Category: Healing and Personal Growth

Why Can’t I Let Go of My Ex?

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

They are confusing, heart wrenching, explosive, sad and uncertain.

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

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

What Your Man Really Needs From You

We hear a lot of talk about oppressed women, but do we hear much about repressed men? Quite frankly, I never have. At least not in the way I’m about to explain.

As a life coach and hairstylist for 28 years, I have had my share of personal conversations with men. I have also had countless conversations with women. I’ve always been fascinated with relationships and human nature and have compiled a large amount of organic data through both my careers and personal relationships.

The one thing I have seen repeatedly is what I call “The Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome.” This syndrome is comprised of women thinking a man is going to fill all the gaps in her heart. He will ride into her life atop his steed, emotionally healthy and always doing the right thing. He will be complete and whole in his emotional body and deliver her from all the evils of the world.

It’s about time someone advocates for the men out there because quite frankly, this has gotten way out of control.

Somehow through the passage of time and in addition to television, movies and fairy tale stories, a “good” man has been stigmatized to have to be darn near close to perfection. Women have gotten the insane notion that this God-like human is going to sweep into their lives and rescue them from all the bad men who came before them and heal their insecurities. 

He’ll know just what to say and just how to do it. He will build me a beautiful house, buy me pretty gifts, let me cry on his shoulder, put his jacket over rain puddles, brush my hair and always, always make me feel special.

What a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a person. No wonder so many men are afraid of commitment. I would be too.

Today I am going to bat for the repressed man — the human who’s not allowed to feel. The boys behind the brawn.

The boys who had their heart broken by a parent or were bullied through school. The boys who weren’t allowed to share their emotional pain or given tools to heal their hearts. The boys who repressed their feelings not to feel ashamed, unmasculine, weak or unworthy.

I know men who have gone through all types of painful backgrounds and dysfunctional relationships and here’s the whopper…

Are you ready for it?

Men feel deeply.

They just don’t show it.

We do our men a grave disservice when we attach a persona to them they cannot possibly live up to and then feel let down when OMG he’s not perfect!

Today I’d like to give our men a fighting chance to heal their hearts and their stories. My deep desire is to see men get the emotional support they’ve always deserved. I’d like to see women everywhere treating their men like they wish themselves to be treated. By giving their man the same love and support they desire when they’re afraid, betrayed, confused or in pain.

You see, our men are not given the opportunity to be human. They are not allowed to cry, fail or be weak. I heard a man say to an author at a speaker’s conference, “My wife and daughters would rather see me die than fall off my white horse.”  That broke my heart in more ways than I can say.

In that moment, I decided it’s time for a world view shift. A radical change in perspective regarding the males in our lives

Men suffer painful stories as equally as women; however, they are taught to repress their emotion by the repressed men before them. And the pathology continues. To the men reading this (because I know you are) I ask if you can recall a time you were told to:

Suck it up!

Stop being a pansy!

Man up!

Quit being a baby!

Men don’t cry!

I bet the farm you have. In fact, I imagine it’s a high percentage of you.  You are in good company.

If men were “allowed” to openly discuss their pain, the shame attached to feeling emotion would decrease immensely!

Ladies, it is time for us to stop this madness not only for our partners and the state of our relationships, but for the children we’re raising. It’s time for us to shift the outdated perception of:

Man = Invincible

to

Man = Human Being

Unhealed wounds is the number one cause of divorce. Behind any disempowered behavior is an unhealed wound. This is not a gender specific issue; this is a human being issue.  As the sacred feminine, we have the power to help our men heal their wounds and teach our sons a new way of being in the world.

Your man’s heart is as big as yours. He loves as deeply as anyone else and he is hurt just as easily by the words and actions. Just because he isn’t openly displaying it does not mean it’s not there. Bring me any man’s unsavory behavior and I will find the unhealed wound behind it.

I was recently read this quote on a yoga studio wall:

“The role of every woman is to birth the God in every man”.   Sigh…

That quote was my inspiration to write this article.

What I hear in these words is that a loving, good woman has the capacity to serve as the gateway to a man’s healing if she chooses to see him as imperfect and fallible, but lovable nonetheless. We must understand that men are not put into our lives to save us. As a couple, we are put into one another’s lives to save each other!

A Course in Miracles speaks of the difference between a Holy Relationship and a special relationship. The Holy Relationship is one where both parties equally show up to help one another heal their fears and pain while supporting their growth opportunities and potential. A special relationship is based on ego: what we can “get” from our partner. The special relationship says, “What can I get from you?” not “What can I give to you?”

It has been said, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This does not mean a man cannot achieve success by himself. What is does mean is men (and women) achieve far greater success and achievement when they are supported by a loving, compassionate partner.

Like any human being on this planet, we all need a soft place to fall. As depicted in movies like Braveheart and 300, the “hero” had a strong, loving woman supporting him who allowed him to break down and cry on her breast. She didn’t judge him, she supported him. She stepped up to meet his heart and offered her love.

Ladies, the truth is this, men are not going to say, “Hold me” Or “I just need a good cry.” They need us to read between the lines and have compassion for their situation or story. They need us to offer the security of our unconditional love. Your man does not need more negativity, shame or stigmas attached to him. He needs your kindness, love, security and tenderness.

Love heals all wounds. Ego, fear, control and manipulation perpetuates them.

The next time you feel compelled to attach a perceived persona to your man and then feel disappointed when he falls short, ask yourself this: How can I better support him right now?

Don’t be discouraged if your new course of action doesn’t work right away. If you have a backstory of non-support, he most likely won’t trust your motive. Instead learn to see the soul inside your man. Learn to understand his hidden emotions and act from this new perspective. Teach him that you are trustworthy of holding his innermost feelings and fears sacred. Provide a solid place for him to open his heart.

He may try to push you away, tell you he’s fine or he doesn’t need your help, but I implore you to keep on. After all you are dealing with an ingrained societal norm that won’t be dispelled easily.

This doesn’t mean become pushy or smothering. It means teach him over time that you have his back. That he can trust you like no other person on this planet. That you see both his strengths and his weaknesses and love him just the same.

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.