Category: Forgiveness

Why You Can’t Let Go of Your Ex

I’m just going to say it… break ups suck!

They are heart wrenching, sad and confusing. And they’re even more devastating when we can’t let our ex go.

I’ve been through my share of breakups and each one had its own unique brand of suck-ness. But there was one that wins the award. I hung on to that guy post-break up for two anxiety-ridden years.

Although I didn’t see him in those two years, he was rooted in my psyche like a Kansas Chigger in July. It was so off character for me, people around me were shocked and frankly, tired of hearing about it. At some point, I couldn’t stand the suffering any longer and I begged God for help.

Why am I hanging on to him? I can’t stand this any longer! Please help me let him go.

God responded.

It wasn’t what I expected, but I knew it was Truth. I was done betraying myself with illusion, so I looked to Truth instead. Shortly after, I was able to detach with peace and never look back.

Here’s what I learned:

Oftentimes, we interpret our inability to let a partner go as “love” when in fact, there’s an unhealthy attachment keeping us stuck. Those attachments can include: a need for belonging, connection, attention, validation and/or security. When we believe someone “out there” can fill our hollows and quell our fears, we naturally wouldn’t want to let them go. It appears like a quick easy fix!

But the problem is, it’s not Real Love we are feeling. It’s obsession. Real Love is compassion, understanding, forgiveness and freedom. Obsession is a preoccupation with something to a troubling extent. What may have started as love, became a hustle to fill our emptiness the minute our person left. If we’re super honest with ourselves, we will see it’s not the person we’re stuck on; it’s the deep need they were filling.

Awareness is always key to transcending emotional stuckness. Once we’re clear what the problem is, we can seek for solution. Without awareness, we will continue the suffering cycle.

In my case, my unhealthy attachment was security. I had gone through a horrific life situation and my security was rocked to the core. I had lost everything. I was not aware how deeply my security was affected until I examined it. The material world was showing me where I needed healing in my spiritual world. It became very clear why I had hung on so long. I was desperate to feel secure and somehow my psyche decided a partner was the cure.

Once I realized my desperation for security, it finally made sense. I could see the undercurrent of it in my behavior. It became clear love was not holding on to him, fear was. I healed my desperation by recognizing all the ways I was already secure. My unhealthy attachment began to dissolve.

Then my second epiphany came.

I was in my early 40’s, twice divorced, showing signs of age, had 3 kids, lived with my parent’s and more. I was cruelly judging my current situation and my worth. I didn’t see myself as valuable so I couldn’t believe a man would either. But somehow I managed to land this guy! When he left, my mind hung onto him because I subconsciously believed he was my only chance. If I let him go, I’d be alone forever. Again, I healed this false belief by recognizing all the ways I am valuable. This time, my unhealthy attachment dissolved completely. I was finally able to release him with love.

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention how important it is to grieve a relationship’s end. A break up is the death of something we once saw as alive and thriving. Give yourself ample time to grieve the relationship. Endings can be difficult and sad. They need your love and attention. You need your love and attention. Do your best to refrain from filling the void with another relationship while grieving your previous one.

But hold on! Here’s the most ironic and fascinating part of the story!

After healing my destructive beliefs and grieving properly, I learned something that shocked the heck out of me. Are you ready for this?

He wasn’t the man of my dreams.

I couldn’t believe I had held on to him so tightly!

There were aspects of his personality and the way he lived his life that would not work for me long-term. When the filter of need was removed, I could see him clearly. His leaving and refusal to get back together was a blessing in disguise. I was just too blind to see it at the time. A partner’s rejection is often our protection. It’s Divine Intervention in action. I am so grateful God took care of me when I was unable to care for myself.

Relationships are designed to show us ourselves. They are a mirror of our unhealed wounds. An inability to let go of an ex is only an indicator we are looking to the outside world for acceptance and love. The key to transcending your stuckness is to be 100% honest with yourself.

Discover what’s really behind your inability to let go and do the work to heal it.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers.

“How do you let go of attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.” – Eckhart Tolle

Apology Letter to Myself


Dear Sweet Self:

I owe you my deepest apology. I allowed people to treat you as if you didn’t matter. I did not stop people from emotionally and physically abusing you. I ignored your pleas to be heard. Instead I kept seeking love outside of you and kept you in situations where you should have held your head high and walked out.

