Is forgiveness a requirement?

Forgiveness has been a topic I have been thinking about lately in my own personal journey. Whenever we are faced with heartbreak or betrayal – the first piece of advice we come across is to forgive the other person. Forgiveness feels graceful. It feels like a natural requirement to healing. How can I be healed if I haven’t forgiven? Lately, I have found myself torturing myself  over the fact that I wasn’t able to forgive a person that hurt me deeply. I felt “lesser” because I hadn’t forgiven them and I felt resentful. I found myself confiding to my therapist about this guilt I felt over not forgiving . I told her I felt like a horrible person because, I wasn’t able to forgive. I felt resentful and angry still and all I wanted to was forgive….and let go.  She paused and encouraged me to think about what forgiveness would provide me in this journey.  She asked me why is it that forgiveness is so important to me and asked me to understand where this need was coming from?

 

When I asked myself these questions, I realized that I wanted to forgive because it felt like the right thing to do. I have always been understanding and empathetic I told her and all I wanted was to empathize with the other person. After all, how can I be this empathetic person if I felt resentful?  Staying with my feeling of hurt and resentment felt ugly and messy. It would be so much more graceful to forgive…. It would make me feel above all the “negative” feelings that I feeling. I didn’t want to feel resentful so, I thought that saying I have forgiven this person would make me feel better… someone above the feeling of resentment.

 

But, bypassing these negative feelings and jumping to “forgiveness” did nothing for me. I had to sit with each negative feeling I felt: pain, rejection, hurt, anger, resentment, self-loathing and more anger. Sitting with these feelings and being true to emotions allowed me to understand that I hadn’t completely healed. This all made me realize one big thing: Healing is a prerequisite to forgiveness. We cannot forgive unless we have healed. It isn’t the other way around that once we forgive, we heal. Once you have healed, forgiveness is the natural next step.  Once you have made peace with your pain, there is nothing else left to do but, forgive the other person…. it comes by itself without force or torture.

 

I tell my friends and myself that forgiveness is not a requirement to healing. Healing is a prerequisite to forgiveness. You cannot have one without the other but, forgiveness does not come first. Bypassing negative feeling by forcing yourself to forgive will only suppress these emotions internally. Be truthful and honest with yourself even when it is difficult. Let yourself be angry and in pain for a moment… let these emotions ring true and let them work themselves out without being suppressed. Once you can make peace with yourself – forgiveness will show up where you need it to be.

 

The goal isn’t a Band-Aid solution to pain. It isn’t spiritual bypass through difficult emotions. It is to be authentic in all our feelings and emotions.

 

Heal first then, you will forgive.

 

Is Closure a Requirement?

Closure.

You probably have heard of that at some point in your life. Maybe you got your heartbroken and spent many nights wanting for closure. Or, maybe you broke someone’s heart and they requested you for a closure that you weren’t able to provide. Both parts are difficult and wanting closure is a very normal thing.

A lot of conversations about breakups revolve around closure. People often say things like “of course you’re hurt, you didn’t have any closure!” which leads us to believe that closure will be the key to fixing our broken heart. We look for closure as if it will provide a light to our darkness and maybe some sort of remedy to our pain. We seek that explanation that would fix everything – a neat conclusion to our story that would allow us to turn the page and move on.

But, that isn’t reality. Our world is not black and white. Any explanation that is provided will not suffice and will not be enough to move on.

That leads us to think, is closure imperative to move on?  Is it like the final ribbon we need to add to our relationship to completely wrap it up and be done with it? Will it alleviate our heartbreak?

I am here to tell you that closure is not real and you do not need closure to move on. And, even better than that – that is a GOOD thing.

Not requiring closure puts you in control. You are not waiting for permission from someone to be able to move on. You can do that all by yourself.

When I think of my previous relationship, there are times where I have wanted to ask my ex for a closure. I wanted to send that text and wait for a response. I wanted to ask why or how could he move on so quickly. But, the more honest I was with myself – the more I realized that what I wanted was not closure, what I wanted was contact. I was holding on to some type of relationship that I still had with my ex. That request for closure would lead to a conversation and would reassure me that at one point we did have something. It would ensure that even if he was not in my life anymore, I could still hold on to some shred of relationship that we had together.

So, whenever you want closure – ask yourself – do you want closure or do you want contact?

Are you doing everything in your power to have some type of relationship with your ex? Even if it is toxic, one-sided, and painful – are you holding on to that as a way of reassuring yourself that you are still a part of their life? If so, please give yourself permission to let go. Tell yourself that you are more than capable of moving on from something without a formal closure. That you have all the tools that you need to let go of a relationship.

Overall, please be reassured that you do not need contact with your ex to survive. You can gracefully let go of a relationship. It seems difficult but, it is the best thing you can do for yourself and also for your ex. Imagine you wanting to let go of a relationship and someone forcing you to stay in it. How difficult would that be for you? Give the gift of grace & let them freely live their life. They deserve to do that and in return, you will be free to live your life in your own accord.

Healing is a choice & closure is not required here at all.

Self-Love Equals Enlightenment?

