Anyone who’s ever heard the love of their life say, “We’re done!” will understand how it feels to have your chest caved in with a bludgeon.
It’s not just the rejection that crushes you.
You’ll fight memories and old habits, many of which you formed together.
You will wear out your soul while reliving the moment he/she rejected you, a thousand times each day.
It’ll hurt so much you will sometimes wish for death on yourself, and later on, you’ll wish it on the leaving party who is causing you so much pain.
The pain is intense and it has no remorse.
While dealing with the pains of heartbreak, people repress feelings. In a bid to escape the pain, they stifle themselves and shut the emotions in and out.
True, some people feel things deeply, much deeper than others. And negative, painful feelings have a way of weighing us down, even dangerously so. But something I learned from watching Inside Out, Pixar’s incredibly moving animation, was that sorrow is as much a part of life as joy. (If you’re yet to see Inside Out, you should fix that right away).
You can’t wish or pray sorrow away. Recite all the motivational quotes from now till Aristotle’s grave turns over, sorrow will continue to be a part of our human existence.
Knowing that sorrow is part of our journey will stop you from panicking when it shows up. You’ll take it in stride.
I used to hate sorrow. It sapped my energy and made me unable to think straight. I’d shut down, convince myself it wasn’t such a big deal and that was the end of it. I’d struggle with the pain for about three days, and each time the thoughts showed up, I’d nix them right in the bud.
I felt better. At least, I thought I did. I went back to getting work done.
But these things found other ways of expressing themselves. More painful and devastating ways.
Perhaps more importantly, repression changes you in ways you didn’t bargain for. You lose a part of you.
You become hard. You lose your wonder, your quest for adventure and love.
Love eventually becomes transactional – nothing goes for nothing. It seems wiser and safer to be economical with love. You don’t realize you just settled on an even more twisted version of Machiavelli’s theory – the end justifying the means.
But is this the end you wanted? Deprived of love, the selfless, rapturous kind that storytellers and musicians have spun tales and ballads about. You become the centre of your own universe, your focus is you, your feelings, your wants, your plans, you you you.
Love has left you. And it didn’t leave a forwarding address.
So yeah, repression works, granting you short term benefits but in the long run, it leaves you worse off.
So instead of repression, try embracing the pain.
Sit down and have a good cry. Stress eat. Load up your playlist and play all the love songs, imagining how right or wrong the singers were. Look at the stars and yell at God. Reach towards your friends’ shoulder and soak it with tears.
Let pain find expression. The heart knows how to heal itself and will tell you when it’s ready.
It’s hard, I know. It hurts, I know that too.
But I also know that it’s all part of what makes love worth it eventually.
Photo Credit: MaleCodependence