When the world is in upheaval, and the daily news brings a fresh rash of sorrow and outrage, it can be tough to remain centered, to still claim joy as our birthright. Add to that heartbreak over the abrupt ending of a loving relationship, and it’s a pretty toxic cocktail. So, today, I decided to make a list of the gifts of a broken heart. Turns out, there are many. These gifts have revealed themselves to me not only in my own recent heartbreak, but in my work with all of you. Thank you for being so generous in sharing your stories and trusting me to guide you through the process.
1.) Love. Big L-love. I feel loved and held and supported by God/Universe/Source. I trust the process. I trust that in the end love and joy will win. Not just in my little life, but for all of us.
2.) Community. I feel the love and sisterhood and brotherhood of all of you amazing people. You people freaking rock. My friends have been patient and amazing, acquaintances stop to give me a hug, strangers email me and share their own stories—a generous trust.
3.) Laughter. When I wasn't crying, I found most things absolutely absurd. Heartbreak has a way of putting things in perspective. And I chortle over my own foibles daily.
4.) Purpose. We all have one. We are all necessary to heal this world. And heartbreak has a way of focusing intention and marshaling resolve. Think of it this way: every soul born is an octave of God’s voice. Each voice has something unique to add to the chorus. And it is when we all express our unique talents and lift our voices in love that the universe is in harmony. Don’t ever doubt for a second the impact you can have on this world.
5.) Clarity. I now know EXACTLY what I want. And that’s a tremendous gift. The bar has been raised high and I’m grateful to my erstwhile love for that.
6.) Perspective. This too shall pass. I’m a speck in this immense, gorgeous universe. An important speck, as are you, but a speck. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” —Carl Sagan. And this heartbreak? I will look back at it and be grateful for its lessons. I don’t feel that way now, and doubt I will tomorrow, but I trust that one day I will be humbled by its transformative power.
7.) Resilience. We have all been kicked in the teeth at one point or another. And somehow, most of us, most of the time, get back up. And then go to do something fabulous, like raise a kid, or start a company or a foundation, or write a book, or bake a cake.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt
8.) Transformation. One of my dearest friends, fellow coach Susan Leahy, says “Hold your conceptions of people lightly so as to leave them room to surprise you.” So wise, so true. Just as flame forges metal and pressure creates diamonds out of dust, so does adversity transform the human spirit. It’s a gorgeous alchemy. And not only am I going through a transformation, but I’ve been able to step back and allow other people room to surprise me.
And, by the way, difficult people are our best teachers. Pain is an incredible learning tool. If someone is causing me pain, I’ve learned to stop and get curious. What’s my narrative around it? Is it true? Can I reframe it into something that is more generous and compassionate? That feels better to me? I’m committed to being a victor, not a victim. I ask myself: What did I learn from this person? How have they contributed to my growth? What’s my takeaway? What do I need to release? What do I need to bless and manifest?
Case in point: My mother. I’ve had a very complicated and conflicted relationship with my mother over the years. And I am grateful that, through grace and therapy and what measure of maturity I’ve achieved, I’ve gotten to the place where I’m able to hold my conception of her lightly because she HAS surprised me. She has stepped up and been wise and wonderful and altogether lovely. As she said to me the other day, “Sorrow stretches out places for joy in your heart.” And joy is filling me even now for her wisdom and kindness.
Thank you. Love you. Grateful for you.
Certified Professional Coach Kate Buckley is committed to facilitating personal growth and systemic transformation. An intuitive and deep listener, she specializes in helping both individuals and groups (brands, teams, companies) reframe their stories in order to reclaim their life—transforming circumstances in order to thrive!