In 1957, a group of researchers in the US began studying 4,486 widowers who had lost their wives that year. 213 of these men died within the first six months of bereavement. Interestingly, these men died from heart diseases. You could say that they died from literally broken hearts.
More than seventy years later on Christmas day 2020, someone else died of a broken heart albeit in a different manner. Miriam Kalama a 25-year old salonist from Mombasa lost her life. She didn’t die of Covid-19 or cancer. She wasn’t hit by a car. Rather, she was hit by the excruciating pain of love gone sour. She had a fight with her boyfriend. Love gone sour was too bitter a pill for her to swallow. So she took her life. Not even her love for her two children could overcome the love gone sour. Neither could her love for the baby in her womb overcome the love gone sour. The flood of pain in her broken heart swept away her desire to live. So she took her life.
When she breathed her last on that Christmas day, Miriam joined a tragically long list of people who commit suicide because of love gone sour. Incidentally, in that same week that Miriam died, three other young people from her ancestral home of Kaloleni Sub-County in Kenya’s coastal region also committed suicide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 800,000 people in the world die from suicide every year. Even more troubling, the WHO adds that for ‘each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.’ Just like Miriam, a large percentage of them commit suicide due to love gone sour.
The heart is a powerful creature, often more powerful than the mind. But when channeled correctly, the heart’s limitless power can lift you to great heights of fulfillment and achievement. But when allowed to go rogue, this power can push you to excruciating depths of despair.
A broken heart can lead either to a shattered life or a much more wholesome and fulfilling life. The secret of turning the tide of a broken heart into a wholesome life lies in the mind. According to Psychology Today, ‘given how excruciating heartbreak is, our mind will do everything it can to keep that pain fresh in our thoughts.’ The mind does this due to its mistaken assumption that keeping the pain fresh will protect us from repeating the mistake. Its the same principle that makes us avoid sizzling oil at all costs, if we have ever been burnt by it.
We can turn that same dogged stubbornness of the mind into a powerful force for healing the heart and turning our lives around in a better pathway to a better place.
When one is in a stable, loving relationship, there is a sense of intimate friendship and family. When this sense is yanked away due to a breakdown in the relationship, one is left exposed to the elements of loneliness and despair. The ensuing broken heart can either drive one deeper into that loneliness and despair or lift them up to a place where they can reinvent themselves and find even more fulfillment in their lives.
The only constructive way forward for a broken relationship and a broken heart is this - you either repair and reinvent the relationship or repair and reinvent yourself. Any other option is a slippery path into an uncertain future in which you will be tossed around like a leaf tossed hither and thither by the wind. Eventually, that leaf will land into the ground from where it will wilt, dry up and disintegrate. Don’t go down this path of losing yourself and disintegrating.
A raging wave lives inside a broken heart. If you don’t control it, it will wreak havoc into your thoughts, days and nights. That raging wave can easily capsize the boat of your life. This is what happened to Miriam. But you can tap into this wave and ride it to a better place, where you are a better person. That is what repairing and reinventing yourself is all about.
One of the practical steps that will help you in that reinvention journey is to focus less on hating the one who broke your heart and focus more on self-love. Redouble your self-love. Become a better person not to prove a point but because you are better off when you are a better person.
Become a better person physically by eating better and keeping fit. Become a better person in your career by investing time and resources into that betterment process. Become a better person spiritually by tuning in even more to your creator. Feed your spiritual self more.
Become a better person mentally by constantly nurturing a positive attitude. Become a better person intellectually by opening the floodgates of learning. Learn something new, something valuable everyday or as regularly as possible. Read books. They immerse you into new knowledge and open up new worlds that can make your individual world a better place.
Become a better person socially by building new networks. When you do this, your network will expand into better contacts who add value into your life instead of subtracting it.
When you focus on becoming a better you, you will repair and reinvent yourself. You will rise to great heights of fulfillment and achievement.