We all first learned about the amazing gift of muscle memory when we learned to walk, run or even ride our bikes.
Once our muscles got used to the motion, they “remembered” for us.
This way, we didn't have to learn it all over again each time.
It's really incredible when you think about it: We rely on muscle memory when we drive to work each day in our sleepy-eyed, pre-coffee haze.
We use it when we take that kickboxing class for the first time in a few months.
We even use it for things as basic as typing text messages to our besties.
We don't have to stare intently at the screen. We just instinctively know where each key on the keyboard lies.
So, what happens when we apply this physiological fact to our dating lives?
The heart is made up of muscle, after all.
Therefore, it too has muscle memory.
But instead of remembering your perfect technique in spin class, your heart remembers your pain, happiness and, of course, your past loves.
Your heart remembers everyone who's touched it, especially your exes.
All it takes is for you to see that person across a crowded bar, someone mentioning his or her name or a glance at a social media account, alerting you of his or her new relationship.
You can feel your heart remember this person with an intense flutter that radiates throughout your entire body.
That heart-pounding feeling is your heart's muscle memory of everything that person meant to you.
Against all logic, your heart brings your head and your emotions right back to exactly how you felt when that person broke your heart.
Regardless of the time that has passed, the work you’ve done to move on and how happy you might really be, it just takes the tiniest trigger of his or her existence to send you reeling down memory lane.
One sighting, one call and one text is all it takes to make you feel like you’re right back on the emotional rollercoaster that started when he or she broke you.
Your heart’s remembrance of this person brings a flood of memories and small things you had totally forgotten about.
Casual nights sharing pizza on the couch with movies, small talk while you were making breakfast and little comments you never found significant at the time all come to mind instantaneously.
All these “little” things are the comprising pieces of the big picture that was your relationship.
These memories force you to think about your relationship, and even make sure you miss that person.
It makes you think things you wish you never did.
“What if it had been different?”
“Why am I still feeling this strongly?”
“Will we ever get another shot at love?”
The heart’s memory is sharp, descriptive and painful. But more than anything, it is real.
It doesn’t discriminate the good times and the bad.
It remembers all.
It makes you think more about how you felt around that person than the actions that transpired between the two of you.
For that reason, your heart’s memory of someone who touched it intimately is probably the most accurate memory you will have of that person.
Your heart’s memory is not tainted by the opinions of others. It carries with it emotions that are unique to you and kept strictly in the confines of your past.
Everyone in the world could hate your ex (and for good reason), but your heart still can’t really change how you feel about him or her.
These feelings and memories your heart carries with it cannot be duplicated ever again.
They will never be forgotten.
Even if you were to share similar moments in the future with your ex, they wouldn't feel the same. Your heart will know the difference.
The biggest issue is the fact that we can't turn our muscle memories off.
Unless we encounter huge, traumatic brain injuries, our muscles will always remember what they have learned.
Your heart is no different: It always remembers.
You can push someone out of your head and thoughts like the best mind ninja to walk the earth, but your heart still won't forget.
Know that although you may never lose certain feelings in your heart for someone, this just means you weren't meant to be.
But that doesn't take away from the fact that this person truly touched your heart forever.
It can be a beautiful thing to remember.
Appreciate the memories your heart will always keep, but allow yourself to try and heal.
Move on and know your heart has some great new memories to make.