FIVE STEPS BACK TO LOVE AGAIN AFTER BETRAYAL
Love. One would think we all just want to be in love. But the aftermath of heartbreak and betrayal can actually make us wary to open our hearts again. From the first rejection during high-school dating to marriage break-ups, heart breaks can hit us hard. It is no wonder that many people try to find ways to get their intimacy needs met without venturing into the dangerous waters of love.
Yet...intimacy rarely fulfills without love, and love is at our very core as human beings. So how can we return to love after heartbreak or betrayal?
1. Emotional Release. Firstly there may be some anger to clear. If you opened your heart to someone whom later did something that hurt you, it is likely you feel anger. This is not a matter or who is right or wrong, or who is to blame. In Taoism, anger is a sign that our boundaries have been crossed or broken. Ultimately we are responsible for our own boundaries, but we may also have over-trusted or not even known what our boundaries were until they were crossed.
Emotional release is not about blame; it is simply about moving energy. It is recommended to move your energy alone or in a held space such as a workshop, rather than through projecting your anger onto your ex (or onto "all men" or "all women"). Shaking the body to high energy music, or cathartic breathwork practices are superb ways to move that energy. In Taoist Qigong, you can release anger by movements that re-enact chopping wood.
2. Self love. After clearing the charge, it is now time to practice self love. What that means, is spending alone-time listening to your heart and holding it. I recommend to take a cushion in your arms as if it were your small-self/ inner-child. Hold the cushion in a cuddle in you arms and just love it! Imagine that your pain is like a baby that wakes in the night crying- you cradle it is your arms and gently rock it into peace.
Spending time with the pain in your own heart is a wonderful way to cultivate self-love. Be vigilant- this is a pain we often try to avoid at all costs. Many behaviours and addictions arise as away to avoid this pain. From compulsive netflix-watching, to drugs, alcohol, binge eating, promiscuity...all these and more may be strategies of avoidance. It takes immense courage to listen to this pain and love it unconditionally. This is self-love.
From this place of self-love, you start to learn what it feels like to be loved in your most wounded places. Once you learn this for yourself, you know what kind of love you want to call in.
3. Create new values. Healing from a painful experience in life is a good opportunity to reassess your values. Did you give away your power somehow? If so, how can you take personal responsibility so that you don't do that again? Or do you need to create different boundaries? One wonderful way to rebuild personal power after heartbreak is to build new values.
You values are literally the things you value in life. Those things that bring you happiness and fulfillment.
Do you value commitment? Or freedom? Do you value honest communication? Do you value people who can express their vulnerability? Or people who can hold space for their own triggers? When you are clear on your values then you can invest your time and energy on the experiences and relationships that take you where you want to go, and climb out of negative patterns that don't serve you. Let your painful past experiences help you to recalibrate and move on in a positive way.
4. Set Clear Intentions.
Now that you have cultivated self-love and created clear values, you are in a good place to start calling in new love. By loving yourself, you start to feel the imprint of being loved. This helps you to recognize it when you are in someone else's presence. It becomes like a frequency you recognize, even when it is merely a potential.
Having clear values helps you to make sure there is alignment with another person before you start to get too intimate. Note that this is not about making demands on potential partners (which is not very attractive!) It is about knowing what is important to you, and finding others who share similar values. For example, maybe you realize that you value commitment. This does mean you demand commitment from someone you meet on a one-night-stand, it means you looks for others who also want commitment.
5. Build Trust. Once you have found someone you resonate with, with similar values and the potential for love, you don't need to just fling your heart open and throw yourself all in! It is trust and safety that enables our hearts to open to more love. So now consciously choose to cultivate trust together so that you can experience deeper love and connection.
Trust is not about giving each other limitations and boundaries that the other has to fulfill. Robbing someone of their sovereignty will not lead to a relationship of growth. Instead of making demands, take time to share with each other how you were hurt in the past. From here, you can make mutual agreements of how to make each other's heart feel safe.
So these are five ways you can start to make steps back from heartbreak to love, taking lessons from the past to help you to make wiser decisions in the future. If we put up walls of protection every time our heart is broken, then life will just make us hardened and bitter. If we heal the pain and move on in new ways, then we can use our life as an opportunity to learn how to love and be loved.
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