At Thanksgiving dinner, my group of dear friends and I went around the table and shared what we were most grateful for over the past year. One 31-year-old musician said that he was most grateful for his heartache because his struggles in love have been the inspiration for his lyrics and therapy for his soul.
It got me thinking about how heartbreak has been the source of some of the most amazing songs, movies and pieces of art that move us because they touch our own tender hearts.
I do not know anyone whose heart hasn’t been broken at least once – and heartbreak does not just happen in our romantic relationships. Our heart can be broken over career letdown or an unrealized dream. Actions of parents, friends and family members may also be the reason our heart aches.
Heartache is one of the unavoidable, yet most painful, human experiences. We cannot prevent it from happening but we do have choice over how we respond to it.
Are you allowing your hurt to become your excuse not to move forward?
Or your excuse not to open your heart again?
Or the reason for why you are unmotivated, gaining or losing weight, cranky, bitter, obsessed with your ex, not going after your dreams, drinking more, or having a negative outlook on love and life in general.
If you have allowed your heartbreak to take over your life and basically stop you from moving forward, it is time to channel it in a new direction. Stop being a victim and start being a creator.
Do this by inviting your heartache to be your muse. Take all the anger, sadness, betrayal, regret, and disappointment and USE it to create something new. The beautiful thing about getting our heart broken is that it cracks us open to raw and powerful emotions that we generally try to avoid. But these emotions that you may judge as “negative” are POWERFUL. You can either allow the power of undesirable emotions to paralyze you or propel you forward.
This month marks the 10-year anniversary of when my fiancé unexpectedly called off our wedding and broke up with me. I thought I’d never get over it. I was incredibly depressed and ashamed. I lost a ton of weight, withdrew from people and couldn’t sleep. Until one day I had the insight to start to share about it. I began to write and channel all my pain onto the paper. My heartache became my muse for my first book, which has been a huge success and launched my entire career.
Your heartbreak is just as powerful. It is not a life sentence of pain. You are not being punished. Let go of whatever or whoever you’ve lost and find YOURSELF again by engaging in a creative outlet like writing, painting, dancing, singing, or music.
There may be a great book, song, poem, sculpture, script or photography inside of you that is your best therapy and perhaps even the catalyst for a whole new form of sharing your gifts in the world. Very often our heartache opens the doorway for what becomes our greatest work. Eventually, misery stops being our muse and we open up to becoming an even bigger instrument for Spirit.
You do not have to be good at a particular form of creative expression and it does not have to be attached to any kind of career. It is also not mandatory that you share it with anyone else; however, if you do, I promise their heart will be touched.
You will not feel like this forever (I promise!). So in the meantime, milk your heartache for all it’s worth and muse it.