How to love again
“Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” Glennon Doyle Melton
If you’ve found yourself praying on the bathroom floor, crying in the shower or curled up in bed never wanting to face the world again, you know what a gut-wrenching heartbreak can do to you.
When I realized my relationship was falling apart, I felt hopeless and powerless, like I was a complete disappointment and failure.
This led to grief and crying. I doubted my very existence. However, through this experience, I changed careers, changed jobs, changed cities and changed myself!
I found myself in therapy and meditation, started a blog about heartbreak and basically opened myself to all kinds of healing.
Once you’ve gone through a life-crushing, soul-awakening experience like heartbreak, you end up in one of two places.
You realize that you survived the knife that pierced your heart, you patch up the wound and you get back out there with more determination to find love again.
Or you climb into a deep hole, hope no one sees you again and wonder if you can disappear into the ether. You vow to never date again, love again or find yourself in another relationship.
Of course, if you hide and protect yourself, you’ll also miss the rich experiences of love and relationships.
Here are 7 roadblocks you’ve likely encountered on the way back to love and how to open your heart again.
1. Scared you’ll suffer hurt again.
If you’re heartbroken and in pain, like I was after my long-term relationship, you’ll vow to never put yourself in that situation again. You’ll vow never to be vulnerable again or to take risks again because you don’t want to feel the hurt again. You don’t want to feel hopeless and like the world is going to end for you.
Your experience has scarred you so much you’d rather put up walls and avoid love altogether than put yourself out there and meet new people.
You’re allowing your fears and your past to run your life.
Here’s what I’ve learned. I can experience and survive the most hurtful pain like heartbreak and come out alive! I can survive it and bounce back.
If you have survived your deepest pain, you have nothing to lose. Yes, it might hurt if the absolute worst happens. On the other hand, opening your heart can lead to connection and joy.
2. Fear that you’ll make the wrong decision.
After my marriage ended in divorce, I woke up to the conclusion that I had made a series of decisions that had led to utter and total failure! How could I ever trust myself or make the right decision about my life if all my previous decisions had led to one of the most rock-bottom moments of my life?
What I realized is that this is life, and in life, nothing is really the end until it’s the end.
Wrong decisions, bad decisions, and foolhardy decisions can only lead to lessons, learning, and growth. The worst things to happen to you give you wisdom and experience. The more you screw up in life, the better you get at life!
The more wrong decisions you’ve made, the better you get at making the right decisions. Because I now know who’s not compatible with me, I know exactly who’s right for me. Previous bad decisions give you clarity and better judgment for the next parts of your life.
If an ex was unfaithful to you in the past or broke up the relationship after promising unending love, you’re going to be a lot more dubious about people’s intentions.
If one person you trusted broke your trust, why would you trust again?
You don’t have to learn to trust other people. You already have the experience of whom to trust and whom not to trust.
You just have to learn to trust yourself. You can’t go wrong when you go with your instincts. Usually, you’re listening to your fears and your expectations.
Both are not real.
The more you trust yourself, the better you’ll get at trusting in relationships.
4. Repeating your old stories.
Whatever happened in your past relationships, you’ll come to believe that it’s your truth. It doesn’t matter if only one person rejected you, didn’t call you back or cheated on you; you’ll hold onto this story for life. You’ll replay the story over and over, remind yourself about the pain someone else’s actions caused you and feel anxious about the same patterns unfolding again.
To get past your old stories, remind yourself that a story is simply a story. It’s a story your mind created to make sense of the past. The story might have come out of your anger or fear. It’s likely not true. You can retell a new story about the past. You can find new lessons from those stories and come up with more empowering takeaways.
Yes, the relationship may have ended but it paved the way to more peace and joy. It led the way to your being single again and finding a more compatible partner for yourself.
If you were the person who faced rejection in the relationship or the person who didn’t initiate the breakup, and if you don’t take rejection well, you’re going to doubt your self-worth and existence.
You start to believe that because one person rejected you and broke up with you, you’re unworthy and not good enough for anyone.
Again, this is a belief your mind loves to cling onto. If you hold onto the belief that you’re not good enough, you don’t have to try again. You don’t have to take risks and you don’t have to open your heart again.
Change the narrative. Use affirmations and activities to boost your self-esteem. Surround yourself with positive people to boost your belief in yourself.
You don’t have to base your worthiness on one ex or what one person did to you.
All the relationship magazines tell you what to look for. Society, movies and even your friends have created this picture of what your ideal mate should look like.
You have these categories, check boxes, and lists of what you want in your ideal partner. This person has shown up in your visualizations and you’ve listed in your dating profiles those qualities you want in a companion.
There is no worse sickness for the soul, O you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection. The heart and eyes must bleed a lot before self-complacency falls away. ~ Rumi
Unfortunately, the perfect partner doesn’t exist and you’re not going to get everything you want. You might be ruling out people who are compatible with you simply because they don’t have a certain quality or fit a certain requirement.
Give more people a chance and find out if the things that matter are compatible. Do your values align? Are you heading in the same direction in life? Do your personalities fit?
Let go of superficial check-box qualities and take a chance on people who may not immediately fit the bill.
7. Soaking up the comfort of being single.
After you’ve been single for a while, you get comfortable with the idea of being single. Singlehood means less messiness, less heartbreak, and less uncertainty. You’re in charge of your life, you get to make your own decisions and you live the life you want.
If you’re truly happy, embrace singlehood. If you’re not, you’re robbing yourself of genuine connections and deep relationships. I’m not going to lie. I’ve found that relationships come with pain, hurt and uncertainty. On the other hand, relationships also involve love, connection, and intimacy.
Nothing will help you grow as a person and grow spiritually as much as a relationship will. A relationship may be outside your comfort zone but all learning, growth, and expansion happen in those places where we are most uncomfortable.
The more uncomfortableness and uncertainty you’re willing to experience, the more depth and growth you’ll have in life.
And this is how you can learn to love again… What about you? Do you think it is possible to open your heart and love again after you’ve been hurt? You can share your comment in the comment section below 🙂