Self-love comes up over and over again when you’re trying to get over a heartbreak. People will tell you that to love someone else – you must love yourself. It is cliché but, for a reason. Self-love is crucial to not only fixing your heartbreak but, also to being at peace with yourself. If you think about it, you are the most constant thing in your life. You have your family and your community but, your relationship to these external factor depend solely on your relationship to yourself. We should put as much effort to our relationship to self as we do to external relationships.

Recently, I watched a video by Teal Swan on YouTube. She talks about how self-love is the shortest path to enlightenment. She encourages everyone to ask this one question whenever you are faced with a decision: “What would someone who loves themselves do?” This question should be the guiding factor in how we treat ourselves.

What would someone who loves themselves do after a heartbreak? Would they wallow in their pain or would they try to move on gracefully? What would someone who loves themselves do with their finances? Would they spend recklessly or only make mindful purchases?

This question can be a guiding factor in how we move in life. When we treat ourselves with kindness and love – we can move on from the negative to our purpose. I plan on using this question with many decisions I face.

One thing I will say about this is that the answer to that question isn’t always the easy thing. You might be tempted to answer that question by saying “someone that loves themselves would take a bath and drink wine every night!” J ….and sometimes that is the answer. But, I think the answers might not always be what we want to hear. It might be difficult things we face. It might be choosing to make that cold call, choosing to finishing that assignment we procrastinated on, choosing to confront someone, and moving away from things that do not serve us.

Good luck with your self love journey.

Teal Swan’s video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQHv75ahYDQ

An App for Heartbreak?

After going through a fairly terrible heartbreak this Summer, I was on a quest to find a solution. I am a fairly logical person and I think break-ups are a part of life. Still, an end of a 6 year relationship was too devastating to use logic (even for me). I spent a lot of my time googling “how to get over a heartbreak” and listening to countless hours of YouTube videos. Some of them advocated for posting your best selfies in Instagram to show how well you’re doing without your ex and some just concluded only time could heal wounds.

I didn’t like either of those ways.

Yes, time is the only thing that heals breakups but, there are ways to cope with it that are much more healthier. Break-up is an obstacle we face that may cause us to feel extreme emotional pain. This pain needs to be taken seriously and be dealt with in the most healthiest way possible.

That is when I found Mend. Mend is a self-care app that helps people with heartbreak. Each day you go into the app and listen to a snippet that explains how we may be feeling. The person who reads the snippet to you has the most soothing voice ever (which helps). Mend was created by Elle Huerta who herself went through a difficult break-up and wanted a more healthier and better way to deal with heartbreak. And, she’s a Latina. Like, how perfect? 🙂

I have been using Mend for over a week and it truly helps me start my day off correctly. Whenever I listen to the daily lesson, it reminds me that my pain is not unprecedented. We all have gone through similar pains and heartbreaks. We have all dealt with difficulties. Although there might not be a pill to take and completely bypass our feelings – there are healthier ways to deal with heartbreaks. You do not have to succumb to resentment or anger and you can actually learn to be grateful for your ex (plays thank u, next by Ariana Grande).

Mend helps me take a better approach to heartbreak. I do not want to be a victim. I do not want to be bitter. I want to let go of my relationship gracefully with love and kindness. That is exactly what Mend is helping me do.

Despite all this, it would be careless for me to not mention how difficult the process actually is. There are days where I fall victim to the occasional social media stalking. There are days I cry myself to sleep at night. There are many days where I have to catch myself from crying at my desk at work. The pain is real and that is okay. We can accept the pain and treat the pain with kindness and love. We can embrace the pain and use healthy tools like Mend to help us heal in the way.

Happy healing.

Mend: https://www.letsmend.com/

Elle Huerta: https://www.instagram.com/ellenhuerta/?hl=en

Not anyway sponsored by Mend…..I wish though =)

Opening Up

One of my favorite rappers is J.Cole. I have loved him since his mixtape days and his way with words just touches my soul. He also seems so real and authentic– I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s his hustle or his commitment to stay true to himself. He has had my heart since Friday Night Lights and he still does. He recently featured on a 6LACK song called “Pretty Little Fears”. The first part of his verse just touches my soul.

“I’m lovin’ your light, vulnerable
Lettin’ your guard down, it’s honorable
‘Specially when the past ain’t been that
Friendly to you but there’s magic in that”

The whole song is magical but, these lines just touch my soul. I think it is because I have always been scared of opening up to people. Instead of wearing my heart on my sleeve, I think I wear my toughness on my sleeve. I don’t let people in and I think I am almost proud of the fact on how long it takes me to open up to people. From now on, I really want to commit to opening up and being more vulnerable. I want to be more open to having fun, talking to random people, and being more easy with life. I don’t think it’s an honor to be closed off to the world or it’s some type of a bragging right. I think it shows weakness and fear. I don’t want to be weak or fearful. I want to jump. I want to be more open and forthcoming. I want to be seen although, even typing that makes me cringe. I tend to hide or be to myself as much as possible. I keep to my guard high up. Even when I am walking down the street, I cover myself under a jacket or something – a hideout from the world.

This year, I really want to be more open and vulnerable. I want to let people in and be more comfortable with living my life. Be more authentic and more free.

Here is to flying.

Alma.