“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” ~ Pema Chodron
They say that love is complicated—but it’s not.
Love is simple and truthful and kind.
We are the ones who are complicated and who stumble around love, like flamingos in stilettos.
We are learning, all of us, how to navigate the purity of love without tripping over ourselves.
I wrote this with a romantic relationship in mind, but the healing process applies to any situation where our actions, intended or out of our control, contribute to the breaking of hearts.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.” ~ Pablo Neruda
Sometimes we get hurt in love, and sometimes we hurt others. Sometimes we rip open our vulnerable hearts and see them trampled ungracefully and ungraciously. Sometimes we’ve had enough.
When it is our turn to stand up for ourselves—when we finally reach that pivotal moment that secures our freedom from a lack-luster love—how do we deal with breaking that other heart?
Because it’s not always obvious to the one we love that we are hurting enough to leave. And it’s not easy for the one we must abandon to face their own broken heart either.
They may be brutally devoid of the capability to love us as we need to be loved, they may be masters of passive-aggressive behavior and strip us of our self-esteem, or they may be narcissists and deflect all the blame—or perhaps it is our own issues that break down the love-affair, or a bit of both, but no matter how it plays out, the one we leave will inevitably suffer before they heal.
The knowledge of that possibility often keeps us trapped in situations that make absolutely no sense, because we don’t want to hurt another human being.
So what can we learn from having to pluck up our courage and face hurting another?
If our own pain is so overwhelming that we simply don’t give a flying f*ck about the other person, leaving is made easier.
But what if we are sensitive to their situation, or what if we still love them deeply? What if our compassion for them as a human being overrides our own anger and hurt?
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” ~ Pema Chodron
What if we are empathetic to the hurt in their eyes when we announce the end of our relationship? What if our hand on the door leaves them broken and pleading? What if we almost crumble and stay, because we cannot face the pain of hurting them?
We are all human. Practicing detachment is not easy. Even if we can shut down our emotions, and pretend that we no longer care, after sharing love with someone, there are energetic bonds that need unraveling…