The Cliché of a Broken Heart

(or The Girl Who Cried, “Broken Heart!”)

I find it difficult sometimes to convey feelings when the majority of those expressing themselves lazily use gross exaggerations leaving what once were strong words and phrases as trampled letters heavily used and devoid of any real meaning. On a couple occasions I’ve declared my heart has broken . . . did I mean it or was I guilty of this same laziness and over dramatization? Was I honest the day I told someone he broke my heart? Deep down I felt like I was being dishonest when I said it—why did I ignore this red alert warning and say it anyway?

Mostly I have only said my heart was broken to make a point of how strongly I felt pain at the time—little did I realize how empty the words truly sound because so many others tried it before me. Every time I turn around a book or song is speaking of breaking hearts—it seems to me crying over a “broken heart” has become much too common to be real. Like the boy yelling “Wolf!” sloppy speakers have left us with no meaning for a deep feeling. So with a broken heart being as cliché as it is I think of this ache better now by using the term crushed spirit. What then is this deep ache and is it wrong to feel it or feel like someone else has caused it?

I came to the conclusion a few summers ago that if my spirit crushes it will be no one’s fault, but my own from putting too much trust (or heart) into something I could lose. If I let my spirit crush it would mean I had let someone take such a high position in my life to make all the difference of how I felt, by what they thought. Putting anyone in this role is positioning them where only God belongs. This past spring I let the pain someone else inflicted crush me. When this happened, I felt like rejecting who I was, because this person rejected my friendship—he rejected me. It only took me a short time to shake these feeling off, stand up and tell myself not to feel this way because the One whose opinion truly matters treasures me and accepts me. Others have treated me wrong, but with my identity in Christ my heart and spirit are stronger than any injury anyone can throw at it and it’s able to become even stronger every time it has to defend against another blow. So, while I shouldn’t have said “you broke my heart,” it was appropriate to say “you have hurt my heart deeply.”

When two people separate ways after being close friends, and neither specifically did or said hurtful things to each other or treated the other unkindly, either person may still end up fighting against a crushed spirit simply from deep discouragement, emptiness, and a feeling of rejection. Painful blows as well as a quiet and sad goodbye are enough to crush a spirit if the spirit is willing for this to happen. Any reason that can be given for a crushed spirit though, Jesus can wipe away. With knowing Jesus, giving him your pain and sorrow, and seeking fulfillment in him there never is valid reason for such deep heartache.

Each person is more responsible for his or her own heart than anyone else is and to shove that responsibility and consequences onto another person is an unloving, bitter, and ugly thing to do. Yes, every person should love, honor, and protect the heart of each person in their life and it’s wrong to inflict unloving and unjust pain on another person, but if a heart gets crushed it’s ultimately the fault of the heart bearer alone.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

Remember always, to love anyone and anything on earth means to experience hurt, because nothing on earth is perfect, including a human’s capacity to love. So pain will come, and pain will pass—time and understanding lessen even the stabs from the sharpest swords and it is possible to live happily even when your heart is hurting.

I have learned from experience what people call a broken heart really isn’t so bad. Sure, I kind of hate to admit it because a broken heart sounds so melancholy, dramatic, and the hopelessly sad twist to any real good love story, but it just isn’t so in real life. It’s to be accepted as life, and moved past while building the skill of remembering the love . . . and smiling, instead of thinking of the pain . . . and crying.

So let’s not complain and blame the person who hurt us by saying something as foolish as, “you broke my heart” because that’s as good as saying “you ruined my life” and no one but yourself has power like that over your life.

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