I once had someone come into my life and toy with my emotions at a time when I was emotionally fragile.
I think that of all the emotional pain I have ever endured it was by far the one that caused me to grow the most.
The heartbreak came after my divorce and I was pretty vulnerable.
I believe that had I been in a better place emotionally, it wouldn’t have torn my world asunder.
But there is something about being already vulnerable that allows the winds of deception to blow you to a place where your heart just doesn’t think it will ever recover.
When this heartbreak came, I looked inward, outward and all about.
I wanted to blame him, life and anyone who passed by.
But ultimately I had to take responsibility for my role in my story.
I had to take ownership of all the red flags I overlooked.
For it was me pretending that what wasn’t okay, was okay.
It was me turning a blind eye to the obvious.
He is responsible for his actions, but I am responsible for my reactions.
I have to take ownership for ignoring my intuition, for staying when I knew I should leave and for accepting poor behavior.
And I am responsible for something else…
I’m responsible for picking up the pieces and carrying on.
And with that responsibility I looked inward.
I asked myself why I allowed myself to be treated so badly, why I lied to myself and why I was cheating myself out of the love I deserved.
I may never know what caused him to betray me at such a high level. And that is okay. His story is his own. But what I do know is what caused me to betray myself.
I didn’t see myself as worthy or lovable and so I sold myself short.
I settled for lower-level love because I didn’t acknowledge myself for who I truly was.
They tell me that hurting people hurt people.
So based on the depth of the blow I received, that man must have really been hurting.
If the pain he inflicted on me is any measure of the pain he lives with then his pain must be excruciating.
I was so hurt by that heartbreak that at times I believed I would never be able to breathe normal again.
I recall my heart being so shattered that I would often find myself reaching for Tylenol in an attempt to numb the pain.
You see, the emotional pain of that heartbreak managed to manifest itself as physical pain because it was too unbearable for me to process solely on the emotional level.
Thus, I had to relearn how to breathe because my heartache was just that deep.
On even a shallow in breath my heart would ache.
I was literally experiencing chest pains after my heart break.
I remember laying on my couch teaching myself how to breathe through the seconds.
Managing the in breath – out breath process of living through 60 seconds was harder than I care to admit.
But in through the nose out through the mouth I somehow managed.
And from the seconds I learned to breathe through the minutes.
With each breath of wallowing through the minutes, I was some how led to find the strength to crawl through the hours.
And with the shallow pant of each breath I climbed up through the shadow of the days, then with the flow of the outward breath I limped through the weeks and finally I breathed in and breathed out as I walked through the months.
I read self help books, listened to teaching tapes, and I became well acquainted with all the platitudes, but no words eased my soul.
I was in pain.
I wanted to sleep through it, eat through it, go around it, numb it, subside it, ignore it, and suppress it.
But I knew that wasn’t how it works.
And so I went through it.
The hardest part was I had to accept that “the person who broke me, would never be the one to fix me”.
How could he?
Anyone who goes about bringing pain to those who mean them well obviously have something broken on the inside of them that makes their capacity to show up for someone else void.
How could he possibly show up for me when he couldn’t even show up for himself?
People who return love with pain are the type of people who are living with insurmountable pain.
But don’t get me wrong him being in pain doesn’t make his actions okay, nor does it mean that anyone should tolerate his emotional abuse.
But acknowledging that his actions were most likely birthed from pain does help make it easier for me to forgive what happened to me.
I know what it is to lash out on someone I love because I had a bad day at work.
So how much more does a wounded child who goes about masquerading as a grown man inflict pain on the one who dares to care?
His behavior wasn’t right, but I suspect it was rooted in fear and pain.
He couldn’t be a friend to me, because he wasn’t a friend to himself.
He took me for granted because it was granted that I would always be there.
And so I forgive him.
He was my greatest teacher.
He taught me that not loving myself would lead me to a life of pain.
He helped me see that no one was coming to heal me of my emotional wounds or save me from my problems.
It wasn’t until I interacted with him and was knocked down to the ground that I learned that I was going to have to stand on my own two feet.
If I wanted to feel valued, loved, honored, trusted, worthy, respected and appreciated then I was going to have to tap into my own resources and lace up my emotional bootstraps all by myself.
There was no man coming around handing out an external validation badge of honor that would deem me worthy of love.
And helping to bring me to that awareness was the greatest gift he could have ever given me.
He showed me that I have all the power to pick myself up.
I thank him for that spiritual lesson.
They say that as iron sharpens iron one man sharpens another, and he made me sharper than I have ever been.
I would never want to sit in a classroom under his direction again, but I can assure you that I value the lessons I learned from him.
Indeed my most painful life lesson was my biggest blessing.
I have yet to fully recover from that interaction, but I am better Renata because of it.
I think that when you really love someone, you give them a piece of your heart forever.
As weird as this may sound, I have no regrets with sharing a piece of my heart with the person who took my heart for granted because he played a major role in sending me on my self-love journey.