I didn’t believe there was better love out there. I believed whatever situation you were in was as good as it would get. I know better now.

I am deeply sorry for putting you through the hell of trying to make you into someone you are not. I could feel you urging me to stop, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want people to disapprove of your silliness, intelligence, inner beauty and shyness, so I kept you small and hidden. I wanted you to blend in with the crowd so you wouldn’t be made fun of. I’m sorry I dishonored your heart and true essence.

I’m sorry I disrespected your emotions. I only allowed you to feel anger instead of the rainbow of emotions we humans are intended to feel. Emotions that would allow others to help you when you needed it.

I’m sorry I compromised your spirit by making you feel powerless to the world. I could feel there was so much more to you, but I was afraid to let the world see who you really are.

I’m sorry I disrespected your body. You clearly expressed your dislike of alcohol and I didn’t listen because I didn’t want you to stand out. I also gave away the sacredness of your body to men who didn’t deserve it. For this I am eternally sorry. I did not understand how precious you really are.

I’m truly sorry I compromised your value by failing to uphold healthy boundaries. I let others walk all over you. I let them hurt you and treat you as if you were nothing. You never ever deserved it. It was only a reflection of how little I regarded your worth.

Sweet self, I promise you, I will always, always do my best to protect and love you. You are my priority now. Thank you for unconditionally loving me and forgiving me before I even asked.
I want you to know I’m in charge now and everything is going to be okay! I have been reborn. I get it now! From this point forward you are my priority.

I love you.

Kristen

Taking Radical Responsibility for Our Lives

BuddhaPath

If we don’t own our stuff, we will never see our disempowered pattern nor will we grow and experience a better future.  As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” In order for us to grow, we must first become aware.

I remember clearly the day I took radical personal responsibility for my life. It was about 7 years ago. I stopped dead in my tracks at the foot of my bed and looked back over my entire life. I steeled myself for what I was sure was going to be an onslaught of shame and regret. I remember cringing inside afraid of what I might see, but I went for it anyway.

I faced every disempowered behavior I could remember: bending and stretching to fit others’ ideas of who I should be, doing things I hated to please another, failing to hold much needed boundaries and playing small to be liked.

I kept going: one night stands, drinking alcohol or smoking weed to fit in, staying with partners who hit me, drove intoxicated or emotionally abused me and allowing disrespect from friends, family and partners. The list went on and on.

When I was finished, I just stood there unsure what was next. What I did know was the world did not end, I did not lose a limb, my children were still alive and…

I felt… free?

Holy Mother Earth, I felt FREE! I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Everything that I had kept hidden, all the secrets, all the shame, was out in the open. I was free!

Yes, I did that. All of it. It was me. I am the one who is responsible for my choices and my life.

I understood for the first time how the unworthiness hidden inside of me manifested dangerous, reckless and unkind behaviors to myself.

I gave myself a big hug and said, “I am so sorry I did this to you. You deserve so much better! I will do better by you in the future. I promise.”

And I forgave myself.

Something radically shifted that day for me. I was reborn. My path to worthiness and empowerment had begun. I now always seek to recognize when I am acting out of shame or unworthiness instead of love. I catch myself sooner and I make choices that will lift my heart and life rather than perpetuate a defeating cycle.

And you can do the same.

Ownership Practice:

Pick a date and time to be alone with yourself where you will have no interruptions. Open your mind and heart. Allow yourself to remember and replay all the times you did not love yourself or protect your well-being. Recognize each one with neutrality and non-judgment. Allow the memories to come forward one at a time. No judgment, no condemnation. Just recognition. Own it all.

When you are finished, wrap your arms around yourself and say out loud: These were my behaviors driven by low self-worth. I recognize my old pattern. I did the best I could at the time. I’m sorry for putting you through that. I will do my best to love and protect you in the future.

And so it is. Amen.

Dear New Wife

FriendsStrangers

Dear New Wife,

I remember the first time I met you. It was at my son’s birthday party. I was pleased to see my ex-husband as happy in a new relationship as I was in my new marriage. I was eager to get to know you, the newest member of our big, loving family!  When we were introduced, you hardly smiled or acknowledged me. Although it took me aback, I continued to welcome you, smile and talk to you, but again, you scarcely acknowledged me. Something didn’t feel right about that, but I quickly discarded it and went on about the business of being myself. After all, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for the new love to meet the ex-wife. 

