Monday, January 17, 2011

My take on heartbreak

It has occurred to me that the very act of loving someone, deeply, truly and from your soul, is heartbreak. You give a piece of your heart to that person, and for so long as s/he is close, the break goes unnoticed. But when that relationship ends and the person is no longer by your side, the pain reveals itself and the word "heartbroken", as it is commonly understood, enters into the dialog. As always, I draw from what I know.

I've been blessed with a very passionate, intense, eye-opening love in my life for the last several months, a love that, quite frankly, has been tested, and tested me, from the very beginning. I handed over a piece of my heart without a second thought, expecting nothing but the same in return. But how is that nothing? It is actually everything. And sometimes, everything is just more than some people can give. Sometimes your version of everything is quite different from the other person's. When faced with that, you either accept it and find a way to make the best of things, or you recognize that it is not going to be enough to sustain you and walk away. I tried the former, because pure, profound, delicious love lets you do that for a while. Love amps up your own supply of patience, understanding, flexibility, tolerance, compassion, whatever is needed to help you compensate for your beloved. That's part of what love is about, giving more at times and doing so with grace. But we all have our limits, and ultimately love needs reciprocity in relatively equal measure over the long run. Love needs both lover and beloved to be on the same page, as it were. If there is too great of an imbalance or disconnect for too long, you may find it best to choose the latter option and walk away. You'll know in your heart when you reach that point, and if you listen to it carefully, your heart will always guide you in the right direction. That direction may seem incredibly scary or painful when you start heading in it, but that doesn't make it wrong. That's the point I found myself at.

I could place blame in order to make my decision easier to swallow, substituting anger for the scary and painful feelings. Why do you think most stories have a good guy and a bad guy? Blame the bad guy, of course! But in life, and love in particular, that isn't always so. Many times, when a love ends, there are no bad guys. There are two people who tried, who loved, but who just couldn't get it quite right, whether because of timing or circumstances or any number of reasons. While that isn't always easy to accept, at least not for me, I've come to believe it is true. With my ex-husband, it took me quite a while to release blame and instead see that we were just not meant to be. We just recently sat down to our first meal as friends, two years after we first split, and it was incredibly gratifying to see how far we'd come and that there are no bad guys. With A. I'm making my peace with the fact that our timing is off, and so no matter how much love we share, it isn't meant to be right now. I'm doing this early enough on so that it will hopefully spare us greater heartache than is absolutely necessary. Why would heartache be necessary at all, you might ask? Well, I believe it is because we need to revere love lost as the incredible teacher that it is. If it didn't ache to lose love, would we really take the time to reflect and learn the lessons we are meant to learn in these instances? If you can just walk away from love without feeling some pain, was it really love to begin with?

So right now I'm a little heartbroken, and I can accept that. I've given a piece of myself to someone I love, and for a while we walked alongside one another on our respective paths. Our paths have diverged. I am better for it because I have learned and experienced so much good through this relationship. I hope he feels the same, if not immediately then eventually. There is hurt, there is sadness, there is longing. I feel them all very acutely, but I can tolerate them, I can tolerate heartbreak, because gratitude is stronger. I'm thankful for this opportunity I've had with A. to love and to connect, to enrich and be enriched. And along with gratitude, I have faith that more love, connection and enrichment are to come.

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