Every Valentine’s Day in the United States as well as many other places in the world, flowers, candy, gifts and kisses are exchanged. It is a day of love and romance for those already in a relationship. For those single, it is a day of hope, as well as a day when the absence of a special someone can be very loud. How do you stay optimistic when you are still single, especially if your heart has been wounded?
Valentine’s Day can be a day for lovers, but it can also be a day to heal our hearts and prepare ourselves for love still to come. When we have been hurt, we can forget that a broken heart is also an open heart. Relationships offer us all new opportunities to understand who we are, what we fear and what the meaning of true love is. The idea that relationships are learning opportunities may seem counterintuitive because we know that they can be frustrating, challenging, even heartbreaking experiences. And yet they can be so much more. Relationships give us our greatest chance to find real love and true healing. This Valentine’s Day can be one of healing wounds of past relationships and beginning anew.
Jane, in her mid-30s, recently ended a year-long relationship. She wanted to take this time to regroup. She heard her inner dialogue, “All the good men are taken,” “If you’re not married by now, it’s too late” and “I have the worst track record when it comes to relationships.” Despite her thoughts she knew the past did not necessarily dictate the future. She wanted to start anew. She wanted to learn from the past and do it differently in the future. She couldn’t help wonder, is the past relevant? The answer is yes. To look for the right person to love and not become a person who can fully appreciate love and relationships can be a futile mission. This Valentine’s Day can be a call to healing.
Here are some ways to heal your heart this Valentine’s Day:
Give the love you want to others. When you’re past a breakup and single again, you may feel you are not complete, you can’t find your own love without that person, and you can’t create your own happiness. To find love, you must ask yourself if you’re giving as much love as you wish to get, or if you expect people to love you more than you love them or yourself. Give more to all, yourself, your friends, your loves.
You didn’t fail. Your last relationship was a success. Don’t see the relationship as a failure. As you begin to see relationships differently, you’ll recognize that they have their own rhythmic flow. Some will last a lifetime, others a few decades, some a few years, and some only a few months. But there can be no judgment here. It lasted the perfect amount of time for you to learn.
The last relationship was the perfect teaching tool to get you ready for your next one. The wrong person was actually the perfect person for the lessons we needed to learn. People in intimate relationships usually have the same issues, but in reverse. If you struggle with love, you’ll attract someone who has issues with love. A past relationship may have had problems with addiction, but while one is the addict, the other may be the co-dependent/rescuer. If the shared issue is fear, one partner handles it by being fearless, while the other person is fearful. Like often attracts like, but in an “opposite” way. In other words, in any relationship, one person makes pancakes, and the other one eats them. This is information about your patterns and archetypes. What dance are you doing? Which ones do you want to do in your next relationship and which ones don’t you want to do anymore?
Use the past as a book of information to heal old wounds. They provide great information about you, your issues, and your wounds. Take them to a friend, a therapist, or a trusted family member. Talk about them! Be willing to heal them. When looking at past relationships, you may discover abandonment issues or control issues that repeat themselves—perhaps a perceived rejection from a parent when you were young, or a first love that spurned you.
Get to know yourself. Use your review of the past to get to know yourself better right now and learn more about what you want. Sometimes reflecting on what did or didn’t feel right is a good way to discover what you want and don’t want in a relationship. It will help you be clearer for the next relationship.
Forgive them. You’ve probably heard it before. It’s true. Release that anger and resentment. After all, your anger and resentment doesn’t hurt your ex—it is only toxic to you. Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.
See the big picture, not just the pain of the past. Try pulling back to see the bigger picture and understand that all relationships are for healing. If you get no healing from the relationship, it will feel sad and pointless, and you’ll be devastated by emptiness. But if you can see that this person came into your life to bring you to the next level, you will understand that your relationships are always healing your soul and preparing you for your next love.
Ultimately, relationships with their mysterious and wonderful forces are our guides, teaching us all to love and honor one another—as well as ourselves. They remind us that we are not broken or incomplete, and they can deliver us to healing. We let go of our agendas in loving relationships. Each relationship in our past gives us another chance to come closer to authentic healing and true love. This Valentine’s Day can be your invitation to becoming the person you want to meet. And when you do that, you are so much more likely to meet the perfect person.
For more information please visit You Can Heal Your Heart.
About the Author:
David Kessler is one of the most well-known experts and lecturers on grief and loss, is the co-author of the bestsellers On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons with the legendary Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. He is also the author of the #1 best-selling hospice book The Needs of the Dying, which received praise from Mother Teresa; as well as Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms. David’s work has been featured on CNN, NBC, PBS, and Entertainment Tonight; and he has been a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, a contributing writer for Oprah.com, Sharecare.com, and Anderson Cooper 360°. He is also the founder of Grief.com.