“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” -Fred Rogers
In the wake of your last heartbreak, how much did you love yourself?
It’s an interesting question — one I’ve been asking myself — that’s different from the usual, “How much were you loved?” or “How much did you love?”
We think that if the answer to either of these was “a lot!” then the heartbreak wouldn’t have happened. That if both parties had loved each other enough, it would be enough to sustain the relationship.
But love is often a struggle, and you have to determine if you’re willing to accept the difficult with the easy.
Your life on hold
One of the toughest parts about navigating heartbreak is that you can think of little else until, one day, you find yourself healed.
The world doesn’t accommodate you when you’re heartbroken. Rent must be paid, jobs must be worked, dogs must be fed. You look to all the positives in your life and try to feel grateful, but they’re drowned out for the sobbing.
So begins the desperate grasping for things to go back to the way they were, and the awful realization that it can’t. Commence internalization and guilt about everything you could have done better.
You have a couple good days where you feel like you’ve forgiven yourself and your partner, and then the wave of sadness returns.
Numb. You feel numb most of all.
Loving yourself again
It’s okay to not know what to do next. It’s okay to escape your mind by moving the body on your yoga mat. In fact, it’s more than okay — it’s necessary.
Instead of figuring out how to get your love back or part ways swiftly, you have to figure out how to stay present with our life as it is right now. Not as it was. Not as it will be.
As it is.
Mister Rogers was on to something, but I’d like to personalize it: To love yourself is to strive to accept yourself exactly the way you are, right here and now.
Loving yourself, however unlovable you may feel, starts in the present. Each moment you look into your wounded eyes. Every time you catch yourself self-sabotaging with doubts about your worthiness.
Inside that body is a soul worthy of being seen, heard and fully loved, regardless of what anyone else says. Until you believe it — and even after you believe it — keep returning to your yoga mat.
Try it: Child’s Pose, Balasana, with Prayer Hands
Today, I am taking Child’s Pose and raising my hands in prayer. The only way out is to let it all out — shock, anger, disappointment, grief, sadness.
I remind myself that this is the way things are now, but they won’t be this way forever. The more compassion and patience you can bring to yourself, the less you feel trapped or a victim of circumstances, and the more you can show up for the type of love you deserve.
- Take your knees wide and big toes to touch. Relax your hips back to your heels and reach the arms ahead, palms flat. Rest your forehead on the mat.
- Soften the abdomen completely, then deepen your breath right into that space. Fill up and exhale deeply for three rounds of breath. Bring your attention inward and to your third eye center, between the eyebrows. If it feels good, roll your forehead gently back and forth.
- Bring the palms to touch, press them together and inhale the hands overhead as much as is comfortable. To increase the shoulder stretch, lift the elbows and torso slightly up, walk the elbows forward and release back down.
- Breathing deeply with the whole body, come to an intention for yourself and your relationship with you. Get curious and see what arises in your mind.
- Decide when you’d like to come out of the pose. Release the hands down to the mat. Inhale and walk your hands back to your hips with a lengthened spine, pressing up to your knees.