Dreams that don’t come true need to be grieved. The dream itself needs to be honoured and mourned. It’s not just about dealing with the pain of not getting what you wanted, it’s about going deeper to look closely at what the dream was actually for. For example, it’s the difference between the pain of say, getting fired, and looking at what you were really longing to have happen with that job. This is a subtle concept we often miss in the healing process when something ends. You see, we’re not always sad for the reasons we think we are…
We may feel embarrassed that we lost money on a venture, (bummer, but that’s not the root reason you’re sad). Or we may be disgusted that our ex jumped into a relationship without working out their substantially dark shit, (so gross, but that’s not the root reason you’re sad). Or we may be all flustered and pissed off at how management handled laying us off after being such a superstar in the company, (understandable, but that’s not the root reason you’re sad).
We’re sad because the fantasy, the vision, the idealism died — stillborn, sudden, or slow and agonizing, it’s gone and it’s never coming back. That dream we fed by hand, and wrote love letters to. The dream we hung our hopes on for massive, ongoing fulfillment; the one we recruited others to believe in. The dream we talked to every single day and whispered to at night. The dream we dressed up and bought things for. That dream we learned new skills for and gave up weekends and opportunities to focus on. The one we opened our hearts to so widely.
Starting to feel the pain now? That’s the truth in there. All of the “bad things” around the situation ending are just the side bar. It’s not just that you’re lonely, it’s that you longed for union. It’s not just that it’s going to be tough to make rent this month, it’s that you were really hoping to be seen and recognized for your work in the world.
When you can go to the center of the sadness, then the collateral pains are less likely to bring you down.
And the real reason for our pain is almost always connected to our desire for love, and losing what we pinned our hopes for love on.