"ATTACHMENT IS THE ROOT OF SUFFERING. ATTACHMENT IS ALSO THE ROOT OF ECSTASY."
I have both had the experience of coaching people through heartbreak and have experienced heartbreak myself. I am pretty confident it is an unavoidable part of the human experience. Today I want to talk a little bit about reframing heartbreak and loving through it.
Love, specifically romantic love, is something spectacular. The search for love represents that convoluted journey where we are realizing we are love inside while still searching for it outside in partners, friendships, jobs, addictions, life, etc.
The experience of love with a partner is the ultimate paradox because it is the integration of light and darkness, heaven and hell, ecstasy and pain. We fall in love with someone and then over time we experience the whole person we have fallen in love with... divinity and humanity, their gifts and their baggage. In relationship, we experience the parts we love and the parts of the other that challenge us to grow into more unconditionally loving beings.
I read a blog once and the wise lady shared a well known Buddhist quote that says, "Attachment is the root of suffering." In true paradox form she added something brilliant to that by saying, "Attachment is also the root of ecstasy."
Essentially what that means is that our bond to another can cause us to experience incredible highs and very low lows, and that you can't experience one without the other.
Falling in love with imperfect people and being imperfect ourselves means that we will experience pain in relationships. Sometimes that pain is so brutal we want to lash out and erase the memory of that person or replace that memory with other things or people. Numbing out the pain or distracting from it though, is a ticking time bomb, that pain will find its expression one way or another.
I don't know that there is anyway to avoid that pain but to simply go through it. Instead of fearing it, as intense as it is, we need to feel it, overlaying it with the understanding that it comes with the territory, that it too will pass.
I've come to a place in life where I see this as coming hand in hand with being in relationship. If I love, the very vulnerability brought about with that love exposes me to a greater possibility of being hurt. Maybe pain isn't the enemy, but the stories we tell ourselves about that pain.
Some of us have been so hurt by disappointments in love that the temptation is to close off to love, but is that really an alternative? To not love? To hide? To punish? To withdraw our love from the world?
No, that is a hell in and of itself.
I think maybe an answer is not in trying to avoid heartbreak, in building an armour around ourselves so thick our heart remains untouched, isolated, dying a slow painful death. I think a better way lies in the way we frame the story around heartbreak and in the way we process heartbreak. One way we often frame heartbreak, for example, is with the story of rejection. We feel rejected, therefore we believe we are rejected, which translates to believing we aren't enough or something is wrong with us.
There is always room to grow and become better partners but that has no bearing on our self value. We cannot ultimately be rejected if we fully embrace and accept ourselves.
So, if you are going through heartbreak, feel the pain, take good care of yourself and reframe the story around your heartbreak. It can take time, but you will come through.
And to end with one last simple truth: We can also choose better... A LOT BETTER. The healthier we become as people and partners, the clearer we become about who we are and what we desire in a partner, the better choices we will make.