By Courtney DeVon
You’ve just been through a break-up. You’re probably attempting to cope with a whirlwind of emotions ranging from anger to disappointment. The relationship you had such high hopes for didn’t go as planned. Besides dealing with real-time pain, anxiety about the future creeps in. Will you find someone else? And if you do, will you be able to open up your heart again?
The tendency to put up walls around your heart after a painful breakup is only natural. If you’ve ever had your heart broken in pieces, you may have said things to yourself like, “I’ll never be able to trust another man/woman again” or “I don’t need another partner in my life, it’s too much trouble”.
This type of defense mechanism plays out in many ways. It may show up as the rejection of dating altogether, or dating people you know aren’t right for you. After all, it’s safer to fall from a first story window than from the 100th floor. Your mind and broken heart may trick you into believing the best option is simply to never fall deeply in love again.
Of course you need time to grieve and explore life as a single person, but, if after an appropriate amount of time, you notice your defenses are still up, it’s time to rethink and take action. After all, even though this behavior may keep you “safe,” it will never get you the type of relationship you really want and deserve. As humans, true love is our lifeblood, and we need it to nourish our minds, bodies, and souls.
Here are three steps to opening your heart again after a painful breakup:
1. Focus on what you’ve gained.
No relationship, no matter how painful it ends, was a waste of time. Focus on what you learned about yourself and relationships, and how you can use your experience to become a better partner in the future. You were in the relationship for a reason– to teach you something! It may be helpful to spend some time journaling or in meditation to figure out the valuable lessons you’ve learned.
2. Treat yourself the way you want your future partner to treat you.
The people in our lives act as our mirrors. Therefore, opening your heart again to the possibility of love must begin by making sure you are fully loving yourself.
Questions to ask yourself: “Do I honor my feelings? Heed my intuition when I feel unsafe? Only speak well of myself, even in my own head? Take care of my mind, body, and spirit?”
Do you doubt yourself, judge yourself, or criticize yourself? What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you stay in relationships that you know aren’t right for you because you’re afraid of being alone? If you want someone to love you fully and unconditionally, you must first love yourself this way.
3. Remember: You create whatever you put your attention upon.
If your attention is on pain, pain is your reality. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want (to get hurt again), focus on what you do want. It could be true love, a respectful and kind partner, or a passionate romance. How can you fill your life with passion now? What are ways you can be more respectful and kind to yourself? How can you tend to the true love relationships that already exist in your life with friends and family? Sooner or later, the positive energy created by living this way will only attract more positivity to you in the form of the partner you’ve always wanted.
In the book “A Return to Love” Marianne Williamson says, “Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed, but can only be hidden.” If you fear the pain of a past relationship is going to destroy your chances of finding love again, remember that this is impossible. You can never lose love; you can only lose sight of it.