Broken Hearts Are Everywhere.
We have all seen the movies we know what a broken hearts look like. Stories of unrequited love painting an easily recognisable picture of the iconic broken heart.
Cinematic beauty depicting water-colour sadness and loss in daubs of glistening tears and wistful sighs delicately streaking across our screens in layered washes of poignancy and nostalgia.
It feels noble. Desirable, even!
Heartbreak Is Not A Watercolour.
But in truth, anyone who has known heartbreak (and most people have) knows that there is nothing pretty or romantic about it or its effects.
It is visceral, gut-churning, snot-producing, and life-depleting.
Of course, I am talking metaphorically.
In the literal sense, a broken heart can be monitored by having a pacemaker and ICD fitted or mended via triple bypass surgery and drugs.
I don’t mean to be glib, but a broken heart in the biological sense, whilst life-threatening, is definable and often treatable.
It doesn’t get left to mend itself.
People have endless sympathy and understanding for heart problems but compassion can run short for heartbreak.
Commonplace And Ugly.
This is because heartbreak does not always present as the picture perfect phenomena described in my opening paragraph.
Long-term heartbreak can present as bitterness, anger, judgment, aggression and hate. And it can act out as infidelity, unreliability, hyper-independence and sometimes bullying behaviour.
It is often not very pretty.
That’s not to excuse such behaviour but to help understand it where relevant.
And understanding fosters compassion.
Compassion builds bridges.
It's All About Connectivity.
Almost everything has a relational nature relying on connection to operate successfully and harmoniously in the world.
Consider any piece of machinery or the pathway of electricity.
Think about the cells that make up our physical being.
Ponder too our governments and organisations.
Everything you can care to think of is comprised of individual units that work together through connection and reaction to form the bigger working unit.
We humans are no different.
We seek to make meaningful connection in our world with others, in order to be part of something bigger and have a sense of belonging; of being part of the bigger “whole”.
I Need Nothing And No One.
There are millions of reasons why a heart may chip, or shatter.
Heartbreak is not under the sole ownership of romantic love.
A harsh word, a forgotten intention, a threat, a traumatic childhood, a misaligned understanding, a lost dream, a thoughtless action, a timely rejection; all and any of these can cause a heart to break or splinter a little.
If left unattended the splinter can grow, and a heart can metaphorically turn to stone.
“If I don’t care then I can’t be hurt”.
The stone heart is an armoured heart.
To the broken it feels like protection.
But to others on the outside, it looks like the promise of rejection. A warning to “back off” and keep at a distance.
If you are of a healing-scarred, open heart, you are able to take the risk of rejection.
Humanity has a role for you if you care to take it on. Reach out to broken hearts. Hearts that desire to be dis-armed. They are everywhere.
The grumpy man, the sullen drunk, the abrasive woman, the aggressive youth, the unreasonable teenager, the raging protester; these and more can be the many and varied presentations of broken and breaking hearts.
I ask you to try not to judge. Try instead to disarm. Surprise by being the opposite response to the one they expected.
Be kind, reach out knowing that your first attempts will likely not break through the armoured plating operating as they are from a place of pain and perceived protection.
Be keenly aware that their protection stops them from them getting that which their fractured heart seeks most; love.
Ironic Not Iconic.
This is the alternative, but no less true picture of the broken, breaking heart. Not the iconic listless romanticism of love unrequited, but the painful, brutal picture of an ironic cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy.
The armoured heart realises their vision of a world where no body cares, where hate dominates, where no one stops to offer a helping hand or speak soft words of support.
The love and hope that the broken heart needs most to mend itself can not break through the fully armoured heart.
It is a sad conundrum and cruelly ironic.
My work with the broken-hearted helps individuals embrace and understand the source of their pain and discomfort. It is by making ourselves vulnerable that we are truly able to embrace all that life offers and give of ourselves to the world in a way that leads to a more-fulfilled and contented life.
Sometimes, the bravest thing to do is to take the hand that offers help.
With a smile and warm regards,