Have you ever been in love? Madly in love? With someone you couldn’t be with? Or someone you fought with?
Maybe he or she didn’t have reciprocal feelings. Or there was a core incongruence – like he lived on the other side of the country or she wanted kids, or a consistent issue that convoluted the simple truth that you loved each other.
- Did you fall into self-pity for weeks or months on end?
- Did you give yourself over to the other person’s dreams?
- Or did you say, fuck it, this is too hard, and shut down all feelings?
These are the three most common responses – self-victimize, self-betray, or shut down – when we experience heartbreak. All are attempts to mitigate hard feelings.
What if instead of trying to diminish such feelings, we do something else?
- What if we allow ourselves to feel heartbreak crack us open?
- Absorb the sting of feeling love without being able to fulfill it?
- Deepen into feeling, separate from fantasies of what could be?
- Feel the burn of love like medicine, stretching open our heart, knowing that we are expanding our human-capacity to feel deeply without falling apart?
Together or not, unfulfilled love offers us the gift of the burn.
And let’s be clear. The burn is a form of your aliveness – your sensitivity and capacity to feel fearlessly as a human being, your ability to be alone in great love with your “broken” self, to recalibrate your perception of strength, rooted in falling apart.
But you must trust yourself to fully express the light that lives in you – and know it has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s all on you. The depth of your grief is the depth of your love. I hurt so much because I love so much.
After feeling the burn of love authentically, you then know that you are not the burn. Having become it, you are more able to separate from it. You know the burn is an effect, an impact of living dangerously, to love deeply in this life. The burn is a gift testing your love for yourself.
In this process, the soul comes online, emboldened. You got this, it says. You can endure the burn. Falling into a heap is done for now. An authentic love for self and other develops – grounded in a capacity to feel the hardest of feelings.
And in this space, you learn to separate the projection – she’s so amazing, I don’t want to live without her, he completes me – from the truth of you, that you are a complete person, with a capacity to break.
This is the processing of raw data in the heart system, without attaching to it. Big presence. Step up. Not knowing if, but trusting, that you will be ok.
A foundation of strength gets built by just doing it – feeling the burn. Any and all hard feelings – shame, anxiety, fear – give us this opportunity.
Self-relationship warrior, you got this. Self-relationship is your true power.
A version of this post was previously published and is republished here with permission from the author.
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