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5 Hidden Blessings of Heartache

03/27/2014 05:18 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2014

Tumultuous are the nights of heartache. We toss and turn and see no end in sight to our pain. We wonder, "Have I done something wrong? How could this happen? Is this really the end?"

Indeed, heartbreak is friend to none. And worse, everyone is subject to at least a few failed attempts at love. But as with most other aspects of life, heartache sweeps in unexpected wisdom and vast enlightenment that unfolds in time. Affliction is never accidental -- there is a soulful treasure to be harvested from the seeds of turmoil.

"The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder," said Virginia Woolf. As I see it, we can only move away from the edge of anguish and towards the light of laughter when we dissect our pain and uproot its greater reason. Then, suffering is minimized as we awaken to the potential of a more profound plan. And doing this takes nothing further than a willingness to reconsider our pangs of the heart and recognize them as blessings in disguise based on the following five truths:

1. You turn inward.
Heartbreak forces you to rediscover your desires and reevaluate your needs. Where once your attention was devoted to another, you now begin to expand attention to yourself. You learn what you do and don't like in relationships, gaining awareness of your own daily tendencies and tragic flaws. You perceive with a naked eye your strengths, weaknesses and all the glorious tidbits of you that lay in-between.

Amid deep struggle emerges deeper creativity. Do not be afraid to turn inward and examine the magic components inside, the endless compartments of your multifaceted being, all without self-judgment. Because to know yourself is to attract the kind of love that can fill your voids with gold.

2. You let go of a wrong person.
My mother used to say, "If you don't close the wrong doors the right ones won't open." And my late husband used to say, "Never lick where you spit." Ending a rough relationship means you are one step closer to finding not just your next partner, but your perfect partner.

Never regret letting go of love if it was the wrong kind. Remaining in a relationship that's not meant to be keeps you stagnant. You become victim to the same patterns, a vicious cycle of trying and failing. The easiest way to know if someone isn't right for you is to review the emotions they evoke within you: if you feel constantly anxious, afraid or nervous, you are not in the right place. Such bonds are toxic to your well-being. You deserve peace of mind and that can only be reached by relinquishing the wrong people and seeking the right ones.

3. You learn how to treat others.
Human interaction is the most difficult lesson to master. We are all inherently good, yet we find it hard to be good to one another. At times we inflict negativity onto others and ironically feed off of it. And this has no bearing on our individual morality. We're all guilty of random acts of anger or moments of unnecessary unkindness. We're brought back to vulnerability only when we experience personal pain: then we are once again sensitized to the world around us.

One of the most incredible abilities unique to the human race is the ability to reason. In terms of human interaction, we understand that having been treated badly does not justify treating others badly. When someone does something wrong to us, we internalize the feeling and reason: "I'll never do that to anyone because it makes me feel bad." We learn to treat others as we would have them treat us. Our capacity for compassion multiplies when we're hurt and heartache serves to show us right from wrong.

4. You evolve and redirect.
After an unpleasant experience, you naturally want to do better overall. And you now have the wisdom and knowledge needed. Pain is an opportunity to break free from negative cycles because it endows you with precious momentum to prevail and prove your past wrong. A fever to progress burns within you -- run with it.

Compare the circumstances of your life conforming to a compromised partnership versus being true to yourself. Act on your new-found ardor to improve by changing any element with which you're unhappy. The satisfaction that awaits once you reach your destination is incomparable to anything else. You're able to state "I'm a different person now." Acknowledge your self-transformation with every step forward so as to continue projecting new possibilities.

5. You set new standards.
One of the biggest blessings of heartbreak is that it both defines and raises your standards of a relationship. The next partner, you may say to yourself, cannot have the same issues as the former. You simply won't stand for it again. You gain a clear understanding of what you will and will not tolerate based on what you have already put up with. You establish deal breakers, setting new rules and values to abide by. Only after having been hurt can you display more self-love than ever before. It rebuilds within you steadily, securely, like a demolished house reconstructed brick by brick.

Heartache may seem like a loss initially, but its broader gain becomes evident in time. If we temporarily put aside the angst associated with damaged love and decipher its crucial function in our lives, we can mend our heartbreak and blanket ourselves in its hidden blessings.

To beauty behind heartache,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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