Tag Archives: ruin

Wisdom Hides Behind a Broken Heart

25 Feb

I once read a reply from an Islamic scholar to a question from a Muslim, and I was torn between laughing and feeling sad. The question was a very practical one. “What to do when your heart gets broken?” To be honest, that’s not the kind of question I would ask a sheikh, but this Muslim took his chances. The answer from the sheikh was “A broken heart doesn’t exist in Islam, because relationships outside of marriage are not allowed.” Then he went on explaining why relationships are not allowed, completely beside the point.
Well, mr. Sheikh, I’m glad that you are so happy in marriage that you never experienced the pains of losing a lover, but for the rest of us mere mortals, this experience does actually exist. I think a broken heart is universal, and doesn’t only come from extramarital relationships. Your spouse can hurt you too, cheat on you, leave you, divorce you and tear the ground under your feet away, until you’re left in ruins.

Ruin is not always bad, however. Sometimes everything needs to be wiped away in order to be able to start over. You might even feel relieved after the worst pain is over, because you realise that your partner didn’t make you happy after all.
So what are some things you can do after your world fell apart?

1. Stay away from your ex for at least 6 months

This might sound harsh and impossible to do, but it’s very important in order to get over someone. No matter how sad and lost you feel, do not contact him/her. Your ex-partner can’t comfort you, no matter how much you want everything to be all right again.
You need a clear head, and you need to avoid being consumed by the hope that everything might be ok again. If you keep on speaking with him/her you might stay stuck in this phase for a very long time, hoping and waiting.
Keep your dignity and self-respect, and don’t show your ex-partner your suffering. You’ll be glad about this later, trust me.

2. Keep a journal

Express your feelings, and try to write daily in a journal that no one else is able to read. It will not judge you for yet again writing that you miss him/her, that you are still sad even after all this time, and that you still want him/her back. You can also follow up on the progress that you made this way. Don’t let your grief stay inside, pour it out over the pages, knowing that there is nothing you can’t write about, because there’s no one there to judge you.

3. Seek support from around you

You don’t have to go through this alone. Confide in your closest friends and family and cry on their shoulders. You would do the same for them, so don’t feel guilty. Their views and comforting words might change your perspective on things, and give you hope for a new start. This is also a period in which you can discover who your real friends are. If they aren’t there for you now, you need to draw your conclusions.

3. Give yourself time

Don’t be hasty. Give yourself time to mourn over the loss of your loved one. Give yourself time to create new habits that don’t include him/her. Mostly we miss someone because we were used to spending time with him/her. They were┬áingrained┬áin our habits, and they left an aching emptiness that needs to be filled. This will take time. You might feel you’ll never be able to live without your ex, but time will tell a different story. You were fine before he/she came into your life, and you will be fine again.
In an episode from Sex&the City one of the characters, Charlotte, said that it takes half the time you dated someone to get over him/her. While this is a very simplistic view to be sure, it does indicate that this pain will not pass in a week. Do not ask of yourself to be over him/her in a couple of days. Be gentle with your heart, and give yourself all the time you need, even if it seems longer than “normal”. What’s normal anyway?

4. Do things for yourself

This is the time to come back to yourself. Focus on you. Do things that you like and that make you feel good. Broaden your horizon and make the best of your extra free time. You might have been so caught up in the relationship that you completely forgot about yourself and your needs. This is the perfect time to make up for it, and to get to know yourself better. The overall message is to be kind and gentle to yourself. Don’t push yourself into things you don’t feel ready for, but do strive to not stay stuck in the feeling of loss and unhappiness.

5. Pray

Seek comfort in your faith, and let your heart be filled with a higher kind of love and peace, the kind that comes from God. Personally I believe that this is essential to rebuild your life. Stay close to God, and take every day as it comes. Pray for your ex. This is the best way to let go of any angry and revengeful feelings you might have towards him/her. Trust me, it might feel good to hate your ex-partner, but the only person you are hurting with this is yourself. Try to forgive your ex by praying for his/her well-being, so you can let go and move on with your life. Forgiving him/her doesn’t mean that you have to let him/her back into your life. Not at all. It just means that you let go of all the resentment and anger that’s eating you up inside, and go back to a healthy way of living.

6. Learn your lesson

Use this time to figure out what went wrong in your relationship (without putting the blame on yourself or him/her). What did you endure from your partner that you shouldn’t have and why? Do you see a pattern? What are some things that you can work on to improve yourself?
Don’t go rushing into another relationship/marriage before you thought these things through. Make sure you learned from your mistakes. Maybe you need to adjust the type of partner you are looking for in order to not experience the same hurt again. Take your time. It’s not a shame to be single, but a great opportunity to learn new things about yourself.

6. See the blessings behind the suffering

Try to be aware of the good things coming from this change. A painful experience like this will certainly make you wiser. Try to keep track of your insights by writing them down. Be proud of yourself for how much stronger you have become.
Maybe, when all this is over, you might even be grateful for what you went through, because it gave you the gift of wisdom and strength.
Don’t forget to thank God for all the blessings He gave you, even if there seem to be very few.

7. Look for inspiration

There are a lot of works of art out there that might give your heart some rest.
I will end this post with a poem that deals very beautifully with the concept of being alone again.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

– Derek Walcott