Healing Heartbreak: Men vs. Women
What Heather Locklear & Richie Sambora Need to Know
By Aurora Winter
I love men. They’re such great problem-solvers. They’re delightful and direct and protective and helpful and strong.
But there is one area where their strength does not always serve them—and that’s in the aftermath of a divorce, death, or breakup. A woman’s strength is more like grass. In a strong wind, grass bends and does not break. A man’s strength is more like an oak tree. An oak tree is rigid, and a strong wind can cause it to crack and crash.
As a grief recovery counselor, I don’t want anyone to crack or crash. After my husband died suddenly at the age of 33, it felt as though a hurricane swept through my life, and the life of our 4-year-old son. And now I feel deeply connected to anyone confronted by any kind of heartbreak, and passionate about helping others go from heartbreak to happiness as quickly as possible.
Our society has a number of deadly myths that deepen and prolong heartbreak, and one of them is you have to “be strong.” Most men believe this myth, so they stuff their feelings in an attempt to “be strong.” But what most people don’t realize is that unexpressed feelings are like food poisoning. Suppose two people go out for sushi dinner, and they both get food poisoning. One of them throws up—and lives. He got what was bothering him out of his system. The other one “stuffs it” and dies. It’s the same way with feelings. If you stuff them, you get to keep them. If you express them, you get to release them.
Another deadly myth that prolongs heartbreak is “replace the loss.” This resonates with men’s basic wonderful nature as “problem solvers.” But sometimes, when you solve one problem, you create another. When you try to stuff a new person into the hole in your heart left by someone else, intimacy suffers. I know—I did this myself after my husband died.
Men rush into new relationships at warp speed, as Brad Pitt and Richie Sambora so publicly demonstrated. After a breakup from a man I deeply loved, it was incredibly painful for me to learn that he found someone new within a few months.
I could have obsessed about the other woman, but what good does that do? Heather Locklear’s apparent outrage at Denise Richards for dating her ex is a classic example of this. Focusing on the other woman keeps everyone from doing the real work of healing a broken heart.
At first, I’ll admit that the thought of my ex having sex with another woman almost made me throw up. I thought that meant that he hadn’t had deep feelings for me, that our relationship hadn’t been meaningful. I did the work of healing a broken heart, and realized that those painful thoughts were not even true. As I kept bringing my focus back to the truth, and did the four action steps, my hurt feelings gradually evaporated.
And the astonishing result was that I reconnected to the deep love I have for my ex. I realized that I want him to be happy—no matter what that looks like. Now we’re great friends.
The 4 action steps to healing a broken heart are:
1) Express your real feelings. Talk it out, write it down.
2) Accept the situation. Pain is caused by the gap between reality and expectation. Expect reality.
3) Forgive everyone everything, including yourself. You did the best you could with the information and wisdom you had at the time. Apologize and make amends when appropriate. Release the need for others to apologize.
4) Help others. People kept asking me how I healed after my husband’s death, so I published my diary to answer that question. It’s worth it to me to be “naked on the page” in order to help other people go from heartbreak to happiness, as I did. I also lead healing spa retreats to help others reclaim happiness. Helping others is my own final step of healing. You can enter to win a free healing spa retreat with me by visiting my web site, www.FromHeartbreakToHappiness.com, and entering the free draw.
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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