Advice to help our younger people with life’s lost loves
A quick survey – who has ever had their heart broken?
Can you remember how it felt? How devastating it was? How much worry it caused?
If you do, let’s not forget this as our younger folk start to experience their first lost love.
I travel around Australia frequently, talking to many families and communities. Whilst I have no statistics to back this up, I am identifying a disturbing trend amongst young people, particularly males, who are being scarred by the failure of their first “true love”.
In some cases, this emotional scarring has been so severe it has led to actual or attempted suicides.
Again, I have nothing more than my observations, but am sensing that boys and young men have a lot more trouble and trauma getting over their first love. (I’m sure it is the same for young girls and females but I can only comment on what I see!).
How do you help a person get over their first love? I have to be honest and say I am not quite sure. I do know though what not to say, “Don’t worry mate – get used to it. There are going to be many of those in your life. Get over it!’ This was the advice from a father to his son just two days after the breakup. Four days later the boy attempted suicide (unsuccessfully thankfully). Imagine how the father felt?!
As a parent, of course we want to be there for them and we want to help them through this trauma. We need to remember that for some, this experience is deeply traumatic.
I think it’s a gift if you have such a strong relationship with your kids that they’re able to talk about it and talk through the experience. It allows us to share our experience, wisdom and emotions. However, I have also observed that many people of advanced years have difficulty talking about it as it raises unresolved issues from their own youthful experiences.
You don’t have to have all the answers, it’s unlikely you will. Don’t expect it to feel easy or comfortable, it probably won’t. What IS important is that you open the dialogue and keep those lines of communication open. Learn to listen closely … and keep listening. Don’t judge, don’t diminish, don’t lecture. Listen, learn and love your child. This does make a difference.
I’d like to say to the young people reading this article, and to the parents who I hope will share this article with them, that the loss of relationships (and friendships) is a natural part of life (unfortunate as that may sound). I can only say be true to yourself and your emotions. Don’t try and ‘tough it out’ pretending that you are OK.
If you are sad and feel rejected, it is much healthier to acknowledge this and to honour those feelings. We have all been there and can relate to the space you are in. There is no shame!!
It does give you an opportunity though to experience real love and that real love must first of all start with loving yourself.
Know that the greatest love you have needs to be for yourself, and before you can love someone else, regardless of years, you must love and continue to love yourself.
You must be clear about your objectives and what you are prepared to accept and give to have a healthy and happy relationship with your partner, friends and community.
A mistake some of us make is to try and find this love by loving someone else first, and this relationship is doomed. The individual who gives themselves to others so that they be loved may find themselves in a submissive, and sometimes an abusive relationship.
Take the opportunity to love yourself first in this life. Become comfortable with your own space and presence and know that if you can achieve that, you are going to attract other people who are very much like you and share that space, values, beliefs and behaviours. That’s where you will find lasting love and friendship!
If I can get you to love yourself, you will not hurt yourself or other people.
So value yourself, understand yourself, and then reach out for others.
I can’t guarantee that you won’t experience the trauma of some form of personal breakup, even if you do have strong self-love. However, if you do value yourself my sense is that your recovery will be a lot quicker.
Love yourself, love other people, honour and treasure relationships, (even though some of those relationships won’t last for whatever reason) and enjoy life.
Dennis J. Hoiberg is the founder of the niche consulting group Lessons Learnt Consulting. The company assists individuals, families, organisations and communities thrive through change. Lessons Learnt Consulting conducts free monthly webinars that are available to be downloaded from www.lessonslearntconsulting.com/resources. The company provides coaching services, training programs, community presentations and personal development retreats throughout Australia and overseas. Follow him on twitter @dennishoiberg and facebook.com/dennishoiberg.