Holding Your Heart Through Sadness and HeartbreakBy Dr. Margaret Paul
February 14, 2011
When you learn how to hold your heart with love and compassion, you will discover that you can feel peaceful and even alive and passionate about your life in the midst of the pain of life.
Does it seem like a paradox to you to feel both peaceful and sad at the same time?
Peaceful and Sad at the Same Time
When life events are challenging - a loved one is angry at you, you've ended a relationship, you've been fired from a job, a loved one has died - your heart hurts with the loneliness, heartbreak, grief, and helplessness over others and events, and from the sadness and sorrow of the situation.
You have 2 choices regarding how to handle these very painful feelings.
- You can do everything you can to avoid feeling them with your substance and process addictions - to food, drugs, alcohol, work, spending, sex, TV, Internet, daydreaming, anger, blame, withdrawal, people-pleasing, and so on.
- You can hold your heart, opening to the feelings with deep kindness and tenderness toward yourself.
When you do the first - avoid the feelings - you are abandoning yourself, which causes anxiety, depression, shame, anger, and/or emptiness.
When you do the second, you are loving yourself, connecting with yourself and with your spiritual Source of love, compassion and comfort. This creates an inner feeling of safety and peace, even in the midst of pain.
The Mistaken Choice
It is likely that you learned as a child many ways of avoiding feeling your painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, grief, and helplessness over others, as you were too little to manage these feelings yourself. Unless you had a parent who knew how to be there for you with deep love and compassion when you were hurting - an empathic parent who knew how to connect with you and your feelings - you had to learn to avoid them to survive.
However, now, as an adult, you can learn to manage the painful feeling of life. You can learn to give to yourself what your parents didn't know how to give to you - to become the loving parent to yourself that you still need. You can learn to hold your heart, bringing in the compassion and comfort of Spirit, giving yourself the caring, tenderness, gentleness, and understanding that you need to feel peaceful and safe in the midst of the pain.
It is a big mistake to believe that avoiding the pain is safer than embracing it - whether it's past pain or present pain. A member of Inner Bonding Village, who had been severely abused as a child, states:
The utter loneliness and heartbreak were more than my little self could bear. I really had thought that somehow I could heal without looking at this very dark corner of my being. Yes, like a large black hole where no sunlight could reach. So much anger and pain is here. It feels like I was thrown into a closet and locked in with both. Gratefully, I have found a safe place in which to begin finding those closeted children and bringing them into the light for healing. At one time, no one heard or believed what she had been through and survived but now, there is someone there to hear her cries, open the closet, pick her up, hold her tenderly, believe her, and be her mother.
That person, of course, is her. She is learning to be the loving parent that the wounded little children within need to heal. And, even in the midst of pain, she feels much more peaceful than she ever could by avoiding her pain.
Learn to hold your heart with love and compassion for yourself and you will learn that you can feel peaceful, and even alive and passionate about your life in the midst of the pain of life.
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Perfectionism is a form of control. "If I am perfect, then I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me." Life becomes much easier and more fun when we let go of having to be perfect and allow ourselves to be human.
By Dr. Margaret Paul