I came across this strip while looking for visuals to add to some upcoming posts the other day and found myself unable to stop thinking about it. The words are those of C.S. Lewis and the graphics were done by Gavin Aung Than. While the words themselves are meant to provoke thought, the addition of Mr. Than’s graphics adds a visual dimension that truly hits the head on the nail. We have all suffered a heartbreak at one point or another in our lives and it is an experience very few, if any, wish to repeat. There are some who will experience a breakup and then bounce back once again. Unfortunately, for some of us the heartache is harder than others and we find ourselves much like the young lady in the comic strip.
We find it so painful that we wish to never experience it again. So what do we? We lock up our hearts and forge an iron wall around it. We steel ourselves against the feelings of others and even our own feelings. Why? Because we figure, “If I can’t feel it, then it won’t hurt.” That fear of experiencing another heartbreak ends up doing more harm than the pain you might actually experience if another heartbreak occurred! Go figure. How you might ask?
Well, the problem is you end up closing yourself off to EVERYTHING out of fear and you end up missing out on a lot because of it. As the strip shows, you walk around with your heart well-enclosed and watch everyone else happy and joyful well aware of the fact that in order to do so you would have to let your heart out and take a risk. The fear is so strong though, that you don’t let it out and instead, as our strip friend does, you find yourself alone, miserable, and constantly on the defensive.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that being single means you’re not happy. On the contrary, you can be single and very happy. There is a difference between being single simply because you choose to be so and being single because you are afraid of having your heart broken again. The former is healthy and is great because it allows you the time needed for growth and to really figure out where you are as a person and what you’d want in a relationship once you’re ready. The latter, however, is not healthy because you’re not growing and it’s not because you’re not in a relationship, but because you become stunted and your fear does not allow you to move forward. This will then negatively affect any relationship, if you can manage to form one, that you have in the future.
The locking away of your feelings does not allow you to grow from the experience that you just had with the heartbreak. Yes, I know it seems hard to believe, but there is something to be learned from heartbreak. For some of us a heartbreak may be the results of our actions, for others it may be the result of the other person’s actions. In either case there is something to be learned. Do not let the fear stop you from living life and having love in your life. Mr. Lewis was right, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
Yes, being vulnerable can be scary, especially after a heartbreak, but living in fear is so much worst. Much like the strip, you need to remember: you are not the only person to ever experience heartbreak and sadly, you won’t be the last. But there is a silver lining to this because that means that others have gone through what you have as well and guess what: they’re still alive and kicking and more importantly their ok. The world didn’t end. This my friends is something that we need to remember anytime heartbreak knocks on our door. No matter how utterly devastating and painful it may all seem when we are in that moment of heartbreak, the world will continue to keep moving and so must we.
We need to come to the realization that just because it happened once does not mean that it will surely happen again. Not everyone is going to be “out to get you” and ready to hurt you. It will take time and don’t feel bad about it. Everyone bounces back from heartbreak differently and at their own pace, but the objective IS to bounce back. If you’re going through a heartbreak its okay to feel hurt, but don’t get stuck in that feeling. Feel it, cry if you must, and then let go of those feelings because you are done with them. Don’t hold on to them because they don’t do you any good.
Take the time to learn about yourself. Figure out who you are and what you want out of your life. By figuring out who you really are and what you want, you accomplish two big things. First, you learn to love yourself. I cannot stress how important this is. By truly learning to love yourself you become aware of your personal value and that is priceless. The second big thing you’ll accomplish is an acceptance of situations for what they are. When you get to that stage of truly loving yourself even if you happen to go through another heartbreak in your future, you will find that it will not be as intense or affect you as badly as it did in the past. Why? It’s not because you won’t care, but because you’ll learn to recognize that perhaps that wasn’t what was right for you and you’ll be ok with that because you’re okay with you.
You don’t need to bounce back into another serious relationship, but by the same token don’t completely isolate yourself out of fear either. Why? Because by isolating yourself, you might be blocking out the very people that you need in your life at the moment. You can be cautious and no one would scoff at or blame you for it, but don’t be so overly cautious that you turn away people who could be really great in your life. In the end, you will find that you will have to take a risk, but that is what makes life so interesting. If we never took any risks we would never know how far we could go or how strong we really are. So remember: A heartbreak may be very painful, but it doesn’t last forever and it need not be all you ever know.