For people who feel like their love lives are lacking, Valentine’s Day can be really miserable. I know. I spent far more years of my adult life alone than I spent attached.
Pining for romance makes us vulnerable to the sweet nothings of the sociopath. Of course, we don’t realize when we hear those smooth, silky words that they literally are nothings—empty promises. We think they’re the answers to our prayers. Our dreams come true.
Then, at some point, we shockingly discover that our “relationship” with Prince or Princess Charming is nothing but a cruel mirage. We’ve been tricked. We find ourselves once again single, but now we’re also carrying whatever additional devastation the sociopath has wrought—embarrassment, rage, doubt, illness, debt, a multitude of losses.
The pain and emotional turmoil are so overwhelming that we feel like we’ll never recover. Or, perhaps we passed through the worst of the trauma and now we’re just tired, too exhausted to care about Valentine’s Day. Or, we still want to fill that empty hole within us, but our faith in our own judgment is severely shaken. How can we feel better?
The answer is always to heal our own hearts. Much of my book, Love Fraud—How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan, is about discovering how to do exactly that.
Deciding to heal
The first step is deciding to heal. When we’re in the midst of the trauma, this may feel counterintuitive. We want somebody to do something about the sociopath. We want somebody to deliver us from our circumstances. We want somebody to fix us.
Unfortunately, it’s rare for the situation to change quickly enough to make us feel better. But we don’t have to wait for changed circumstances in order to begin healing. In fact, we shouldn’t wait, because that’s not the way the energy of life works. First we heal ourselves, then the circumstances change.
Pursuing healing requires conscious action, participation on our part. It is something we do, not something that we wait for. So how do we pursue healing? By purposely finding peace and moments of joy.
Peace and joy
Yes, we can find peace within us, even as the storm rages around us. You can use any method that is comfortable and comforting, such as quiet contemplation, meditation, prayer, religious services, walking in nature, listening to music, or any activity that brings a sense of stillness and calm.
At first, we may feel only fleeting moments of peace before we are interrupted by stressful thoughts of our circumstances. That’s okay. Keep trying, and little by little, you’ll find that you’re able to hold on to the peace for longer and longer periods of time.
Then, as you go through your day, look for moments of joy wherever you can find them. Maybe you find a sock that you thought the washing machine ate. Maybe you get a good parking spot. Maybe a clerk in a store is helpful. Maybe a friend takes you out to lunch. Notice those little treasures, no matter how small. And when you do, say a small prayer of gratitude—it can be as quick as the words, “Thank you.”
What happens when you focus on peace and joy? It reduces your stress, which deactivates your fight or flight response, which allows your body’s natural healing capacity to do its job. I’ll be talking more about this in a future blog post, but for now, know that focusing on peace and joy starts the process of change.
Healing your heart is always the answer. When we work on healing our hearts, miracles happen. When we create peace, harmony and health within us, our life circumstances improve as well.
I know this for a fact, because it happened in my life. I worked on changing my inner landscape, and as I made progress, my life got better. It took time, but I finally let go, emotionally, of the sociopathic ex-husband. As soon as I did, I met Terry Kelly, the man who became my new husband.
Terry and I are now in the midst of what we call “Love Week”—the celebration of our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. We go out to dinner. We indulge in a one-pound box of chocolate and slowly nibble away, a couple of pieces at a time. Best of all, we exchange mushy sweet somethings, words that reflect our love and happiness.
True love feels like a miracle, but in reality, it is a direct result of a healed heart.