In his book, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, 14th century Islamic Scholar Ibn Khaldun wrote: “Throughout history many nations have suffered a physical defeat, but that has never marked the end of a nation. But when a nation has become the victim of a psychological defeat, then that marks the end of a nation.”
Now this was clearly about politics, conflict, empires and their definition.
Yet it applies to dealing with heartbreaks and I will tell you how.
A heartbreak is often punctuated by physical pangs, feeling drawn out by past memories.
The only thing that often keeps us close to living in times of distress is accident rather than willpower. We just happen to keep breathing because we are alive, without experiencing life. This is especially true if we have been in a long term relationship with its excesses in unbridled investment. After all, the movies, songs, literature and our optimism told us this was meant to last forever.
Now, a heartbreak has seen many end normal relationships. It is a natural defense mechanism. When you feel it is impossible to live because of sudden independence one takes an umbrage to life. It’s not fair. Why me? What could I have done differently? I am not worth loving!
Yet none of those questions have anything to do with where you need to go. In those moments you often forget how great you are and dive into a black hole of self-deprecation. Even in the other excesses where you engage in self-harming behavior (alcohol and loads of sex with multiple short term partners) you are disappearing from yourself.
Yet what is supposed to keep you alive is the beautiful person you were before the heartbreak. That is what made you pleasant. That is the person whose company you liked so much you decided to share it with another whole human being.
That person still exists inside you but you hid it inside a ‘we’ or ‘us’.
When you stop believing in that person, then like that nation you face an end. It might not be a physical but you’re alone in a world of seven billion human beings.
You see, super rapper Akua Naru in her song Mo(u)rning, said, ‘Self-love is the very first romance’.
So in this darkness, find that romance with yourself. Love the sh*t out of yourself. Thought you were a beer person? Try a whisky. Thought you liked theatre only? How about a wild Friday in a night-club?
In new experiences we discover ourselves and remove our old prejudices.
For most people, it’s a difficult thing to do. So more often than not you will have to drag yourself out or surround yourself with people who will not allow you to fall into self-destructive habits.
It does feel like more than it is. But a heartbreak is really in your head.