How To Mend A Broken Heart
Let's begin with an understanding of what is meant by a "broken heart." Why do we talk about the heart at all as a center of pain and pleasure? What is so different about the heart? After all, as an organ of the body it's just a big muscle. Very important, but made of the same kind of tissue as our biceps. But you don't hear anyone talking about a "broken bicep" in terms of emotion.
What we do find around the world is some way of describing emotions, especially those or sadness or happiness, as being located somewhere inside the body. In Western languages the "heart" is usually considered as being the center of these feelings, although the actual sensations cover the whole chest area. Hawaiian words for the same thing are na'au - intestines, 'opu - stomach, and loko - inside. Today, under Western influence, the Hawaiian word for heart - pu'uwai (liquid organ) - may also be used.
All of this is important, because when we react to a negative relationship situation with sadness or sorrow, our bodies are reacting at the same time by tensing up muscles in an attempt to resist awareness of the situation. The stronger the resistance, the stronger the tension, and the stronger the tension, the worse we feel, even to the point of actual pain. That such bad feelings are mostly located in the chest area is partly cultural, and partly physiological.
The physiological part has to do with the fact that in the case or sadness and sorrow our bodies tend to tense up the muscles of the chest, the thymus, the lungs and, yes, the heart. By contrast, in happy situations our bodies tend to relax those muscles. Then we tend to experience feelings of release, relief, and, when enough tension is relieved, flow, expansion, peace, and even joy.
So, now I am going to give you an unusual idea to consider. The way to "mend a broken heart" is to do ANYTHING that relieves the tension in the muscles I've mentioned, as well as any others involved in our reactions to the situation.
We are most interested, of course, in ways and means that provide substantial and long term or permanent relief. Useful short term relief can come from massage and activities that keep you distracted, but when they are over the "heartbreak" often returns. Therefore, I am giving you a list of healing techniques for mending broken hearts. All of them work, but you may find some of them easier or more attractive than others, and you may want to use more than one for better results.
1. The Mental Approach: For this one we find some way to reinterpret, reframe, or reorganize our thoughts about the situation. For instance, some brokenhearted feelings are sustained and reinforced by the words we use to describe the situation. Words like "betrayed," "unforgivable," "hurt," and "loss" when used over and over again can prevent any healing of the heart. Try eliminating such emotionally-charged words from mental descriptions of the event and see what happens.
2. The Forgiveness Approach: Easy for some and very hard for others, true forgiveness can provide complete relief and healing. The reason it can work is because sadness and sorrow very often mask some degree of anger at the behavior of another person (even when the "behavior" consists of passing away). True forgiveness occurs when we can remember the situation and no longer have strong feelings of sadness, sorrow, or anger. Many ways to do this have been presented in books and articles by myself and others.
3. The High Purpose Approach: In some cases the heart can be healed by engaging oneself deeply in good works, things that one truly believes are good and worthy. Distraction activity and following someone else's idea of a high purpose are not good enough. Doing good only works when we believe that what we are doing is more important than what happened.
4. The Present Moment Approach: Bad memories are a terrible place to live in. The more time we spend with them the worse we feel, and the more we lose touch with the goodness around us and positive potentials for the future. Curiously, the same thing happens when we try to live only in positive memories. In that case we end up resisting the present and get the same bad effects. On the other hand, it isn't beneficial to try and live only in the present, especially when we make our awareness of the present too narrow. I recommend living MOSTLY in the present as fully as you can. This means with sight, sound, touch, action, and reaction. When you are fully in the present the past ceases to exist, and the heart is healed.
5. The Love Approach: This one has two parts, the Personal and the Social. The Personal part is about self esteem. Another curious thing is that the better we feel about ourselves, the faster our hearts are healed. Some broken hearts are accompanied by guilt, so self forgiveness is important here. If that exists and is taken care of, the most important thing becomes self love, which means positive self acknowledgment, self appreciation, and - dare we say it? - self admiration. Of course, are talking about the real deal here. Building ourselves up by putting others down, and pretending to like ourselves are ways that just don't work.
The Social part has to do mostly with the person involved in the situation that produced the broken heart, but can be applied to anyone else with good effect. Basically, ALL you have to do is to acknowledge, appreciate, or admire anything good you can think about in regard to that person. The more good things the better, but if you can only begin with one thing and keep repeating it, start with that anyway. It may sound crazy, but the more this can be done, the faster the heart will heal.
6. The Personal Power Approach: The healing of a broken heart can often come about when you are fully engaged in work that you knew how to do well. This is self confidence based on skill, the most powerful kind of personal power there is. Comparison with the skill of others depletes personal power, so leave that out. You can start by acknowledging, appreciating, and admiring any skill you currently have and refusing to say to yourself that it isn't good enough. You can also learn new skills, big or small, and as you do your self confidence increases, as long as you give value to what you can do and to yourself as an individual. As with the other approaches, the greater your self confidence, the faster your heart can heal.
7. The Be Willing To Try Anything Approach: We don't really know how we will respond to a heart-healing approach, especially one that sounds odd, until we try it. Exercise will work for some. Acupuncture for others. A change of diet or location may work for still others. If you want to try a really different technique for healing hearts that really works, I suggest Dynamind. On the other hand, you can always resort to the most commonly used technique in the whole wide world. It works for many people, even though it may take a very long time and the process itself may be quite uncomfortable. It's called "Wait until your heart heals itself."