Great Advice for the BrokenHearted+comment
You may know author Elizabeth Gilbert from the best-seller and global phenomenon “Eat, Pray, Love.” Whatever your feelings on the book (I loved) or the subsequent Julia Roberts movie (I hated), Gilbert is a very honest and authentic writer.
“Eat, Pray, Love” detailed Gilbert’s attempt to get over the heartbreak of her divorce through her travels and lessons learned while living in Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Bail (Love). Recently, Gilbert wrote a post on her Facebook page for the brokenhearted. Personally, I recommend following her Facebook page, but only if you’re into smart, strong women who post inspiring and positive things. Otherwise, you might not enjoy it.
Back to the point, below is the letter she penned to those getting over heartbreak. As we all know (or most of us do), a broken heart sucks. Actually, the word sucks is too minimal to express the pain and anguish that comes with losing someone you love. And I think if you’re going through it now, or can reflect on the time that you did, this letter is pretty wonderful.
Enjoy! – Claudia
A LETTER TO THE BROKENHEARTED
Dear Ones -
There are 376,549 of you on this page. Based on my casual calculations, approximately 50,000 of you have broken hearts right now.
If you are among the brokenhearted today, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I know what you are feeling. There’s a hole in center of your chest that nobody can see, and it feels like your soul is leaking right through it. You either cannot sleep at all, or you sleep all day. You either cannot eat at all, or you cannot stop eating. You are either dead numb, or you cannot stop sobbing. You are either incapable of working, or terrified that somebody will make you stop working and then you will have to focus on your terrible sorrow.
You have been betrayed, abandoned, lied to…or maybe your lover did absolutely nothing wrong — except not to love you anymore.
The bottom has fallen out of your life. Your dreams have been shattered. You don’t know how you can survive this.
I guarantee you — we have all been there. Every single one of us. And if we could survive it, you can, too.
I know, I know — you think your story is special, and that your heartbreak is worse than anyone’s. You’re right — it is. But it also isn’t. (We all thought our heartbreaks were special, too. And we were all right. But we were also all wrong.)
Today’s assignment is for all of us who have been through heartbreak it to share our stories of how we made it safely to the other side, in order to inspire the brokenhearted.
Will everyone do this today? Out of love and a sense of fellowship to the sad and the lonely?
I’ll start. Here goes:
As for my story…well, anyone with a few bucks to buy a copy of EAT PRAY LOVE knows my story. But I will tell you about one particular moment that really helped to change and guide me.
One night, unable to sleep and unable to stop crying, I took out a notebook and started having a two-way conversation with the universe about my broken heart. I had just lost somebody whom I truly thought I could not live without, and I simply couldn’t bear it.
I wrote: “Help me.”
Then some other part of me, maybe an older and wiser part, wrote in reply: “What do you want?”
I wrote: “I want him.”
The other voice within me responded: “Why?”
I wrote: “Because he makes me happy.”
The other voice wrote: “Really? Because it sure doesn’t look like it to me. Are you happy right now, for instance?”
I had to admit: “No. I’m fucking miserable.”
The voice: “Then how can you sit here and tell me that this person is the key to your happiness? Because all evidence seems point in the exact opposite direction.”
Me: (No answer. Sulking.)
The voice: “Now let’s try this question again. Tell me — what is it that you want?”
Me, stubbornly: “I want to be with him again — but I want it to be the way it used to be, back when he used to make me happy.”
The voice: “OK, first of all — that’s not happening. Never gonna happen. It’s over. You aren’t allowed to seek your happiness in the past, because that’s impossible. No matter how beautifully and romantically it started, the end result was that he wrecked you. So let’s get straight with that. Secondly — do you honestly think the universe is so limited, and that God is so boring and unimaginative that the only pathway for your happiness is through THIS GUY WHO BROKE YOUR HEART? Or is it possible that something bigger and more glorious is waiting out there for you?”
Me: (No answer. Still sulking a little bit. But not crying anymore.)
The Voice: “Now, please tell me — why did this person make you so happy in the first place, before he broke your heart?”
Me: “Because he made me feel beautiful and special, and he made the world feel like a place of infinite possibility.”
The Voice: “OK, that’s helpful information. So, setting this person aside, what I hear you saying is that you want to feel beautiful and special, and you want to feel as if the world is a place of infinite possibility.”
The Voice: “Then I ask you again: Do you honestly think the universe is so limited, and that God is so boring and unimaginative, that the only way you could ever feel beautiful, or special, or like the world is a place of infinite possibility, is through THIS GUY WHO BROKE YOUR HEART? Doesn’t that seem unlikely? Doesn’t that make the universe seem awfully small? Or is there perhaps another pathway to glory for you?”
Me: (hesitantly) “Maybe…”
The Voice: “I will allow you to chase happiness. I will allow you to chase beauty and specialness and wonder. I will allow you to chase a sense of infinite possibility. But never again will I allow you to chase any of those things through the pathway of another human being. Because my universe is a lot bigger than the limitations any mere mortal being, and so is yours. I will even allow you fall in love again, if you are lucky enough to find it. But whether another man ever holds you in his arms and tells you that he loves you or not, I will NEVER again let you believe that your happiness and your sense of your own sacredness and the world’s glory is dependent upon anybody outside of yourself and your relationship with the divine. I REFUSE to let you live inside such a small and limited mindset. So let’s ask the question one more time, and this time, don’t bullshit me with a tiny answer: What do you really want, Liz?”
Me: “I want to be happy.”
The Voice: “Good. That’s better. So let’s go chase ourselves some fucking happiness now, shall we?”
SO…that’s where my healing began, dear ones. And after that came a lot of questions to myself about what REALLY makes me feel happy, makes me feel light and possible and free…which turned out to be things like learning how to speak Italian, and practicing yoga, and being kind to people, and eating spaghetti, and talking to God, and discovering great teachers (living and dead) and following ancient pathways of wisdom wherever they led me, and challenging my creativity, and expanding my curiosity and my compassion…and slowly, slowly, slowly my world grew bigger than my own tiny little broken heart, and I began to feel beautiful and special, and I started to believe that the universe was a place of infinite possibility…
…and now I am here.
Living and shit.
And it is all so good.
So tell us, fellow survivors of shattered dreams — how did you get past YOUR heartbreak?
And as for all of you who are suffering from broken hearts today — we love you. We have been there. But you have to believe us: your world is so much bigger than you could ever imagine. Your job now is to go find your vastness and your potential and your miracles elsewhere — someplace that is not through the person who has hurt you.
You’re going to be OK.
Be good to you.