Sometimes, I find myself comparing my life to others from my friends, coworkers, to complete strangers on the internet. I often compare the milestones in my life to theirs. I worry that I am not measuring up or I am not “good enough”. As unproductive as this thought pattern is, it is also very human. We measure things by putting two things together (is school A better than school B, is house A better than house C…etc). We have used this skill to make decisions all our lives but, we deter when we apply this to human beings (especially ourselves). Comparison goes against the very essence of being human. Our creator designed us all to be unique with unique souls, desires, and ideas. The notion that we’re going to have similar paths to others is not fruitful or helpful. Take today to thank our creator for making you unique! Do not rob yourself of joy by comparing yourself to others.
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.
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
The past few months of my life have been a blur. A blur created by me distracting myself through binging Netflix, YouTube, sleeping way too much, and occasionally drinking a bit too much. Why did this happen? This summer I went through my first official heartbreak. An adult heartbreak. End of a six year relationship heartbreak. A pain so intense that I didn’t expect it to impact me the way it has. I was always the girl that dismissed “heartbroken” people. I thought they were being overly dramatic. I mean there are bigger things in life (poverty, war, death, serial killers…etc). I thought people were weak to consider heartbreak a tragedy. I mean come on….there were worse pains in the world right? But, going through it – it has been one of the worst pains I have felt in my life. This summer I also lost my grandmother, who lived a very happy and a long life. I almost feel ashamed to admit this but, the heartbreak was more painful than death of my grandmother. I feel horrible just admitting that but, it is true. Heartbreak feels engulfing and the pain feels unbearable. It has been a few weeks and I haven’t felt overly sad because, I have numbed myself to the pain. We often think numbing equals drugs or alcohol but, it also is constant stimulation. I find myself being unable to be in silence. Every second of my day has to have a background noise of music, podcast, YouTube videos, the same Friends episode I have watched 1000 times, and other noise. I am unable to be alone even when I am by myself. Even when I shower, I find myself needing some noise in the background. It is almost like I am too scared to be alone with my thoughts and my feelings. Too scared to get the pain get to me.
I started this blog because I want to get better. I want to heal. I don’t want to be a victim of my heartbreak and I don’t want to use it as an excuse to ruin my life. I am not doing this for “revenge”. I actually don’t believe in getting “revenge” towards your ex. I don’t resent my ex nor do I have anything negative to say about him (more on that later). But, I want to do well because I owe it to myself. I don’t want to be sad person who used one unfortunate event in her life to create a life of excuses. I want to be better. I want to heal. I want to become successful and most importantly, I want to help others through my pain. All my life, I have been scared to open up. I get scared that if I open up, people will judge my flaws. Being vulnerable is so intimidating to me but, I am learning to be open and out there. To expose my wounds and myself to the world so, I can reach people.
I have learned a lot within these few weeks and I want to spend some time sharing those lessons here. I am not fully there yet and I am not perfect so, I don’t want to give advice. I just want to share my journey in getting better.