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Looking Forward to Looking Back

Woman having fun with a VR headset

Do you remember when you thought you might never breathe properly again? That it would always hurt? That you would always know exactly where your heart was located because of that incessant pain in your chest, lump in your throat and nausea in the pit of your stomach? Do you remember when you thought that life could not possibly go on? Heartbreak hurts. Whether it occurs in the form of the loss of a relationship, the loss of a person or the loss of something else one holds dear – it hurts. Initially it consumes one. It makes it hard to reason, hard to see hope for the future, hard to go on as usual as a vital ingredient that we once attributed to contributing to our happiness is now gone.

 

There are all kinds of heartbreak. The ones we bring upon ourselves through neglect, selfishness, lack of foresight, laziness, etc. There are the ones that we do not see coming in situations we apparently did not fully understand. There are the ones that are even harder to analyse or unravel. There are the ones where we are powerless to change anything or alter the outcome because we have no control over the situation. Heartbreak occurs in many forms and for many reasons, yet there’s a certain component that is common to all heartbreaking situations. No matter the form of heartbreak, our hearts are not in fact porcelain dishes that can be smashed beyond recognition or repair – no, the heart is in fact a muscle.

 

No matter how dark or dire the situation feels, put your finger on your pulse. This is proof that your heart is still pumping blood throughout your body, therefore your muscle still works and it can be strengthened. It is not broken, perhaps just bruised, maybe extremely badly so. However you have the pulse to prove you are not shattered beyond repair, you have the pulse to prove that there is life and therefore hope. Cry if you want to, reflect because you need to, but know that no matter what has happened – life is going on and this is good. You do not need to pretend it does not hurt, to brush past the pain or to put on a happy face without going through how you feel. Feel it and go through it, just ensure you grow through it too. Let the pain serve a purpose.

 

Heartbreak can be useful. When the heart breaks it aches, and this is a good indicator for us. Where does it hurt? Why does it hurt there? It can serve to put things in perspective, allow us to rediscover ourselves and our purpose, or highlight what is truly important in our lives. It can show us our weaknesses, teach us how to better apply ourselves to love (the people we love, the things we love, etc). Heartbreak allows us to strip away any facades and address our true emotions, our real expectations and our undiluted desires. It is an opportunity to be more sincere, to connect or reconnect in a more earnest way, to dig deeper and do better. Whether that better is at being a better partner (to the same or next person), being a better custodian of your own heart (guarding it and giving it away with discretion), or being more passionate and diligent about the things we love so that we do not lose future relationships or opportunities.
Let us be strengthened by the fact that heartbreak does not literally mean heart break. Muscles cannot break. Therefore this heart of yours which aches can be passionate again, it can love again. Even now, on its darkest day it continues to beat and it remains strong. It is not broken, it is not irreparable. If it is not your first heartbreak you will remember a time when you felt like life as you knew it was over yet colour eventually seeped back into your temporarily dark world. With the passage of time, the gaining of wisdom, perhaps specific actions taken on your part to rectify the situation and revive yourself and/or the acceptance of a new chapter life did in fact go on. And so it will go on again. Sometimes you find what you never knew you always needed at the most opportune time. Sometimes you lose what you never should have had and only realize in retrospect. Sometimes pain holds deep lessons, motivation, growth and silver linings – look out for them. In the meantime hold on, heal and realize you are stronger than you feel and this pain too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

Zeni St. John

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