When I met him that Friday night, I never expected that he would break my heart.
Why would I?
After all, he was fairly unassuming.
He wasn’t one of those fancy guys who flaunted his car or clothes or money. In fact, he was pretty reserved. He wasn’t one of those overly charming guys who made you wonder if it was all an act. In fact, he was a little bit shy. He wasn’t one of those weirdly-great-at-dancing guys who could almost spin you head over heels. In fact, he had two very large, very awkward left feet.
But man… oh man… was he handsome.
So maybe there was a teeny tiny clue—but I was willing to look past it.
And by past it, I mean direct at it.
In every other way, though, he was just so… ordinary.
So inconspicuous. So unpretentious. So go-with-the-flow.
And I distinctly remember thinking that was a good thing.
It made me feel so… sure.
I was sure that I was safe. I was sure that I had figured him out. I was sure that I could finally let myself go, let my heart feel again, let myself love happen.
I was sure that someone like that couldn’t hurt me.
But, boy… oh boy… was I wrong.
After what can only be described as a whirlwind romance, I found myself fallen.
Shit. What the hell just happened?!
And the irony of the whole thing—he left me in the most unassuming, inconspicuous, ordinary way.
Not like, he-only-answered-my-texts-with-one-word- disappeared, or he-took-three-days-to-call-me-back disappeared.
I thought this man had died, disappeared.
As a writer, you’d think I appreciated the irony of this situation.
I can tell you right now… I did not.
That was a long time ago, and I still haven’t heard a word from him. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that I finally let it go. Let’s just say that during Lent I had one of those moments when God reached down, grabbed my face, shook me, and said:
Get a grip. You’re better than this.
Now, I said that this was the most unexpected heartbreak of my life, and that was intentional. I never expected any of this to happen—even the good stuff. I never expected to meet someone. I never expected to feel as strongly as I did. I never expected such a short amount of time to be so deeply meaningful.
I never expected to get, for lack of a better term, Houdini’ed.
I was just so sure.
And I was just so wrong.
Truth be told, I wasn’t even that upset about the relationship itself.
I’m the first one to say that if someone doesn’t want to be with me, then that’s probably a sign that I shouldn’t be with them.
It was the “being wrong” that crushed me.
That’s what always crushes us, if we’re being really, really, really, REALLY honest.
Finally we let our guard down. Finally we let someone in. Finally we decided to throw caution to the wind, be vulnerable, trust our gut, listen to our intuition, and just… say yes to love.
And damn does it suck to be wrong.
It was the “being wrong” that led me to question everything about myself. It was the “being wrong” that led to anxiety and drinking and isolation. It was the “being wrong” that left me with holes in my heart that were created by my biggest question of all:
Why would someone do that? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why couldn’t I have been better?
It didn’t take long to realize that I might never get an answer as to “why,” So instead, I had to create my own answers to try and fill those holes.
Too bad my answers sucked.
They were things like, “because you’re not good enough” or “because no one will ever love you” or “because you’re not worthy.”
Extreme, awful, post-heartbreak answers. Real miserable stuff.
Shit was dire, if you will.
But thankfully, I got new answers.
And those answers came from the most unassuming, inconspicuous, ordinary places:
After that incident, I had a few key people who gave me newer, better, and absolutely healthier answers to my questions about “why” heartbreak happens.
Cherie Carter-Scott, the author of one of my favorite books [hyperlink]) once wrote that,
The journey toward wholeness can be expedited if you are willing to use your outer experiences as tools to heal your own inner wounds.
Lemme break that down for ‘ya.
You can get those holes in your heart filled faster if you allow the people in your life to heal you.
At first, I was not the most willing participant in this healing process.
I mean… can you blame a girl?!
Yet, despite my best efforts at creating barriers and walls, I was blessed to encounter four people who helped heal my inner wounds and find my answers. They were the restoration that I needed—my heart healers, if you will.
It took these four people, one after the other, to prove to me, once and for all, that Dr. Carter-Scott is right—“it is entirely possible that other people’s positive perceptions of us can heal any damage in our self-esteem.”
These people radically shifted my self-esteem and dramatically mended my heart.
And I owe them everything.
So thank you, gentlemen, for being real men. I hope, one day, I can repay you. And I hope that sharing this story—which is really your story—will provide a little hope and healing for others who need it.
One of them taught me to open up by sharing everything—both the good and the bad—with complete, honest vulnerability. One of them taught me to value myself—achievements and accomplishments aside—by loving me for me. One of them taught me to chase my dreams—no matter how big, hairy, and audacious—by supporting me through transition.
One of them taught me that being wrong—even really, really, really, REALLLY wrong—was just another step on the road to getting it right.
If you open yourself up, the people in your life can teach you amazing lessons.
If you stay beautifully vulnerable, the people in your life can teach you how to love yourself again.
If you allow them, the people in your life can literally heal your heart.
Realize, deeply, that everyone you meet will challenge the limiting beliefs that you have about yourself. Some might hurt you. Some you might not be ready for. But some might just break thorough and heal your heart.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said,
Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
Look for those opportunities. Be open to them. Know they will come.
And let your heart be healed.