As months passed, I felt you somewhat warm up to me and life moved forward. We continued with the pre-established status quo of joint holidays and occasional joint vacations with our kids. It was nice. After all, we had been divorced 10 years and had figured out a way to be friends. And man, did our kids benefit from it! So much so that they often told me they never felt the heartache of typical children of divorce. Win!

You see, my own parents had modeled ex-ing beautifully for us and I was so grateful we were able to do the same. It’s the best thing for the children and the circle of family involved. Divorce does not have to equal division, bitterness and hate. It can be the beginning of something new and wonderful!

But something seemed to change after my new husband abandoned our family a year later. It became apparent that my new status of “available” was threatening to you. I tried to ignore it and work around it, but it only gained force like a hurricane slowly making its way toward shore. I was shocked and perplexed.

Couldn’t you see with your eyes and feel with your heart that I was nothing to fear?

My children began to notice their parents’ friendship compromised for the first time in over a decade. They witnessed their father’s kind and respectful behavior toward their mother change to cold and distant. They also noticed how unwilling he was to stand up for or protect them in situations where a father should. It became unwittingly clear he did everything possible to quell your insecurity even if that meant choosing you over them and treating me as if I was a non-person. He put aside his priorities and his personal freedom to appease you.

Perhaps you can trust his devotion to you now.

Sadly though, none of this needed to happen because there’s something I don’t think you understand. Just because people divorce, doesn’t mean they don’t love one another anymore; oftentimes, the love has only changed forms. My ex and I simply morphed from husband and wife to a sibling-type relationship. He became my brother. It was a friendship built on healthy boundaries and respect for each other and their personal lives. We cared about each other’s well-being as family would. We were often told we modeled a new paradigm for what healthy divorce and co-parenting can be. We were proud of our friendship.

Why weren’t you thrilled to have a drama free ex-wife like me?

I tried to ease your mind and calm your fear that Spring morning in Starbucks. For two heartfelt hours I explained my ex and I’s friendship. How he and I would help each other out with tasks from time to time, work together to meet our children’s needs, but not once had we crossed the line of “friends” since our divorce. In fact, we hardly even hugged save an occasional holiday. Our only crime was being nice to one another.

I had compassion for what I was sure was your backstory of pain. I understood. You see, I did not see you as an enemy or someone trying to hurt me. I saw you as a sister. Another woman who did not yet understand her worth or trust in a man’s love. Couldn’t you feel the truth and integrity in my words? But no matter what I said, how gently I said it or how compassionate and transparent I was, it was clear your mind was made up.

My ex and I don’t talk anymore. We no longer share joint holidays with our children. We don’t help each other out with tasks or work together as cohesive co-parents. His relationship with his children has suffered terribly as they’ve watched their father bend and stretch to make you comfortable. They watched the life they knew, enjoyed and felt safe in dramatically change. Where there was once unity and peace now lies the moss covered headstone of a dead friendship.

I’m still perplexed how this situation is better than the amicable situation we had before? Are you really at peace now? I wish I could say you are, but I continue to hear stories of your insecurity aimed toward other people. Perhaps it wasn’t me after all, but you all along.

The good news is my children and I discuss life issues openly and with higher purpose and direction in mind. The years have passed and they have grown and cultivated a new relationship with their father based on forgiveness and compassion for his fear of standing up for those he cares about.

They love him more than anything. Just as you do.

I have chosen to grieve the friendship my ex and I had, keep my distance and settle into this new format of ex-ing. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him or ever will. Love does not change, but situations do. And when my brother feels the freedom to enter back into my life, I will gladly accept him and you as well.

I pray for you often, sister. I ask God to help you find your worth and self-esteem. I pray you see the gift in peaceful ex-ing and open your eyes to the good woman I was then and still am today.

Until that time comes, I will be over here enjoying a great life.

Sincerely,

The Ex Wife

Why Receiving Compliments Can Be Difficult- A Collaborative Column

kristen-bio Kristen Brown

In my 20’s, my “I suck” wound (unworthiness) was so big I could hardly look in the mirror because all I saw were my flaws – flaws I noticed myself and flaws that had been pointed out to me by others. No matter how wholeheartedly a compliment was given, it felt fake and untrue to me. Although I’d say “thank you” to be kind, I couldn’t receive it.

