your late twenties that you believe you will spend your life with, you think you have it all figured out.
And then you find yourself thirty and single.
Dating in New York is hard. Just watch any Sex and the City episode. But what’s harder is learning how to sit with yourself. Learning how to take the risk of feeling the true depths of loneliness and fear—the fear of being alone, fear that no one will want you, fear of never being enough.
But this is not about dating. No, this is about heartbreak.
What do you do when you find yourself single after years in a relationship? You cry. You scream. You fall apart.
Throughout the past year, I have done a lot of sitting with myself. And you know what? It’s horrible. It is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. Imagine sitting on the floor, unable to pick yourself up, crying so hard your insides seem like they are coming out.
That was me. Being picked up off the floor by my parents.
Every part of me was shattered. Daily functioning was nearly impossible, and I couldn’t go an hour without crying. The man I loved with every part of me wasn’t going to be with me anymore.
Then came the self-blame. I had been in relationships before, but this was the first man I pictured a life with. This was my fault; I wasn’t what he needed and I needed to fix this. This played in my mind over and over again.
Anxiety took hold, and I was on a crusade to reach him and talk to him. Every attempt drove me deeper and deeper into a black hole of sadness. Until one day I just stopped trying to reach him.
Over the past year, we have popped in and out of each other’s lives in some way. You might think that would make this all less painful. I did. But after every time we spoke, I was back down the rabbit hole of darkness.
I tried everything I could think of to make the pain stop. I read all the articles, I read books, I got a pet, I meditated, I continued therapy, I put my all into going out with my friends, and in the silence the emotions still flooded me.
The irony to all of this is I am a mental health professional, yet in the deep darkness of sadness, I couldn’t pull myself out. Here’s the biggest realization: You can’t make it stop.
Severe heartbreak changes you. I don’t remember who I was fully before him. But I know who I am after him.
To this day whenever my anxiety rises, I pick up my phone to call him. Do something different. Write, read, call someone else. Changing the pattern is hard but worth it.
I will always have a permanent scar on my heart. I can point to it and show you exactly where my heart broke. Today it is stitched together. There are parts that are healed and parts where the sadness still comes through.
You have to feel it. The intense emotion, the despair, the elation. It all plays a role in healing.
I think I may always have moments of what could have been, but here today I am opening myself up to let the light in. To allow the possibility of someone else into my life.
Here is what I have learned on my journey of healing so far.
1. Don’t accept less than what you think you deserve.
2. You will never be too much.
3. You are enough.
4. You are worthy.
5. Some days just kind of suck.
When you finally have stopped crying, the wind tends to blow thirty degrees to the left and boom, you are standing in the middle of a parking lot, tears running down your face. That’s okay. Accept it, live in it, and set it free.
I didn’t see how I could go on without him in my life. Sometimes I still have moments of this. The memories flood my mind, my eyes well up with tears, and the pain in my chest makes me feel like my heart will explode any second.
It gets better.
Through all of this I have met some truly wonderful people and have discovered my badass inner warrior. I have found myself again and I am nourishing her daily. That means taking a moment to meditate in the morning, going for reiki healing, realigning my chakras, reading books, writing, and just stopping to let myself feel.
Here I am today speaking my truth. A truth of love, light, heartache, pain and everything in between.
My advice to you—breathe in, breathe deep, feel all of it, cry it out, laugh it out, embrace every single feeling. One day it all starts to feel normal again, and one day your heart will be open. You cannot wish it away no matter how hard you try.
Setbacks are part of the process. Allow yourself the space to feel horribly sad and then pick up and keep going. It doesn’t matter what direction you are going in, just move.
Lean in it. Feel it. Breathe it. Be it. Let it go.