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A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When Love Hurts: The Lessons

I wrote this article in December 2000 when I was still in the Philippines. I published it in my Bizland website which is no longer in existence. During this time, I was teaching Philosophy full time (7 subjects and usually 4 preparations) and was also enrolled at Xavier University in its MA program in Guidance and Counselling. 
I decided to publish this article in this website today, hoping that some of you can benefit from the lessons I have learned 10 years ago.
Below were the lessons I have learned when love hurt:
 1.  Remember that you are both the action and the reaction--to a certain extent you are the external force and the subject of that force.  You create the situation you find yourself in by contributing to it, consciously or unconsciously. Thus, if you are hurt in a  relationship which is supposed to be a loving one as you dreamt it to be, to a certain extent, you caused the hurt itself.  You caused your own woundedness.
2.  You cannot control people. Controlling people is opposite to loving them.  Control is manipulation, putting limits, becoming a master. To control people is to chain them to you in invisible slavery. Control destroys love or whatever is left of it. When you let go of the need to control, you also free yourself from the hurting situation. 
3.  Just as there cannot be spring without winter, so there cannot also be happiness without pain.  Joy and sorrow are two sides of the same reality.  Learn from your sorrow so you can find greater joy. Therefore, don't be afraid of the occasional pain and hurt--the greater the pain, the greater the capacity for happiness. Sorrow digs the pit, happiness fills it in.  The deeper your desolation, the higher your consolation.
4.  Allow change. Change is natural and to fetter and restrict this process creates tensions. There can never be a state of equilibrium in the natural scheme of things. All things considered, everything is in a state of flux. Don't resist the change that a failed relationship offers. Flow with it, welcome the change, and move on.  When love fails and it hurts so much, move on. Welcome the changes that a failed relationship brings into your life. Don't stay in the shadows. Go out into the sun and bask in its warmth. That is the best way to welcome change.
5.  You don't have to understand  why a love hurt or why it failed.  Even the person who has hurt you might not have been aware of the reasons why things happened the way they did.  Have faith that whatever happened has a reason. Perhaps a failed relationship could open a new door for a more loving, nurturing relationship. Maybe the person who has hurt you was your teacher in disguise. You don't have to know everything but it is within your grasp to learn from your pain.
6.  The very nature of the universe is that it presents innumerable options. You need not restrict your choices and thereby narrowing your path from a more fulfilled, expansive life. Take your time to look, to observe, to test, to anticipate outcomes, to search, and to discover. You don't have to stay in a toxic relationship. There are many people out there who may be seeking for the kind of person that you are and for the kind of love you alone can uniquely give.
7.  Trust life. Trust the universe. Trust your self. Not all of life is painful. Not all of the universe is uncertain. Not all of your decisions are  wrong. Sometimes, we arrive at the right decisions after having made wrong ones. Trusting allows us the capacity to love again and to be whole again.
8.  There is a connectedness, a kind of synchronicity in our lives. What may be considered as a disaster may be an enabling event to set your life in a new, positive pattern.  For example,  had I not been over-protected by my parents, I would not have gotten married early. Had not my marriage failed, I would not have met the most wonderful man, and I would not have known what I missed in a loving relationship all these years.
9.  Look inside yourself for your spiritual basis. Your spirituality enables you to make order out of disorder, to make meaning out of chaos.  It takes great strength and faith in yourself to see beyond your immediate defeats and realize that there is something significantly larger than yourself.  
10.  Everything in your life matters. It is true that there are wrong turns, lost opportunities, sad endings. But all these contribute to the making of the solidity and dignity of yourself. For instance, even wrinkles matter. The wrinkles in a face represent defeats, failures, wrong turns, lost opportunities, and sad endings. Beneath all these wrinkles are lessons learned which make the person who has them a better person, more loving, more understanding, more able to cope, more secure, and infinitely wiser.


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