One day I read an article that said to ignore or push out a compliment was to turn your back on a loving gift. Can you imagine how it would feel if you wholeheartedly and excitedly handed someone a heartfelt gift and they said, “I don’t want that!”?

I know for me it would sting.

The article went on to say that when we graciously receive a compliment we are actually giving back to the giver because their heart becomes full with our receiving! In other words, their soul expands with their giving of love and our receiving of it.

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

So why is it we don’t easily apply this principle, graciously receive compliments and get with the program? Because…

When we don’t deem ourselves worthy of glory, we will not ever believe someone else does.

Many of us hold ourselves hostage to an unachievable standard of perfection. We believe: Unless or until I achieve (fill in the blanks) _____, _____ or _____, I will never be worthy.

Instead we are forever reaching, striving, straining and draining our way to reach a place we believe will finally make us worthy.

Loves, there is no amount of stuff we can acquire that will make us feel worthy. No amount of relationship, money, body or career status will ever fill the unworthiness void in our hearts.

Unworthiness healing is an inside job and here’s how it starts:

Know your true origin as a child of God – Equal to all living beings on this Earth. Not above, not below. Magnificent, unique and beautiful in your creation. God does not make mistakes and you are no exception.

Focus on what is right with you rather than what is “wrong” – We naturally begin to reflect our inner beauty and worthiness when we give ourselves grace for our mistakes and embrace our journey as one of learning and growing not of perfection.

Be your own best friend – Encourage yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Forgive yourself and love yourself. Treat you the way you treat others. You need your acceptance, love and compassion just as much as your loved ones.

Receive the love coming your way – It’s there! Love is all around you! Open your eyes and heart to receive it. You are worthy of every compliment given. We came here to make manifest all that God is, to shine in our own special way. If someone is giving to you, open your palms wide and receive.

And most importantly…

Choose to see compliments as a reminder of your glory!

Kristen Brown is Sweet Empowerment’s page admin.  She is a spiritual and relationship coach/mentor who is on fire to help others heal their wounds and attract the life they’ve always dreamed of! If you would like to hire Kristen for personal coaching, click HERE for your free 15 minute consultation!

Sue BIO  Sue Markovitch

There is a chemistry principle called “Like Dissolves Like”, that describes how substances with similar characteristics will dissolve in each other. Salt shares similarities with water, so salt dissolves easily in water. Oil has the opposite polarity of water, so it does not. We’ve all seen oil floating on top, or in a separate layer from the water. It is because they repel.

For most of my life, compliments were oil to my water. I repelled them. If someone said, “You look great!”, I would grab a roll of belly fat and respond with, “Are you kidding? Have you seen this disgusting belly?” If someone said, “Your hair looks so nice like that”, I’d squirm around talking about how I’d gotten up late, didn’t have time to straighten it, blah blah blah.

Compliments were oil to my water. I repelled them.

Once I realized how rude it was to argue with someone, just because they complimented me, I tried to change. I would say, “Thank you!”, but it didn’t feel authentic. Compliments still made me feel seen, called out and vulnerable.

Then I started to learn about my wounds. My brokenness. I became aware of how rooted in Not Good Enough and I Don’t Matter I was. My solvent was composed of fear, so love bombs in the form of compliments could never really get in. They were always repelled, because fear and love are as opposite as oil and water.

Not being able to receive compliments is a symptom of fear and unworthiness, often rooted in shame.

I realized that I’d never be able to truly accept a compliment until I was made up of Love and only Love. It was chemically impossible. So I got to work. I started sharing my story. I started sharing my shame. I found amazing support groups and coaches who knew how to create a safe, sacred space for me to process all the shit that had happened. How I got so filled with fear and lies.

I started coming out of agreement with all the false beliefs that had been my life map for so long. And I got on a new path.

As I did the work of letting go of who I was not, and remembering who I was, I started to become rooted in Love. My identity was no longer Not Good Enough and I Don’t Matter. It was now a worthy, oh so loved Child of God. Once I knew who I was, when someone saw that glorious light within me and took the time to tell me with a compliment, I finally understood the salt.

And I saw the light in them right back, and said, “Thank you.”

Sue Markovitch is a Fitness Coach, Author, Speaker, Spiritual Leader and my beloved Soul Sister! If you would like to discover more about Sue’s awesomeness check out her website Clear Rock Fitness!

KelliHeadshot Kelli Davies

I am very fortunate to be married to a man who gives me compliments on a daily basis.

