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The question of how to deal with heartbreak has sustained many industries through the ages – from witch doctoring to psychotherapy, vintners to self-help gurus. We all want to avoid the pain of a break up, numb it and forget it as swiftly as possible.
But what if there was something to be gained from the pain of a break-up? Something we would be cheating ourselves out of by avoiding it? Can we really know joy without ever having experienced pain? Happiness without sadness and, indeed, love without heartbreak? I think not.
People adopt many different strategies following a break up – sedation via drink/drugs, oblivion via a new lover, or denial that their ex ever meant that much to do them, hoping that they will convince themselves that they never really loved them anyway. The later is the most ineffectual approach and the most damaging as the heart only ‘feels’, it cannot understand nor be taken in by these words we try and deceive ourselves with.
You need to feel pain before you can move on
So is there then no hope for the heartbroken? It may be a cliché but time helps heal most wounds. While the lapse of weeks and months help dull the pain, it also allows ourselves time to grieve. I’ve worked with many clients who were nursing broken hearts. Many try and distract themselves but I’ve witnessed time and time again that if we really want to get over heartache (or indeed any other grief) we must firstly allow ourselves to feel it. It may seem easier to distract ourselves away from the pain but by employing those coping techniques we aren’t being honest with ourselves. The first step in healing is to engage with the pain, to recognise it, to acknowledge what we have lost. Only by doing that can we hope to move on.
How to deal with heartbreak: the key is to learn
Failing to do this, we simply carry our heartbreak like excess baggage to our next relationship. This is why many of us feel like we are constantly rehashing the same relationship patterns, the partner changes but the roles remain the same and so the play continues. If we are to learn and grown from our relationships (and indeed our subsequent heartbreak when they end), we need to recognise what was good in them and what was bad, so that we can move towards creating an enduring relationship that we can grow and be nurtured in.
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EliteSingles editorial, June 2014