By: Mark Pierce

There are few feelings that hurt us more than to be rejected and abandoned by someone we care deeply about. This person might be a husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend but someone we are committed to in our hearts and minds, who leaves us for someone else or just because they don’t want to be with us anymore.

The pain of this can be devastating; we might cry for days (even bawl), toss and turn at night finding it nearly impossible to sleep and/or not be able to eat, feeling sick and empty at our stomachs. We may even have moments of not wanting to live without the other in the belief that we will never be happy again, never have…anyone else who will replace the person who has gone away.

One of the agonies of being broken-hearted by a lost love is that we tend to blame ourselves with a flood of questions such as—why wasn’t I good enough…am I not pretty(or handsome) enough…what could I/should I have done differently…what’s wrong with me? The broken-hearted, that is the jilted, inevitably mirrors themselves as not being “lovable enough” to hold on to the relationship or simply not being “lovable” enough as a human being. The real pain, however, is the feeling of being rejected. And so when we add the feelings of rejection to whatever jealousies and loneliness are bouncing about in our minds which nearly always equate to the pangs of real psychological and emotional agony, we feel that we can’t or, in the least, don’t want to live without the other. However, what are we really experiencing?

In view of the above, William Gaylin tells us that, “It is not the loss of the other but the depletion of the sense of self we suffer in despair.” He is agreeing with the *Soren Kierkegaard observation that gives us the following to think about:

Despair is never ultimately over the external object
but always over ourselves. A girl loses her sweetheart
and she despairs. It is not over the loss of the sweetheart
but over herself without the sweetheart.
And so it is with all cases of loss whether it be money,
power, or social rank. The unbearable loss is not really
in itself unbearable. What we can’t bear is being
stripped of the external object…

Accepting Kierkegaard’s observation makes us realize that we are, for lack of a better term, wallowing about in self-indulgences as opposed to despairing over the actual absence of the other. This realization unfortunately does not reduce the emotional turmoil that we are feeling. On the other hand, what this acceptance does is to give us a clearer understanding of what our pain is truly all about.

*Siren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855 was a Danish philosopher mostly known for being the father of existentialism.)

The “healing” can begin with a very simple effort: You are probably already alone, but if you are not go into an unoccupied room or go sit in the yard—some place where you are alone and feel comfortable being there. Now then, imagine your sweetheart in your mind and sincerely say to that image, I love you and I forgive you. If you can muster the heart to actually love and forgive the other, you will immediately feel better and freer from your despair. Forgiveness is one of we human’s greatest healing powers although it is seldom thought about in this light.

You might find it difficult, however, to truly be forgiving of someone you are blaming for your sorrows and, if this is the case, you repeat saying, I love you and I forgive you, until you actually do forgive that person who has hurt you; until you have experienced the (unconditional) forgiveness of the other for going away. Once you have accomplished only this much, you will immediately feel better about yourself and your world.

Certainly, you will continue to miss having your sweetheart (wife or husband) around but whenever you begin feeling despaired, repeat the process of saying to that absent person I love you and I forgive you. If you can muster the courage and the discipline to do this you will no doubt save yourself a lot of grief. If you happen to be someone who is suffering the loss of a sweetheart right now, I do not ask you to believe me, I only ask you to try what I am saying to do and see what happens. I believe that you will be pleasantly surprised!