One morning we were having a deep conversation and he proceeds to tell me that I’m flawless.  It was all I could do to 1) not laugh, 2) tell him he was nuts, and 3) not rattle off a list of all the reasons his statement wasn’t true.

Although I refrained from saying anything, the look on my face said it all.  He said “You’re flawless in my eyes. You’re everything I’ve ever wanted”.

His statement almost made me cry because I knew he was speaking from his heart . He was looking at me through love filtered glasses. So why was I having such a hard time receiving his heartfelt words? Unbelief.

Unbelief that he saw me as complete.  Unbelief that he could look past my physical flaws and still see beauty. Unbelief that he could look past my character flaws and still see a great person.  Who am I to argue with what he sees?

When you’re not accepting, you are rejecting. You are rejecting a gift that is being offered to you.  It is a gift of acceptance, encouragement, and love.

Unbelief is also the reason we feel the need to explain why a compliment isn’t valid.  If someone compliments your shoes, you don’t need to ramble on about how old or how cheap they were.  Just say thank you! How long you’ve had or paid for them is irrelevant to how fabulous it looks.

On the flip side, if you’ve ever had to deal with someone who doesn’t know how to receive a compliment, it can be kind of annoying.  You just want to shake them and say “Snap out of it!  You have good qualities!”.

This speaks to a deeper issue. Is the root of your unbelief unworthiness?

Accepting a compliment doesn’t make you arrogant.  All it means is that you have chosen to believe that someone sees you through love filtered glasses.  It’s OK to receive the gift of acceptance, encouragement, and love.  It is up to you to believe that you are worthy.

Kelli Davies has spent 20 years working closely with the public as an aesthetician/makeup artist whose current work home is Prova Salon in Scottsdale, AZ.  Kelli is a church going,  self-empowerment loving, spiritual gangster!  Kelli’s spiritual journey has invoked a deep passion in her to encourage and speak life into others as they travel through life challenges.

20160617_131442-1_resized  Lisa Marquis

How do you take your compliments, straight up or with a side of squeamish?

When someone compliments you, say, on what you’re wearing, your sense of humor, your beautiful eyes, how do you respond? Do you say thank you very much, or do you minimize what they’ve just said? Shy away from them, deny that it’s true?

If you have trouble accepting compliments, perhaps you are suffering from low self worth. You fear it will make you look conceited or full of yourself to say thank you. It’s just always what you’ve done when being complimented: deflect so as to seem humble.

When we deny a compliment aren’t we somewhat insulting the giver of it? After all, they are making a point to let us know that they like something about us, so isn’t it up to us to be gracious about receiving it? The answer is yes. We should be gracious and accept, but it’s  more than that. We need to improve our self worth, so we can actually believe and appreciate that compliment.

I think we are afraid of the compliment because it puts us in the spotlight for that moment in time, draws attention to something about us. And lots of us just aren’t comfortable in that light. Either because we doubt ourselves, don’t feel good about ourselves or just plain don’t like to be focused on. Or as mentioned above, it feels like we are full of ourselves to be in that place and we don’t want others to perceive us that way.

Daily affirmations can help with the issue of self worth; try saying to yourself that you are worthy, you are kind, pretty, funny, whatever you can come up with that you even remotely like about you. Then focus on the things that you think are your strongest attributes; maybe you are really great at your job, or have a way with people that is really disarming and engaging. It will be easier to start with your strongest qualities and go from there, as those are easier to grab onto. Doing this will also help you with where you need improvement.

Telling yourself what’s good about you doesn’t make you conceited. It doesn’t make you perfect, it makes you aware. It goes toward being grateful. I happen to be very good at my profession, but it doesn’t mean I never make mistakes; when I do, I have enough belief in my abilities to learn from them and move on. And it makes me grateful for the lesson. Boom. Compliment accepted, from myself! That’s what a daily affirmation is, a compliment to you, from you.

Just try it. It will be awkward at first because we’re so used to the deflection and denial. But as you keep at it, you will see that starting with you is the first step to bringing a better you to the rest of the world.

Lisa Marquis is a practicing Hair Stylist, Truth Seeker and aspiring Author! Lisa’s divine gifts of logic and compassion coupled with her articulate, sweet and oh-s0-witty demeanor, make her one heck of a space holder. If you would like to follow Lisa on her Facebook biz page, click here: Straight Up Hair