Healing After Heartbreak: How to Turn Your Pain into Your Greatest Superpower

“Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.” ~Spike Milligan

Disney stories, books, and Disney characters have conditioned me since childhood to think that happiness meant a knight in shining armour coming into my life to save me.

However, it’s fair to say, that fairytale didn’t play out how I’d expected in real life. It doesn’t work for everyone, or even most of us.

My dad was an absentee father for much of my teenage years. He had been in a difficult relationship with me, and he suffered from a toxic alcoholism and mental illness. As I was going through university and school, he was distant and inconsistent and did not seem to care about me.

My story and my belief was that it was impossible for me to be loved by this man.

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He never acknowledged or dealt with all of the negative emotions I felt around me; anger, hurt and resentment that hid in my deepest darkest recesses, waiting to be exposed years later.

When I first met my man, I was only twenty-three years old. He would become my husband many years later. He was consistent, present, and loveable—all the things my dad was not. He was a loving father who made me feel complete.

Finally, my knight in shining armor had arrived—albeit not on a horse, but in a dark bar one Saturday night dressed as Spiderman. It would be very fairytale-like, but I wasn’t surprised.

As did everyone else in the friendship group, we progressed through our lives like it were a tick-box race.

  • Great job!
  • Locate a Partner
  • Engage (tick).
  • Purchase a home (tick).
  • Marry (tick).

In all those films I’d watched and books I’d read, this was the equation for happiness. I’d seemingly completed the game successfully and nailed the equation. I’d gotten all those things I’d been yearning for, yet something was missing. I felt like I’d been cheated somehow. I didn’t feel truly happy, I didn’t feel really fulfilled, and I found myself asking: “is this it?”

After much reflection and many sleepless nights I made the difficult decision to end my marriage. My family thought I was insane. My family was skeptical of my mental health. Somedays even I questioned my own decisions, but something deep inside me—my intuition, an inner knowing maybe—told me that I was not where I was meant to be.

I reluctantly followed the pull even though it meant I was entering a frightening unknown. All my hopes, dreams and plans fell apart at my feet, making it dark.

In a matter of minutes, I went from being 0 to 100 mph into complete distraction mode. I took on a new job and traveled alone. I was able to date, which made me appear brilliant. However, what about the inside? I was not brilliant. I felt lost, scared, and lonely, with an overwhelming feeling of failure with a sense that I just wasn’t “enough.”

All of the stories and limiting beliefs that I told myself when I was 12 bubbled up and I realized they were wrong.

Feeling numb, I realized I was desperately searching for those things that used to make me feel safe and loved. It gave me no choice but to go inward and be my own savior— my own knight in shining armor.

This was the start of a journey of deep healing, rebuilding, and self-discovery—my comeback story. My dad’s trauma and then my own divorce caused me to need counseling and support.

I pledged that this would be my last attempt, no matter how difficult or painful. It was my responsibility. Many times I had to change and transition. With compassion and curiosity, I stripped away all layers from my heart. In order to be able piece by piece, I had to let go.

To get to know me, I spent time. I healed and became stronger and wiser. I offered forgiveness and expressed gratitude. I was open to accepting all aspects of myself. I came to understand and love my own self. Slowly but surely my natural confidence flourished. It was clear to me that I needed to give more of myself to others.

Self-love is the solution. My whole life, I looked to others and outside things to make me happy and feel loved. But that wasn’t my job. First, I needed to feel enough for me.

I learned that it’s not about what you get in life. All of that ‘stuff’ is impermanent. Your looks? They’ll fade. Material stuff? Doesn’t mean anything, and you can’t take it all with you. Your job? Your job? People? You can’t leave them. It’s who you become that’s really important.

So I accepted my mistakes and found a way to be grateful for them. After that, I resolved to make the most of every difficult experience I had to learn and grow to be the best me.

All healing begins with the ability to love yourself first—the ability to accept and acknowledge all of yourself and all your experiences, the good and the bad. As water weathers a rock, you have learned from your mistakes and become the extraordinary, unique person today.

Another important part of healing is forgiveness. It is important to find the strength within yourself to forgive people when they did the right thing with the resources they have, as well as to forgive yourself when mistakes were made. If you don’t forgive, you are the person who suffers. It’s like walking around with an open wound; until you heal it, you will continue to bleed over every aspect of your life.

After a lot of inner work, I healed and found the courage to shine a light on the biggest shadow that resided deep in my heart: that in some way I just wasn’t enough—not loveable enough. These words are not my truth, and it hurts me.

People would be critical of my life because I was different. Instead of worrying about what people think, I decided to accept the changes and let go. This allowed me to live the life I had always wanted. The person I always was underneath all the conditioning, limiting beliefs, and stories I’d made up as a result of my experiences.

I thought, “What thoughts would the best version of me be thinking? I wondered how she would speak to herself. What would her attitude be towards others? How would she show up?” And I chose to become her.

In my quest to be my true self, I’ve attracted some of the most inspiring, interesting, diverse and inspirational people in my life. Although I had to make the difficult decision to be a lover of some people, I realize now that this was essential for my growth and development into the person that I always wanted to be. This is the woman that I’m proud to call my own.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I can wake up with a heavy heart or feel sad, but I’m human, and healing is by no means a simple or linear process. What is different? I now have the awareness and tools that allow me to handle difficult situations with grace and compassion.

Because we have been taught to believe that ending a relationship means you are failing, it is a common misconception. But, ending a relationship can sometimes be an indicator of strength and courage. It can be the moment we stop settling for mediocrity and we finally say “enough” and choose ourselves.

Although it may not feel that way at first, they are powerful container for growth, learning and expansion.

Yes, I lost a relationship with someone who I thought would be my forever person; we didn’t gallop off into the sunset and live happily ever after like I had expected we would. Through the messy and painful healing process, I was able to find the most stable, satisfying, and loving relationship I have ever had with someone who will be there until my final breath.

Julie Wild

Julie is a qualified NLP Coach & Hypnotherapist based in Yorkshire, UK. Her journey has led her to discover her life’s purpose; which is to use the experiences, wisdom, insights and lessons learned to support and empower women to turn emotional pain into their greatest super power. Follow her Instagram. [@juliewildcoaching] or find out more by visiting www.juliewildcoaching.com

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Tiny Buddha’s first post, Healing After Heartbreak: Turning Your Pain into Your Greatest Superpower appeared on Tiny Buddha.

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