May / June 2006
From Heartbreak to Happiness
By Aurora Winter
Most of us are looking for love in
all the wrong places. When a relationship ends, whether
it be through divorce, death, or break-up, most people
rush out to find someone new. I know — I have done
it myself! After my 33-year-old husband died suddenly,
I yearned to find a new husband ... and someone to be a
father figure for our four-year-old son.
But the truth is, we can’t just plop a new person
into the hole in our hearts left by the loss of someone
we loved. We have to first heal the hole in our own hearts … and
then, from that healed place, we will inevitably attract
the perfect partner.
But how do we heal our broken hearts? The following four
steps will dramatically accelerate your journey through
heartbreak to happiness. This is what works for me when
I am confronted by any kind of heartbreak, and what I share
with my clients now as a grief recovery counselor.
1) EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
This first step comes naturally to most people. It is very
important to express what you are feeling … not
what you “should” be feeling. Don’t
be kind. Don’t be spiritual. Tell the truth … and
release it. It is only your truth for that moment, anyway.
I expressed my feelings in my journal, and that may work
for you, too, or you can express your feelings to a friend
Unexpressed feelings are like food poisoning. If you
stuff your feelings, you get to keep them. Imagine two
people who go out for sushi, and they both get food poisoning.
One of them throws up … and lives. The other “stuffs
it”… and dies. It may not be pretty, but it
is absolutely essential that you get whatever is bothering
you out of your system.
2) ACCEPT THE SITUATION
When you truly, deeply accept the situation, and I mean
accept it as if you had chosen it, you will release all “victim” energy.
Thoughts and feelings that you have been victimized repel
In my case, I was blessed with a dream on the second
anniversary of my husband’s death. In this dream, I met my husband
at the airport and raged, “How could you rip my heart
out? How could you die beside me?” I confronted him
with his ultimate betrayal, “How could you leave
our son without his father?!”
In this dream, my late husband asked me three questions. “If
you had it to do all over again, would you still marry
I thought for just a moment, flooded with happy memories.
I would take my time with him, though it be short. “Yes.”
“If you had it to do all over again, would you still
have our son?” This time the answer was quicker,
surer. He’s the light of my life, my joy, my blessing! “Yes!”
And then he asked the final question, “Given that,
would you want to know that I would die young?”
His question gave me pause. Would I choose to taint our
joy with dread? I looked into my heart, and after a long
moment, realized the answer. “No.”
This dream changed my life. I was freed from the idea that
I was a victim of fate. You can free yourself, too, by
simply imagining the possibility that you were spared a
much worse fate. Once you accept your “lemons,” you
can make lemonade.
3) FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING, INCLUDING YOURSELF
Forgiveness is a challenging concept for many people, so
let me walk you through two levels of forgiveness, from
beginner to advanced. If forgiveness is challenging for
you, let us be clear that forgiveness is not the same as
Forgiveness means “giving up the hope for a different
or better yesterday.” Yesterday isn’t going
to change. Why continue to give yourself pain over what
happened yesterday? Forgiveness isn’t a gift you
give to another person — forgiveness is a gift you
give to yourself. You free yourself from the tyranny of
the thought that yesterday should be different. Yesterday
is never going to change … no matter how much you
beat yourself up with the idea that it should have been
different. Give yourself a gift by forgiving everyone everything … including
yourself, the other people involved, and God.
At a much more advanced level, when you deeply forgive,
the thoughts that were causing you pain simply evaporate.
You discover that there is nothing left to forgive. This
is true freedom.
For example, for a long time I held the thought, “My
husband’s death is the worst thing that ever happened
to me.” That thought caused incredible pain and suffering.
But was that thought even true?
When I forgave my husband for dying, forgave God for stealing
him away from me, and forgave myself for being such a horrible
person that God would do such a terrible thing to me, the
whole thing simply evaporated.
I realized my late husband gave me two priceless gifts.
The first was our son. The second was the experience of
having my heart broken ... and then opened. It has profoundly
changed me in ways I appreciate. It made me who I am today.
Through death, my late husband was my greatest spiritual
teacher. I am grateful for everything he taught me. I am
grateful that I now have an open heart. An open heart is
love. An open heart naturally, spontaneously, radiates
and attracts love.
Perhaps your greatest spiritual teacher is not some guru
in a cave in India. Perhaps your greatest spiritual teacher
is the person you are living with … or your ex?
4) SAY GOOD-BYE
Rituals bring closure and resolution. Before you hang up
the phone, you say “good-bye.” At the end
of a relationship, you need to say “good-bye” also.
It does not mean good-bye forever, it just means that
this particular telephone call, this particular chapter
in our relationship, has ended.
If you don’t say good-bye to the old, you don’t
make room for something new…whether that be a new
form of relationship with the same person, or a new relationship
with someone else. It’s like cleaning out your closet.
If your closet is stuffed full of old clothes you don’t
wear, there is no room for new clothes. In the same way,
if you don’t release your old loves, there is no
room for new love.
So it is very important to say goodbye, whether it is a
formal event like a divorce or a funeral, or a private
ritual that you create. When you say “good-bye” to
the old, you make room for the new. When you say good-bye
to the past, you welcome in the present moment. And being
fully present in the here and now is the greatest gift
you can give to yourself.
In summary, instead of looking for love in all the wrong
places (i.e. outside of yourself), first look within and
do the work required to heal your own heart. Accelerate
your own journey from heartbreak to happiness by:
1) expressing your feelings,
2) accepting the situation as if you had chosen it,
3) forgiving everyone everything, including yourself, and
4) saying good-bye.
Healing a broken heart requires work, but you are worth
it! As you express your feelings, accept the situation,
forgive everyone, and say good-bye, you will find yourself
feeling lighter, freer, and happier. From that place, don’t
be surprised if your soulmate shows up!
Aurora Winter is founder of www.GriefCoachAcademy.com and author
of “From Heartbreak to Happiness: An Intimate Diary of
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I read every page of this beautiful
diary—it touched my heart and I know it will impact yours.”
Read Aurora’s book for FREE. Visit: www.FromHeartbreaktoHappiness.com,
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