My desire to love myself was birthed from the unbearable pain of being unloved.
Interacting with him made me so uncomfortable that I knew I had to change the way I was living my life.
Without a doubt he taught me to NEVER place something as valuable as my heart in the hands of someone who hasn’t earned it.
And I’m ALWAYS going to love him for that.
He taught me that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but only with someone who has taken the time out to emotionally invest in me.
From him I learned there is a difference between being kind and being foolish.
He showed me that letting someone trample my heart was my way of being unkind to myself and foolish to the world.
My pain isn’t unique.
I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.
My heart now beats with a quiver, but as I previously stated she still beats.
I am thankful for that heartbreak because it made me determined to love me.
He wasn’t the one to heal me, but he was the one to help me find the ultimate path to loving me.
Everyday I fall in love with me a little bit more.
I love my laugh that people say is way too loud.
I love my hair that by some is deemed too coarse or woolly.
I love my size which I used to despise, my skin tone, my blemished skin, my inquisitive mind, my quirks, my crooked teeth, the awkwardness of my gate when I walk, my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart and my soul.
I love myself!
I am learning to be secure in my insecurities and to trust myself.
So can I forgive the man who came into my life after the heartbreak of my divorce and broke my heart further?
Of course I can.
My heartbreak was not his doing alone.
It is me who is responsible for my heart.
I gave him permission to throw my heart on the floor when I didn’t value it enough to keep it out of the hands of the one who hadn’t earned it.
Giving him my heart was the equivalent of giving a toddler fine crystal and then getting mad when they break it and then walk off without even acknowledging what has occurred.
Of course he broke my heart!
People who don’t love themselves don’t know what to do with the love from another. So like fine crystal in the hands of a toddler they are going to let your heart slip.
They don’t know the value of what they have any more than the toddler knows the value of fine crystal.
They do not know how to cradle, care for, polish or maintain it.
They may not intend to drop it, but drop it they will.
Because that’s what people who don’t know what love is do.
They don’t believe that it is real so they treat it like something that is common.
They can’t relate to it so they toss it around like it’s casual.
They may even throw it up against the wall and toss it about on the floor only to trample it in an attempt to test its authenticity.
But at some point we must realize that it isn’t our job to go about teaching grown people how to love us.
No, our job is to love ourselves enough not place our heart into the hands of the people who don’t know how to love in the first place.
I am the gatekeeper to my heart. How dare I let someone trespass and trample about on such sacred ground.
Time and time again I failed at the job of protecting my heart.
It was me who gave the men in my life my heart to break and each time it was me who scraped the pieces up off the floor and began the process of stitching them back together only to yet again place my shattered heart back into the hands of someone who didn’t value it.
Some pieces I will never recover.
But having a torn heart doesn’t count me out. This battered heart of mine sustains me with a rhythmic beat all her own.
And so yes, I am glad he taught me what love wasn’t.
I now know that I don’t have to chase love because real love is freely given. I know that the person who sees me as low value isn’t the person for me.
I know that if a person’s actions and words don’t match up then that person doesn’t match up with me.
It hurts when you find out that you meant nothing to the person who meant the world to you.
But you can ALWAYS take your heart back!
I decided to love me and nurse my heart back to wholeness.
No one else might value my heart, but I do and that’s what matters!
Some days are better than others.
I think my hardest moments are when my mind flashes back to the pain and I have to remind myself I’m not in those moments any more.
What happened has happened.
I also have to remind myself that my story isn’t unique.
I am not the only one who has known betrayal.
Others before me have had and others will have pain as a bedfellow.
There are the times I have to remind myself that I survived heartbreak before and therefore I can survive it again.
There is a purpose for my pain.
My pain made me so uncomfortable I became determined to change.
For the first time I am experiencing regular doses of self-love and it feels amazing.
I have been pampering myself and I am making plans to take myself on trips around the world.
I now speak highly of myself and choose not to engage with those who put me down.
I respect myself and call myself beautiful.
I take better care of myself mind, body and soul.
I spend time with myself alone – just me and no one else and I cherish that time and see it as sacred.
I am no longer looking for someone to come into my life and make me feel loved, because I realize that I am the love I am seeking.
If it took massive heartbreak for me to realize that I am the love of my life then I can assure you that despite the pain and the tears I have no regrets.
I previously wished someone would have come along and healed me of my pain, because I thought it would be faster.
I wanted them to come simply because I doubted that I had the capacity to heal my own broken heart.
But I mustered up the strength not to take a short cut.
I decided that I was going to have to heal this heart of mine the long way round.
Diving into another relationship or looking for a rebound has never been my style.
I am glad I took the time out to love on myself because for the first time in my life I understand that it’s okay if I never have a romantic relationship with someone.
Valuing myself is all I need.
I am an amazing woman and I don’t need anyone outside of myself to see that for it to be true.
So yes, I am so thankful for heartbreak, because it made me fall in love with me!
© Renata Smith and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.