Have you considered our conceptions of love and heartbreak may be denying us and our children the essence of our humanity?
Love has been described by play rights, poets, authors, song writers and countless others and we know how its intensity can be so that every aspect of our mind, body and soul are in tune. For many the experience can be so terrifying and devastating that they withdraw from it or in the most tragic of cases they may end their lives in face of the loss or fear of unreciprocated love or even just in the face of the intensity and vulnerability of the experience. Some may make logical decisions and sociological research illustrates that people do seek partners within their social class. What is sure is courage is a prerequisite for the vulnerability and defencelessness that comes with opening up your heart, your mind, your body and soul for love to another human being. For some love can be just a pleasant feeling that gives their life purpose but like many aspects of life how love is experienced can vary from mild feelings of happiness to intense heart aching and even paralysis of the mind, soul or body or it can fill the person with elation to such an extent that living is an ecstatic experience filled with passion and purpose. How love is experienced through our emotions will change as emotions are ephermal.
Love, or rather true love as the basis of our emotions may as a result of being unreciprocated tend to fade through time in the background but whether or not it truly dies is questionable. We may learn to live without the emotional expression of it through our mind, soul or body but even the great romantic authors would question if the flame ever goes out.
What happens if the flame burns and you are faced with rejection?
Whether it is your own experience or as a parent who is watching their child sink into the grief response from a rejection- that can reflect a depressed mood and include sadness, apathy, loss of sleep, hopelessness and even sometimes suicidal thoughts what can you do?
The first thing is that we are never taught to deal with the greatest gift humanity has bestowed within us the ability to love. What we know we gain haphazardly from literature, philosophy or movie makers. We see an expression of love, wanting, desire, yearning, dreaming as a weakness. We internalise that to love deeply and especially when that love is not reciprocated to mean that we are not only somehow not worthy. We internalise that we are not normal and this ignites pain and despair. In therapy, we explore whether the person is delusional, lonely, naive, seeking validation, filling a void or maybe even insane. Perhaps it is a time for a shift from this type of thinking and to simply accept we are human and therefore subject to the pain of love in all forms of intensity.
While heartbreak might feel like grieving and we may go through the stages of denial, bargaining, depression to reach acceptance, I think we should move away from the fairy tales of the prince saving the princess and living happily ever after where heartache is never considered to an understanding that
a) Always real, it is never crazy, insane or foolish, it is never delusional and never wrong.
Just like the Skin Horse says in the children's story The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams; "It doesn't happen all at once, you become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. He( Velveteen Rabbit) longed to become real.. he wished he could become real without these uncomfortable things happening to him"
Love and heart break is just part of our journey and an inevitable part of becoming authentic beings. To live without feeling the intensity of it is to avoid or ignore out true humanity.
b) Always a gift, no matter how painful, revolting or shocking to the recipient. When our hearts are capable of loving we are most alive and even though we may feel we are behaving totally out of character, we are catching glimpses of the essence of our humanity the ability to live and one day die in paradise. Love and heartbreak are the fertile ground to great wisdom and like the sun that allows the flower to blossom, they allow the soul to open to taste and smell its capabilities.
c)Always energy consuming. Mark Twain states: "Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.� Unfortunately most of us never hold the hearts of those that love us carefully in our palms so it is up to ourselves to take Mark Twain's advice and hold our own heart in our palm and to carefully administer the band aids to help it flourish and blossom.
d) Always existing. It may seem like when our love is unreciprocated that it is wasted energy, a or delusional and you may wish to reject your feelings. The fact is the love exists and while it may be of no consequence to your un-reciprocating loved one it is far likely that the person is incapable of loving you and that is not your responsibility. It is rather the case that your soul maybe too mature, too authentic, open, accepting, touching, poignant, discerning, over powering, distinct, impassioned or unembellished and of course, it can also be the case that your soul capability of love is too shallow, undeveloped or simply not mature enough.
In sum, society needs to talk more about love and in a way that allows our children to grow emotionally and to understand when they are growing and not disintegrating through heart ache. It is time that we put as much effort into their potential as empathetic and loving humans beings- capable of feeling intense love and intense heartbreak, as we have done in recents decades into their intellectual development. ���The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it...� ��� N Sparks
CP Crean, Tutor- ARLT Foundation
We are presently taking enrolment for the Dip. Soc Stds.(Couns)- tutor assisted e-learning programme commencing in January 2017. I am a tutor on the programme visit: www.arlt-foundation.org if you think you would like to participate or know more about it.