Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Difficult Work of Recovering Love for One’s Self After Love Has Ended

by Michael Bridges

One of the more common and heartbreaking reasons that many people decide to enter therapy is due to the end of a marriage or a romantic relationship. This is particularly true when someone starts to realize some version of, “I just lost myself in this relationship. I can’t seem to remember who I was before. I’m not even sure I can find that person again. Maybe I’ve lost them forever.”

Derrek Walcott, who has the distinction of being the only Nobel Prize winner from the Caribbean, in the following poem provides the necessary hope that the pain and heartbreak will eventually recede while also providing the powerful reminder that love does not only come from others. Even if that other person was the one we thought, and perhaps vowed, we would be with for the rest of our life. Indeed, being able to consistently love and support to our “self” is often an important antidote to those of us who have been preoccupied with finding our emotional salvation and redemption through romantic love.

Love After Love

by Derrek Walcott


The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other's welcome,


and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.



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