“Sometimes this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment and blame. But under the hardness of that armour there is the tenderness of genuine sadness….This continual ache of heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.”
– Pema Chödrön
A few weeks ago I was going through a bad break-up. My engagement had broken. It wasn’t the longest relationship of my life but it was the deepest. It had so much potential and it ended in the most cursory of ways.
“You got me, I have broken the engagement.” That’s the only line I remember. I had noticed that my fiancée for last couple of weeks had been acting ‘strange’ and hence confronted her about it. There was nothing I could do and nowhere I could go.
I felt that burning sensation on the back of my neck and in the depths of my heart only unimaginable pain. I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I lay on my bed, heartbroken for the rest of the day. I spent that week smoking and skipping my meals; assuming that since I hadn’t shed a single tear, everything will be just fine. I was wrong. It wouldn’t.
After bearing unimaginable pain for a week, feeling fragility and tiredness, wailing because of the gloom that had descended over my soul, I was broken into pieces. After spending this week, all of sudden, it hit me. She was gone. I was alone.
I broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. I saw no hope, just days and days of pain ahead of me. Death seemed apparent. I was spending sleepless nights with my heartbeat racing relentlessly. I was anticipating a nervous breakdown with the doctors prescribing sleeping pills for me. Unfortunately, that would come true.
Why did it happen to me? I was accommodating. I was honest with my relationship. I had dreamed of her, for her. I had decided to let every last drop of my blood spill for making her dreams come true. It was all her fault. She cheated on me. She left me. She did this to me. I was the victim. It ended because of her. She ridiculed and abused me of being a wretch with no hope or career. These were mere allegations and lame excuses by her to hide her intentions. Had she been sincere in our relationship, she would have provided me time to think. But I came to know later she wasn’t. So she didn’t. Sure there were major red flags, but a good partner just ignores them, right?
Sometimes a broken heart isn’t such a bad thing. It can inspire more love in you than you thought you were capable of.
I made an executive decision to spend some days in the remote region of Karnah, Kupwara with my relatives there and hence form a relationship with myself for the first time in life.
There it dawned upon me that after graduation I had messed up my life. I didn’t get selected for the masters’ degree in Kashmir University. I hadn’t completed my tuitions for civil services and hadn’t even made it to the preliminary examination. I hadn’t done much with my human rights cum community media organisation. I had left my distance mode masters degree with IGNOU and even abandoned Namaz (the five obligatory daily prayers).
They say everything happens for a reason, even bad things, and I truly believe that. Out of the ashes of my sadness and fear arose responsibility, hopes and passion. I started praying five times a day, sometimes offering Tahajjud as well. I rediscovered my love for writing. I mastered in History from IGNOU with a good percentage. I travelled deep inside myself and awakened my spirit and passion for doing something great with ‘My Camera’. I quit smoking.
I was finally becoming the person I was supposed to be. I wasn’t lonely. In fact, I was less lonely than I’d ever been.
I also realised that I wasn’t victim. All my actions, all my choices, and all their consequences were happening because of me, not just happening to me. I began to notice that my broken heart brought me closer to my career and dreams.
It was not an easy journey, by any means, and it’s far from over. But two months later I have come a long way. I’m awake, aware and alive.
In my experience, big emotions like heartbreak aren’t meant to be avoided. They are meant to be felt. It’s a bit like standing at the edge of the ocean and having a giant wave come crashing down on you. You can kick and fight and pull against it, but it will only drag you further out to sea.
Instead, you can look at it and dive head long coming out the other end, perhaps even feeling refreshed. The same goes for heartbreak. The more you kick and fight against it, the more you will get dragged into the very depths of that misery. The only way is through. You have to let the emotions roll over you like that wave.
Sometimes we must suffer heartbreak to truly open us up and let out all the greatness we hold within us. I’m thankful for every day that my heart was broken. I will never allow myself to close back up again.