You are in a relationship you think would last forever. You are living your dream of an epic romance. You are happy, contented, then suddenly, it’s over.
It may have come out of the blue, or after a few episodes of petty fights, perhaps after finding out that you have been cheated on, or because of some crappy circumstance that pushed either of you to call the relationship off. Regardless of what reasons, life after a breakup can feel extremely terrible.
Gone are the days when you wake up to sweet messages; no more late night talks, surprises, dates, hugs, kisses. What’s left are memories and flashbacks that send stings to your chest – that bitter cold feeling that was once a feeling of fluttering butterflies.
You remember them in every corner of your crumpled life. You remember how you once felt so secured; the way they held you, the way they kissed you. You miss the way they laugh, the scent of their perfume, even the teensy mannerisms you’ve gotten used to. You remember the first time your lips met, their eyes when they say ‘ I Love You’, and the jitters you get the moment you feel their touch on your skin. Then you remember the way they left you; you sulk on that dark walkway, staring blankly at a distance, wounded, aching, and torn. Broken.
Opening your heart once again is opening yourself to possibilities of harm.
Life passes you in a blur and you wouldn’t mind. You see things in a tinge of black and white. You drag yourself out of bed each morning and find no reprieve in waking. Another morning alarm, another cup of coffee, another day in the office. You feel like things would never be the same without them. You lie awake at night, getting yourself drunk with the “what if’s”, the “could haves” and the “would haves”. And it seems like programmed in loops and cycles that could go on forever.
You are trapped in an emotional limbo. You’ve become emotionally impotent, empty. You’ve unwittingly built walls around your heart fortified with barbed wires and mortars and landmines to fend off outsiders. You find it hard to trust people. You respond to emotional intrusions like antibodies fighting off common viruses. You learn how to diagnose symptoms of repeated pain to fight and protect yourself from its reoccurrence. You shut yourself off from boundless risks and possibilities of harm, rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal.
You reject love and the idea of it.
But you’re not scared of love itself – you are scared of being happy, but being alone; the ups, the downs, the twists and the turns that come along with caring about someone. You define things based on your experiences of love in the past, like a queue of boxes labeled with “good” or “bad” or “safe” or “unsafe”. And you feel invincible by shunning people away, which apparently has become a habit, a reflex, an automatic involuntary response. You look out for patterns to anticipate emotional disasters while subconsciously pushing people away to prevent them from inflicting unwarranted injuries. You decide that love is not for you and that you don’t need it anymore. And you’ll never allow yourself to be hurt again ever.
And when someone comes along at a time they are least expected, you find reasons to keep yourself away because you are afraid of the feelings that is your own. You know that love and life is all about taking chances, but you’re terrified to take risks — because you know that giving yourself the chance to be happy and exposing yourself up to the infinite possibilities of love and life – a gain – is not damn easy, and that you’ve learned it the hard way.
A failed relationship means it wasn’t meant to be. It belongs to the past – and often a difficult notion to accept. But soon you will realize that by rejecting love, you only hurt yourself more. While you may strongly believe yourself that you are over with it, truth is you’re holding on to their memory. You are cultivating emotions that prevent you from moving on. You continue bringing the past into your present and you’re unconsciously creating a future similar to your past.
So, let go.
It doesn’t matter how long it will take you to get back on your feet – a couple of months, perhaps a year or two. What’s important now is you understand how to love again and to never repeat the same mistakes. Experience is what you get when you fail at some point. You didn’t stop driving around a bicycle because you fell down many times when you were a kid, did you?
You wouldn’t know what real happiness is if you don’t understand pain. You wouldn’t know what true love means if you don’t understand how it’s like having a broken heart.
Opening your heart once again is opening yourself to possibilities of harm. And only by letting yourself accept that you still love them, will you be able to liberate them from your thoughts, from your heart, from your life. Strange as it may sound, but clinging to your bitterness against your past only hinders you to move forward.
Allow yourself to feel and stop scrutinizing for signs, warnings, and explanations in all things; just let them be, go with the flow. You’ve always been told that time heals all wounds, so take your time, don’t rush. There will always be more love to find and more love to give. It’s about getting over the fear of getting hurt again. Because at the end of the day, it’s still about taking chances and taking a leap of faith.
It’s time to free up your excessive emotional data; time to clear cache and cookies. It’s about time to cleanup the diminutive pixels of their existence from your system, or perhaps a total emotional reboot. This time, you’re as good as new, like a clean canvas, or an unspoiled chapters of an unopened book, or a blank DVD waiting to be filled with new set of romantic algorithms.
Don’t give up on love just yet; it’s time to press the reboot button – for a fresh start, a new beginning, and you’ll see that nothing can possibly be more liberating.