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How To Be With a Broken Heart

April 30, 2017



A Buddhist Perspective


In the Buddhist tradition, difficult situations can be a good thing.  (I know.)  It can wake you up and give you the opportunity to do the soul expanding personal growth that no one does until they have to.  Every chance we find ourselves in the fire is a chance to learn that we are warriors.  A chance to know that we have what it takes to accept life on life’s terms.  That we have what it takes to comfort ourselves.  That we have what it takes to keep growing.  If your purpose in life is to grow, to expand, then every face-plant into the carpet moment after a break up really is your ticket to ride.  (I know.)


1.     Give yourself time to fully have your feelings.  No one is going to go through heartbreak easily or quickly.  That would be called denial.  You can tell yourself (and your besties) that you have emotional mono, and that you will be better before too long.


2.     Learn to feel, and cut the story line.  This is the key ingredient.  Learn to cut the story!  Our body, which always tells the here and now truth, can recover from a broken heart much faster than our mind.  The mind likes to be right, and so it goes over and over the various aspects of the breakup, concretizing the particular aspects that fit our overall story about ourselves (everyone leaves, no one loves as much as I do, etc).  To cut the storyline we need to, first, notice that it’s happening.  Then we say “I’m not in the present”.  From here we can begin to shift our awareness to our physical body.  How are we actually feeling?  For me personally, the sadness itself can feel warm and extremely vulnerable. Now, I am truly with myself.  This is the brave stuff, to really feel what is happening.  So this part of the work happens over and over each time you become aware that the mind stories have taken over.  Come back to the present and fully be with your emotions and your body.


3.     Befriend yourself.  This is a time to treat yourself with massive amounts of TLC.  This might mean more sleep, food that is nurturing, connecting with friends.  While the impulse might be to over drink or binge on junk food, try to add in as much loving care as you can muster, caring for yourself as a mother does for a child.  This is actually what you are doing with yourself.  You are developing maître, which is loving kindness towards yourself.


4.     Experience your connection with all who are currently, and who have been, brokenhearted.  Really.  Think about others who have been in your position.  Think about all who are currently experiencing exactly what you are right now.  We are interconnected.  You are never alone.


5.     Celebrate being a part of the HUMAN race.  Living a full life means experiencing everything.  Building a gentle relationship to your pain will make more room for your joy when that time comes.  And yes, that day will feel like a miracle.  


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© 2018 Megan Murphy Psychotherapy.